Seeing Stars?

spaceHave you ever looked down and seen stars? Chances are you’re saying “No” unless you’ve been in space or simply extremely disoriented, probably due to some form of intoxication, and even then you weren’t technically looking down because, first of all, when you’re in space and loosed from the surly bonds of gravity “up” and “down” become meaningless and second, if you’re so intoxicated that you can’t tell up from down your feet should be firmly planted on the ground, unless you’re in a bed, and even then someone should make sure you stay on your side or stomach until you have been once again ensnared by the surly bonds of sobriety.

Let me start over.

I was standing at the corner waiting for the bus to arrive and I looked down and saw stars. Just off the edge of the sidewalk, in the curb, there was a rectangular object with stars on it. Now I’m not the sort of person who goes around picking up trash. Well, sometimes I am. If there’s a piece of paper or an empty can on the sidewalk and there’s a trash can nearby I’ll pick it up and throw it away. If someone’s left a half-finished cup of coffee on the bus bench I’ll move it. Once when I was on the bus a half-full bottle of something rolled from one end of the of the bus to the other for two miles before I finally picked it up and put it in the garbage bag behind the driver’s seat. Why no one else did is a mystery but I decided someone had to.

Anyway I couldn’t get over my curiosity about what this thing with the stars on it was. My best guess was that it was a poster of the stars or possibly even a Star Wars poster, and since it had been raining it was soaking wet and likely ruined but I still had to know. First I waited for a lull in the traffic because I didn’t want the anonymous strangers driving by to think I was the sort of person who picks up soaking wet trash. Then I picked it up and, well…I’m still not sure what it was. It was a multi-panel piece of cardboard with stars on one part of it.

And then I realized the bus was coming. The driver had very likely seen me and was thinking of me as the sort of person who picks up soaking wet trash. Or something. I don’t know what she thought. She smiled and said hello when I got on the bus and I realized that some guy picking up a mysterious object off the street was probably not the strangest thing she’d seen. In fact I’m pretty sure that for most bus drivers seeing strange things is common.

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  1. Ann Koplow

    I’m seeing stars now, Chris. Thanks for being a star.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you for shining here.

  2. mydangblog

    I love your subtle homage to “High Flight”! Right now, I’m seeing stars because the sky is clear and I’m pretty high up in the air. The city at night is beautiful, even when it’s grimy by day.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s wonderful that you can see the stars in the city. Light pollution often makes it hard to see them, except the brightest ones. At least light pollution isn’t grimy.

  3. Emily

    I pick things up off of the street all the time. I love finding notes, receipts, lists and so on. Once I found a page scrawled from top to bottom with what could only be described as the ravings of a mad person. That was one of my favorites.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That is amazing. There are a lot of incredible things you can find if you just take the time to look.


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