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Monday, September 15, 2003

Matthews state park, a beach a mile or two from the apartment, five minutes shy of noon and the lappy’s screen is almost entirely washed out by the sunlight. Dunno if that’s ‘cause it’s an old guy or if it’s ‘cause it’s running on battery power and isn’t putting as much juice to the display or if it’s always been this weak, and I’ve just never had it outside enough to tell.

This is Washington so everything is sideways from what I think it should be so there’s geese on the beach, on the sand, standing goose-knee deep in the tiny little breakers that crash on the shore every second and a half. The gulls that I keep thinking should be on the sand are in the parking lot, over the treeline to my right, scavenging for Milky Way wrappers and hotdog-bun halves left by the well-coifed crowds that were here over the weekend. Nobody here today but a little white-haired boy slung over a swing while a man, presumably his father, spins him in circles, wrapping the chains of the swing around each other until they build up tension and spin the little boy belly-down around and around. The little boy isn’t going wheeeeee like he should, so I’m thinking that perhaps father and son are here in an effort to dispel some kind of tragedy, a firing or a death, that’s got both generations of the family in a funk. Or, maybe, the kid would rather be playing Gamecube.

I’ve got a cigarette going, which is just stupid ‘cause I rode Joe’s Diamondback over here and I’m gonna have to ride it back and I get out of breath as it is. Ah, well. Bridges to cross later.

Seven minutes after twelve and the park’s starting to fill up a little. A blond with her right arm in a sling walking slowly along the path that runs through the trees, keeping an eye on me, the beach, the water and, it seems, the sky. Whatever busted that arm must’ve come out of the sheerest blue. There’s a biker of the skintight black latex, no-suspension black road bike, super-skinny/ultra-fit/5% bodyfat type sitting at a table twenty yards away, eating a sandwich and pretending to look at the water while she glances over at me. Dunno why she’s looking over here. I’m just not that interesting. Two young mothers (or perhaps nannies, my Fairfield County sensibilities insist) have shown up with a child each in tow. They’re strolling along the lawn on the other side of the park and from here it appears that the children are one boy and one girl. The girl is a toddler, stumbling along at the end of one young mother’s arm. The boy is older, three or four, and is amusing himself by running through the crowds of geese who're resting on the lawn. Interestingly enough, the geese are fleeing at his approach. My experience with geese has taught me that approaching such a resting gaggle will elicit angry hissing from the birds and little other movement. Apparently a lumbering thirty-something does not provoke flight in waterfowl the same way a headlong preschooler will. Smart birds.

There are crows out here too, big glossy angry looking critters who stamp along just waiting for someone to fuck with them. I have to guess that they’re involved in some kind of migration study or mating habit research as all the birds that I can see up close have ankle tags, white on one ankle and red & blue on the other. I’m no pansy, but it would take a braver man than I to reach out and grab one of these birds and hold them long enough to band them.

It’s getting cold out here, the sun fading out behind the clouds, a quick wind coming in over the water. I’ve worn shorts for my afternoon ride and I’m feeling it. Brr.

Yeah, I’m done. Nice day in Jet City. Time for movement.

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