Apparently it’s always 6:14 in Fort Bragg these days, as I noticed when I walked downtown with my laundry today, and back again with my freshly cleaned clothes. The broken clock actually gave me room for pause last night on my way to Headlands, because I thought it was much earlier. I note that no one else seems unduly disturbed by the clock, and sometimes I wonder if it’s only a figment of my imagination. Either the clock doesn’t exist or it is telling the right time and I’m experiencing some sort of strange warp which keeps it eternally set to 6:14.
I was in my laundry fugue state today, wearing slubby clothing and listening to music, which essentially allowed me to pass like a shadow through people on the sidewalk, who either willfully ignored me or really didn’t see me, I’m not sure. Town was a lot less crowded today than it was last weekend, allowing me to slip lightfooted and merrily along the sidewalk except for an awkward moment in which three people took up the entire sidewalk and refused to yield to me, perhaps because I was invisible.
I was surprised that there were so few people out, actually, since today is beautiful. It feels like everything was scrubbed clean by the rain and the sun is just finishing the detailing, making sure that everything sparkles. A small hint of a breeze kept up a steady flow of fresh air, while faint tracers of distant clouds interrupted the perfect blue of the sky just a bit, to keep us on our toes.
According to NOAA, rain starts again next week, but we’re going to have two nice weekend days, which is awfully convenient in my opinion. I’ve started a little personal mission of exploring a random new part of Fort Bragg every day, and these furtive journeys are much more enjoyable when the weather is fair. I tend to run into a fair number of people that I know on these little journeys, and I like that. I am reminded of why I moved home when I exchange nods and smiles with people along my way, when I am aware that people know me and they look out for me.
Some people find small town life claustrophobic, because everyone does know you and because drama gets inflated to perilous proportions because people have nothing better to do. But I like it. I like seeing a friend walking down the street with his baby and shouting hello, and I like that the people in the post office know my name. I even enjoy the small town drama, and every now and then I even find myself caught up in the excitement. After all, as a nation, we are only the sum of our parts, and I think I would rather live in a town where money is raised to help a fallen fireman than in a place where people leave the homeless to die in the streets.