Read Old Man Scanlon

Half Full

27 June 2015

It’s a Saturday of picayune irritations followed instantly by small jewels of compensation. On the way to my afternoon walk at the Attleboro commuter rail station both lanes yield to thirty or forty Canada geese, strolling slower than teenagers in a crosswalk. A willing wrangler dashes out of her car, expedites their meander, and smiles at my thanks.

Starting my first lap down the platform I meet a pair of would-be train-takers at the posted timetable. Casual rail system users often don’t know where they are, the sign two feet above their heads notwithstanding, and almost never know how to read a timetable. It’s either a forgotten art or requires some kind of brain wiring apparently lost to evolution during a single generation’s use of smart phones. I give them the benefit of the doubt, tell them no, they’re not in South Attleboro, and suggest only that they refer to the weekend timetable. I brim with smug righteous virtue after my heroic forbearance in the face of ignorance.

A drummer practices in a nearby apartment house—loud, monotonous, maddening. He’s been doing this for years, now; in a major accession of grace no neighbor has throttled him. I just walk away until I’m out of earshot, walking among trains being the reason I’m here, and with no angina. My eyes devour the abundant St. John’s wort, blazing sun-yellow in the waste at track’s edge. Marvelous how smooth, for the moment, my road is, and how rewarding just a little patience can be.