It’s 82 degrees outside, and we work with the windows open. It’s supposed to go back down into the 40s in a couple of days, but for now, it’s shorts weather.
And mask weather. But it was already that, no matter the temperature. Most people walking past wear everything from kerchiefs to surgical masks. Some are clearly homemade offerings, which earn extra respect from me. One guy, strolling with his wife and little girl, looks like an Old West train robber. Another looks like Bane.
We leave to get steps. In front of the building next door, somebody’s done up the sidewalk with a chalk activity walk. We’re supposed to follow a snaky line, skip, hop like a bunny, and take advantage of safe spots to avoid falling into lava.
We greatly appreciate the effort but cross through at a normal walk, as if none of it is there. We like when others get creative; we just usually refrain from participating. In that way, nothing’s really changed.
At the end of the day, a couple in the building across the street play a duet out their window, serenading two friends who stand on the sidewalk with their dog. It’s a perfectly respectable rendition of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” I can’t see them clearly through the combo of our screen and theirs, but from the sound of it, I think the woman’s playing a ukulele. And her harmony is pretty damn good. After the friends move on, she starts into R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine),” but her heart isn’t in it, so she fades to a stop. Or maybe it’s just that it hits too close to home.
More people pass the window. I find myself thinking of the Gena Rowlands line from A Woman Under the Influence: “All of a sudden I miss everyone; I don’t know why.”
Only I do know why.
And I want them all to make it.