I find myself at the park on Beverly Boulevard near Larchmont Village. I’ve never been there before, though I’ve driven by a thousand times, barely registering the balloons on the picnic tables, families celebrating birthdays. Maybe I’m just trying to get close to where the mom people and kids go. There are strollers, sippy cups, nannies and a playground lousy with toddlers.
Spreading out my towel on the grass, I survey the scene for a second, and wonder if this is home, or the future, or an oasis of simple pleasures I don’t yet understand or some kind of grape juice-stained, soul-crushing daily drudgery that I will never, ever embrace or even hack. I look for signs, read the mom faces. I give up, deciding I have four and a half more months to figure it out. I return some text messages. I download a meditation podcast on my iPhone, doze off.
I come to. A woman is screaming at an old man in a straw hat and faded plaid shirt. “Don’t talk to these kids. Get out of here. You are disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself.”
She is pointing at his face and there is a gaggle of silent moms behind her, arms crossed, chinos in a bunch, angry, but none call 911. I don’t know what the story is with these moms and this old man. I want to help, but I feel detached, like I’m observing the whole thing in a mom exhibit somewhere.
The old man turns on the bench, which is oriented toward the playground, turns sideways, head on his shoulder and stares at me. I am way too old for you, pal. Maybe he’s trying to get a gander at my tiny, nakes fetus. Creepy.