Almost, almost read in the Times earlier...

The article purporting to describe the plight of 'survivors of the plague who are now shunned by their relatives and friends' and then the other one describing the players in a podcast about 'sex, dating, and life in NYC' (I'm not making this up, really I'm not) who are now fighting because of 'Call Me Daddy'-- who or what that is, I have no idea and I decided that I don't want to know anything about the sorry nonsense. They report their opinions as 'news' and their decadent amusements as 'of public interest'. But I did almost read it, so I ought not to be too censorious. Am adding this: I had wanted to notice, however, the
Tittabawassee River in Michigan. Had never heard of it until today, when it flooded and broke through a dam.

Grey clouds, dampness everywhere, but no rain; the air is such, however, that the bird calls seem peculiarly resonent. Am listening to Johann Adolf Hasse's La Conversione di Sant'Agostino, in a recording from the mid-1990s by the Akademie für Alte Musik in Berlin. Let's see if it or some part of it is at YouTube.

That is an aria of the character Navigio, from toward the end of the first part of the oratorio; Navigius was the brother of St Augustine.

My morning spatiamentum takes me along the same route each day, because more often than not it includes a stop at the supermarket. In the evenings, I take a different route that, unless I finally give way to temptation and buy a packet of cigarettes and a lighter, doesn't include any shopping.

In any case, in the mornings I am happy and thoughtful and observant of the birds and the skies and the flowers-- but am not particularly interested in talking polite nonsense to anyone. This doesn't prevent me, of course, from being scrupulously polite to the occasional lady (both women and men are out running but it's usually women walking at that hour) I meet. Last year, or perhaps even two years ago, I met an older man walking his Labrador-- he lives in the retirement residence that is there some three quarters of the way to my walk's half way point i.e. the supermarket-- he is, so far as I can tell, older than I am and perhaps not in the greatest health.

Evidently, I made a face, I grimaced perhaps (because, from my point of view, he was expecting me to walk around him and the dog) as I stepped into the street so that they had their space. A trivial irritant, and an even more trivial incident in the day: I continued on my merry way. It is an incontrovertible fact, however, that people walking their dogs need to move out of the way of simple pedestrians, in the same way that bicyclists need to surrender the right of way to pedestrians. Yet I have witnessed dog owners, with their animals on leashes of ten or twelve feet in length, who have seemed to believe that the rest of us owe them the right of way, as fantastic as that strange proposition may sound. Incroyable!

Every time we have met since the fellow, always accompanied by his dog, he now makes an elaborate gesture of walking into the street or in some exaggerated way making sure that I have an ample amount of space. It was on the tip of my tongue, those next couple of times when I encountered him, to say something to the effect, 'basically I simply rolled my eyes about you two taking up the entire sidewalk: get over it already' or words to that effect. I never did, though. If he notices me early enough, he will sometimes walk across the street thus precluding our meeting.

All of this is prelude to Monday morning. I was returning from the shopping, more than half done with my walking, preoccupied with this and that-- I seem somehow to have wrenched my left thumb about and it is painful but who knows: I wasn't paying any attention to whoever was coming toward me on the sidewalk. As we closed the distance, I realized it was the man with his dog and, without thinking and solely in order to communicate that one of us was going to have to move out of the way, and simultaneously actually beginning to walk into the street, I wagged my finger, pointing to his left and to my left. I'm sure he thought I was remonstrating with him, like that character in Seinfeld whose name I cannot recall. Babu Bhatt, I see. My finger was parallel with the ground, however, not upright like Babu's, and I had already begun to move toward the street, although it's possible not in such a noticeable way. He, they, moved up into the driveway we happened to be crossing and that was that.

Not even a little upright? I cannot know, two days later, but certainly the only emotion on my face, if there was one at all, was a function of the tiresomeness of the fraught meeting nonsense. It's probably good that it is a Labrador and not a pit bull that keeps him company.