It's probably a bad idea to come again to the park to write. It's really too chilly, only 41 degrees. It somehow felt warmer this morning as I headed out to my doctor's appointment. My home is near enough to this park that my car has not even properly warmed up. I sit in the driver's seat, shivering, trying to decide whether to get out there and write or drive someplace warm. I am still feeling crappy and the thought of driving anywhere is unappealing. I decide to just sit in my car and observe from here.
Not much to see, though. There is one other empty car in the lot but I can't spot its owner.
The park looks like I feel. Sad and miserable. I scold myself, sternly admonishing myself to do something productive like write down ten more things that I love about my life. This isn't working today, though. I feel stubborn and uncooperative. My lungs ache from this wretched cough. I'm so tired.
I decide to just report whatever I see in the next half hour. Something happens almost immediately. A tan (I believe a car dealer would call it "champagne colored") truck comes and parks halfway down the lot from me. This truck has held both Therese's and my interest for several months. We often walk when she gets home from work here at Towl Park and more often than not that truck has been sitting in this parking lot. The driver is a man but he usually sports a baseball hat and sinks down low or reads a newspaper, covering his face. I have not seen him here during the day, too. Therese and I have speculated on several reasons why he parks here. Maybe he lost his job, his wife, or ???? and needs a quiet place to think. But, truly, sometimes he seems to be here all day long and a few times last summer we drove here to star gaze late at night and there he was! Is he homeless and living out of his truck? He never seems to get out of his truck or bother anyone. He's just here. Parked. He parks in different places. Sometimes, he is in front of the restrooms (long locked up) so he isn't here for the scenery.
This all feels slightly wrong but not wrong enough to pounce. He has never been out of the truck that I have seen. So, we make note and watch. Wait and watch. Sometimes we discuss what his life is like. Maybe his wife died and he can't stand to be in his house alone. Maybe he was kicked out of his apartment for not paying his rent and is living out of his truck until he can afford a new place, but his truck bed is empty.
Once, his truck was gone for a week and a half Then it came back and was parked here almost daily. Now, I spot it a couple of times per week. For now, we watch and wait.
An elderly woman pulls up in a small red prius and gets out and on the walking path much faster than I could have done it. She adjusts her scarf around her neck and begins race walking around the park, pumping her arms in a spry manner that leaves me feeling like a lazy klutz. She laps around once, returns to her car and is off.
I sit coughing and shivering in my car, watching. I tell myself that there is no reason to ever envy another. Everyone carries at least one burden. Very few share about them, but if you get to know a person, you can usually see what their particular burden is. I've discovered, too, that the ones who don't talk much about their troubles usually have the bigger burdens. You'll be sitting and complaining that you are really sick of being sick. Sick of aching lungs, waking uo wheezing every night, and feeling too tired to do much. And then that's when you find out that their daughter was in a bad car accident and lives at home with them now since she had no health insurance. Her medical bills have necessitated that they take out a second mortgage on their house to assist her until she can walk again. Oh. Also, their cherished dog of fifteen years just died, too.
Suddenly, a measley cold seems pretty small. But, you know that the next time you see this person, they'll ask after you. How are you feeling? Are your lungs still as tight as a drum or improving?
As I said, the ones with the biggest burdens almost always are the ones who offer to make you chicken soup. Or at least go get some from Swartz's Deli.
Ok. Time to take my crabby self out of this park. I wave at the man in the truck as I pass but he appears to be staring into space and doesn't return the gesture. I put the thought out into the world that 1) I hope he's a good guy and not a bad one and 2) that his burdens lessen.