See also www.http://www.annelinorrland.blogspot.com for more background on this author, old blogs

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tellin' Ya Now, Just So You Know

I can be a voyeur anywhere. Chancey Gardner had it right. "I like to watch," he said, and I am all over it. If I had my way, I'd spend the rest of my life looking. I'd happily wander the face of the earth, from the south of France to middle Siberia, gliding across the icy north with my Lapplander ancestors and sail over sand dunes in Namibia. I'd buy a Range Rover and roam the back roads and dirt lanes, logging trails and dried up streams nearer my home, through ghost-like prairie towns not far from here, like the one where I spy a grungy old hippie through the grimy, smudged window of his tiny trailer, brooding, idle in the middle of the afternoon, surrounded by squalor that extends from the broken-down, rusted rubbish strewn and tumbleweed filled yard that I can see to the whisky bottles standing empty on greasy counters that I imagine, inside. The shell of an old greyhound bus is fading nearby, while a scrawny white horse looks for a few healthy stems of grass to munch. Rocinante, anyone? It all makes me wonder. I'll watch anywhere, spy on anybody. Mind you, I'm no peeping-tom. I don't go in for kinky, or intrusive, but it's probably safe to say that my habit verges on nosy. Today I'm watching tennis, of course, but a report has just reached me from the Taste of Colorado downtown. Poco -- heard of them? remember them? -- played a few sets on the main stage in front of their old, and now I do mean old, fans. And some of them still light up. The fragrant aroma of sweet grass wafted through the crowd. Well into their seventh decade, a posse of five passed around a reefer, just like the old days and they'd clearly not lost their touch, cupping it close. A mixed bouquet of establishment and barely funky types, baseball caps over not-long, wavy hair joined by a guy wearing a pony tail way down his back, tattoos, nobody blinked when the pot appeared. Sunday afternoons in Warsaw tend to be a bit more traditional. Last Labor Day weekend, I wandered the Old Town along with families and young couples, queueing for ice cream, tripping over cobblestones. Ancient men in long white beards drove old-fashioned carriages led by Percherons down chimney-wide streets and toothless old biddies hawked cracker-crusty baby bagels. Six-year-olds with flaxen hair begged for mylar balloons, a pink unicorn being by far the favorite. I flirted with the prospect of stepping in and buying one of those miniature metal license plates with your name on it, for a sweet-faced kindergartner who wanted one the worst way, Andrzej. Lovers snuck kisses in dusty vestibules. Ladies gossiped. Children pulled, hard, on their mother's arms, they begged for cotton candy and whistles carved from beechwood. I walked behind two matrons in mohair hats (it was much too warm for any sort of hats) who seemed to have it in for their missing neighbor. I assume her ears were burning. Teenagers horsed around, climbing on the town wall and laughing at tourists who tripped. A bunch of kids were clustered around a ball of string attached to a kite so high you could barely see it. I took a step backwards, to get a better shot from my camera, and almost fell off the wall. The boys laughed. So did I. But, I swear, this is how I'm going to die: stepping backwards off a wall, a cliff, a rock, a roof.

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