Saturday, September 1, 2018
The Saturday Snapshot #4
Uniformity is the watchword of the suburbs. What's the line? "Little houses made of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same." Not entirely true, but true enough. Yet some people do manage to manifest their personalities. A neighbor on my block not only maintains this very stolid concrete goose, but will deck him out in appropriate seasonal attire: a little Cubs outfit for summer baseball, a pilgrim hat and cloak come Thanksgiving. It's very whimsical.
At least I assume it's his handiwork. I suppose it could be his wife's, but the baseball regalia makes me suspect him. I don't rightly know. In 18 years, I've never remarked upon the goose to my neighbor. I don't see him often, our interaction is pretty much limited to half-hearted waves and wan nods. We keep our distance, here in the great generic sprawl.
But lately I've been tempted, next chance I get, to say, "I like your goose."
Why? Whimsy does not play as well in some quarters as others. While I smile at the goose and welcome his calming presence, I have also on several occasions noticed him toppled, even broken—by what passes in Northbrook for hooligans, I would imagine. It's always sad to see the fellow in disarray.
My neighbor, to his credit, is always scrupulous about immediately setting the goose right again or repairing him, as need be. Or perhaps replacing him.
That is as it should be. It shows grit. We open our hearts to the world, reveal a glimpse at our inner soul, and, more often than not, the world rewards us with a kick. Even when we are doing something as unobtrusive as presenting a bit of anserine decoration to an anodyne suburban block. You have to wonder what sort of person would assault the thing. Merely being young and stupid doesn't seem sufficient cause—if the armies of the young and stupid turned against lawn decoration, not a gnome or ceramic frog would be safe. I imagine the culprit or culprits are people with no interior lives to project, lashing out instinctively at those of us who do. There's a lot of that going around.