This is some kind of time travel, not at all what I imagined.
I sit on the porch watching passers-by. They are mostly oblivious or feigning obliviousness, none of my business which.
Time-slammed, date minus 30 years, not the same porch but close, 20-ish blocks south, on the same east-west line, sharing cheap jug wine with some friends, (it didn’t yet come in sealed bags, in sealed boxes, tapped for our convenience). Mike is up a tree, quite literally, shouting out, inviting people to join us. A few do.
Today, I sit alone, with a mostly cold beer. We still need outdoors. Hell, we still need each other, a glimpse of each other’s faces (or at least each others’ eyes above a mask), the occasional friendly hello. There are no shouted invitations: no one wants one and I wouldn’t offer anyway. We are in crisis mode. This is a pandemic. If we are close enough, we could kill each other.
We won’t share wine or sit on the porch until 3 a.m., beyond all reason. We aren’t together long enough to even share a laugh, much less a story. Instead, we make do, grateful for a moment’s pleasantry and a moment of shared space, a (front) yard (several ruler yards) apart.