The first high point of my day occurred when I was driving north down Piedmont Road on my way home from work. I had gone through the intersection of Piedmont and Peachtree, past the Terminus and the Tower Place environs, and was readying to turn right onto the Buckhead Loop (towards the GA400 ramps, Phipps and Lenox Mall) when I saw a woman (whose back was facing me) approaching the crosswalk. In terms of car traffic, I was in clear to turn (legally as well).
But, I wasn’t sure if this woman would step out into the street without sending a memo or looking back. And so I waited and inched closer. I was quite glad to see a traffic-directing policeman materialize and walk with her across the street. As they stepped off the curb, which was but a mere four to six feet away from the front of my car, the cop looked at me and acknowledged my patience. I didn’t turn until I knew where this woman was headed.
I love exchanging these kinds of glances, sharing these cognitively synchronous moments with strangers. The first time it happened was in 2005. I was at the Borders on Ponce* reading film articles, killing time before going back to campus for a film screening. I had been reading for at least an hour and was nearly finished with one assignment when two policemen sat down in the table on my right. They looked like they were taking a break or winding down from the end of their shift. The cop who was sitting immediately next to me was reading a magazine. His partner, who sat across from him, was as well. After I finished reading one article, I looked up at the precise moment that this cop (the one diagonal from me) looked up; we both audibly sighed, as if to recognize that “it’s been a long day.”
The second high point of my day occurred while I was at the Whole Foods in Sandy Springs. I decided to take Wieuca towards Sandy Springs once I got out of the Buckhead area. Before I actually turned onto Wieuca, though, I developed a craving for some kind of fruit-tart-yogurty treat. I was going to go to a Korean bakery in the farther reaches of Buford Highway, but by the time I got onto Roswell Road and was approaching Glenridge, I decided to go to Whole Foods instead. I needed a bottle of water for my car. I ended up buying some guava juice, a tropical mousse (which I haven’t had yet), and a raspberry-lemon tortelette (it was very yummy). I also found out that the gelatto maker there has been in Atlanta (from Scotland methinks) for seven months because his wife is getting her PhD at Emory. My alma mater.
*These yelpers love this Borders, but I have to add my two pennies that this location has the worst restrooms of all Borders in the city that I’ve been to ever or on a regular basis. Out of Dunwoody, John’s Creek, Buckhead, Brookwood Place, and Borders on Ponce, I’d rate the restrooms 1 to 6 from best to worst, respectively, as 4, 1, 5, 3, and 6.
In the beginning, there was voyeurism and intrigue, ; then there was the idea of puppy love, which, for five to seven years, seemed so appetizing. Et puis? Pas du tout. And then, there was complete rejection of both. For reasons I can isolate but that still give me much philosophical pause and disconcernment, I’ve recently plunged into these less evolved depths.
“okay, coach, put me in! I wanna play or possibly play!”
Do I really want to play, though? Do I really want to go from practice squad to reserves? From not dealing with any potential embarrassment and self-loathing to engaging in snippets of netherworld baseball? Isn’t it more accurate to say that I really just want to stand on the field? I’ve been in the bleachers for ten bloody years. It was a perfectly adequate place to pass the time. When I was lucky, I had access to the sidelines, close but not touching any of the dangers of grown men hurtling through space.
And now, I want to go on the field…without having to play. Can I do that? Will the coach and team let me do that? Wouldn’t I just get in their way? Nonetheless, I want the thrill of being that close to the pounding of feet and cursing of linebackers and not have to tackle anyone or catch the ball.