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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Two Mornings, a Study in Contrast

On my morning commute, yesterday, things went bad. It started at what is called, locally, the Fifth Avenue curve. A gentle sweeping arc that sends you from a warming southern drive seeming soft and kind casual and kind to a more western orientation looking at the tall buildings of business gone mad. Things get serious. You can almost hear the crackle and pop of an interspace communication. “Red Leader, assume attack formation.” Everything seems to start on the curve.

Yesterday, after passing 5th Avenue things slowed down. Slowed to a crawl. A crawl broken by stretches of a complete stop. Eventually, I made it past Leonard Avenue, the first exit west of 5th Avenue. A police car came screaming up the east bound freeway, crossed on the overpass and went accelerating down the westbound lanes. I could hear the roar of the engine over my music,  Summer in the City by the Lovin’ Spoonful. Which is one of my favorites, so it was kind of loud. I knew it was bad, then.

And it was. There was a horrible accident, multiple cars, multiple injuries. I didn’t know how bad it was, but it was obviously so bad my first thought was a silent prayer. Not the usual disgust for people who have to drive carelessly and wreck, ruining my commute. In fact it was so bad they closed the freeway, and I was forced to exit and wind my way through the downtown streets crowded with frustrated, detoured commuters.

The sun came up. It was weak, hidden with dark clouds. There was no rain in the forecast and none in the clouds. But, they were dark, ominous, heavy with something. Anger, sadness? Maybe they wanted to shed a few tears for the poor souls. Nothing more painful than impotent sorrow. It was a very uncomfortable morning. And, I have never been so glad when morning ended and the skies finally gave a little break. I know, occasionally, I see things for more than they are, and I am sure this was one of those times. It doesn’t take much imagination to make the connection, though.

I looked online and it doesn’t seem as if anybody was killed. But, once the traffic is cleared it doesn’t seem to be news anymore. Though, I imagine those involved would feel differently. 

This morning, though, I am comfortable, alone, with a cup of coffee, an iPad and my thoughts. I am mapping out the Nancy/Tim Casino Extravaganza. We are stopping at Jungle Jims, in Fairfield, the Party Barn in Louisville and a used bookstore in Dayton.  We may have to stop at Jungle Jims and the book store both ways.

I love used books. For one thing they are cheaper. More important, though, it is sharing a treasure with someone, somebody you don’t even know. In a way you have both lived somebody else’s life. Enter stage left, a new character, three people. Maybe several people owned and read the book.  It is a whole village, really. All sharing a story. I know people who only like new books, hard cover, fresh from the factory books. I like books with character, lived in books, loved books, hated books, books that have been around the block. Like me.

I have two books I have been looking for. It is a quest. I could buy them off Amazon, or Barnes and Noble but where is the thrill in that? They have become my grail. I am almost afraid I will find them. What then? There is always another foolish adventure, another pointless chase through aisles filled with the forgotten relics of modern life. It might be a book, it could be a Bluetooth keyboard for an iPhone, possibly a coffee cup with a particular companies logo. But, it is out there and I will find it, or at least look for it. 

So, next week we are off to spend a couple of days in a casino. Not really in the casino, but in a room in the same building as the casino. We will go hiking through a state park. And, hike through the casino as well. We might even drop some coin on a game or two. Why not? And we will hike through the grocery store, and the used book store. You have to stay active, right? We love to hike. 

And, I will hope the people in the awful wreck yesterday are ok. But, I probably won’t know. And I guess I can live with that, too.


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  2. Fingers crossed those people are okay Tim. And all the best on your quest for books :)