under a dark cloud

Yesterday the sun came out. If you don’t live on the West Coast of, well, basically anywhere in North America, you may not know that after a long dark winter, a single ray of sunlight can change an entire city. It’s still chilly enough for two sweaters, and oh. so. windy. Yet people will be out in shorts or sitting on all the patios enjoying pints of golden beer the instant the sky changes from grey to blue. Spirits soar. The cherry blossoms bloom pink and white and it’s kind of a magical transformation.

As I was crossing the street, heading toward the bus stop from work, I had a choice to make. It was either walk past a man with a saxophone and sheet music, dancing to nothing, or walk past the incoherent sounding wheelchair guy I see every day. A toss-up. Either way I’d have to interact with someone. I went with the unknown, the saxophone guy. He was grooving, dancing and snapping his fingers, but not playing any music at all. Just holding his instrument (heh heh) out in front of him. I gave him a nod and a half smile as I passed. He sang out to me “na na na na na na na na BLACK MAAAANNN!!” (He was black btw) and I gave him a half laugh. But no money.

On the bus later we passed a couple teenage girls. They were standing on the side of the highway holding huge signs, shouting something and waving. I wondered what they were protesting so vehemently. When we got closer I saw that the signs read “HONK FOR HAPPINESS” and “FREE SMILES!” and they were smiling and laughing and having a wonderful time.

All these things combined; the sunshine, the cherry blossoms, the ‘black maaan’, the free smiles … I should have felt them. I remember thinking to myself “now this should make you feel happy” but I just feel the same.

Where’s my springtime optimism?

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