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140 CHARACTERS 100 DEGREES
Stepping into the morning, I hit an all-encompassing wall of 100-degree heat and humidity, SPLAT! just like Wile E. Coyote slamming into a brick wall. Wow!
I catch my breath and wade into the scorching mass like a ghost seeping through a closed door.
How will people behave on a day like this? I wonder. How will this affect their attitudes?
I soon know the answer during my amazing encounters with some 140 characters.
Won’t list all 140 encounters in this story, but will share a few with you.
BEEP! The Roadrunner in the bubba jeep behind me taps his horn in the split second it takes the light to change and my foot to switch from brake to accelerator. My reaction is to remove foot from pedal and slow down a bit, a simple act of aggression exacerbated I suppose by the heat of the day…but eminently satisfying to me and doubly frustrating to the bubba jeep guy. He whizzes past and gets on with the journey, I resume my forward trek and smile a bit.
I’m peering into a chest-high used-book bin at the thrift store to see what’s what, when a longsleeved arm curls around me from behind to grab a volume I’m examining. I turn to see who would do such a thing and just miss observing a different arm snatching a book from the other side of the bin. I sigh, count to eight and a half, and decide not to protest. These are just books and those are just locusts doing what they know how to do. I move on to a section of the store where nobody is hovering. My fun comes from silently–and alone–reading the titles and imagining the contents.
The building I’m about to pass sports a long staircase upon which four orange-hard-hatted men wearing orange vests sit and chat next to four orange traffic cones. They don’t notice the heat of the morning because this is what they experience all day every hot day that occurs. They aren’t whiners like you and me. They are enjoying each other’s company.
I’m at the car radio store standing by while a perspiring clerk lies on his side on the passenger seat of my vehicle, surgically probing for the top of a Flair marker that has leapt into the bowels of my cassette player and clogged the works. He’s a good sport and doesn’t mind the challenge. I’m proud of the player, ordered brand-new from Japan, where it is still manufactured. It gives me pleasure whenever I drive, because I can play all those wonderful old cassettes that have piled up over the years. EUREKA! he shouts as he displays the culprit he has just fished for and caught. He doesn’t want to charge me anything, but I feel it’s worth every cent of the twenty-dollar bill I slip him. He’s a good Samaritan.
That hot evening, we are dining at our favorite Peruvian restaurant, being served by a brusque but efficient waiter who clicks into Polite as he brings the tab, making a little joke and hoping to engage us. We show our appreciation and actually do leave a nice tip.
At the shop earlier in the heat of the day, I assist a customer whose face is remarkable–expressive dark eyes, soft lips, soft smile, pleasant and easy to deal with. As she prepares to leave, a shadow flickers over her countenance for just a second and some distant pain reveals itself. By the time I react, she is gone, like so many others whose sequestered lives remain out of reach. But I remember her face.
Back to the 100 degree day: These are just a few of the 140 characters with whom I engage or disengage. There are so many, so many. I appreciate them all, I wonder about them all. If you like, I’ll take a few at a time and describe them to you now and then. It’s important to record them somewhere, somehow, since daily life will distract them from ever getting around to writing it all down themselves.
Maybe you can help me archive all these lovely sad and happy people
© 2016 A.D. by Jim Reed