The longest I ever went without drinking was 21 years. Never again.
——’I dont know how,’ said the leprechaun.
Some are frightened by the prospect of facing temporarily what many do each day without hope or aspiration of better.
——Ha! It’s many more than first I thought.
An old woman in black with a blue headscarf slips on the wet sidewalk & smacks the cold concrete ground with the suddenfrightening way the elderly arent ever supposed to move, and all the conversation stops as one man rushes to her & everyone else drifts close hurried with concern & possible help offerings but hoping really not to do anything really. But she gets up(!) leaning on elbows & goes on, and the day goes on.
I was out jogging in the early morning a few days ago, the morning after it at rained all night and been doing so off and on all week. This town is not especially designed for handling rain considering how relatively rare it is, but by the time I was out, it had mostly drained away.
I spent about an hour making my way around the streets and drainage system as best I could, but I kept running into places where I couldn’t get across because there was too much water. Eventually, I got as far as I thought I could and came home. The journey was kind of nice, though. I was up early enough that almost no one else was out and I got to see that “washed clean” look that places have just after a rain. Of course, it’s not really washed clean, it’s just washed downhill, and I found all kinds of junk along the way. In particular, there was a heap of mattresses, a couch, a tire and some other stuff I can’t identify or all together remember.
And then everywhere around me was worn down junk. Odessa’s a relatively young town, but things age fast when they get abandoned. Closed down restaurants that still stink of food, asphalt parking lots overgrown with a grass, hell, even a soccer field surrounded by barb wire and fencing to keep kids out of it, a sign on the building that goes with the property trying to sell it. The soccer field is an absolute mess, but it wouldn’t be that hard to mow it. There’s bleachers and goals and everything, not to mention several apartment complexes and tons of residential housing all around it.
I’m getting off track. Point is, that area is run down. There are worse places than it by far, but this is bad enough. And that morning, I got a little glimpse at what it’d be like to come back to a town left alone for a few years, abandoned to rot. Just jogging around after a rain, seeing all people’s crap strewn throughout and caught up at certain spots in the drainage, everything around grown up and falling apart. It wasn’t anything significant, but I don’t know. I always felt a kind of romance toward rust. Toward something so clearly in twilight but unwilling to acknowledge it.
Ruins are death, or something that’s given up. But a ghost town is still pretending. There’s still the possibilities of life there, but there isn’t.
Jogging on a treadmill or up and down the same streets is useless. Give me scenery any day, no matter what it is.
“What?” I said, not really listening but knowing he probably hadn’t said anything until now. He tends to have half a conversation in his head before he bothers to invite me into it.
“That we get to see something like this, I mean,” he explained without really explaining anything. I looked out the windshield where he was looking then back at him again.
“You mean the clouds?” I asked.
“No. Well, sort of.” His eyebrows bunched up together and he started drumming his fingers on the wheel, “I mean, you see the clouds there, don’t you? The dark ones to the side raining and all that.”
“Yes. It looks like a thunderstorm is heading our way. So?” We live in the desert, but we see our share of thunderstorms.
“But look over there, to your left.” I did. “The sun is setting right there and the entire side of the world is illuminated.”
“Wow… that’s amazing.”
I’d tried to sound enthusiastic, but it wasn’t quite enthusiastic enough for him.
“You get a moment of beauty and metaphorical significance, and you can’t even recognize it or appreciate it,” he complained, “You’re hopeless!”
“I guess I don’t share your ability to elevate the mundane into the divine. I’m sorry.”
“Yeah, you are.”
I rolled my eyes but didn’t feel like getting into it. After a few minutes I told him to stop at the next town so I could get a drink. I wasn’t that thirsty, but I felt like I needed one.