Thursday, March 17, 2005

Saint Patrick's Day Individuality

Some sparks of hope to which will hopefully mark the end of winter. This morning I was down at the gym. At the last minute, I grabbed a GREEN LANTERN t-shirt and slipped it on to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day...as well as proudly display my super-hero obsession. (And Green Lantern IS one of my favorites...) So I get down to the Y and I see NO ONE wearing the green. For a second I thought I got the day wrong until someone wished me a Happy St. Pat's. After my treadmill ordeal, I was on the floor of the weight room doing my stomach exercises when I see this older gent walk by. From that angle, I thought I saw a slight aura of green on the top of his head. But the ceiling fluorescent lights were right behind him. Maybe it was a trick of the light. I got to my feet to do some side-bends and my first impression was confirmed: The top-half of his hair was dyed a nice vibrant shade of green. Obviously, it had to be temporary but I was slack-jawed at the sheer absurdity and audacity of it. I walked over, shook his hand, and said, "Happy Saint Patrick's Day. Here I was bitching that NO one had the spirit and you come along and MORE than make up for it. That," I pointed to his hair. "is GREAT." "Thanks," he replies with a smile. It won't register with most people until afterwards." Oh, it registered all right. When he left the weight room, I heard a chorus of howling laughter. A quiet display of colorful individuality that cracks you up. (Either WITH him or AT him---I don't think it really matters.) THAT took some sac. Another hopeful note. Before I moved house, I used to drop by on the corner of L--- and C---- Streets and hang with my old friend Peter as he sat out on the stoop to absorb the sunlight. A former schizophrenic and sufferer of seasonal affective disorder, he can often be found out there during the warmer months to get some much-needed photosynthesis to keep his spirits up. If his winter-moods are anything like mine, the cold, dark months probably weren't a stroll in the park for him. Anyway, chance just happened to me taking me past my old neighborhood and there was his familiar figure, sitting on the stoop, sipping his bottle of water. A quiet joy flooded my heart and I hurried my steps so I could greet him for the first time in about nine months. I gave this shy and slightly withdrawn gent a big, warm bear-hug. God, it was good to see him again. He once told me that he was an engineer or something to do with intense mathematics...but as with some super-intelligent people, he shorted out at one point. ("Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know"---Ernest Hemingway) I'm not sure why I enjoy Peter's company so much. Maybe it's because he laughs so uproariously at my half-assed socio-pop-cultural quips. Maybe I feel a kinship with him. Maybe there's this urge to protect this seemingly vulnerable little guy. Maybe it's a swirl of ALL of these. All I know is that it was good to see him again. It made my day and for me, officially marks the beginning of a hopeful spring... Let's get some warmth going after this miniature ice-age of a winter...

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