Fujichia

Walking Without Leash

2021/09/14
VOID FAITH / TRAVELLING DOORBELL / SHOCKED PIANIST / FULSOME ARCH / POWER WHEELS / FRAYING NYLON / YUKON GOLD / ERIS SIDEBAR / MESSAGES RECALLED / VOICES IN MY PHONE / WHALE METAPHOR FOR WILL / LINKS
I went out without my phone the other day, on purpose, it was great, it was like time travelling. I don't look at my phone when I go out, unless someone calls, or I get lost, so leaving without it wasn't so much about engaging the world without distraction as it was about proceeding on faith-- faith that there would be no urgent call, or missed opportunity, or that I wouldn't get lost, or that if I got lost I'd be OK, or that if I had to sit around and wait somewhere I'd just like, look at something, or think about something. I used to leave the house without a phone all the time, for almost 30 years, and the only real problem I encountered in that whole time (that a phone would've solved) was telling someone without a working doorbell that I was outside their house. But even then I was usually able to figure out a solution.


Immediately upon leaving the house without my phone I got an unreasonable "here we go" / grand adventure / sunlight feeling, despite the fact that I was only going a couple blocks to the liquor store, to break a hundred dollar bill, in advance of the flea market, where I shouldn't carry a hundred dollars, for personal reasons. Almost immediately I saw some pretty regular trash and then a bird I don't remember ever seeing but probably have a million times, a light grayboy popping around the brambles with a square cut tail that went up and out at a 45 degree angle like a shocked pianist's concert tuxedo. I said Hi Guy.

The weeds were overgrown at the end of the path, where the highway cuts in and the street deadends to cars, but the sidewalk continues to the edge of the onramp. Everyone who walks the path seems to avoid the weeds at the end by cutting over into the gas station parking lot, so the weeds aren't getting trampled enough, so they're more substantial than usual, so everyone cuts over into the parking lot, letting the weeds grow. Soon enough they'll die back, but presently they are a fulsome arch, with the occassional small flower and not even trash, too thick an arch for the trash to blow in sideways from across the lot. Last week there was a pint-sized pink and white Power Wheels child car at the street side of the weed arch, I'm guessing it rolled in quietly in the calm early morning from a driveway far away and got caught on the edge of the fence, just before the highway onramp. This week the tiny car is gone, either scavenged by whoever does that or maybe it just jostled loose from the arch and got onto the ramp and now who knows.

On the sidestreet, near the funeral home, where I crossed from one sidewalk to another to avoid a guy selling Nikes from a minivan, I thought I saw a plastic plant pruned back like a regular plant, but now that I think about it, I'm thinking no way. How can you know enough about plants to know about pruning them but not enough to recognize when one is just airbrushed plastic with fraying nylon leaves? More likely is that someone pruned a real plant too hard and then twisted fake leaves over it in the hopes that no one would notice.

I guess I saw some other stuff too but the important part is that outside the liquor store (my destination) I was delighted to see a single, softball-sized Yukon Gold potato resting in front of the door, again as if lightly rolled. It was funny to see and I got to wondering if I had my phone, would I have taken a picture? Would I have posted it to Instagram? I don't feel a value judgement towards either of those activities, but I think that because I didn't even have the option to take a picture, it stayed with me longer, as an ideal.

In Greek mythology, Eris, goddess of strife and discord, rolled a golden apple into the gods' banquet hall, with a message saying "for the most beautiful one". This caused a legendary fracas amongst the vain gods of the time. What I saw was a golden potato, a pomme de terre, and there wasn't any message at all as far as I could see, but anyway I just let it lay. Some agitation of course is helpful but strife no way. And all that aside, the most beautiful person at the liquor store is the lady that runs the place. I don't think anyone at the liquor store would disagree there.

I completed my mission and came home, and like I said, I saw other stuff but that's outside of our purview. No one had called and there were no messages, except for the shocked tuxedo, the fulsome arch, the potato rolls in, the Power Wheels rolls away, the fake leaves over recent wounds, and others left unmentioned.

I was worried about the missed calls I guess but given some distance I realized a deeper issue, further from the rational mind but lingering in the deep recesses-- I didn't want to go out without all the people I carry in my phone, without their presence, however faint. But all those people are in the world as well as being on my phone, and to be frank, that's where I love them the most. If I want to express my love and admiration for these people without tapping it out in phone world, I'll just send a vague signal out in all directions through the natural world, like a blue whale leaping out and slapping the surface of the water with a mighty fin. That's my traditional method. I hope everyone's doing good out there!


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