Monday, July 22, 2013


Early this week, commutergirl and I returned from a trip to Idaho, visiting family.  Having been gone for several days, we were now rather out of food.  We weren't going to starve that night, but there were a few things I wanted to pick up at the grocery store that night, particularly milk for my cereal the next morning.

So I took off along 45th South, where the nearest grocery store is.  When I say "I took off," I mean walking, since I had already missed the last 45 of the night in both directions.  It was 8:20 P.M.

I was reminded of what a difference three-fourths of a mile can make.  39th South is a pedestrian wonderland compared to 45th.  While there was sidewalk the whole way (on 45th, not getting to 45th from my apartment), it was under construction in three separate places, without any warning, without any detour, without any hope of getting around it other than walking in the mud and grass.  So what? you say.  Imagine if you were calmly driving to the grocery store, and suddenly, without warning, the road was closed, and you had to drive on the grass by the side of the road to get around the construction.  Now imagine that happened to you three times.  In five blocks.

Now imagine that your car doesn't have a roof, and then it started raining.  It started when I was about halfway to the store.  Fortunately I had brought my big umbrella with me, and MOST of the trees on 45th were pruned to a suitable height to allow me to pass under them with my big umbrella.

I did eventually make it to the store, and I walked all around it with my big umbrella, picking up things here and there.  At one point I had to bend over, push the umbrella into the floor with my chin, and reach upward for the milk.  It took a couple of tries.  I'm sure I was quite a sight--it would have made a great picture, except that both my hands and my chin were already taken.

I made it through the checkout line one-handed (not as easy as you might think) and back out onto the street with my big umbrella open for business, as it was still raining.  But I now walked confidently down the sidewalk, knowing where all the potential impediments to my journey now lay.

Or so I thought.  When I got to about 600 East, I realized that the little business park there had the sprinklers on full blast, covering the whole sidewalk.  Now, you say, surely the sidewalk was already wet from the rain!  Well, yes; yes it was.  But I didn't really care for the experience of walking on a sidewalk where water was coming at me from above AND from the side.  I did what any normal person would do: I took off through the business park.

I passed various shadowy doctor's offices (the offices were shadowy; I offer no value judgement about the doctors here), as well as a room where a bridge tournament was apparently going on; then, after what I judged a sufficient distance to clear the sprinklers, I cleared them, and continued on my way home.  All in all, it had been a good night: just ridiculous enough to keep me interested.

And you better believe I enjoyed my milk and cereal the next morning.