Tuesday, November 07, 2006

travels with coffee

With a few errands to run downtown, I enjoyed a leisurely walkabout on what turned out to be a gorgeous Indian summer afternoon. As I made my way toward the summit of the Lead Street bridge over the railroad tracks, I noticed a small “to go” cup from the Frontier Restaurant next to the fence, seemingly trying to look over the edge to check out the Rail Runner trains several tens of feet below.

I think it’s funny how weird or unexpected items can make you think of stuff completely unrelated. Pondering the potential travels of this Styrofoam manuport reminded me of a film we were shown in grade school about this boy who carved a manned canoe out of a chunk of wood, named it “Paddle-to-the-Sea,” then took it outside and placed it in a snow bank. I know, already it is crazy. At any rate, spring arrived and the snow began to melt. Eventually, the canoe slid into a tiny stream of melt off water and began this incredible journey toward the open sea.

I won’t tell you how that journey ends, just in case you want to see the movie for yourself, or read the book. I continued to think about the movie while I walked around the city, taking a break to check out the progress of the ongoing construction project at the southeast corner of Lead and 2nd (near the El Madrid Lounge).

I always enjoy walking past St. John’s (Episcopal) Cathedral at the corner of Silver and 5th. Although I’ve never ventured inside the structure, the outside is very interesting. From there I walked to the PNM office to drop off payment for electrical goods and services. Sure, I could have dropped a check in the mail, but I figure why pay someone 39 cents to deliver an envelope (or not) that I could just as easily deliver myself. True, the water fountain outside PNM always makes me feel like I have to take a leak no matter how prepared I am.

I continued down Silver, hanging a “roger” after the delicious smells of the hot dog vendor began to fade, and shuffling up 6th Street past the post office where screams of “Use your turn signal” (directed at someone other than me) filled the air.

Pausing to read the billboards advertising coming attractions at the KiMo Theater, images of unspeakable things the cooks might have been doing to otherwise normal food in Lindy’s began creeping into my brain and forced me to flee.

Upon reaching the intersection of 6th and Copper, I was stunned by the complete lack of any signs of construction at the main library. Either the project has been completed, or someone has stolen all the fences, signs, materials, and workers. Either way, I made a mental note to pass this way again in the near future.

A quick pop in at the bank on the corner of 6th and Marquette to see what interesting things they are doing with money these days. I really like the new $10 bills! So much, in fact, that I am willing to trade two of my critically acclaimed archaeology coloring books for a single one.

I was astonished to discover that Compass Bank requires non-customers to leave a fingerprint if cashing a check issued by them, in addition to a $5 fee. I was even more surprised to witness someone agree to those terms. Perhaps I am too easily entertained.

After conducting my business, I left the bank via the rear exit- not so much in an attempt to cornfuse the security guard, but in keeping with my long-standing policy to refrain from retracing my steps whenever possible. By this time, the increasing afternoon shadows forced me to stroll through the wifi-friendly plaza area- possibly the best location to find sunshine in the downtown area at almost any time of day (excepting, of course, at night).

From there I continued through the shady 4th Street Plaza where school children gather to frolic amongst the city’s homeless as if playing in piles of autumn leaves. One hopes that the kids won’t start a fire with one of their carelessly discarded cigarette butts amongst all the dead wood.

Emerging from the cultural breezeway, I turned to the east and began walking along Central Avenue towards home. The blog-worthy sights and sounds encountered within the historic Route 66 corridor are so many that a person would have to sit on a bench all day EVERY day to even make a stab at recording them all. Actually, ONE does, but it isn’t me. Besides, that story is of a journey of an altogether different nature.

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