An exercise in simplicity

Dawn broke and the sun slowly rose over a tired autumn landscape. It was getting colder by the day, but today was just right for someone who wanted to start wearing a heavy coat. Martin did just that. His feet crunched the frosted leaves that fell weeks ago but sat right where they lie in the still air. No breeze blew between the buildings. No snow fell, or rain. There was no noise lilting across the green expanse of the park. Nothing disturbed Martin’s walk on the fringes of the city proper. He liked the time to himself. It gave him time to think, digest what was going on in his life, something he could rarely afford to do but desperately needed to most times. Everything happened so quickly, so constantly. He often thought if more people took the time and really understand what was going on and think about things, the world could be much more relaxed. There could be less anger, less hatred. But it wasn’t likely he’d convince anyone.
This morning Martin thought about the weather. Usually he prepared small talk topics for the day that didn’t include the weather. As pointless as it was, he realized the need for small talk to get by in his day-to-day, so he tried to put some effort into it. But the weather had been so strange recently that he couldn’t avoid it. For almost two months now, there had been no precipitation, no wind, no clouds, nothing. It was clear and sunny all day, and no one had any idea why. Not the weatherman, not his coworkers, or the guy he bought coffee from on the street corner. Even weirder was that the temperature dropped steadily every day. Yes, it was getting close to winter, so that shouldn’t be weird, but it was one degree every day, like clockwork, with no sign of stopping. 30 miles in any direction from the city they had their normal ups and downs, snow and hail, but not here.
Martin reached the edge of the park and turned left on the road to get back to his townhouse. On his way, he thought up a couple of fantastic reasons why the weather might have stopped. Maybe aliens were studying them and needed perfectly average weather in a city as a control. Maybe a huge hurricane would start up around them suddenly, and they were in the eye. Maybe there was a super hero that could control the weather in the city that no one knew about and they hated when things were unpredictable. Maybe they were having a particularly confusing time in their life and needed some stability to sort everything out. That was certainly what Martin needed. If he could just have a few days where everything stopped so he could to catch up on sleep and make a few lists. But there was no break from life, as his mother used to say. If you take a break, you only have more catching up to do later.
As he marched down the empty street, past the dark windows, he thought about all the things he had to sort out today. There were a few bills to pay, a woman to see who wanted to buy his car, a presentation to finish before Friday, and his wife wanted his help picking out new baby-proofed furniture or something. Maybe it was nursery furniture. He needed to call his mom and dad too, catch up and see how they were doing. He’d been meaning to for a while now, he just never seemed to find the time. A lone car sped through the streets of the city. To was going in a loop. One big, continuous loop. It had no driver and always took the same route. Martin thought about how he needed to go shopping soon, get a new suit and a new pair of running shoes. The car continued, inexorably. Silently. Martin thought about getting a dog to guard the house. He approached a crosswalk. So did the car. Martin never looked up.
Dawn broke and the sun slowly rose over a tired autumn landscape. It was getting colder by the day, another degree colder than yesterday. The wind didn’t blow. No sound came from the city. The colors of the leaves were just a little bit closer to grey. A driverless car sped silently through the streets. Martin went for a walk through the park, his mind heavy with the list of things he needed to do.
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An exercise in simplicity

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