By: Bruce Levine
It had been a long morning. Dillon rubbed his eyes which felt strained from working at his computer for so many hours. He hadn’t realized that it was going to take so long, but then he wasn’t very good at estimating how long things would take. If he didn’t like his job as much as he did he wouldn’t continue all the ancillary things he needed to do simply to have more materials that would accomplish the specifics he wanted to achieve.
Sure, there were lots of books of similar materials, but he always felt that they were too generic and not precisely matched to his needs. And each year things changed so he couldn’t simply use the same materials year after year as others did.
He rubbed his eyes again and looked down at his dog who had lain next to him the whole morning.
Time for a walk, he thought. Not only as a break for him, but because it had been hours since Chauncey, his English Cocker, had gone out and he probably needed a break as well.
It didn’t take much coaxing to get Chauncey to his feet and at the front door, in fact, it took none at all. Dillon simply standing seemed to be sufficient. Besides, Chauncey seemed to be able to read Dillon’s mind, and, most of the time, vice-versa.
Dillon enjoyed the walks as much as Chauncey and today was a perfect day for a long walk along the woods near his apartment. He wondered if he’d start seeing deer again as spring was approaching. In the fall there were always deer, and then the winter set in and they were gone. It was March, still cold and snow was still possible, but already he sensed that there was a lessening of the arctic in the air and a little more of the spring thaw.
They had their regular route and Chauncey needed no guidance as to which direction to go and what path to follow. Dillon too was almost on automatic pilot and let his feet simply follow Chauncey’s lead. The trees were still bare and he could hear a woodpecker in the distance, all pleasant sights and sounds and Dillon allowed his brain to store them somewhere in the back of his mind, never knowing when he’d need to draw on them at some future date.
His life was a perpetual recording machine, he liked to think. Whether he did it consciously or not didn’t matter, all that mattered was that he kept acquiring information and he found himself using that information in the oddest of ways and at the oddest of times. That wasn’t something he did consciously, that was something that he simply did.
Sometimes he was chastised for going off on tangents and adding in all sorts of extra information into a conversation, even though everyone agreed that his tangents always had a relationship to the whole subject, but they often took his listeners on a journey of discovery that only he seemed to be fully enjoying. Often, he was told, he would have been better off sticking to the subject.
But Dillon couldn’t seem to do that. His mind wandered in all sorts of directions at once and he couldn’t help tying far-reaching ideas to the most simplistic of subjects.
Today, for example, he simply wanted to learn how the building of the Egyptian pyramids compared to some of the architectural components of the plans for the new shopping mall that had been proposed where the developers had suggested the mall would create a community environment similar to Egypt at the time of the pyramid builders.
He doubted that there was any relationship that could legitimately be discerned and thought that the developers were simply trying to pull a fast one by making the project seem far advanced because it drew on ancient principals of community and social involvement.
He’d lived in this small town for too long to be fooled, even if many of his neighbors were by the prospect of convenience to stores, etcetera. Dillon preferred things the way they were and was willing to have a little inconvenience to protect his comfortable lifestyle.
As he and Chauncey walked he thought. He also didn’t realize quite how far they’d travelled and he found himself at the excavation site. He stared for several minutes at the woods currently populating the terrain, the stream that ran directly through the center and the natural bridge that crossed that stream. “No!” he said aloud and Chauncey reacted by suddenly turning, thinking he’d done something wrong. It took a sincere affirmation that Chauncey had done nothing and was a good boy before the two could move on toward home.
Dillon used the time walking home to put his thoughts in order. Having again seen and experienced the location for the planned mall he knew that it would be an uphill battle to convince many people who had become inured to those aspects of life in favor of the technology based, robotic influences of speed versus environment. If this were one of the small New England towns depicted in so many movies where the identical theme was used as the plot he could rally the townsfolk and summon them to the town hall and shout down the hateful developers. But it wasn’t and this entire scenario was all too trite. In fact the whole subject was too trite to even be considered reasonable.
By the time Dillon and Chauncey got home the battle that had been raging in Dillon’s head had run its course and Dillon began to wonder if he were simply a man living out of his time.