Observations on a lunchtime walk

The wind does a poor job of sweeping up the autumn leaves scattered across the car park, and I enjoy the crunch of them underfoot.

A yellow car reminds me of a girl who’d hit me if she saw it first, making me smile to know she’s not here.

Ivy clambers recklessly up the overbridge, as if the constant rumble of traffic along Mayoral Drive were not a threat to its continued exploration.

Roots cling desperately to the eroding hillside beneath a restaurant that has seen better days, while a sparrow balances on a twig decorated with dead flower heads.

A woman sings off key as she walks past on my right. On my left, the Auckland Town Hall, having heard better, maintains rigid composure.

Pigeons gather for a lunchtime briefing in Aotea Square, their paunch bellies denying their athleticism until they startle. Fight or flight? They seem unanimous in their answer, their wings slapping the air into my skin as they skim past.

A man stops me to ask for food and I lie to him with an apologetic smile that only uses half my mouth.

The lights turn red and I am mildly frustrated at the delay as buses send out rumbling farts of exhaust fumes.

The garish models in Smith & Caugheys remind me that money doesn’t buy taste. But taste is so subjective and I hear an echo of a podcast from a week ago about judging what others wear. I try to continue with more tolerant eyes.

I see a young man with half a head of hair so red I am left pondering what they called it on the bottle. Electric crimson? Candy apple? Chilli pepper?

A woman wearing a scraggly fur body warmer walks past, but my eye is caught by a Middle Eastern woman in the most beautifully coordinated lavender outfit. My head wants to turn and follow her, but I daren’t.

The chatter of voices draws my attention to a tourist (the backpack gives him away) standing in the lobby of the bank, long, lean legs encased in tie dyed (vegan?) leather pants.

A dark-skinned businessman with a man bun goes almost unnoticed, and I follow behind a gentleman in a pale blue turban that doesn’t match his outfit in the slightest.

The overly sweet smell of sugar wafts out of Dunkin Donuts, a solid match to the young blonde man in the pink Rick and Morty sweatshirt.

In the lift as I return to the office, a young Asian woman sniffs behind her mask and I pretend not to notice.

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