I’m writing “It’s October and the leaves are shaking” because I write it or say it every October. I’ve used this incantation ever since I plowed through Look Homeward, Angel sometime around 1966. All in all, I might have been better served if I had begun with Light in August or A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. At least, I think I can safely say that those are good novels. I’m too far away from literature classes to want to make a judgment about whether or not Look Homeward, Angel is a good book. Although I discarded my own copy of the novel last year (in the great book abandonment project), I am still fond of it. I do worry that this fondness might point to a certain verbal over-exuberance and lack of discipline on my own part. Okay, I admit to it, but I still love Wolfe’s words.
What I really want to write about This morning, I walked to Whole Foods to look for broccoli rabe, get something to eat for lunch, and sit outside and absorb Vitamin D while I copy edited my so-called book. I sat near an old guy who was either talking into his ear-piece or to himself or to someone whom I couldn’t see. When the man got up to leave, I saw that he was indeed talking to himself or to someone who wasn’t visible to me. Although it doesn’t reveal me to be the open-minded, egalitarian, and even-keeled person I wish I were, I was happy when the guy moved on.
Next, I went to the local library to check out a copy (the only one on the shelf) of Look Homeward, Angel and then on to Starbucks for coffee and more copy editing. One time I looked up from my work and saw the old man sitting across the street and then, later, he quickly walked past me.
My final errand was to walk to Safeway for milk and to search for the elusive broccoli rabe. A few blocks from the store, I saw the old man again walking quickly in my direction. I changed direction, cutting through a plant median, so I wouldn’t have to cross his path again.
What’s with me? Did I see a ghost today–a ghost of all the mumblers, screamers, window peepers, burglars, and assorted troubled souls from other times and other places in my life? Maybe he was a ghost, but I am not sure whether he was a ghost from October past or from October yet to come.