In my city there's a free music concert by local musicians every week in a grassy park by the beach. My sister Jane and I like to walk, hear some music, and take in the cool of the evening. The bands are mostly local cover bands, and the crowd is a nice cross-section of the city, with a healthy dose of seniors and families with kids. And tattoos. It's a multicultural city, and not terribly wealthy. It all feels like the real world.
Tonight my sister and I scored a good spot on a bench, and were relaxing when the flies struck. Thanks to poison ivy looking like pretty much any other benign and generic ground cover, I'm covered in brutal oozing lesions. I have a steroid cream, and it works, but flies landing on my legs sets things to percolating, and I needed that dragon to stay asleep.
(Do NOT chime "leaves of three, let it be," to me. Do you know how many plants have leaves of three? And no it's not always shiny. It doesn't stand out AT all. Which is why every landscaper I've talked to has their poison ivy horror story. I freely confess I'd have no trouble taking a can of Roundup to the stuff. My legs look like tenderized meat.)
I saw a middle-aged woman on a blanket spraying herself and a young girl.
"Let's go," I said to my sister, and approached the woman.
"Is that bug spray?" I asked.
"Do you want to go to heaven for rescuing strangers in need?"
"Oh, help yourself! They say the bug [Zika] is only in Florida, but I'm not taking any chances, even though I'm not going to get pregnant!"
We thanked her profusely and sprayed ourselves.
Back on our bench, my sister commented on how she hadn't seen anyone she knew. My sister has worked at the same supermarket for 20+ years, so she's constantly bumping into people she knows. We make a game of it, with five people being the target number.
Three older women walked by.
"HI!" they said to Jane.
"Hi, how are you? We have to stop meeting like this," Jane replied. "This is my sister." It touches me that she loves to show me off.
They walked away, and Jane said, "The one in the floral shirt? The woman in white is her daughter. The other woman is another shopper."
"That's nice. They seem like very nice people."
"She loves me. She thinks I'm adorable." Totally deadpan, statement of fact. She kills me.
We listened to music, I danced in my seat, we waved to passing babies and dogs, and had a lovely evening. And decided that next week it would be a picnic dinner on the grass.