Friday, June 14, 2013

"That's So Durham!"

Last night I was alone on Parrish Street, waiting. I stood under a streetlight, yo-yo-ing. It was very misty and cool. Out in the country, the storms had felled trees, but the city just looked washed. Eventually a couple walked by on the other side of the street. “A guy with a yo-yo,” the woman cried out, half to the man and half to me. “That’s so Durham!” She seemed really thrilled. I smiled agreeably and made some jokes about a sitcom called “That’s So Durham!” The couple continued to scroll by throughout this exchange, never breaking stride. The yo-yo cascaded down and reeled back up, went out seeking and brought something back. Suddenly it felt like a fishing line in my hand. The street was always between us but Parrish is not wide. We wished each other good night as they flowed out of earshot, although a conclusive roar of “I love Durham!” could be heard down the block. There was a strange vividness to the moment. I had brought my yo-yo with me just to impose some buoyancy on one of those days where a lot of weightless moments had somehow accumulated into an oppressive ton. But it wound up opening this other door too, this other connection, and I was inexplicably glad to play that role for her: the friendly local eccentric (what could be less threatening than a guy with a yo-yo?), the serendipitous vantage. It felt good to momentarily slip out of my perspective and feel myself as a feature in a tableau—some rare local bird, an image with a thought buried somewhere deep inside, a no-doubt dramatic to behold silhouette yo-yo-ing in a circle of light on a dark empty street. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I live in Chapel Hill.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.