[From Album #2 – Friends Of Mine (Adam Green)]
It was Granada Hills this time and for a minute he thought, I gotta stop blacking out.
His floor from last night was littered with other bodies and other trash, attempts at comfort had been made, but failed along with their consciousness last night. Dan always woke up early, maybe it was a bad habit or bad luck. The blinds were closed but he could tell the sun was out there, light was pushing against the blinds waiting to burst in.
Looking around, he got up in a quiet stumble. He danced his way to the front door and looked around. The owner of the place could very well be on the floor or maybe up the stairs somewhere. He wasn’t about to wake anybody up so he gave up the idea of thanking accordingly and just left.
His phone was dead. He tried turning it on to order a ride but the battery just didn’t have it. So he stuffed the paperweight back into his pocket and walked in the direction he figured was right because he saw more cars going that way. He considered going back to wake someone up but it didn’t feel right. So he kept walking til he reached a big street. It took a while. Then he walked some more along the big street til he found another. That took another while. And that’s how he got his bearings, crude and costly, ain’t that just the way.
The crosswalk took a while but he made it to the corner with the right bus stop. But there was no telling when the bus would actually make its way there. Sunday’s aren’t forgiving.
There was a park in the same corner he was waiting in. It wasn’t impressive but provided enough shade for his hangover to cool down. He sat down in the grass, as close to the bus stop as he could.
Some older guy was walking about, looking up at the trees, looking for something.
“Good morning,” he said over to Dan. He was relieved it was morning still.
“I’m a birder, just taking in some sights, sorry if I’m just wandering around here.”
“Wander away,” Dan figured he sounded drunk still, “what’s a birder?” Though really he could figure it out by name and the fact that the guy had binoculars around his neck.
“Bird-watching,” and he held his binoculars up to drive the obviousness.
“No kidding,” he hoped he sounded more hungover than patronizing, his tone often gets confused.
“Yeah, my wife is shopping across the street at that antique store,” and he pointed off somewhere.
“Cool, how long have you been birding?” he hoped he used the right word for it.
“Since I was a kid I just had the itch, you know,” Dan didn’t know, “I grew up in the mid-west, Indiana. There wasn’t much to do there,” he kept looking up at the trees, scanning.
“I always liked birds,” Dan admitted, “more than dogs or cats. Never got into watching them too much though.”
The older fella seemed to spot something up in the trees and pulled his binoculars up.
“That looks like a townsend maybe.”
Dan couldn’t see his eyes but he could tell he was looking more attentively at this bird up in the tree.
“What’s a townsend?”
“It’s a small bird, they don’t come around here too often. Here,” and he took off his binoculars and handed them to Dan, “take a look.”
He held them up to his strung-out, bloodshot eyes and looked at the bird. There wasn’t much to it, but he didn’t have the context so he understood. He liked that. The both saw the bird and neither saw anything more really. But Dan didn’t have that extra lens, that extra filter, not necessarily to see more but just to know more. This guy had been doing this most of his life, he probably knew the scientific name and migration patterns and habitat conditions but they still just saw the same bird. There’s something strange and admirable about people when context is applied. Dan wondered if this bird meant more to this guy on account of all this. He then though about his own filters and lenses, most seemed broken, but what isn’t when you’re that age. Taking the binoculars off, he handed them back.
“Looks cool,” that’s really all Dan’s sincerity could muster at the moment.
The guy took the binoculars back and looked up again.
“You know what, that’s actually a starling,” and he brought down his binoculars.
“Oh,” Dan could tell the guy was almost disappointed.
“They call them trash birds.”
“Not because they go into trash or anything, they’re just really common birds.”
“Seems a bit harsh,” and he laughed a bit, laughing anymore might ring the hangover in his head.
“It’s just a term.” Dan didn’t know what to make of that, the bird didn’t really change for him. He felt bad for the guy though, maybe the next one wouldn’t be a trash bird.
Dan noticed the bus coming down the road and got up.
“It’s about that time then. Have a good one,” he shook the guys hand and realized he never asked for his name and realized he didn’t really want to anyway.
He got on the bus and asked the driver, “Does this thing hit Van Nuys?”
Dan paid the fare and grabbed a seat in the back, the bus had a decent amount of people. Some had gotten out of church it seemed. One was wearing a uniform from a fast food place, you couldn’t tell if they were headed to work or home, Dan hoped for home. Some were getting back from the grocery store. Some looked like college students, but anybody is allowed to carry a backpack now anyway. He instinctively reached for his phone and remembered it was dead for now. So he just looked out the window at all the trash birds.