Summer Vacation, Day 9: Pleasantville

I finished Don Quixote tonight. The end of the book (and especially the reactions of his sane friends to the knight’s sudden return to sanity, made me think of something I wrote when we lived in Michigan.

He waves from the walk as I’m pumping gas — a buzz cut and a smile. His hand is insistent, fingers flapping for a response. I smile and nod and raise a hand. It’s enough; he steps toward the curb well-pleased. We all know this one — the kid who waves to everyone; who always says, “Good Morning” and means it — who wouldn’t mind if you took the time to answer his “What’s up?” or “How you doing?” Ours has Downs — but what of that? He has a thousand friends, too, in a village of less. Watch him as he walks, smiling and waving to everyone — the fellow stacking wheel-barrows in front of the hardware; the old woman weeding in her broad hat and yellow gloves; the red-faced sot righting himself outside the bar; the cars, pickups and semis — smiling and waving like folks care, like we’re all in one of those public service announcements from the ’50s, where everyone smiles and waves and does the right thing. We all poke fun at them now, but it works for him, he’s living it. Ah-ha, you say, but he doesn’t know. He’s ignorant; he’ll go through his life believing he matters because a stranger said hello; because no one was willing to break the spell — to which I reply, “And?”

J. Thorp
04 April 02

I’ll post more on the book soon, Coach. The Great Gatsby is next.

2 thoughts on “Summer Vacation, Day 9: Pleasantville

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