Friday, May 6, 2022

Takin' a Walk

Takin' a walk... a post of two halves... or something like that. When Hump Day rolls around each week i know of two things for certain. One... i will not be humped and two, the longest 4-7 hours of the week lay ahead of me. Most Hump Days (Wednesdays for the uninitiated) i start the day with a long pull off the vape pen, usually followed by the obligatory weed pill, then usually followed by any number of hits from the weed pen depending on how much time i estimate i'll be on the clock pushing the cart in the aisles of commerce. The Breadwinner is never more at home or happy than when sashaying down the aisles of some big box behemoth and pondering all the shit to buy. 

Of course we all must make life bearable so on certain days i'll broach a subject in order to say, have a normal kind of conversation between housemates... but i've always been the foolish sort and so when i did this the other day the topic of conversation that i brought up was roundly shit upon by the Breadwinner damn near before the last little syllable left my mouth. A giant heaping shit that left no doubt in anyone's mind that this is not what the Breadwinner wanted to talk about and hence after shitting all over it some more and then flinging some shit towards me for being the silly idiot who dared to try and have a normal topic of conversation not chosen by the Breadwinner. And so it was around this point, as the shit was being flung, that i already mentally checked out. The BW then went on with her usual diatribe of pissing and moaning about her job, a tale i've heard ad nauseum for years, a tale which never changes, a tale which if the tables were turned and i told it repeatedly would be met with the curt, "you already told me this" or "yes, i know, you've only said it a hundred times" or some other such lovely barb.  The mental checkout was damn near record time this week as it only took me less than three minutes to go on full auto-pilot, to drive the car or push the cart or pump the gas, all while admiring the sky, all while daydreaming about various bits of information or memories that float through my head. It's the whole be here now principle taken to a further extreme and so while i'm ever present in the suffering of where i'm at and what i'm doing i'm also happily somewhere else all while still being right where i am... if that makes sense. 

One could say i have a rich and vibrant inner dialogue... i like to make up stories, i like to write in my head especially as it's easier than sitting down and actually banging it out and because i'm nothing if not the world's laziest bastard... of course there is the fact that sometimes i can't exactly be banging away at the keys if i'm in charge of pushing the cart a few steps behind the boss and i'll have to admit that while walking through the aisles i'll get these little nuggets of ideas, i'll ponder the seeds of the next post, the next installment of the Wilderness years, work out the timeline to make sure i have it right, make sure i have an idea of what i want to get into said post so the whole exercise isn't a complete wash... and let us not forget the free lunch. 

Walking has always done wonders for the mind, kicking ideas into my head, ideas that start in my head one way and end up completely different by the time i get it down here... but shit's gotta start somewhere... in the halcyon days of the lounge, circa say? 2010? i lived in the city and would walk to the coffee shop each night, ostensibly to help the drugs kick in and to get one of those delicious milk steamers to keep me even. The burbs aren't as conducive to walking about, nothing to look at but houses and too many neighbors wanting to be neighborly. Alas though all is not lost in the walking department as i still get to take some lovely strolls through a different part of the city these days. 

Being the chauffeur i spend a lot of time in my car at various practices. With the back still being a bit shit (but on the mend) i try not to sit in the car the whole time and these days the I-mac has been practicing at Highmark Stadium at Station Square which gives me the opportunity to take a fine walk and gaze at the city, the surroundings, and the beautiful Monongahela River... or the Mon as we locals call it and one of the few rivers in the world that run south to north. It's a great walk with the city skyline right across the river. There are restaurants i gaze into and study the patrons, gauge their happiness, their loneliness, their drunkenness, see how they interact
with their fellow tablemates, are they laughing, smiling, talking, silent, all these things observed and documented in the head of this wandering voyeur. 

My favorite part of these walks is where i turn around and walk back. In the never-ending quest to gentrify certain areas the powers that be have built a complex of swanky apartments called the Glasshouse. I like to stroll by the place and watch the goings on, the people moving about, the flickering of televisions or the glow of computer screens, the dogs on the balconies, the neon lights in some apartments, the outdoor lights strung across bannisters. They really are beautiful buildings and as i walk by i wonder what it's like for the people who live there, i wonder what they do to afford such places that run anywhere from $1600 a month for the one bedroom junior apt. all the way to $4200 a month for the two bedroom deluxe edition (yes i looked up rent out of curiosity). I daydream about what it's like to live there, what it would be like to gazing out at the city, about how immaculate they look from the street... and then of course there is my favorite bit...

Often times on these walks i allow myself the guilty pleasure of a fantasy... wandering about to this point, about ten or fifteen minutes into my journey, it took me by surprise one day as i looked at these places to suddenly be daydreaming about living there... with Veronica... a daydream that brought a melancholy smile to my face with the impractical thoughts of things like... but how would we afford it? As anyone who reads the lounge knows gainful and lucrative employment is not my strong suit, yes i was a master at slinging weed but even that game isn't what it used to be with the advent of legal rec. and medical cannabis. I wonder how we would manage though that's a strange thought to be worried about money in a daydream and then i go back to the less practical side and image us lounging around the place, listening to music, maybe having a drink, sharing a spliff, i imagine the way she'd look at me and me at her and it would be pleasant and peaceful and happy. Yes you can tell a lot about someone from their daydreams i surmise. I look forward to this part of the walk each time i take it as i pick up that daydream every time i stroll by. I wonder which place we'd like best, the top floor? a corner unit? pipe dreams really but they provide a certain sustenance to the solitary daydreamer. And then i turn around and walk by them again to start my walk back....

At the end of the row of buildings i make a left and wander back through the heart of Station Square, an old rail station now turned into offices and dining, a hotel, and of course at the very end of it the stadium. In the distance the stadium lights glow like some alien vessel and i make my way back. The place is not nearly as bustling as it used to be pre-pandemic, granted most of the time these walks are taking place around 8:30 or 9 at night and the offices are empty and the restaurants are slowing down. I look across the river at the city skyline, i watch trains go by on the tracks next to the walkway, i watch barges pushing coal and slag down the Mon and toward the Ohio River, i listen to the sound of traffic from the various bridges and highways leading into the city, criss-crossing the rivers in every direction. I stroll and take it all in, alone in the middle of it all... and then i walk back and sneak peaks at the I-mac as he practices before heading back to the car to read or listen to music... and in that solitude and that walk i'm reminded that the world is a beautiful place... even when it's not...

1 comment:

looby said...

Yes I don't blame anyone for shortening the name of that river :) Thanks for showing us round!