Just around the corner from me lives a man who must love his car.
I really started noticing him a couple of years ago when I would pick up my son from school and go down this particular street to get home.
Almost every single time I passed this man's house he would be either asleep in his car or just sitting in it, looking out from behind the wide windscreen.
The car is in pristine condition. A Ford LTD in a glossy, metallic sage green colour. Shiny chrome bumper bars, door handles and window trim. I think it is an early 1980's model. It is always parked outside the front of his home. In fact, I cannot recall ever driving down this particular street and the car not being there. And I drive down it almost every day.
Sometimes on the weekend I drive past and he is still in the car. What is he doing sitting in the car on a Saturday afternoon?
There are times when I have seen him just sweeping the footpath in front of his house. Or just standing near his car and smoking a cigarette in the quiet and thoughtful manner that smoker's do when enjoying their habit.
I think he is in his early 70's, but that is hard to tell. Slightly built with stooped shoulders. Usually wears a short sleeved shirt in a vague beige colour and contrasting brown trousers which look around the same vintage as the car. His hair is grey and I think he must oil it and comb in back neatly. Sometimes his hair is tucked behind his ears which looks odd on a man.
I once caught a glimpse of his wife when I drove past one day. She was hovering in the entrance of the front doorway. Grey haired, quite stout and wearing an apron. In the short time I looked over at where she was I caught a little moment in time of their life. Her at the door talking to him, whilst he stood with his back to her, shoulders hunched and cigarette in his hand. The whole brief picture was one of indifference and exasperation between the two.
I may well have read it incorrectly, that small scene between them, but it reminded me of the same pose between my own parents many years ago.
I think that is why he sits in his car and watches the world go by. I am sure he bought that car new and loves it as men are inclined to love their cars. He must watch school children walking by day in and day out. Not watching in a creepy way, just watching in the way that people do when they think about their life.
His house is neat, the garden trimmed, the pavement swept. The sage green car shiny and loved.
All these little lives going on really fascinate me.