Excursion 32, Part 1 (Mosaic of the Past)

I have such an odd memory.  I remember things that I read or write extremely well, and I have a historian’s command of the irrelevant detail.  But when it comes to my personal life, my memory is such an odd jumble.  I can’t really compare it with someone else’s memory, of course, having experienced only my own, but it is so fragmentary, so impressionistic.  My oldest memories are all just a few seconds long, if that:  my mother outside the house trying to use a broom to keep water from the basement, rolling a Hot Wheel down a table (I don’t know if our house was completely level), pedaling a Big-Wheel-like contraption around my grandmother’s store/house, seeing something weird (a bat?) flying around in my bedroom, being in the back seat of our car when my parents spelled the word “i-c-e-c-r-e-a-m.”  Things like that.  Concrete or sequential memories are much rarer.  I do remember one, perhaps because I learned a lesson.  I remember watching “I Love Lucy” on television, then us turning off the tv and going somewhere.  When I got back, I turned the tv on to finish watching “I Love Lucy” only to discover some other program was on.  That was when I discovered that when you turned the tv set off, tv programs kept going.  Well, they used to, my young on-demand, streaming darlings, they used to.

That is what you might expect for memories of someone 3-4 years old, but the thing is, that is the way all my memories are.  That is the way my high school memories are—momentary, fragmentary, mixed up.  That is the way my college memories are.  Oh, I remember more things, but what is amazing to me is how much I have not remembered—whereas I can tell you with certainly the most obscure details about World War II, something I never came close to experiencing.  In some respects I know more about the world I did not live in than the world I lived in.  That’s reality giving me an atomic wedgie, that is. Continue reading

Excursion 4, Part 3 (Urnhenge)

In which our intrepid hero revisits Zanesville, glorious Zanesville…

Population is an odd thing.  In Ohio, the population has been stagnant for some time.  There is a small net outflow of population, just barely compensated for by births.  But within the state, population is far from stagnant.  There is an outflow of people, often quite large, from every one of Ohio’s major cities save one (Columbus).  There is also often an outflow from inner-ring suburbs.  Where are they going?  Basically to further suburbs.  Ohio’s small cities and large towns are experiencing equally bad declines, with some having lost half their populations since World War II.  Zanesville, Ohio, along U.S. 40/I-70 an hour east of Columbus, is one such town.  Where did all those people go?  I haven’t been able to find out.

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Excursion 3, Part 1 (Yo Llama)

In which our intrepid hero llooks at llamas…

There are different types of driving and the way you feel with each type is very different.  For example, one type of driving is Getaway Driving.  Now, this is a type of driving with which I luckily have no experience, but I assume it is very distinct.  Mostly, we experience Driving from Here to There; that’s what we are familiar with.  It can make you anxious or relaxed, depending on the circumstances.  What I’ve discovered is that my excursions produce a very different set of feelings than Driving from Here to There.  First, because you do not have a final destination, you never feel, not even at the beginning, any particular sense of urgency.  There is no end goal; the drive itself is one of the desired results.   Moreover, the drive takes on a different intensity, because the environment I am in matters more.  I am not simply alert so that I do not run into another car or off the side of the road.  I am actively scanning my surroundings—looking for something interesting to photograph.  So I drive leisurely but very intently.  It is a good feeling, but it is definitely not the sort of zen state that you can reach while Driving from Here to There, where the middle doesn’t matter very much.

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