-- Robert Heinlein --
Yesterday afternoon I finally finished raking up the gumballs in the back yard. Daughter and Hercules were barbequing vegetable skewers and steaks, and I was invited, but Hercules' mother was visiting for the day (visiting from the Carolinas, stopped in on her way back from visiting her mother in Pa.), and I'm avoiding her. I suspect it's obvious I'm avoiding her, but I don't care. Every third sentence out of her mouth makes me want to strangle her, so it's a lot healthier to avoid her.
It takes less than five minutes to walk to the bay from my house, so at 8:30 pm I went to the bay to see some fireworks. Neighbor George had said that it's a good place to see them, but that last year the police had blocked access off and not allowed people down there. But last year, it was all rocks and broken cement with a sharp dropoff down to the water. Since then, the township has put in a nice paved walkway with a railing.
There was no one there. An occasional couple or someone with a dog would walk past and disappear into the distance, and that was it. A pair of policemen walked past and said hello.
Even though I was facing east, the sunset was incredible, the colors reflecting off the water. I wished I had taken my camera.
Looking north over the water I saw the fireworks from the Amboys, from a wealthy enclave above Laurence Harbor, and north and northeast several spots on Staten Island. To the west, Keyport put on THREE surprisingly decent and long-lasting shows, followed by an obviously expensive display from either Union Beach or Keansburg.
The big Macy's show (supposed to be the largest display in the country) was pretty far across the water, on barges on the Hudson River between Staten Island and Manhattan, but I can see most of Staten Island, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and the lower coast of Brooklyn, So I was able to see the higher chrysanthemums from that, plus other more local shows along the coast and inland.
Daughter, Hercules, the Nugget, and Hercules' mother and her two dogs had gone somewhere earlier in the day, probably walking in some park, I don't know and didn't ask, but about 9:15 Daughter and Hercules joined me at the bay.
Near where I had been standing, there was a tall pole, next to the path from the access road ("Authorized Vehicles Only") to the walkway. I had earlier noticed that once it got full dark, anytime anyone walked that path, there was a flash of light and a recording, "This is the xxxxx police. Your photograph has been transmitted to our office." I found it amusing. We got our pictures taken when we left a little after 10.
Hercules found it fascinating. Where was it getting the power? We examined the pole and found no wires. At the top of the pole there were only two very small boxes. Solar panels on the top of the boxes? Seems like they'd be too small to power the motion detector, the flash, the recording, the camera, and a transmitter. The panels used to power emergency phones along the highways are much larger. I pointed out that there's not necessarily really a transmitter, or even a camera. Maybe there's really only a detector, flash, and recording. Sorta like those dummy police cars semi-hidden behind billboards.
I suggested that we stage a murder next to the pole, then wait in the bushes to see if anyone shows up. On the walk back to the house we had some fun planning the scenes. Hercules is a real ham.
A funny thing happened. Daughter joined me first, Hercules joined us a little later, after getting his mother and Nugget settled at the house. He runs. A lot. He was running down the dark path to join us and passed a teenaged couple. The guy shouted something rather nasty after him (apparently thinking Hercules with his dark hair was Hispanic). Hercules turned around and ran back toward him, and the guy pulled his girlfriend in front of him! Hercules told us what he then said to him, but I forget exactly, except that it had something to do with tiny balls rolling on the ground or the like.
And that was it.
Sometime later, we had walked further up the bay. Daughter and I were standing on either side of Hercules, who was squatting on the ground with his back to the walkway, when a group of five or six guys, mid or late teens, trotted up to us and asked if we'd seen a guy run by wearing tan pants and a grey knit shirt - "He threatened our friend!" Hercules stood up and turned around, and the kids said, "Not you. It wasn't you." Hercules said yes, it was, and that he hadn't threatened him. He'd merely commented on his hiding behind a girl. And the kids immediately apologized, and shook Hercules' hand.
Huh? Hercules is not tall. He's not big, rather lightly built. He's a runner and cyclist. Why, when it was obvious they wanted to find this guy and beat him up, why did they back off so quickly and thoroughly?
Was it because Hercules is not Hispanic? Because he was not a teen? Because he was with two small women (that doesn't feel like the reason)?