Thursday, January 12, 2012


There is a small park on my way home. The park comes complete with a children's playground: a couple of swingsets, slides, an inexplicable wooden structure, something futuristic in metal and plastic that no-one seems to know what to do with... you get the idea.

Every now and then -- say every two or three weeks -- when I walk home later in the afternoon, there's this little old lady on the swings.

I use the adjectives 'little' and 'old' advisedly: she is quite short and, from what I can see of her face, definitely elderly. She comes out all muffled up in an ankle-length padded coat with a furtrimmed hood and, regardless of the day, wears the hood up and pulled quite tight. She wears sunglasses and ankle boots and, sometimes, a scarf and gloves.

I've seen her on the swings and in the pre-swing period and she always seems to adopt the same strategy.

For awhile, she'll lurk on one of the benches either by the side of the large dog-friendly green space or near the play equipment. She won't go near the swings if there are kids or parents or, really, anyone else around. If the park is sufficiently deserted, she will get up after awhile -- how long exactly, I don't know -- and make her way in this slow and stately fashion across the intervening space to the swings.

She will seat herself with care and attention and then begin to swing. I have no idea how long she stays on the swings.

I don't know if she gets any particular pleasure out of swinging. She's never smiling or laughing and she seems to get uncomfortable when people look at her.

I think she should get a prize.

I always want to go over and tell her that her swinging is awesome and sometimes it's the best thing I see in a given day.

I won't do this because I get the feeling she wants to be invisible.

But she isn't and I think she's fucking awesome.

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