On my way to another Friday night football game with Spectrum Sports in and about the Albany (the 2nd to last of the season for us) I kept to habit and pulled off half way there into the last Parking Area on the Taconic State Parkway North before it ends to randomly grab a Coke or seltzer from my little cooler along with half a sandwich for the rest of the drive, which is usually about 50 minutes miles at this point, and to ask my Google Lady for directions the rest of the way.
I also kept to recent habit and stepped out of BB, my car, to take some pictures of Fall as the weather has been perfect in that regard the last few weeks with sunny skies and lazy, sleepy, meandering clouds peppering a pretty blue and a trees splash of colors that are the indicate of Fall we all rave about right about now, though mostly, I think, as just a way to ease and justify ourselves into the why’s it’s ok to live here before the impending doom of Winter, which in nighttime doesn’t feel that far away.
When I pulled into this Parking Area there was only one other car there and I drove past it to sit for my moment in front of the “Historic Hudson Valley – Columbia County” marker right at its end, as I always do, before getting back on the road with Google Lady hitting me with the re-start merge onto the Taconic in 800 feet … yeah, yeah, yeah, gotcha Google Lady … just get me through the minutia of lefts and rights and the millions of strip malls to my final destination where I’m going to freeze my ass off tonight, I got this 800 foot re-start.
I noted that that one car was seemingly empty in my rear view while I paused for my kept habit. Maybe that someone one car had their own pause and pushed the seat back to take a quick nap, maybe this was just a place to park and go for a hike, or maybe there was something ominous going on with movie plots and bass heavy soundtracks playing in my head and I shouldn’t linger too long.
Whatever it was I was alone, I thought, and snapped my pics without looking at them, just a snap snap snap in a slight turn turn turn panoramic kind of way with a knowing I’d look forward to seeing how they came out once I finally got myself late home after this most recent long Friday football night, a some picture’s Christmas for me if you will.
I actually did a pretty good job I think, in my snapping this time around, especially as I did it “blindly”, I had left my glasses in my Pirate’s hat on the passenger seat, with some pics eventually proving worthy of an “Oh, isn’t Fall beautiful” … before well, shit, it just ain’t … that impending Winter’s doom thing I mentioned.
Then I noticed in one of my pics a bit of a red dot in the middle, in the distance, at the edge of all these colors of a Fall justification, just a little red dot at a short hill’s tree’s edge overlooking my kept Friday habits, overlooking a me in a last Parking Area of a roadway.
A small red dot that seemed, as I looked closer, a man leaning forward on what looked a bench underneath one of those trees at the edge.
There was a bit of a late night chill at the realization that I had maybe been watched.
It’s been a few years, I know, Jen says “Dad, you need to go out” hit the diner with Phil and Bumpy, grab a coffee and maybe an omelet, the one I like with red peppers some swiss and cheddar and a bit of hot sauce that Dottie makes sure Jack does right, bless her, but I don’t have anything to talk about. I could try but the conversation always turns Bet’s way and how she had just the right touch for this omelet, possible omelets, possible everything omelets as she always did in a life that no diner or anything else is ever going to match … no offense Dot, or to you Jack, or to anyone else. You’re just not Betty. I don’t really have anything to talk about.
This view is the most cliché’d picture perfect thing you could ever imagine at just this time of year, at just THAT time of year, though I’m a little out of breath at the trek up the hill these days … again.
It’s always been my spot, or became my always spot after I blew out a tire so many young years ago with thankfully just enough shoulder in just this one place to not have intentional traffic possibly rip my door off. I’ve always hated this roadway for that, no room, not enough space, where it could seem difficult to breathe, an uncomfortable daily years upon years commute, a work’s metaphor, always concerns in your rear view if there were to be an issue but at least I always had a carrot of a come home, a bear with it for that come home and the unexpected unworthy of it, how did I possibly rate such a find and all that it would bring, such a life, and the eventual Jenny’s to implore me to grab an omelet … after fumbling around in a trunk …
“Can I give you a hand?”
It gave me a start, this question, as I was head down in the trunk and said fumbling around for the spare hoping to look like I knew what I was doing to the intentional passing traffic and I didn’t hear the approach.
“Oh … hello” I said, almost bumping my head. (Isn’t that how the best of future’s start in the movies?)
“You have no idea what you’re doing do you?”
For a second I thought to be manly and say that I was fine, chest out, fists pounding my jacket but right there, at that moment? Those eyes?
“No, I don’t”
She laughed a small laugh
“Well, how about we get this done then?”
“Yeah … thanks.”
I drive up here sometimes for no reason, or for all reason and sit out of breath on a hill with the most perfect of cliche’d views over memories.
I watch a young guy stretch his legs and take some pictures.
“Thankfully for him it’s a not a blown out tire Bet”
“Or maybe he just doesn’t know he wishes it was”