The park in the morning

June 17, 2008

The park in the morning is a line of aged men, alone in large sedans or mid-size SUVs, encircling the pond. The park in the morning is the liturgical procession of their synthetic blend polo shirts. Or the park in the morning is a formation of newspaper chevrons opened over steering wheels.

Sine qua non coffee makes vapor puffs on windshields, waning when sipped by the aged men who pause to look straight ahead. And when they do, I can look at them more or less with impunity, myself staring at them staring as I walk to work through the park in the morning. They do not look to either side, but content themselves with the view of the vehicle in front of them or the more immediate surroundings of their perpetually tidy automobile interiors; which is to say that they are happy simply knowing that they are in a scenic place, like diplomats who meet in exotic locations only to spend their visits in windowless rooms.

And this interests me, for the park in the morning is a Confucian cruising ground, a space rigorously ruled in its decorum and in its membership, but inviting a certain permeation of those rules — just as people all seem ecstatic when somebody on a subway acknowledges that she’s sharing that space with others and begins talking to them. I know this because I read about it on the internet.


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