Wednesday, December 2, 2009

No Man Can Live Alone

I went out around 4:15, the time I seem to emerge from my labors these days, like a starved vampire. My senses were bared for a revelation. I kind of like this adventing business. Like adventuring, except more limited in scope. More like one of those GPS scavenger hunts. I harvested a new word from my nearest mailbox, but it didn't count. I had discovered it a few days ago. It was at the end of a printed warning to bring any item larger than 13 ounces to your post office. "Failure to do so," it concluded, "will result in the return of your mailpiece." I liked mailpiece. It had a slightly medieval sound, like codpiece. It seems well-entrenched on Google, but it was new to me.

I biked on into the gathering gray of evening. No moon visible. What was I looking for? Something big? Tiny? Would it be dishonest to browse the interior of a flower for some hibernating beetle? Shouldn't it just appear unbidden, like the fieldmouse in the bird box? I rode on along the Bikeway. Another possible candidate was the bench for Eugene McGurl, an Arlingtonian who took part in Doolittle's raid over Tokyo, and died three months later over Burma. But again, I knew about it already. And besides, they'd moved the bench.

I chose a place to turn around, a pull-over by Buck Field, where Matthew's baseball team, the Blue Jays, had ingloriously lost to the Rockies in the Babe Ruth League playoffs last June. As I wheeled around, I found myself looking at graffiti on a white warehouse wall. NO MAN CAN LIVE ALONE, someone had written in red, with an arrow pointing to one of the tags. Not the usual sort of thing you see spray-painted by a graffitist. Kind of deep. Kind of shallow. Did it have anything to do with the real December? Sure. Not really. It would do.

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