17 April 2001

"Spring is sprung, the grass is riz... I wonder where the birdies iz?"
    - anonymous

According to that esteemed Missourian, Thomas Stearns Eliot, April is the cruelest month. I believe him.

I decided to take the long way to and from the Library today, given I've been cooped up in the house for the last three days, trying to meet a writing deadline. And yes, there are projects in my queue other than meeting the daily dosage for this blog. The sun was sort of shining, and while it's not warm enough for short sleeves yet, at least I didn't have to wear a winter coat to bear the walk from the house to the car in the driveway. I piled all my overdue books into my trust black bag, donned a jacket, and off I went, hoping I'd get a glimpse of the neighborhood rousing itself from the winter doldrums, readying for flowers and the smell of fresh-mown grass.

Boy, was I ever in the wrong place mentally. Simply stated, the town's a mess.

Left-over sand from the snow trucks lined the gutters and driveways, making the streets unsafe for skaters, bicyclists, and motorcycles (not that there were any of these around, but if they'd been out, it would have been skinned knees and elbows for the lot of them).

The grass hasn't really begun growing yet, so the lawns all look sickly and jaundiced, with bare, sunken patches of dirt and leaves dotting the landscape. Not a flower to be seen anywhere, even though we got crocuses and jonquills this week. It all looked nasty, old, and grubby.

The roads are also chock full of ruts, frost heaves, and pot holes. So much so, that motorists weave in and out of traffic lines like drunken sailors on shore leave, trying to evade the deeper holes, causing consternation among the many nannies and au pairs out parading their employers' little darlings along the sidewalks in strollers. I'm sure it's hard for them to tell at a glance whether the two-ton SUV aimed at the pram will actually swerve back toward the street before it reaches them. My nerves were shot by the time I reached the Library, and I wasn't even walking.

The place was jam-packed with men, women, and teenagers all seeking something -- escape from terminal boredom? Information? Truth? I couldn't tell, because nobody was talking as they scanned the volumes, peering anxiously around to see if they'd lost the chance to borrow something entertaining, or interesting. I dallied a bit, not too keen on getting back out into the traffic right away.

Standing in line at the check-out desk, I overheard a little boy who had obviously been unimpressed with his outing to the Library ask his mother, "Can we get out of this place?" His mother asked if he'd like to wait for her outside the front door. He answered, "I'm not going out there anymore -- this whole town is yucky, Mommy! Can we move?"

She still hadn't answered his question by the time I left. But he was definitely on to something, and he was absolutely right, too. This whole town is yucky.

Excuse me. I think I need to call my mother.


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