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Navigating the Noise of Silent Spaces
I’m making the rounds this morning, stopping here and there to examine and purchase books that might sell to willing customers at the bookshop. It is well before opening time, so I get to enjoy one of my guilty pleasures—being alone and quiet and meditative as I navigate the city streets, alone with my thoughts and ambitions and fears and pleasures.
This morning is quieter than usual. The radio and music player have been removed for repair, and I will spend at least two weeks in a silent vehicle, listening only to the quiet…my quiet ruminations, my soundless grin, the silent blinking of my eyes, the vast soundless panorama of life being lived on the other side of the windshield.
The widescreen epic before me is familiar—with momentary touches of unpredictability to spice things up.
Here inside this booth of isolation I can pretend to be in control of my own destiny—a delusion at best, but a humorous and harmless delusion.
Coming directly toward me, going the wrong way in the middle of one-way Third Avenue North is a cyclist who seems to own the road. He is riding a real bike, a beat-up old reject whose wheels still squeak and turn. He is oblivious to hazard and danger and owns this lane all by himself, since it is up to us drivers to swerve around him and keep him safe. He, too, is living inside a booth of isolation.
A one-crutch pedestrian slowly wends his way across the street, also oblivious of the traffic and the racing world around him. I just drive carefully and hope that others will do the same.
On the passing sidewalk, an elderly shopper stoops and stares at the dysfunctional parking meter that refuses to accept his metal coin. He can’t decide whether to move his car to a working-meter space, not knowing whether a cranky meter monitor might give him a catch-22 ticket regardless of where he parks.
A dog trots along, walking its leashed master who puffs on a large cigar to counterbalance the fresh morning air. A discarded pair of running shorts drapes a curb, golden leaves swirl about, one man is changing his tire, a coffee-clutching bank employee rushes to staff her Dilbert booth before the boss finds out, a waiting bus rider gums his Honey Bun, an unmufflered motorcyclist zooms by, traffic lights wink at me, one low-flying plane swoops between the towers toward the airport.
I complete my morning chores, pull into the parking lot, drag my newfound treasures to the door of the shop, pause to smell the morning’s freshness, then push through the looking glass
© Jim Reed 2015 A.D.