A Four-Season State

It’s just another April in a four-season state.  It’s just days covering over with formless gray, all-everywhere filling with water.  Coldness, coldness, then warmth like dragon’s breath, then coldness, coldness.  Stark blue skies, then slate blankets, and wetness everywhere.  It’s just another April in a four-season state.

There’s just too damn many people with shopping carts in the big well-lit stores.  You can’t even move at all, and they are never as courteous as they should be.  There’s just people clogging up all the aisles everywhere, not letting me pass, their bodies and their fruit roll ups and their plump kids blocking every damn thing.

It’s just another April in a four-season state, full of petulant teenagers in their loud cars not stopping for yellow lights.  They glare back as I glare at them: an old man under a big coat and a gray head.  It’s just another loud car speeding away from me, the girl’s perfume smellable from the sidewalk.

Ambulances like stone elephants still silently wander, waiting for orders.  I see them from my second-story window when I look to see if the mailman is coming, and from the neverending windows of the diner I eat at.  They meander around like stooges until their lights come on, like mute film projectors brought to sudden, startling life.  They don’t notice the gray sky, the blue sky, the gray sky.

Papers flutter everywhere in this downsizing town; reciepts, bags, wrappers of all ilk.  Things nobody ever cared about, the wind now shoulders for everyone.

The street signs shudder and bray under the relentless, cruel barrage of the wind and the indecisive temperatures.  The stops shimmy and yaw, the State St.s jiggle like belly dancers.  The interstate signs are sturdier, more ceremonial dirges, but even they sway when I have the time to glance at them.  They are all clearly yearning for something, but one is hard pressed to figure out just what.

It’s just another April in a four-season state, and the planes are still taking off largely on schedule from our tiny but expanding airport.  I often see them when I’m getting my latte at the Tim Horton’s over by the airstrip.  They are loud, beautiful things, gray like the sky but not at all like the sky, magical bullets filled with terrified people going who-knows-where.  At night I can see the lights near their tires.

The old people in the mall food court eye me suspiciously, and I eye them back in retribution for their suspicion.  They usually have the mall to themselves at nine in the morning, and to them I’m some stupid teenager, not a thirty-three year old man who wears a tie to work who just wants to go to the mall Starbucks and read a newspaper at a safe distance from the damned old people who stay away from the Starbucks because they don’t understand coffee that isn’t coffee.  How gray do I have to get, how fat, how weathered, until the oldest stop seeing me as the youngest?  How many Aprils must I rend asunder until those nearest the grave forgive me the folly of ever having been young?  Must I tiptoe all the way up to the pit myself?  Must I join them in whatever kind of blue-skied hereafter the satirist of a universe ultimately has planned for every last one of us?  Shall we contemplate the nothingness together, the colostomied mall walkers and I?

There are these crossing guards every afternoon on my way to work.  They always seem so happy in this damned rain and wind, with their bright orange vests and ridiculous flags, ushering the children to and fro, everyone’s hair blown to hell and back.  And then some of the kids run, that little waddle run that kids have, like penguins.  And the crossing guards–the fools–they are just happy it isn’t winter.

It’s just another April in a four-season state, and I find myself wondering not for the first time if there were suddenly a flood of unimaginable proportions, if my desk would float, if I could hop onto it just at the last moment, fling my computer from it into the depths that is now my living room, throw my mousepad, my speakers, my cute little pencil holder into the surging muddy waters of my kitchen, and row this rickety old desk out the window of my attic and find myself the sole mariner on a brand new sea, its calm waters reflecting the blazing heat of a seasonless sky.

9 Responses to “A Four-Season State”

  1. Wow, this drew me right in! I normally don’t enjoy very morose writing like this, but you set the tone so accurately and clearly. This piece is complex, but still really accessible and relatable.

    I often wonder how I’m viewed based on my age. It dawns on me out of the blue periodically that, as I get older, more and more age groups of people now see me as a grown up. I remember a time in my life when I thought 30-ish was old, but now that I’m here I still feel like I have a lot of growing up to do.

    The photos really go well with this. I like pictures of forgotten places and decaying buildings anyway, but to have them woven into the text really helped convey the overall feel of the piece. Good job, Noodle!

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Thanks Kiwi! I knew urging you to read it was a gamble, because I had already discerned you didn’t like morose stuff, but at the time when I finished it, I just had to have you read it right away. This may have been helped along by me listening to the same morose song on repeat about 20 times while writing it. As I read it now, about an hour after finishing, I still love it, but it’s not “fucking me up” anymore! haha. I know the blog itself is kinda morose at the moment, but such is life. It’s just a temporary iteration, but I’m feeling good about what I’ve been doing! (I’m not actually sad or morose in any way…just the way the art is taking me).

      The thirties is a weird spot…a lot of people start to call us old…and yet a whole generation tends to still see us as essentially kids. It’s a little frustrating on both fronts, as I don’t feel like either!

  2. The section on ambulances is a real masterstroke.

  3. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    I think this will be Seth when he gets really old http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7X2_V60YK8

    Great stuff. The movie projector line and the old people not understanding Starbucks got me.

  4. Love the picture of the guy chasing the dog.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Thanks! I got fortunate being where I was, engaged in the activity of taking pictures, when it happened. Alas, I’d have got a much better shot but it really seemed as though the dog might come right at me!

  5. one of your best posts EVER. I’m texting you about it

    • sethdellinger Says:

      I anxiously await the arrival of my text. Which is odd, since you seemed to post this almost 12 hours ago…and still I have not this text you speak of.

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