When a Puddle Is More Than Just a Puddle. Or Is It?

I often wonder about strange things, usually in a quick succession of questions. As the flow chart unravels itself in my mind, I consider how it is that I think about such weird things. And I wonder if anyone else wonders about these things. I generally conclude that’s it’s highly unlikely anyone else could possibly have such bizarre thought processes, at least not in the same minute detail that I do. I tried to explain this concern to a friend, who asked for an example. Here’s what I told her:

There’s this very large puddle on a city corner across the street from The San Francisco Chronicle (where I worked as a writer/editor/project manager when I wrote this).

I pass this puddle rather frequently. Not daily, but frequently. And every time I pass by, there it is. The puddle is there during the rainy season, as expected, but the puddle is also there during the summer, when there is much less rain. I should clarify here that I live in San Francisco and so there is really not all that much rain. This, I guess, is part of the reason that the puddle interests me. It seems to survive despite no clear source. First let me tell you that this is not the sort of puddle you would want to splash around in. On the contrary, this is the sort of stagnant water that you might consider crossing the street just so that you don’t have to risk the smell of it infecting your nasal passages. Or G-d forbid, that you should fall into it for any reason.

Anyway, I get to thinking about this puddle and I wonder…

How did the puddle get there? What makes the puddle so large? Why is it so smelly? And such an odd color? What went into? What feeds it? I want to know the source of it, what is the root cause. It is too dirty looking to be just rain and some general street dirt. Plus, there really isn’t enough rain. I don’t see any obvious drainage from pipes. And wouldn’t that be illegal anyway. Has anyone ever inquired about this puddle to some public health official? Does anyone ever walk through it? Or does everyone, myself included, always walk around it? I wonder what it smells like? Worse, what would it taste like? And would it make you sick if you tasted it? What if you were dying of dehydration? Then, would it behoove you to drink from this strange street puddle?

And the random string of thoughts continue. Why? What? Who? Like rapid fire, the morsels of fragmented thought zing through my brain like they’re late to get somewhere important.

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