A really old woman – say, in her eighties – walking past me in a bar with a bottle of Miller Lite in her hand. Happened in Westerville a couple of weeks ago and I thought, now there’s something I like to see.
Like when a car gets right on your bumper even though you’re driving at a perfectly reasonable rate of speed, and then he whips around you gesturing at you in great detail about the effect you’ve just had on his terribly important day – only to be immediately pulled over. A guy in Gahanna gave me that wonderful gift one day, literally driving an SUV and wearing designer shades and in general looking like his name ought to be Dexter Goodbody or Lance Manyon.
I drove by nice and slow and gave him a smile and a thumbs-up as the cop stood there bitching at him. He was in a school zone, so I got to slow down and really make sure he saw it. The look on his face, that’s the kind of thing I like to see.
A kid with his grandparents at Bob Evans, ordering whatever the hell he wants. A really pregnant woman riding a bicycle – don’t tell her what she can’t do. A baby eating spaghetti with his hands.
I don’t have a religion, so I don’t get to go to church and experience God. I’ve got to find the magic myself, in little things right here on Earth, and when I’m having a week like this one, when it seems like the world is full of petulance and judgment and general, mean-spirited avarice, that’s all I can do.
Sit back and count the things I like to see. Or even better, things I’ve seen and like to remember.
My wife when she wakes in the middle of the night and looks around the room groggily, alarmed at the hazy, muddled state of her half-asleep brain. There are always a few seconds where she tries to ascertain whether everything is all right or not.
Sometimes I tell her that everything’s fine. Sometimes I don’t have to. But that moment where she gets it, where she sees me or hears me or asks me and I tell her, that moment where she understands that everything is all right, and goes back to sleep. That’s something I like to see.
You know, no one can do that but me. It doesn’t work when anyone else does it.
It’s not the only thing that I can produce myself, that I like to see. I like to walk up to one of my kids and hand her a Kit Kat bar. A face like a light show, and it only costs a buck.
The Latino waitress when she figures out that we’re going to treat her like a human being, that we think her language is beautiful, and that we wish her well. Being someone that someone else likes to see, seeing it reflected in their eyes. I like that, too.
A midnight storm through a bay window, dog on my lap and a cheek on my shoulder. A guy selling sweet corn out of the back of his truck, his bespectacled son there with him, bagging it up. An elderly couple at the grocery store, discussing each item before they put it in the cart.
My little niece, a walking memory of a different kind of fatherhood. I like to see my daughter sitting across the table from me, carrying on a perfectly reasonable conversation about politics or the environment, and yes I like to see my niece, a crisp and vivid echo of the kind of daughter who didn’t know as much, and who worried less, too.
Knowledge is power, and innocence is bliss, and both of them are things that I like to see.
Teaching my kids to gather one while keeping the other – that’s something I’d certainly like to see.
I like it when I’m driving a long distance, say down to Florida or out to Colorado, and a family drives by on a long trip of their own, and a kid in the back seat locks eyes with me, his head leaned against a pillow, his forehead flat against the glass. Always a little startled by the eye contact, but seldom does the kid look away.
I like it when he’s not watching a television or playing a video game, but really looking out the window. The thoughts going through his brain are anybody’s guess. That’s a little universe passing me at seventy-five miles per hour.
There are plenty of things to write about, things that I’m angry about, things that I don’t like to see. All day long when I tried to write, that’s what I came back to. Everything I started to write about turned out to be an attack on someone, whether it was provoked or not.
Probably I’ll get around to most of those. They certainly tend to be the most popular posts, my most scathing and vitriolic work. Not something I like to see, truthfully – my fury and negativity, blasting out into the Internet for a party in a few thousand minds.
Well, all right. I like it a little. But today, let me just bow my head in godless prayer, and in my heart and on my blog, thank the human beings who do those things every day, the things which I like to see.