Saturday, March 07, 2009

WAG: #2 What I didn't see

(This week's adventure didn't have a title. I'm terrible at titles, so I gave it a very lame title. Deal with it. Our adventure, if you're too lazy to click on the link, was to go outside and "soak it in." Then, we had to write about something we did not notice at first.)

I love this weather, even though the temperature is dropping enough now that I'm getting a little chilly when the wind blows. But it's soft wind, because it's warm. It's the wind that blows before a Texas thunderstorm, where it looks like it should be cold but it's not.

The sky is overcast. It's not a uniform gray; if you look at it you'll see the bunching up of the clouds, but there isn't any blue sneaking through.

The wind is soft and almost warm (it was warmer before, it has cooled down. I'm hoping for a storm, because storms are fun). The wind has that stormy smell, that soft smell that's not really a smell but a feeling, of the rain to come.

I'm sitting outside the wine shop where Freddy works. It's in this hoity-toity "village" of shops and condos. The buildings are very un-Texan: the burnt coppers, mustard yellows, olive greens, and dark beiges of the buildings are going for a pseudo-European, Under-The Tuscan-Sun feel. I'll go ahead and give it to them. At street-level the buildings house boutique shops; the second and third floors have condos that may or may not have owners yet. The windows and balconies are architecturally European, but lack the flowers you see walking along the streets of Madrid, Sevilla, Paris or Genève. At the end of the street you have the town's City Hall building and public library (which I should visit, really... I wonder if they're open today?)

Outside the wine shop they have metal chairs and these "tables," I guess we'll call them, that look more like fancy, giant empty thread spools. Kind of like what the mice used as coffee tables in Disney's Cinderella.

In front of me, slightly to the left, the rotunda in the center of the intersection has green grass (how much does the city pay to make sure that looks "pretty" in our Texas drought seasons?), purple, yellow, and white pansies bordering the bushes surrounding the tree, which is a pretty sorry, scraggly thing, but still has leaves. The tree to the right of me is naked, poor little guy.

Across the street, directly in front of me, I notice the thing I hadn't noticed before, that I really should have -- this is me we're talking about. How could I miss what should be my favorite part of this whole faux-European tableau?

It's an old-fashioned lightpost. Not exaclty like the one I always pictured at the entrance of Narnia, but close enough. This one has one light at the top of the post and three more lights coming off the base of the first. They're not the glass spheres I saw on the streets of Spain and in my hometown (Santiago, Chile -- have I not mentioned that?), and they're not the square (what do you call a 3-dimentional trapezoid?) ones you typically associate with London and Peter Pan; these are cone-shaped but not pointy at the bottom. The bottom of the light is narrower than the top, but the bottom is flat, and the top has another, fatter cone at the top, like a little hat.

My backyard has an ugly, rusted pole that originally was intended for a basketball hoop, I suppose. I want more than anything to turn that ugly pole into an old-fashioned lightpost, like the one at the entrance of Narnia, just outside the wardrobe. That lightpost fascinates me.

Join the Adventure!


While I was enjoying the outside and the wind, the following took place:
If I may...

This girl (age 10?) just fell while crossing the street. She's walking with her toes inside her sneakers, but her heels resting on the back of the shoes. The shoes are untied, and as far as I can tell they are those Wheelie shoes. (There's a plastic clicking sound every time she takes a step that rubber soles generally don't make.)

She fell and hurt her elbow, and is making a big deal of crying about it.

"Ow, ow, ow, ow!" she bellows like a wounded harp seal.

Dad helps her up, and they finish crossing the street.

"Are you okay?" Dad asks when they reach the corner.

"Ow, ow, ow, ow, (sob), ow!"

On that very corner, a foot and three quarters from where they are standing, there is a bench. Where the girl could SIT and PUT HER DAMN SHOES ON PROPERLY.

No, they keep walking to the car, with the girl clomping along, owing and sobbing, with her shoelaces untied and her shoes not even on her feet.


  1. Right down the street we have the exact same type of shopping center, the Euro-style with shops, restaurants, and clubs along the street and luxury condos on the floors above. It's the type of place Zach says he should hate (since it's fake) but we actually head there all the time, b/c, well, it works. Some of the shops are nice, it's a nice ambiance, now that we have D we've noticed a small gated playground where we can take him... In the end I hope more places like this sprout up everywhere, as the dual-use (home/shopping) is a pretty efficient use of space and a great way to build up more condensed communities (where cars might become less necessary).

  2. I loved your adventure! Very evocative!

  3. Nicely written, I could really picture the scene. I hope you get your lamppost

  4. Good description of the shopping area. The comparison to the shops of Europe sans the flowers made me smile. I was very taken by the flowers everywhere when we went to France a few years back. We could use more of that here.

    I keep looking for a lamp post in the back of my closet too. Someday I'll find one. Hope you do too.

  5. Very enjoyable. Your comment about the mouse tables in Cinderella caught me off guard because as I read the paragraph above it, I was thinking to myself that you were perfectly describing a 'faux' village at Epcot Center in Disney World. I don't know if the last section was part of your WAG piece, but your rant about the girl sounded terribly familiar. For a moment I thought you were channeling me. Great piece.