I have lived here for 15 years. Going on 16 to be exact. In some ways it seems like just yesterday, and in others it seems like a lifetime of waste. No, I am not a fan. The intent, and the plan is to be moving as soon as humanly possible. In the mean time I have a house to clear out and sell, and a few more loose ends to either cauterize or tie up.
The one thing about this little town that has always been of interest to me is the ebb and flow of its weekends. Not that I have had many weekends to observe. Working in retail has not afforded me the time off on weekends to just sit back and watch the wild life. That is, until I decided to leave my last position, and just watch.
During the week, life proceeds at a regular pace. The street I live on is one over from one of the main arteries that bring people back into town from their various places of work. So when that main artery gets clogged, people jump over to my street to try to make better time. You can tell time by when the traffic increases. 4pm is usually when the flow increases, and by 6 it is back to the normal one or two cars every half hour. But on the weekends all bets are off.
Friday has a feel all its own come 4pm. It is almost a desperation. You can tell by the way cars negotiate the 4-way stop just up the street from me. Should call it a 4-way hesitation. There is no stopping on Friday. People want to get home. They have places to go, people to see. The anticipation of the weekend is palpable in the air. And traffic stays that way all the way until midnight. Places to go people to see.
Saturday always starts early with the local bicycling club riding in packs. You can hear them talking to one another as they come up the street. Then, when the weather if good, the weekend squires come out with all of their power tools to make their lawns perfect. Mixing with the sounds of 2 cycle engines is the laughing, crying, shouting, and yelling of the kids and families in the park behind me. On some Saturdays there is a flash mob of Mom vans, SUV’s, pickup trucks and the like dropping kids off for the latest softball or little league game. They choke up the street for 4 or 5 hours and just like that they are gone again. Nothing is there to even indicate that they were there to begin with. It is the strangest effect.
And then there is Saturday night.
The traffic picks up yet again. Places to go, people to see. Hitting the 4-way hesitation, but taking the time to squeal their tires this time. The laughter of teenagers. More walkers, especially young people talking to one another. Talking on their phones as they are talking to each other. I don’t fully understand how anyone can be that hyper tuned in to be talking on the phone and talking to someone they are walking with. Maybe it is just because I have gotten older. Or just have gotten old. All of this activity keeps going through the wee hours of the morning punctuated with the sirens of police, fire and EMS. Satuday is a busy time for the people upholding the law, and cleaning up the detritus from whatever mayhem has been gotten into.
Finally Sunday comes. Sunday has a melancholy feel to it. A pensive feel to it. Sunday is when you do the things that you didn’t do Saturday. You grocery shop, you wash the car, do the laundry, get things ready for the upcoming week. Sunday is a day in repose. And when it gets to be 5pm, the streets are empty. The noise from the previous two days is gone. What replaces it is a kind of eerie quiet. You know that the people are there, you just don’t hear anything from them. Like everyone has been put into some sort of capsule to that recharges them for Monday.
And here I sit on my deck smoking my cigar listening to the din of silence.