Ghost Story (DOG EAR)

Ghost Story (DOG EAR)

his is one of those strange things that occur, noticeable if you keep your eyes open.

So yeah, I busted my shoulder. And yeah, I needed physical therapy. I had to go three times a week for months. Usually the appointments were either at 7:30 am or 9:00 am (I preferred the latter since I could hang out at the coffee shop and gas-bag with the baristas).

Today was my finial session. As usual, I start on this thing very much like a stationary bike, but you pedal with your arms instead of your legs. It’s a six-minute warmup, three one way, then reverse. So I sit on my perch on the 9th floor of this new glass building, looking south towards downtown, watching the I-4 traffic fussing about. With coffee in me on the nine AM session, it’s rather nice.

And today, my last day, was when I noticed it.

On the parking lot attached to this building (just south), every morning at 9:05 or so, the door opens and some heavy-set guy comes out. The top floor of the garage is always empty, not a car on it, just a big swath of concrete I’m looking down on. Anyway, “Bluto” has a beard and always seems to have some sort of jacket on. Over his shoulders hangs a backpack, a yellow safety triagle on it. And on his head, a big floppy hat.

He always walks from the south-east corner along the parapet for a bit, moving to the center of the south side. There, he walks in a slow circle, waving his arms about. After a loop or two, he heads back to the stairs and vanishes.

I realized today (in my maudlin state, since this is my last time cranking this bike) that I’ve seen the guy out of the corner of my consciousness every time I’m there, just after 9am. Like a cuckoo clock, he pops out five minutes after the hour, arms waved, circles walked, and then vanishes.

How strange.

I have to imagine that maybe this guy lives nearby. My guess is that he walks up the nine or so flights up, his ritual challenge, and takes in the view, freshening up at the summit. If I were more like my brother, I’d park up there, introduce myself when he came out, and find out his story. Maybe even make a new friend.

But I’m not my brother. Me, I’d rather figure that he is a ghost who appears in the waking dawn, to make his eerie yet pointless gestures before fading into the stairwell. Maybe he used to live here in a small house he loved, then passed away, only to have his bungalow bulldozed by corporate healthcare. Maybe this is his haunting. Yeah, I could really just ask the guy but I like this story better so I’m going with it.

The things you notice when you notice.

You make your world.