Went for a midnight bike ride through the neighborhood a moment ago. Tonight is one of those rare, once or twice a summer, hot and humid overnights. Like a piston chamber compressing gas before tomorrow morning’s thunderstorm. The streets, usually beautiful and breezy and liberating in the subtle evening light, felt crowded and heavy. The houses seemed to smoosh together, the trees oozing out between them- shoving parked cars further from their curbs into the narrow lane.
Nobody moved but me- the air, I supposed, was just too confining this side of a bicycle. I saw a romantic candlelit table set up in someone’s back yard, nobody sitting at it (perhaps they found even more comfortable surroundings?), heard another couple laughing and conversing from the darkness of an elevated porch. There was a sickly yellow window high on an old apartment building omitting loud, harsh, young poverty music and malcontent. I passed by it a few times, listening. Of all the socially occupied places my mind noticed, that was where I most wished I was invited.
It’s the fear of it, I like the fear of it. Elsewhere I caught a whif of a particular type of old house that triggered memories from the 1980s- a smell of a house from then, of a house much older than then, at the time- a smell of neglect and sooty dust and old cigarette oil brined into the lath and plaster. I caught it for just a moment, in the middle of the street, as I sailed past. That smell also triggers the old fear.
Hostile environments of my childhood. Someone’s old, funny smelling, atari-sounding shag carpeted basement. Junkies packed into sofas getting lit, threatening one another. The intimidation of overly loud music. The world used to be a certain kind of threatening to me, now it is another. I prefer this one, but nostalgia for the former does send me into occasional flights after midnight on hot pre-stormy nights.
Last updated August 07, 2022