Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sitting on a park bench

Children climb on a fence in a playground, I get my camera out of my fanny pack, a condom falls to the ground; embarrassing. I drink from a Dutch beer, rich, distinctive, hoppy – finally some hops – the equivalent of twenty dollars a 6 pack; only sold in singles. They drink less here than in Ireland, and less good beer, which is saying a lot since most Irish drink cider beer in a glass on ice, and Guinness isn't all that great anyway. A couple kisses noisily on the grass; it’s passionate and oddly audible, literal smooches. A child’s scream rings through the air. A beautiful six-foot woman with dark hair and dark clothes walks by; she's carrying a carton of strawberries, the red is more intoxicating than the beer – which says a lot. These were my first good beers in weeks. We exchange glances. She looks away toward my cowboy boots. I start another beer. I have to use my belt buckle to open it. It’s less awkward than using my toothbrush to open a bottle of wine. I've conveniently located my bench next to a trash can; I don't have to stand for any reason, it’s good to rest my legs. The sun is shining; it warms the back of my neck. I kick a child's ball back to him. A pigeon approaches and eyes me for a handout. We have a staring contest. He wins. My next beer is organic unfiltered Trappist; I understood the first two parts. A woman lies down in the grass. Her Yorkie walks around her on a retractable leash. She has lizard skin; too many days in the tanning salon. Another pigeon approaches, more determined than the last, and flutters away from the approaching Vespa scooter. I showered today. I smell the fragrant soap on my skin, it’s odd. The couple is back at it; more audible this time. They seem comfortable with my drinking. Perhaps it’s my disguise as a writer than calms them. A witch’s cauldron of smoke arises from my next beer. This thing was truly brewed, it’s a stout, a little too warm. You can only buy singles and they're on the shelf like wine. Another couple rides by on bikes. A mother pushes her child in a stroller. I finish a beer and hear it ring out from the bottom of the trash can, singing with his comrades. I leave the park with one beer left in a paper bag. I stand. I stumble. The sun isn't down yet. It’s a good day, still warm. The quality beer brings the park into focus.

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