Angle to Key West: Day at the Zoo (8/10)

Killarney Fish and Chips

Hole in the Wall, Georgian Bay, Lake Huron – August 10, 2013

Killarney felt off from the beginning. I don’t know why–too many tourists maybe–but the civilized world felt lost behind a strange glaze. I felt like a distant observer, invisible as a ghost floating down the street, watching the world like a person stares through glass at a zoo.

I bought a few overpriced supplies, ate fish and chips at the old fishery, and found some stove fuel in a marina.

I miss the boat in towns. It brings credibility, bright yellow and full of promise. I look ragged away from it. My beard has grown out since New York. Time has worn through my clothes. My sandals are broken and torn. The boat gives me context. Its glow shines the light of adventure over my frayed edges.

I feel lost without it, marginalized by dirt and time. People stare at me. They watch me in stores. The air feels tight.

I wonder if it’s my imagination, my bias reflected off nothing glances.

“I shouldn’t care,” I think, but I do.

Then a young woman smiles at me behind a bakery counter, smiles just like she smiles at everyone. I hand her two loaves of bread and ask for the last cookie off the rack behind her. She jokes about how she should make more and doesn’t seem startled that I say “please” and “thank you” or to notice my wallet is a plastic bag.

I want to thank her. I want to tell her how much she meant to me in that moment, how human she made me feel, how her eyes shattered the glass wall and pulled me out from the land of specters.

Instead I pay and wish her a good day.

I flee to the boat, slip away, watch white, rough rocks replace the smooth, pink granite that welcomed me to Huron. The lake shifts into channels and giant islands. The land rises high above the water into cliffs and green hills. I slink along the edge watching the sun disappear, shaking off the world until darkness makes it impossible to see and forces me to shore again.

5 responses to “Angle to Key West: Day at the Zoo (8/10)

  1. Another picture painted, thanks D. You should break out into some of your salsa moves to an iTune Latin beat in the middle of the crowd and see how everyone’s reality changes. Worst case we will cover your bail.

    I’d tell you to get a haircut but I think we are talking extreme complete makeover by this point in your journey.

  2. I love the meaning in what you have to say here, Daniel, but did you ever consider that this young woman may have been smiling at your beautiful eyes or your wonderful smile, or your great physique?
    I’m just sayin…

  3. Ah yes! August in the North Country brings out rattlesnakes of all kinds. Isn’t it amazing what a smile can do? I agree with your Mom — don’t forget to consider the effect of *your* smile on young women.

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