Andrea Coller's Blog
Sunday, May 30, 2004
have you ever had one of those days where so many random things happened that it felt like a dream? when you see so many people you know in different ways in the same place, and other strange things happen? that was today for me.

i was feeling particularly lazy on this absolutely gorgeous day in western mass, but i knew that i just had to get out of the house, or i truly was a loser. and anyways, i had to pick up a prescription. so i headed downtown, running into a neighbor i've never met, (though we've both lived here for over 2 years), a client from the salon, grandma tzeitel from the production of 'fiddler' i was in, my friend tony from hair school, and my rock star friends brie and zack, the 50 ways. downtown northampton can be like that- you're talking to someone on the street, and someone else taps you on the shoulder and then another person walks by... it's not even a small-town issue, as half the people i ran into don't live in town. i guess it's just one of those things.

but after the little love-fest with all the old and new friends, i headed over to pulaski park to sit in the sun and do a little writing. i woke up this morning with a sentence in my head- one of my characters from my book was talking to me. i rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and pounded out a little story that she wanted to tell me. my intention in going to the park was to figure out how that story fit in with the rest of the book, but that ended up being put aside. i was there for a few minutes when a group of people walked into the park, and i couldn't ignore them.

growing up in southeast pennsylvania, it wasn't unusual to see a horse-drawn carriage on the edge of a busy road, or seeing amish people in various places. but up here, it's pretty darn unusual. i'm not sure what religious or philosophical group was in pulaski park today, but the women wore homemade dresses with bonnets and black hose and shoes. the men wore long sleeved dress shirts and black pants. they filed into the park and seemed to just be looking around. a few minutes later, one of the men arrived with a box. they each took a hymnal from the box and walked around to the shady part of the park by main street, and started to sing. i'd been a little worried that they were going to be there preaching against sin and that a bad scene might ensue, but all they did was sing. i coudln't quite figure out their purpose in doing it, but hymns have a soothing quality for me. it's a sound from my childhood, so i wrote and listened. no one really protested, except a group of people who had a small boom box and started playing 'thriller,' but not very loud. then, a man started mowing the lawn at the far end of the park. all three sounds combined, and you'd think it would be ear-splitting. but it was actually kind of comforting. people were co-existing peacefully, and 'thriller' with religious background music sounded kind of cool. after about a half an hour, they moved out of the park the way they came, and i was a little baffled. a kid playing hackey-sack said to one of the men, "that was really good," (no sarcasm) and the man said, "thank you. would you like to buy a cd?"

so that's what it was. here i was reading all of this religious meaning into what they were doing- maybe they were going to protest gay marriage, maybe they were peacefully somehow trying to pray for our misguided souls, maybe they were trying to recruit people.nope. they were hawking cds-- just like me. that was my church experience, this sunday, a little reminder from whoever controls the universe that we're all the same, somehow.

i just looked up to my tv at '60 minutes.' they're airing the pictures of over 800 americans who've died in this idiotic war. they move from right to left on the screen, fairly rapidly- faces, most often miliitary portraits. it takes eleven whole minutes to see them all. you look up, and most of them look like children. sad. i'm not particularly knowledgeable on the subject, all i know is that people are dying, and i hate premature death. death does not scare me, it more likely makes me angry. death as an end for someone who has lived a full life and is ready is fine. any other kind of death or suffering angers me so.

yet it can not be avoided. and so many things are good, like sunny days and realizing that different people are really a lot like you. things were so good in the park that i bought a book, and some homemade lemonade so that i could sit in the park all afternoon in the sun. eventually, i had to return home to take meds, and because i'm not supposed to spend too much time in the sun. ah, well, you know i'm all about breaking the rules.

so that was my day, and a long post. i suppose tomorrow will entail trying to find something that's open, something to do. if it's not raining, i wouldn't mind a re-run of today.

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