Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Apple Core

In transit. Sendai-city, Late September. Some bad language follows, sorry.

My backpack is unbearably heavy. Every time I lift it I try and tell myself it is, honestly, not that bad, but gravity is never fooled and it gets around to stating is case 15 - 20 minutes along.
What I really need to find is a bench, just here, on one of these street corners. I look around, but of course there are no benches.

Of course, I reason, Of course there aren't. Every city in Japan is just like New York City, not a lick of humanity in its design. People in New York would laugh in your face if you told them it would be a good idea to have somewhere to sit. Trendy standing bastards. Some day I'm going to a city with plenty of benches everywhere and the people will be nice and pleasantly apple-cheeked and I'm going to live there for the rest of my life.

Around the next corner are two benches, set quite nicely into some bushes and with a light over them. On one of the benches sits an old Japanese man, bald as a spring peach. He is sitting hunched over one of the benches, hurriedly eating a banana. I watch this with good natured interest as I stagger nearer under my load. As soon as he finishes he throws the empty peel to his feet and produces another banana from the great grocery sack of bananas next to him. At his feet are, like, five banana peels. About 15 feet away, right by the other empty bench, I can see a perfectly fine trash can.
"I hate you," I think loudly, "This I why New York City can't have nice benches - because of all the crazy banana eaters."
I briefly consider taking the other bench and teaching him a lesson in good manners by sitting there silently, eating no bananas at all, but he shows no signs of stopping his banana frenzy and I cross the street.

"What would happen if a bike courier came zipping around the corner and skid out on those banana peels all outrageously?" I ask myself in sage tones, "It would be hilarious, but ethically reprehensible."

The old man represents a form of madness I never want to fall to in my old age. The madness of forget-the-world,-this-shit-is-too-hard-anymore,-I'll-just-withdraw-into -my-skull-and-take-my-hate-out-by-not-giving-a-shit. Fucking bananas.

On the other side of the street, sure enough, is an identical set of benches, nice and empty.

"Predictable old city planners," I think, "Easy enough to figure them out."

I take a load off, which is very nice. I've been eating cheap on the road, and dinner didn't do the job, so I enjoy a delicious crisp apple from my bag of fresh Sansa apples, bought earlier that day. And as I reach into my bulging bag of apples I realize I am sitting exactly opposite the old man, eating from a bag of fruit, and that I too am bald as a spring peach. Two fucking bald men sitting on opposite street corners devouring their bags of fruit. What crazy conspiracy is this, the business men must think as they cross the intersection.

"Let them think what they want," I revel, freely, "There is a clear line between enjoying fruit and monstrosity."

Except that, contrary to all possibility, there is no trashcan on this corner. What the fuck? - the city only had money enough for the one trash can? I'm left with a dripping apple core in my hand, just sitting there, in front of those big bushes - where an apple core would serve as fine fertilizer - on the cusp of becoming everything I hate.

I devour the apple core, seeds and all, and tell myself I love it.

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