Do you know the creature in your home who gets so excited when you start organizing yourself for a walk? The one who stands expectantly at the back door when you jingle your car keys? Who starts hyperventilating as if to say, "Can I come? Can I come? CanICanICanI??!!" Who acts like she's just won the lottery when you indicate that, yes indeed, a car trip is in her future?
In this house, that's ME.
As you know, I don't get out much these days. And people can't come in much either. So the only way I get to see other non-related humans is to go for a car ride when others are running errands. It may sound sad and pathetic, but the way I see it, as long as you park in the shade and leave the window open a crack it's all good.
I seriously get excited to ride around (with my head hanging out the window, tongue dangling?), even just to mail letters at the post office. Not that I go into the post office of course. I sit in the car and read. Or call friends. Or, honestly, mostly people-watch. I had forgotten how loud people talk on their cell phones. How people wear their clothes unattractively tight. How bad dumpsters smell. (Hey, I've been in my share of bad parking spots...) But I'd also forgotten how cool it is to look around and see people all across the spectrum of beauty, and how some people are beautiful in seemingly non-beautiful ways. The old man getting into his car who looks over and tips his imaginary hat to me a la 1943; it makes me think that whatever he looked like back in the day, his charm probably assured him his share of dames. The woman with two kids who has crooked teeth but a radiant smile nonetheless; her smile says there's a lot more to her than meets the eye. The high school boys running pre-season track down the sidewalks. Running in their own moments, oblivious to the realities of life that await them only a few years in the future, realities that will sometimes make them remember with longing days like today.
Who knows? Maybe someday one of them will find himself in a car in a parking lot wearing a mask, and he will see tomorrow's boys running, reminding him--suddenly, poignantly and bittersweetly--of all the things he told his 16 year-old self he'd never forget.