Janis Joplin is singing “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy” ……. through the Pandora music box in the kitchen, her voice an aching heart that drifts out into the back lot and down the street……..
Down the way, Billie’s on the prime milking corner of Freddie’s and something, leisurely bedecked in lawn chair, dressed for the weather in shorts and tank top, a plastic umbrella for shade and a shopping cart filled with peacock colored pool toys standing guard.
I know she’s “Billie”, ‘cause she’s got a sign that says; but the print gets smaller after her name so I’m guessing it’s some story with an associated unmet need.
Out by the recycling bins, ally side, behind our store, slopped up against the sun warmed concrete blocks of the garbage bin is a fella in cutaway shorts and worn NFL Saints cap. Set up short camp for the day, beer in hand and stubble on the chin. Later I’ll find him curled and asleep, his knapsack for a pillow, the cap twisted to keep out the light.
But for now it’s “Howzit goin’ mate” say’s I in my best, reserved but friendly manner, so he peers up to ask why we move so quick and what we do here.
And I wonder, what prism he views things through that we should be the oddity. How it is that his is a nap in the sun and our’s is another 15 hour day. Take away the need to be buzzed by 9 a.m. and the lack of, or apparent interest in, hygiene, well; a sundrenched nap looks pretty good right now.
It’s deep summer here, a person can sleep outside round these parts and scrounge up a little change later in the day.
What did Janis later sing?, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, and nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free.”
Didn’t get it then, don’t get it now.
Gotta go, the mad dog of responsibility is tugging at my pants leg.
Ahhhh, we were so young