Today Cold City basked in what is most likely our last bout of warm days before the onset of true fall, which here is really better considered early winter. Feeling restless and unwellchez moi, I actually got it together to go for a promenade in a nearby park, if being pushed aside by 50-quelquechosepower walkers in perky outfits and shirtlessroller bladers counts as a paseo. I went to the favourite park of La Nena, not my own, and remembered quickly as to why this was not my usual locale for outdoor exercise. There were so many six packs I thought I was at a tailgate! It was disgusting. Don’t these people have something better to do than worshipping at the altar of their plastic “healthy” bodies? Read Lolita, make love, bake a soufflé, bathe a child, wax the floors, stare into the air, foment revolution, plot conspiracies, adopt new radical names (Tania, I've read, is currently available)— anything but the flaccid narcissism that passes as attractive and wholesome in our very, very sick culture.
Instead, the armies of the perpetually Yuppie (of all ages) walked and ran and bladed and rode around the park, under a warm sun and clear sky and the large jets gliding down to Cold City intergalactic aerodrome. Aside from automatically feeling like a frump, I cursed myself, for in fact the crowds were to be anticipated, although I didn’t realise that necessarily as I dressed for my walk: very now Banana Republic corduroy pants with a slight flare in “stone,” Keen brown clogs, but horribly matched with a blah red t-shirt from Target, untucked. Oh the shame! Partially fashionably trendy and partially a slob. I know! I wasn’t thinking! I had in my mind elder care, Soccer moms and overweight couples walking hand in hand. But at the last moment I decided to take La Nena’s route and paid the price. This particular park will only be safe when it is so cold that everyone looks like the Michelin man.
On the weekend after habeas corpus fell, with the Republic on the brink of an abyss, with Congress and the Executive and the Judiciary in the hands of zealots and incompetents (and even worse, zealous incompetents), when trueAmericanvalues have receded in the face of panic and a desultory acceptance of the political status quo, when years from now, if indeed we survive, people ask what one was doing during that fated time, I can say I went for a walk in the park. This seems, more than anything else, a parable of the times, a koan for our current American age with disquieting answers about who we are as a people and where we are headed.