I found a spot for my car on the street beside the park. This happens often enough. For some reason or other, it’s easy for me to find a parking spot there. People coming and going that time of day, leaving from their jobs at the hospital nearby.
The park is very nice. It is full of trees and jutting rocks out of the ground. Long stretches of hilly grass that people often lay out on and sun tan, or read books. In the center of the park there is no grass because the children have destroyed it running around like lunatics sometimes kicking a soccer ball, screaming, you know- having fun.
Fun. Only city kids do this kind of thing anymore. Any other kid just plays video games and gets fat. Gets diabetes by age 11.
Inside the park, there is a path that goes around the glassless soccer field. A little wooden sign in the shade says, “10 times around equals one mile”. Often in the morning there are old ladies that jog very very slowly around on the path. They jog so slowly that I often check the park when I return from work. I check to see how far along they have gotten during the day, “You finish a mile yet?”
“One more time around…”
The park people that I like best do Ti Chi in the morning still dressed in their pajamas. The way that they move and breath in and out. Everything flows so effortlessly. Often when I see them, I think about my friend from Vietnam. I asked him innocently one time, “What did you do last night?”
“I left my body while meditating and soared through the astral plane, helping people with the problems in their lives.”
“Oh fuck,” I said, “I just ate two dinners and didn’t bother to do the dishes.”
When I see the Ti Chi park people, I wonder, are they in this park or are they soaring through the astral plane helping people?
When they look at me, I’m sure they say, “Look at this poor human going to work at 5 am.”
My life feels fine. It also feels difficult. Not because it really is. Just because I am not effortless. Do not soar through the astral plane. Do not help people in the midst of meditation. Do not dissolve into the ether and flow seamless through life and death in my pajamas.
I go to work before dawn. I fight the traffic war home back into New York City. I park my car on the streets of New York City. I don’t ever do the dishes.
Really, the park is owned by the dog people. They have the real control of it. They bring their dogs there and release them into the dog run that occupies the back section. All through the neighborhood you can hear them barking, howling, fighting. You can smell their shit. Their piss. You can hear them tearing through the wood chips chasing after balls.
On the street, I usually find a parking spot beside the park. Beside and below really. First there is a steep stone faced wall. A sloped hill of thick jungle grass and then the chain link dog run.
This particular afternoon, I got out of my car and there was a girl lying on a beach towel in a bikini on the grass between the stone wall and the dog run.
Yes, this is unusual.
It was a quiet sunny afternoon. I can’t recall any dogs even being around. Strange. Usually that section of grass is over-run with animals. They are being walked back and forth by their owners.
It’s high thick grass and you can guess why.
I wouldn’t even think of walking around in that high jungle grass and you can guess why, but here, is a bikini girl- out stretched, soaking up some sun.
So, I walked around to the back of my car and opened up the trunk. I had some things that I wanted to bring up to my apartment. I couldn’t help but look up again at the girl in the un-mowed jungle grass.
As I looked up, she was up on her elbows looking down at me. Sure, she was worth looking at. She was a bikini girl. Any bikini girl is worth looking at on a quiet sunny afternoon. This one though, this one struck me as one to look extra careful at.
She was smirking at me. So sure of herself. She was probably a hostess somewhere. I can’t deal with food service hostesses. They think they hold the gates to Heaven.
She thought I was checking out her goods. She looked away and gave me the side profile. Her sunglasses aimed away from me, as to say, I see you eying me and I’m not impressed.
This girl was a certified idiot. Up in the park, she had plenty of legitimate hilly sunny grass to stretch out on. She thought that that she had a premium spot here. Alone. Away from the other sun bathers. She had figured out something that the others hadn’t figured out, and now she was annoyed to be disturbed by a lecher who was on the verge of a god damn cat call.
I kept staring until she looked back at me.
She was uncomfortable. “Take a picture it will last longer, creep.”
I said, “I know something you don’t know.”
“Excuse me?” She said, pissed.
“I know something that you don’t know.”
“You’re laying in dog shit.” I said.
Then, there was a sudden rush of realization. Looking all around her and seeing the dog crap for the first time. Ughhh.
“DOG SHIT!” I called, walking towards my apartment where it wasn’t so hot in the air conditioning.
Fuck it. Today is the day I finally do the dishes. Today is the day that I begin to flow effortlessly through the ether and slip through all ill conceit held against me by the negative spirits hovering on the lid at the edge of the great beyond.
First, I’ll need some dish soap.
Where can I possibly get that, in this town?