Everyday Cares
August 2, 2001

I was sitting, more leaning against a low wall outside the building on the Upper East Side. I was waiting for the stranger I was supposed to buy the bicycle from. She was late. I was staring into space.

The old woman shuffled past very near me, staring out of the corner of her eyes like a silent-movie diva. She wore a densely purple-flowered dress with pink high-heel shoes. Her lipstick had been applied by a palsied hand. Her hair encroached on her eyes repeatedly.

When she was not 10 yards beyond, she turned around in a slow, cinematic fashion. She came right up to me. I was anticipating some craziness. I was going to ignore it until I couldn't anymore, or it went away.

"I was sensing some very low vibration from you, as I passed..." She had a thick French accent and the intonation of the old gypsy woman in "The Werewolf". I couldn't look away. Her eyes were complicated mazes, like my mother's.

"I'm fine really. Just waiting for a friend."
But I can't stop. Her eyes dig it all out of me.
"I'm supposed to buy a bike, maybe, if it's any good."
"You are searching..."
"Yes, always."
She raises one veined hand and waves it abracadabra-style.
"Stop." she says with a slight tilt up of the chin, eyes never moving.
"Don't search anymore."

"In the everyday world you will find fulfillment, not with new stuff
or a new love. These things we discard make garbage and how you say..."
I know, but I can't think of the word.
"Fertilizer!" I finally exclaim.
"Voila!" she says with a wide old smile.
"Up through them will be springing the new...
But you will discover the meaning if you pay attention to everyday cares."

There was a long pause while she let this sink in. I was staring into her eyes, smiling.

"You get a new car."
"I don't want a new car."
"No, you get a new car and 2 weeks later, it was not what you wanted."
"I just wanted a bike..."
"..a new woman..." with a stage leer.
"...still! 2 months later you are not happy."
She seems very pleased, but I'm just marvelling at the new low planned absolesence has hit.
"If you are searching, you will never find."
She is withdrawing. A bright smile, and "Love!" and she's gone.

I didn't buy the bike.