Sometimes there are about a dozen things I want to tell you, but none of them are worthy of their own blog posts, so they sit in my head, gathering lint and fraternizing with their fellow baby ideas in there. The only way to fix this, since none of them can seem to develop into full-grown ideas, is to pile them all together and write you a chatty missive, seeing where the tide takes us. So here we go.
First off, isn’t my little town just lovely? I take long walks nearly as often as I can fit them in, and I’m still not tired of seeing its streets cloaked in the evening light. The first genuinely chilly days have FINALLy come, and I can scarcely keep from abandoning my career and responsibilities and heading off to play hooky in the thrilling outdoors which is just calling me. The fall wind has this stirring quality that nothing else quite compares to. The rustle of a night breeze in a drying treetop is like the siren’s call to me- it makes me want to GO somewhere and DO something! But alas, I must stuff my ears with cotton and lash myself to the mast of my ship, only taking brief weekend excursions led by the fall wind.
In fact, I’m taking quite a lot of weekend excursions this fall. DC, Philly, NYC, the cities pile up and while I’m awfully excited for each trip individually, I’m a bit aghast at how my upcoming months have been swallowed up and had the minutia planned right out of them. Oh well, what is life for if not for living? I think what I dislike most about being this busy is feeling always and forever pressed and constrained by time. No matter if I have three free evenings in a row, I’m still spending them thinking about all the other things I should pack into them instead of staying at home and eating cold cereal and reading a book. You know? As Sheldon Vanauken so aptly put it, “Not only are we harried by time, we seem unable, despite a thousand generations, even to get used to it. We are always amazed at it–how fast it goes, how slowly it goes, how much of it is gone. Where, we cry, has the time gone? We aren’t adapted to it, not at home in it. If that is so, it may appear as a proof, or at least a powerful suggestion, that eternity exists and is our home.” It’s my mental anchor- the fact that someday in Heaven there will be Enough Time For Everything.
Speaking of spending my evenings reading- I recently finished my book list for the year. (!!!) One of my New Year’s resolutions was to either read or get rid of every book I own that I hadn’t read yet, excepting a few reference-type books, and a wee French one. The stack was high and mighty, as you can see above, because apparently I have a book buying problem, but I finally finished it a few weeks ago, and now on to the new ones I bought meanwhile and was waiting on all this time. Tim Keller and Malcolm Gladwell coming right up. Also, I love rereading books- I have a few I neeeed to read about once a year- and I’ve missed them while working on my stack of new ones! So, Chronicles of Narnia and Daddy-Long-Legs also coming right up!
What else has life lately consisted of? Well for one, so much good food. I’ve been branching out on my cooking which is such fun, trying out the Bon Appetit recipes as you know, and of course National Taco Day had to be celebrated (tacos are my thing, after all). With a roomie who is also an amazing cook, it’s a wonder we don’t both have to be rolled down the sidewalk by now, but maybe those long and frequent walks are our salvation. But my favorite foodie thing right now is to pop across the road during my lunch break to the shop with the most authentic Mexican tacos in the area. I order a plateful takeout, then slip under the hedge with them to the little graveyard next door for my hour off. Eating lunch in a graveyard may sound macabre to you, but don’t judge it till you’ve tried it. It’s incredibly peaceful, especially since the residents don’t try to make small talk with you while you eat. Besides, tacos.
Shall I tell you about the most bizarre weekend I’ve had all year? Recently I went to Charlotte for an evening with a few friends. I was merrily driving along on my way there when on the other side of the very busy highway, I saw a mattress sailing high through the air, frozen in time. Of course, by the time I saw it, I was already nearly past it, and so I still don’t know if it caused accidents, if anyone was hurt, or what happened with it. Of all the things you don’t expect to see flying down an interstate… I got to Charlotte without further incident, and we had a jolly evening of tacos (all paths lead to tacos), salted caramel brownies, and running through fountains. As we were sipping our hot beverages at Amelie’s, the strangest people began trickling in. Pretty soon a couple tables near us were filled with people in crazy costumes, pictured above. It was the oddest thing, and I could scarcely remember my manners and quit staring. But wait, this is just the beginning.
Our lattes finished, we decided to take the light rail back to our parked car, which was a good distance away. We meandered along, and through a series of almost-happenings, ended up at a train station all by ourselves. We just missed the first train while buying tickets, the second one that came along was out of service, and we were waiting for the third one when we heard someone yelling. Of course, one doesn’t give yelling in a big city much thought, but this kept on going, and finally we looked about a bit to source the sound. Suddenly to our horror, we spotted a girl across the tracks, hanging to the outside of a balcony seven storeys up. Or rather, she was trying her best to jump, and a guy inside the railing was hanging on to her for dear life. “I love you, I love you!” he yelled. “Don’t do this! I love you!” We watched, frozen, as the two struggled for life and death. I called the cops, and spent agonizing minutes giving them my info and trying to figure out exactly where we were, as the yelling and struggle continued. Finally, with a wrench, the man pulled the woman inside the balcony, and she ran through the door and disappeared. He yelled down at us, “I only told her it was over between us, that’s all I did, I swear!” At last the cops showed up, and we gave them what info we could, and they disappeared into the apartment building. We were left alone and slightly shaken, wondering if that really just happened. In a short minute, our train arrived and we crowded into the brightly lit car with the crowds of oblivious people, and left the story hanging. What happened to her? Could he even sleep at all that night? Did she try to find another place to jump? Did the cops find her? I’ll never know.
The rest of the weekend continued normally enough- well, as normally as it can after seeing someone try to take their own life- and I was heading home from my Sunday pizza lunch when I saw a car stopped beside the highway. Beside it were two people, one of whom appeared to be pounding the other one on the back as if he was choking. By the time it registered in my brain, I was too far past to stop, and now I’m also wondering about that guy; was he ok?
So many close calls with other people’s peril, and no endings to the stories. It left me feeling rawther unsettled, but I’m not gonna lie, it was a pretty interesting weekend, in a macabre kind of way.
Well, I suppose that’s enough chit chat for one day. Thanks for reading, as always, and I’ll talk to you next week.