UPDATE: Welcome to those of you visiting from Ariel's blog, Bittersweet Life. I hope you'll find the trip here to have been worth your while, and that you'll stick around and . . . maybe even come back again sometime.
One of the things that, despite its routine, keeps me looking forward to the sunrise walks with Scruffy is the possibility of seeing something that gives me pause. Here's an off-the-top list of things I have seen along our regular route over the past 14 months of walks (some of which I've blogged about in the past) that I just have no explanation for. As you peruse the list, keep in mind that, with one exception, these objects remained where I saw them for at least 2 consecutive days:
*an unpainted but carefully-made wooden cross made out of 2x4s, the crosspiece machine-mitered to fit over the support. It stayed where it was for the better part of a month.
*a mostly-intact store-bought cake sitting on a bridge railing (this is the ringer in the list; it stayed where it was "just" for most of one day).
*on another bridge railing, a well-worn paperback Bible. It stayed where it was for the better part of a week.
*about a dozen paperbacks located underneath one of the wooden decks along the path, a place where homeless people occasionally sleep. For the couple of weeks they were there, I wondered if they belonged to someone in particular or if they constituted a sort of lending library. They were completely exposed to the elements; they got rained on a couple of times before they disappeared.
*various times, various places: tied-up plastic shopping bags, set out in plain view (usually on benches), that clearly contain Something. Once, I saw a man looking inside a bag that had been sitting on a bench for a few days, and it took a fair amount of will to keep from going over to see what was in it. There is something about the places where they appear that tells me, This isn't for you, but which tells certain others that they are theirs for the rummaging.
And now today's addition to the list: a wineglass, turned upside-down and sitting on the railing of one of the decks.
There is a story, of course.
Back on Friday morning, Scruffy and I came upon a broken wineglass on the path. I didn't think too much of it, even though the more-expected sight would have been a crushed beer can or two, or--especially lately--small, empty bottles of cheap vodka. I imagined a couple had been out the previous evening, enjoying the sunset over the river, and, as things will, something accidental happening to the glass in a fit of passion and/or wine-and-sunset-induced giddiness. At any rate, yesterday morning, I was surprised to note that, as nearly as I could tell, not a single piece of the glass remained on the path. Instead, as though the broken one had reassembled itself, another glass now appeared on the railing of the deck, as though the imagined couple had been there again and, this time, just forgot this glass when they retired for the night.
This morning marks day #2 for the glass. Given the heavy frost this morning, the firt thing I thought today was that whomever it belongs to had left it out so it would chill for a nice chardonnay or pinot grigio. (But so early in the morning?? Some speculations, you see, don't bear too much scrutiny.)
The glass itself isn't especially remarkable: it appears to be of the sort that you can buy 4-to-a-box at Wal-Mart or Target. This morning I almost picked it up to flick it with my fingernail to see if it was leaded crystal; but, as with the Bags with Something In Them, I know that the glass is not for me.
Perhaps this is an absurd thing to think about objects left so plainly out in public view, but I feel a strong sense of voyeurism as I look at them, the same feeling I get when I glance into a window along my walk for more than a few seconds. The sense I have is that, like the contents of rooms not my own, these objects are there for a reason and thus invite speculation, the construction of narratives that cannot help but be mine, seeing as I so far know about these things only what I see. In my narrative economy, wineglass signifies romance signifies couple. Those sorts of narratives, if one puts the most benign spin possible on them, are simply attempts to make sense of what one sees in one's world. But "making sense," we could cynically say, is really just a polite way of saying that one wants to control what one sees and derives pleasure from that control. Voyeurism.
So. These curious things--these intrusions of the private and personal into the public space that is the park--at once invite speculation and cause me to feel a bit of guilt as I do so. What I'm curious about now, and which I encourage those so inclined to address in comments, is whether this is "just me" or if this, like, a human-being thing.