“One who knows the Mississippi will promptly aver—not aloud, but to himself—that ten thousand River Commissions, with the mines of the world at their back, cannot tame that lawless stream, cannot curb it or confine it, cannot say to it, Go here, or Go there, and make it obey; cannot save a shore which it has sentenced; cannot bar its path with an obstruction which it will not tear down, dance over, and laugh at.”
― Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi
One problem when the kids are home from school is that we do not have enough cars. It’s especially a problem on the days that Candy, Lee, and I are all working – there simply are not enough vehicles to get all of us to our places of gainful employment. That means I end up taking the train and the bus.
The other day was cold and wet. It rained hard most of the day but by the time I was able to leave work it was only a light mist. Then I discovered I had screwed up. I didn’t have any cash. I can buy a train ticket with my credit card but when I arrived at the Arapaho station I didn’t have any change for the bus… plus, when I checked the schedule, it would be over an hour before a bus arrived.
So I decided to hoof it. It’s about two and a half miles from the station to my house… not very far under ideal conditions, but it was dark, cold, muddy, and I was worn out from a day at work. Still, I gathered myself and strode confidently across the parking lot into the darkness.
Most of the distance between the Arapaho station and my neighborhood is made of of light industrial buildings. These are gridded out streets lined with rows of small offices, warehouses, small companies leasing space in industrial parks, and a few larger establishments with parking lots and multi-story buildings.
It’s actually sort of interesting stuff to walk through. Everyone sees these places from their car – but it is rare to take the time to see them slowly and up close.
I’m fascinated by the hundreds of mysterious names of these companies – it’s the poor suburb of the nearby high-tech telecom corridor – Greenfield, Polytronix, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Pizarro, Exteris… along with some more mundane small businesses – The Jalepeno Ketchup Company, Cameron Machine Shop, Granite World. I like to walk along and look at those signs, think about the work that goes on within, imagine what it would be like to start up one of these.
Of course, there are quite a few FOR LEASE signs too. I walked up to a couple of these and peered into the darkness as best as I could, looked at the layout posters taped to the front doors, and imagined what I could do with the space. I couldn’t come up with anything concrete.
There were very few other people out and about in this awful weather and prematurely darkened night. One woman working late scurried by on the way to her car, obviously skittered at seeing me walking along unexpectedly. One odd guy cruised by slowly and unevenly on a bicycle – either drunk or worn out or both.
Before I knew it I was at the park at the end of my block and almost home. It went by very quickly and I wasn’t as tired as I thought I was.
Maybe I should do this walk more often. Maybe when the weather isn’t so nasty.