The Public Air

I have a fine grandson named Lorenzo, and he and his mother and father came down to visit me. He brought his wonderful burnished helmet and beautiful, shiny aeroboard with him when they came. I felt very proud, and I thought at last I would be able to interest him in what I did professionally. We walked over to Daedalus Park, and I dare say he was suitably impressed and sputtered off, keeping clear of the couples on their hover-carpets and the small children in the Zero-G playspace.

As I was watching Lorenzo careen among the floating statuary and flora, a woman who can only be described as pinched approached me and told me I had to rein my grandson in.

Of all the planning I’ve done for this city, Daedalus Park is the one closest to my heart, having worked with the aeronetic engineers every step of the way, and pushed it through endless committees when everyone said I was mad. Now you see AeroSites all over, but I take no small amount of pride in stating that Daedalus Park was the first. And I do not remember any regulation such as this pinched woman mentioned, so I proceeded to ask her why I needed to bring the poor boy down to earth.

“Because he’s not allowed,” she told me, pointing. “He’s not allowed to do that.”

At this, I threw myself up to my full height, and, as the author of this entire project, loudly and in no uncertain terms, said, “By what right do you have to deny this young man the public air?”

Some people wilt when confronted with my full not-quite-six feet, especially when backed by my formidable baritone. This woman, however, was far too strengthened by the imaginary authority in her veins, and proceeded to argue with me—with increasing volume—exactly what could and could not be done in this park. So much so that Lorenzo came down from his whirligigs and whatever other complex maneuvers he does on that board of his, and said he didn’t have to use the park in that fashion.

The woman tilted her head in satisfaction at this, which burned me more than I believe anything in the conversation had yet. I informed both the woman and my wonderful grandson that if he no longer wished to use this public air in the fashion it was designed for, then I would.

Naturally, the moment I set foot on the aeroboard, I fell off. But I did not let that daunt me. I continued my ham-footed attempts until the woman, disgusted at my flagrant mockery of her pseudo-rules, left in a huff.

I am told by his father that Lorenzo enjoys telling this story almost as much as I do. Though I believe he focuses on different aspects.

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