Fall Tour, Entry VI: That day in Burlington … You gotta a problem?

Posted: October 3rd, 2013

I was once told by the Sage of Weehawken and workingman’s philosopher, Jorge Ortega, not to worry about where I’d end up. “You’ll eventually find your way and when you do, you’ll know you’re supposed to be there,” he told me. That was up on Cripple Creek, of all places. The real one. I can’t recall if we were coming or going, but I do know that was sometime around the beginning of our adventures. Somewhere in the archives there is a picture—occasionally I’ll stumble upon it and reminisce. It tells a story worth a thousand words—and brings back those days of wandering.

I’m not sure why I’m thinking of that now, excepting I do miss Jorge’s company from time to time; or it could be where I’m at. That would be a park bench in Burlington, the capital of the Green Mountain State, looking out on Lake Champlain, on the far shore, at the distant peaks of the Adirondacks. It’s quite a view. My notebook’s open, but it’s much effort to concentrate. Whenever I pause, I look across the lake, at mountains stretching south to north, left to right, as far as I can see. The lake is flat and the sun is setting over the Adirondacks. Sailboats fill out the harbor. The ferry to the New York side passes. Its wake barely cuts the water. The scene is tranquil, and reminds me of a mid-19th century landscape painting, a genuine Thomas Cole. I have no brush, only a camera and pen. I’d say I’m as close to a Buddhist calm as I’ve been in ages. Perhaps, Jorge, that eventuality has arrived—a feeling that I’ve found my way to where I’m supposed to be …

… I have a little time to myself today. moe. is in town practicing and rehearsing. They will be off tour till the end of November to record their second album (is that word obsolete?) for Sugar Hill Records. I suppose if you are reading this, you already know that. In fact, you probably know more about that than me ...

… It’s not like I’m alone. The park is on the waterfront. People are everywhere. There is a young couple to my right speaking German to each other. They are talking in such a way that they don’t think I can understand a word they are saying … and dammit, they’re right. On my left, an older guy sits with a book open on his lap. He’s watching me. I feel like I am under surveillance. Every time I glance his way he averts his eyes downward, like he’s reading. A minor karma shift occurs when a herd of post-adolescent, 20-somethings swagger by like troglodytes lost in a cave. They’re cussing like sailors—no, I’m giving sailors too much credit—and acting like 6th graders. They pass on and shortly thereafter three women stop directly behind me to compare and contrast the dogs they are walking. I do not turn, yet have no choice but to listen. They are either too calm or senile … or maybe both. I’m not sure if it is only the women, though. The dogs are much too docile for dogs.

Suddenly, the older guy stands up and comes over to me, anxious like. He stops just short of me and asks, “Are you a mathematician?”

I shrug my shoulders, and reply, “Why? You got a problem?”

He shakes his head no. “Well, thanks,” he said, and walked off.

“Phew,” I think, standing to leave, "that could have been a real problem."