Thursday, October 2, 2014

War and Work

Productive, yes; social enough, not even close.

My brain woke me up at 5:15 so that I could have an hour-long conversation in my head with myself about something that's apparently been bothering me. Let's hope we worked that out so it doesn't happen again.

When I finally awoke, it was to a message from my favorite ex-cop inviting me to the river for crabs and a lesson on the sail-yak ("I'm pretty sure I could teach you in 30 minutes or less!") but, alas, my inbox also informed me I had all kinds of obligations rearing their heads, so I reluctantly declined.

My walk to the river brought me up Cherry Street, a route I hadn't walked before. A shame since it yielded a charming house hidden behind an overgrown archway with a fat cat sunning on the brick walkway, a profusely flowering rose garden oddly placed between the sidewalk and street and a gaggle of teen-aged girls who were lost and needed my guidance to Mama Zu.

Coming back through Monroe Park, my eye was caught by an installation, "Eyes Wide Open Virginia" coordinated by Quakers Richmond Friends Meeting.

Consisting of pairs of army boots, each labeled with the name and Virginia birthplace of a fallen soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq (some with small flags, pictures or flowers) and regular shoes representing slain civilians (the children's shoes a heartbreaking reminder of the cost of war), it was a moving tribute to victims of this endless-seeming war effort.

After lunch, an interview in Church Hill had me talking with two writers about the solitary life of a writer and how frequently this profession is made up of introverts, although clearly I am the exception to that rule. By the time I finish a solitary day, I want nothing so much as company, be it familiar or strangers.

Despite sunshine and 77 degrees outside, my afternoon was spent indoors gathering words from my head and shaping them into a coherent form on the monitor screen. I am a woman who understands a deadline.

Instead of my usual dinner plans, I turned the tables and played server for a dinner board meeting, trying to parlay the unobtrusive service skills that have been used on me so often on unsuspecting diners. No one seemed to recognize me for the inexperienced fake I was. But I consider myself a success because the one thing I know for certain is that they never lacked for water or wine .

Nor did I, afterwards enjoying a glass of Ixsir Altitudes Rose (from Lebanon, no less), with a lovely mess of mesclun under crabcakes, payback perhaps for the crabs I didn't get to crack at the river today. Not to mention that my sail-yaking skills are still non-existent.

Not long before my meal, a history nerd friend had told me about a real-time tour (5:45 a.m. Monday morning!) he'd taken at Fort Harrison, regaling me with details of what he'd learned as the group retraced the route of the Union soldiers who took the fort, beginning before daylight.

Intriguing as it sounded to this extroverted history geek, I know myself well enough to know that's one tour I'd never have agreed to attend.

My subconscious may be able to get me up at that ungodly hour, but that's about the only thing that could.


  1. ...the urban core, [downtown, fan, c.h.,oregon hill, west of boulevard, etc.] are full of those hidden house gems -- with their share, (i suppose) of fatcats. a walker you've noticed most can be appreciated only by foot... vehicular travel does not lend itself to thoughtful details & lingering observations.


  2. No, it doesn't and the further afield I go in my walks, the more fascinating things I stumble on!