man person people old
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

many years from now, I might imagine sitting on my porch, as an older gentleman, ok, maybe not gentle, but the outside look might call assumptions in the minds of others, younger, an old man, more wrinkles than hair, sitting in a comfortable, not terribly plush, chair, on a summer day, not in the thick of the day, more towards a slow, lazy hazy afternoon, tall glass of lemonade, sweating beads roll down, with a straw poking out – bobbing, an old dog laid out sleeping one eye open by my feet, contemplating life, like a movie review, the good, the bad, the peaks, the valleys, everything in between, the one, or many that got away (and we ain’t talkin’ fish), all the ups and downs survived, at least to get to this point in life, not an accomplishment perhaps, maybe an accident, or just dumb luck, but such is life, this life, and all the show, times like this (I mean the actual present) might seem like a myth, a story told, something someone made up, ‘a country shut down? what?‘, it all seems like a strange dream, the masks, the no masks, the plexi-glass, work from home, no work at all, a mad dash for toilet paper and bottled water, and what most… ?
perhaps that might be the question posed.

apartment architecture buildings business
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I remember 9/11 clearly, I was in Florida then, driving to work when I heard the news, all these years since the one pin that sticks is the phone, the inability to contact anyone, all my family is up here, by up I mean the NY/NJ metro area, and the day was so crazy you didn’t know what was going on, or what was being hit or what could be hit, there was much more than just the towers in the moments of the day, it is easy to look back and focus only on that, but for me, the singular memory, aside from almost feeling like a zombie driver in shock, was the phones, the desperation, the isolation, the lack of information, that was the terror for me, those hours with no contact, no confirmation, no word, no information, knowing I had to know some who were affected directly, but not being able to make the connection, that is my core recollection…

eye of the storm image from outer space
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I remember Sandy, the superstorm, more recent, so the details are quite fresh, the feeling like we dodged a bullet until I heard and saw the transformers popping on the power lines that pass through my neighborhood around 9:30pm, no flooding or damage like that most would associate with, or those that suffered that, just no power, and the next day the temperature dropped off table into the frigid, of all the strange things that went on those weeks the one thing that stands out is the lines, the lines on the parkway for gas, not just cars, miles of cars, people as well with gas cans, lines of people longer than the cars, the constant worry that you might run out of fuel, all the while trying to live life as normal, going to bed early as there was no power, candles, flashlights, and the like are somewhat of a calming influence, no bustle, no TV, no internet, what else is there but sleep and rest at the end of the day, but the lines, always that is what I first remember, waking daily at 3am to drive over to the Hess by the Outer Bridge that would get a delivery nightly, and being thankful to be able to get gas, at all, even waiting hours, then crawl back into bed to get to work by 8:30am and start the whole cycle again, until it is routine…
so maybe many years from now, and this is subject to change, my change, the world changes, you never know, well, you do, change is a guaranty, that much is certain, with the question posed, ‘so what about the pandemic of 2020?’ I’ll probably make some lame crack about hindsight referencing the year, so clever, and obvious, but then, on reflection, maybe without hesitation, something on my daily commute that has always been a clarion, not the obvious, masks and distance and all that, my answer might be on track…
“the empty train station”

Photo by Febi Ariyanto on Pexels.com

and with that, the whole of my experience might come back, I live within ear shot of one NJ’s largest train stations, not that that in itself is some amazing fact, but you get used to things, you wear them for awhile and expect them to maintain the same comfort time and again, because… well, there are no surprises, there is consistency, and that frames complacency and assurance, routine, a signal that I am but a couple of turns from home, passing Metropark, seeing the masses unpack from the tubes, shuffle across the road with the awkward flashing pedestrian light installment, passing all the passengers on that road with no sidewalk, I imagine their jobs in NYC, because, where else would they be commuting to honestly, the cars that come to meet them, causing their own little traffic jams turning a little section of cross streets into grand central, but not lately, and maybe I have come to expect this these days, the trains still come, like clockwork they have not missed a beat, I don’t know the schedule but mine intersects the same, nightly, pretty much the same, but these days, empty trains, not a one, not a two, no stragglers, no strangers, no passengers, no… anyone, just empty trains as if this major hub was now a ghost town, and I suppose it was…
(and so with that, I might sip some lemonade on these aged broken lips)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s