Monday, January 10, 2011

Taking Yourself Out



After months of dust, noise, and human traffic, I decided to take myself out before hunkering down during the next cold wave.

First of all, I don’t go out of the house unless there is a reason. A morning ride, a trip to the grocery store, a deposit to the bank are the usual excuses, but today the main reason for leaving the security of four walls is to buy curtains.

I know, what a girlie thing to do. Curtains? What?? A guy can’t shop for curtains? I had even checked them out earlier so I knew what I wanted and where to find them.

Instead of riding through the chill, I decided to walk. Strapped on my winter boots, threw on the wool coat and wandered off into the sunshine.

On the way, I went over my “to-do” list in my head. One of the items was to check out the local gym, so I plot my path to cross that item off my list. A view of the new pool, the machines, showers and weights gave me the idea that $1 a day for health might be a good investment.

Moving on to the local home decoration center I got lost looking for the style I had agreed on in my mind. Slowly avoiding the carts and babies and other lost men, I found the selection was just right for my wants, yet I continued to look at kitchen items (even without a kitchen), adding a pair of knives to my cart.

Figuring I didn’t get out much, I decided to move to my other passion, electronics. Not needing or even wanting any new electrical item, I quickly cruised pass the iPods, phones, and flat-screen televisions when I was stopped by a Sony boom box. I had purchased one last month for the bedroom and had only used it once, so I only paused for a moment, then walked to the check out.

Now completely warmed up by the exercise and the hot store, I didn’t get fully covered for the weather, but decided to stop in a nearby bookstore. Again, not needing or wanting anything, I perused the aisles looking at the glossy pictures and covers designed to catch the eye. I hadn’t been in this particular store in over a year. These shelves lined my life with memories of a weekly wander and time to communicate and share time.

Preparing to head for home, I decided to take a different route and try out a new restaurant. Step-by-step up the familiar byway next to the hospital an abandoned school; a crowded lamp shop that interrupted my thoughts. My “to-do” list came back to mind, reminding me of the overhead lights in the bedrooms.

I wedged my way into the tiny shop filled with chandeliers, brass and glass dangling things, fireplace screens, shades all packed and stacked to form a fire hazard. The storekeeper was on the phone so I gazed at all the hoarded materials feeling cramped and overwhelmed. The lack of acknowledgment and the lengths of the conversation guaranteed I would not spend money here. Finally the shopkeeper broke off from his personal business and with an indignant attitude described how he could provide me with a custom-made glass shade I had described. He was more intent on telling me that his crowded shop specialized in providing antiques to the wealthy. I left with a badly designed brochure full of different fonts and typos yet feeling sad for his poor customer relations.

Onto the plastic covered patio, I gazed into the door of the reformatted grill and was surprised to see every booth was filled. With no real desire to eat on a drafty porch, I started to leave when a woman in a black t-shirt warmly welcomed me informing me there were more tables next door. The former redneck hole in the wall had expanded.

Resting my feet and removing my heavy coat, I took in the remodeling job. It wasn’t a fern bar, but it did capture more of the “west end” feel. Perhaps that is why it was full. The menu looked good with a variety of simple dishes and the tap had a nice selection. The young waitress took my request and appeared to be attentive to several tables, continuing to smile.

Examining the small bar, new tables, paint job and large television screens, it appeared this had become a regular spot in the neighborhood for the college and young professional crowd. Gone were the signs on the ceiling and the construction workers having their Buds for breakfast. The sandwich was well made and filling and though I couldn’t quiet see the televisions, I commented to the waitress that this might become a regular spot for me too.

Unfortunately, once home, I kept thinking about the Sony boom box, so I climbed on my trusty steed and wandered back, not wanting to lose out on a deal. This time, instead of just one, there were four boxes. I grabbed my prize to replace a fading and frustrating CD player and reveled in my adventures and treasures.

A full day of new adventures.

The next day was just as cold and blistery, but with the sun shining, I decided to take myself out again. Two days in a row of this wild behavior.

Instead of going west, I headed east. There was no particular destination, just wandering to see where I wound up. I thought about taking a stroll down Cary Street, but continued straight on to the Boulevard.
I had told myself I should visit the museum more often, so here I was. My coat grew heavy and the rooms were warm, but I took my time and enjoyed the company of Pablo and Maxfield and few others. Did anything inspire me? We’ll see.

After my restaurant excursion from the day before, I had used up my entertainment quota, yet I was getting tired from the walk and standing for several hours, so my better judgment told me I needed to nourish to revive my energy.

I walked by a deli owned by a friend but passed it up having already eaten greasy meat the day before. I tried to cross the street to explore an untried venue, but the traffic convinced me to continue onward.

A quick detour led me into a music shop to see if they carried any analog-to-digital interfaces (which they admittedly did not due to lacking technological knowledge), then another guitar shop to get the feel of a guitar I had wanted to play (which again was being played by an employee), so I left me empty handed and still hungry.

The corner pizza shop was full, so I pressed on. I was close enough to home, I could have waited, but I swung into an old haunt for a beer and lime, taco salad and conversation about a missing crossword puzzle in the newspaper.

Another day of surprises.

The next day, I tried a different path. The day’s goal on my "to-do" list was to check foundation vents at the local hardware store, but to get in a few miles before that decision need to be addressed.

I checked into another music shop that specializes in lessons, but has some guitars for sale. I had gone there shortly after they opened, but it was hot and I was sweaty and did not get a warm feeling from the management. I guess I wouldn’t want sweaty guys picking up my expensive guitars and getting them all wet either.


Charlie, an old friend from another guitar shop I frequent, and I started talking about local music, old songs, and different techniques. I made sure he and the disgruntled owner knew I was not purchasing today, but we had some laughs and tall tales.

When asked about an analog-to-digital interface, the quizzical looks told me this was not the place to discuss technology.

Arriving at the hardware store, I looked down several rows of metal objects all guaranteeing quick fixes to any problem. A helpful salesman showed me his selection and I left with a trial item and a ton of reminders of projects that lay ahead.

Again the goals were met and restful sleep came easy.

The next night, a friend of mine offered to transport me to yet another guitar shop while I continued my quest for the analog-to-digital interface (over a fee of sudsy liquid consumption ). While the guitar shop had a large selection of items, they did not have the one I was looking for. After resisting an offer to up grade to a similar item that cost more money but was in stock and seeing an old work buddy, my driver and I went back to the parking lot empty handed.

A nearby “Hooters” became the choice of nearby watering holes, and since I was a virgin to this establishment, I was apprehensive of the rumors. Did the girls there really look like the pictures passed around in the locker room? Inside it was warm wood and glass bar with wings, tots and pitchers. Not overly inviting, yet comfortable enough for a few laughs.

As usual, since I don’t go out much, I behaved badly or at least erratic to normal behavior. What the heck, there was no harm and she got a good tip.

So now the weather is getting colder and I’ve decided to hunker down this week. I’ve stocked up on necessaries and surrounded myself with in-door projects, but it was fun to just take a walk to nowhere in particular and have the time to enjoy it.

Oh, and the analog-to-digital interface?
I ordered it online. I should be here tomorrow.

1 comment:

Rus Wornom said...

Hooters was great, seeing as how it was your first time, and we taught Brittany some Smorglisch. But I feel that fools and fortune may soon be aligning (even tho I could be wrong, and I would definitely be the Fool). Nevertheless, no debts will ever be forgotten, nor unpaid, by this Fool.