And he waits… I see this guy sitting here almost every morning. It’s 7:30 am. He is a denizen of the hardscrabble town of Ayer, Mass. He has nine and a half hours to go until he gets his dinner at the local soup kitchen. He worries incessantly, sometimes out loud. He shares his misery with anyone who will listen. And even those who won’t.
He worries me. He is 20 years my junior and he is done. Cooked. Stick a fork in him. When I’m unconscious, I put mtself in his place. You can imagine the misery that comes along with that visual.
In my eleven month recovery from all things material, I’ve had lots of time to observe those less fortunate. The town is rife with what most would consider “loser types.” Businesses struggle mightily. Some of their offerings border on the absurd. They even resort to putting signs on the sidewalks to shame you into buying local.
Some business owners don’t even show up. They leave a crossed out, updated note on the window with their cell phone number on it. Pampered Pets looks like a “Hoarder’s” episode. One store, I can’t remember ever seeing open for business, has a sign that reads: “Closed But Still Awesome.” My apartment is located right in the middle of this circus. It is a voyeur’s heaven.
This is an actual restaurant, Markoh’s On Main. If you choose to visit and have had your shots, you will receive a free shower, compliments of the faulty AC unit placed strategically overhead. People actually eat here.
I’ve seen people who have had one too many, almost break their neck trying to exit this place, unable to negotaite the dangerously condemned stairs. And no lawyer has ever showed up.
The guy who runs the local Coffee Roaster’s was palpating one of his rear molars while taking my order and handed me a blueberry scone with the same hand. Then became confused when I called him on it.
The only dry cleaner in town touts an organic and gluten free process that is designed to put him way out in front of his competition. I have only witnessed one customer entering the store, me. I saw me in his mirror.
Ayer has greatly diminished my lust for rural living.
From my perch in front of the infrequently visited Town Hall, I witness the comings and goings of almost everyone who lives here. Nietzche would be salivating. Ayer, to me, is the gift that will always keep on giving. A grounding that I’m all at once, grateful for and humbled by.
Even the police cruiser that just passed by is imperfect. It has a front head light missing and is running on one of those shitty factory supplied spare tires. I should have pulled him over. He’s the same cop who served me a restraining order a few days ago. 🙂
From here, there’s only one destination….up!