Monday, November 17, 2014

Victim of the Modern Heart

Make the most of it, that was the plan.

So even though I'd walked a couple of miles this morning, by afternoon, I'd found a willing accomplice for another, more ambitious walk. After all, the polar vortex is coming.

Meaning, while it was 51 degrees today and the projection is for 69 tomorrow, we're also looking at a low of 28 degrees tomorrow night. I'm going to freeze my patootie off come my Wednesday trek.

But for today at least, the weather was brisk but bearable, so we set out on foot. Our first stop was at Perly's where we were told they were closed although it wasn't even 2:00 yet. No doubt they were running out of ingredients and patience by that point.

Hey, Perly's was on the way. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Never one to let denial stand in the way of a diverting afternoon, we continued on down Second Street, admiring the magnificent vista of the James at the top of Brown's Island Way. A young woman was coming up the hill, pushing her bike and puffing a bit, giving us the look (it sure is steep).

Crossing Brown's Island and greeted by gusts coming off the river as we walked beside it to the path leading down to the Pipeline Walkway, thrilled when the sun appeared and added its warmth to that of movement.

Then it was east along the Capital Trail (I shared my wish for a parallel raised walkway for pedestrians only under the train trestle) to Chapel Island to look at the remains of the Trigg Shipbuilding Company.

Besides the particular pleasure of being on an island, I was amazed at a photograph of the stadium-like structure once on the island that would've been drained so they could build the torpedo boats in it and then filled with water to launch them into the river. Brilliant 19th century technology.

Wandering back along Tobacco Row to admire the warehouses turned lofts and apartments (my favorites had narrow balconies on the first floor, created from the lip of the former loading dock), we wound our way over to Cary to see the recently-completed religious freedom sculpture erected in front of the new Marriott Hotel. It's a fitting replacement for the painted wall covered up by hotel construction that honored the site where the Virginia Assembly passed the Statute for Religious Freedom.

That's the kind of thing that matters to us heathens.

The good news on Main Street downtown is that finally (finally!) there are retail signs of weekend life down there. Subway had a sign on the door touting new Saturday hours and even the CVS recently began Saturday and Sunday hours. Hotel guests and downtown dwellers alike will fist bump in approval.

By the time I was back in J-Ward, we'd covered a 5 1/2 mile route, a worthy addition to my earlier couple of miles.

Although my morning oatmeal and fruit had carried me that far, I was ravenous by then. Coincidentally, my fellow walker had an itch to watch the Detroit game, so we drove to Gus' Bar and Grille, although at less than two miles away, it wouldn't have been much more of a walk. Kick-off, however, wouldn't allow it.

And while I (understand and) can watch football, I'd yet to dive into today's Washington Post, so I brought it along. Walking in to Gus', a guy in a Redskins jersey approaches us and leads us to a booth, "So it'll be easier for you to read your paper," he graciously says. It didn't hurt that there was a TV in the booth for the fan to watch.

Over 20 hot wings, I meandered through the kinds of stories I look forward to in the Sunday paper. A review of a new Peggy Lee bio (hadn't known she was the basis for Miss Piggy), where I learned she was a nutcase (and had four husbands).

An opinion piece about the use of the word "feminist," a subject near and dear to my heart (that will be an entire blog post one day soon). Touring whisky distilleries in Tasmania (traveling with someone originally labeled "ex-boyfriend" but by the end of the piece, "husband"...ah, the power of whisky). The new Elaine Sturtevant retrospective at MoMA (why it matters, why it doesn't).

A ridiculous two-month study showing that kids make better lunch selections in the school cafeteria if you reward them for healthy choices with stickers and fake tattoos (let's bribe their taste buds and reinforce the need for constant praising/rewarding). One-derful Records' recording of the Jackson 5's "Big Boy" and the subsequent unearthing of that master tape that pre-dates the Motown years.

In between sections, I kept an eye on Detroit's best field efforts on the mute screen, celebrating when they did something right and returning to the paper when they couldn't move the ball. Favorite player name: Golden Tate (did his parents know he was going to play football?).

Mostly I tried to ignore the very drunk trio of guys nearby high-fiving and lamenting being mid-40s and still single. Based on their corny, loud obnoxiousness and infantile humor, it was hardly surprising women weren't flocking to them.

My bowl of chili (I cook carrots in my chili so I'm always a little disappointed when no one else does) arrived with a plate of blue, red and yellow corn chips, so I scooped my sports-appropriate dinner out of a bowl with reds and blues as the clock ticked down and Detroit players put on their sad faces.

It's not whether you win or lose, boys. How about if we give you a sticker or a fake tattoo to make it feel all better?

If not, try Rose and some 1987-era Earth, Wind and Fire, say "Touch the World" and see if that doesn't send you over the moon.

Make the most of what you got, whatever it is. Right?

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