I'm stopped at a red light somewhere along a path I've driven countless times, when I look out my passenger window and see a little boy standing on a wall on the edge of a park. The boy is looking down at his daddy and he's crying, begging his daddy to help him down. The boy's daddy is shielding his eyes from the sun with one hand and waving his son down with the other. But the boy makes no attempt to get down. He only cries and asks his daddy to fix it, to get him down from this position he wishes he had never climbed up to. The daddy waves the boy down again and he tells the boy to jump down and the boy shakes his head and the daddy keeps on waving and he pleads with his son again.
Jump down, I can hear the daddy say even though I can't hear him at all from my car. I'll catch you.
Our next-door neighbors died six months apart last year, and their daughter inherited their house. A few months ago, the daughter sold the house to some investors, who have renovated the house and thrown a For Sale sign in the front yard. Now our street is occupied by the cars of hopeful buyers creeping along and asking—Is this the one? Oh, there it is, with the sign!—and when they realize they've passed it, they pull into my driveway and shine their headlights through my curtains and blinds, and then they turn around for another look at the house.
The mature thing would be to internalize the offenses and accept the temporary inconveniences, so that's what I do. But that doesn't mean I don't daydream otherwise.
“Oil Prices Slip on Surprise Inventory Build”—that's what the headline says.
I don't know how this stuff works, and I don't care to know. I prefer to imagine someone who recently finished counting one by one the millions of barrels in reserve. This guy has had only eight hours of sleep over the last three days. And those few hours were had on the floor underneath his desk. He's gone three days without seeing his family. Three days without shaving. Three days without a shower. Thank goodness he keeps a spare toothbrush and spray-on deodorant in the top drawer of his desk.
We live near DFW airport, and in the spring, we frequent a bike trail that runs parallel to an airport landing path. In the early days of the pandemic, we might have sat for half an hour at a bench along the trail and have seen only a couple planes approach and descend for landing.
“1979” by Smashing Pumpkins always makes me nostalgic for moments that never happened. The song is playing while I'm on my phone and looking at a picture my wife took of our daughter and sent to me earlier in the day. Our daughter's hands, pressed against her cheeks, are covered in paint after an afternoon arts and crafts project.
As I admire the picture, I wish I could send it to my mother, with whom my daughter shares a name.