September 13th, 2005

familiar strangers and autumn follies

One observation I made at Bumbershoot is something I noticed and meant to write about, oh, I don't know, a year ago? For quite some time now, I've been seeing people who seem familiar to me - sometimes familiar enough that I'd swear I should know their names, other times just people I'm sure I've seen elsewhere - but I can never place where I know them from. Because I have been going to shows somewhat regularly, some of these people could be fellow concert-goers, but other times I'm sure I've been introduced and had conversations with them, but couldn't tell you where or when or who they are.

This happened a few times at Bumbershoot. In one case, I was able to place the couple with toddlers that I sat near during lunch, I recognized them from church. In another case, for a particular woman who happened to walk by, I'd swear I've had conversations with her and even have a strong impression of what her voice sounds like (without having heard her speak as she walked by), but just can't recall for sure whether this is so and where I know her from, or whether I'm just confusing her with one or two other women I actually know. I also wondered, after these latest close encounters, whether the truth is that more and more people seem familiar to me just because I'm getting older and I've seen enough people that they're starting to blend together.

Last Thursday morning, as I left for work, I walked outside and from the feel and smell of the air, I just knew that suddenly, it was autumn. The calendar may not agree, and there may yet be some summery weather for us, but something had shifted and I just had that little extra hum of energy, that feeling of wakefulness and desire to get out and do things, that means it's autumn.

Naturally, I then came down with some kind of cold or illness. I had a sneezy, runny nose all day, which made me think it might be some kind of allergy (and that thought was partially vindicated yesterday morning when I noticed that my car was covered in pollen, so yes, things were in fact still blooming). But the allergy medicine I bought and tried only made my nose very stuffed up, and the cold medicine I tried the following afternoon made me feel seriously spaced out (despite being a non-drowsy formula), enough that I was nervous driving home. I've been less congested since the weekend, but I still feel just not quite right, in particular my head feeling like very thick mushy dough. Whatever's wrong, I hope I get over it soon.

And speaking of things that are wrong, my lower back has been aching for a couple weeks now. We'd done some back rolls in aikido - and I think that was the first class I'd been to in three or four weeks, due to family visits and classes being cancelled - and it was a little sore after that, but then the following Saturday at Amy's graduation/new job party I played some Dance Dance Revolution, and late that night when I was getting into the car my lower back suddenly hurt a lot. Since then, it's been constantly a little sore or uncomfortable, and aches more strongly if I move or bend in certain ways. But it seems to be muscular, not skeletal, and my movement isn't actually restricted, just painful in certain ways. I haven't called the doctor yet, I was hoping it would just get better over time, but I suppose it's gone long enough now that I should call.

On another note, as I went to water my tree, to my amazement I just discovered a happy yellow mushroom growing in the pot. I removed it carefully using a ziploc bag, trying to avoid scattering spores or touching it (in case it was toxic - how would I know?), and it looks like I got the whole stem out. Hopefully I'm not going to have more sprouting. I wonder whether mushroom spores have anything to do with my stuffy nose/vague illness...