Freewriting Friday with Tama Kieves

Freewriting Friday with Tama  7/7/06

Something someone said or a scene I saw.

On my way in today, I missed the turn on Lincoln Street, which I’ve done a few times before. I forget that it’s the first street. So, I continued down Mexico, looking left and right, straining to read street signs.

At the same time, I had this feeling all the way down here that I was in Texas. I know that’s odd, but I’m from Texas. I was traveling down Hwy 287 from Lafayette part of the way. The air is more humid this week than usual for Colorado. All week I’ve been thinking, “Didn’t I move out of Texas?”  Apparently, not far enough. But that’s about to change. And I find that I’m frightened for no apparent reason. I mean, yes, I’m going to board an airplane and fly across the Atlantic Ocean, something I’ve never done before. But hundreds of thousands of others have. Why should I have difficulty with that? I don’t know.

One Tuesday night a few weeks ago, as I was going to sleep, I suddenly had the uninvited thought, “What if my mother dies while I’m in Ireland?” Oh God. Well, she knows I don’t go to funerals, but what if? I don’t know. I cried for about half an hour, thought about it and eventually turned over and went to sleep. It’s the clearest fear I’ve had about the trip.

So, as I’m driving down Mexico looking at street signs, I pass an elderly man walking. He looks like he’s lived here forever, so I figure that I’ll turn around and ask him in which direction Lincoln is. Surely, he’ll know! So, as I stop in the middle of the street, and greet him through my open passenger window, he smiles really big at me, as if I’m some long lost friend. Maybe he feels that way. Maybe he knows that he can no longer remember everybody he’s met, so he makes it a practice to be friendly until he has a clue who this person is. Still, he was genuinely smiling and gracious. I ask if he knows which direction Lincoln St. is. He says things like, “good morning” and “thank you.” And finally, after I repeat the question a couple of times, he admits that he cannot hear me so well. A car is approaching behind me, so I thank him, he thanks me, and we wave goodbye.

Of course, Lincoln St is right where it’s always been and I find it on the way back. Washington Park is a black hole to me. My opthamologist is down here, too. I always feel lost looking for a place down here. I don’t know why.

I park across from Tama’s house, in the shade, thanking my stars for that, since this poor $10 car had no air conditioning. (Thank you, Lauren, for the free car!) I realize it’s barely 9:30 and there’s no way that I’m going in early. She has seemed to have appointments prior to our meetings in the past, and there is no reason I should ask her to begin her day early. She’s probably enjoying her coffee or something.

Coffee. Okay. I wonder if I can find Wild Oats from here. It can’t be far. The Washington exit from I-25 was closed, so I gave up on the idea of stopping on the way down. But it should be close. I call out the window to one of Tama’s neighbors as she’s getting into her car, ask if there’s a coffee shop nearby. She tells me Safeway has a Starbucks. Not what I had in mind.

Finally, I remember that I have 3 or 4 maps in the car door slot, including the plastic one of Denver. Right. Maps. Oh yeah.  I’m still not used to having a car again, and I have a little trouble really considering it mine somehow. If you handed me $1,000,000 I would walk out the door and buy another green Subaru Forester. Oh, maybe a WRX, also, if I had that much money, but definitely the Forester. I greet every single one I see on the street like an old friend and silently invite it back into my life. “You will be mine again someday,” I think.

So, I stare at the map for about 10 minutes, way too long, to find Washington St. It has to cross I-25, so I look along I-25 for a sign of it. Unfortunately, I have forgotten that I-25 runs East West for a while there, and I don’t immediately think to look at the North South Streets. I’m only looking at East West Streets.

Finally, I turn the map, and there is Washington St., just where it belongs, just like Lincoln was. You know, come to think of it, Mercury went retrograde in Cancer yesterday morning. I forgot about that. I wonder if I always venture into Wash Park during a Mercury retrograde? Could that be it?

Ha. And I think I can navigate Ireland, a foreign country. Oh, I can, navigation is second nature to me. And I have never ever in my life gotten lost anywhere. You don’t believe me, do you? Well, let me tell you. I never get lost, I only take educational field trips. It’s true, and when I think about it like that, it’s a whole different experience.

I think of the cartoon on Aubrey’s refrigerator. Aubrey makes maps. On her refrigerator is a cartoon of a man in a car reading a map and asking directions. He says, “I’m looking for the cartographer’s convention.”

So am I.  So am I.

Get it?



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