I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
March 24, 2012 - 9:31 p.m.
Dateline Upper Darby PA: Did you miss me yesterday? I wrote an edition of Wise Madness, at least part of an edition, but I never posted it. I was pressed for time and forgot about it before I left. I'm at LORi and Steve's house now. So don't look for too much HTML and such. I don't have my macros to make things easier and I'm tired. What else is new?
I'll just forget about what I wrote in the Edition sitting on my computer and pick up with yesterday.
I actually got out of the house early enough to get bagels and black and white cookies. It was a beautiful day so I walked the mile or so to the bagel store and bakery though to save time I took the bus back. I actually remembered to cut the bagels and put them in the freezer. I set my sights low so I find it easy to impress myself.
I packed my stuff in a sports bag and prepared to head out then realized that my sports bag was broken. Why hadn't I thrown it out? Oh right because I'm an idiot. I had to get an actual suitcase and repack everything. It looks like I didn't forget anything either, huzzah! Remember I set my sights low.
I headed into the City to take the Megabus. This was my third time taking one. If left from the third different place. The procedure is different every time. They are in a constant scramble.
I got a seat to myself, that's always nice. I brought two books to read plus last week's Sunday Times Crossword. I worked on the crossword for a few minutes then got sleepy. I slept the entire trip just waking long enough to take drinks of water. I have developed an uncanny ability to fall asleep while sitting up. My poor neighbors had to put up with my snoring. How did I know I was snoring? I'm back to where I was years ago, I snore while I'm still awake.
Still it did make the trip seem fast even though we ran half an hour late. I didn't see any traffic but I guess we hit some.
My next step was taking the regional rail, SEPTA out to Lansdowne, that was an educational experience. I take public transport and commuter rail all the time. SEPTA is a disgrace. Lori Steve and I had so much trouble with the website when we were figuring out the approximate timing. You can't just put in "I'm going from 30th Street Station to Lansdowne and want leave after 5:00," like you can on any other system I've looked at. It looks like you should be able to do that but we couldn't get it to work and it wasn't easy to find.
I figured no big deal, I'll just look it up on the board when I get to the station. There is no board. There is no sign saying what times trains are leaving from where. The only thing they have is a list of what tracks the different lines run on.
I went to get my ticket. I followed the signs looking for the ticket machines. There are no ticket machines. You have to buy from a limited number of counters. I don't even know if they take credit cards. It was a chore just getting my ticket.
"One for Lansdowne please."
"Lansdowne or Lansdale"
"No DOWNE" LansDOWNE."
After I got it I went to make sure the sign I saw was right and asked, "Track 6?" "No track 3."
When does it leave? That was a tough question for her. Not only is there no board for the passengers there is nothing electronic for the staff either. She had to find a schedule and start looking for it. I gave up because I was afraid the train might leave why she was still looking.
I went to track 3. It was the wrong track. I needed track 6 like I thought.
I asked there what time the next train left. You'd think it would say it right there at the track like every other commuter train system does. No. The woman there went to get a paper schedule out too. Yes she doesn't even have it ready even though she's manning the information booth by the track of the line I needed.
I had a few minutes and went to the bathroom. It isn't on the same level. I had to take my luggage down a flight of steps. The bathroom was designed to be as difficult to use and unsanitary as possible. You had to hike from the urinals to the sinks and most of the sinks had no soap dispensers.
The trains themselves are ancient and decrepit. They were more primitive than the ones that the LIRR was using in the 60s. There's only an overhead rack on one side. The door is open all the time. There is no PA system let alone message board.
I did make it Lansdowne and Steve picked me up and took me back to their house. We grabbed dinner at home then Steve Lori, and I headed out to the Lansdowne Folk Club to see We're About 9. Yes my fourth time seeing them in the last three or four weeks. You might have noticed that I'm a bit of a fan. Of course this was more about a trip to visit Steve and Lori during my spring break but I was delighted to find that WA9 was playing.
This was the first gig and the club's new temporary venue. The old one is closed for renovations. There were not too many snags except it was hard for me to find the green room so I could say hi.
The opening act was Andrew Gray. I think I got that name right. Maybe Grey. He is Hellmouth from Hoots and Hellmouth. He was not there when I saw H&H do a cobill with Red Molly. His music is very different. It's mellow not raucous. It didn't leave much of an impression.
Julie was in the audience so I wasn't the only one that went to the Brooklyn House Concert. See I'm not a fanatic.
It's getting late and I'm just starting to get to WA9. Well you know what? I've written tons about them over the year and lots recently. You know they favorites of mine. You know that they are one of my comfort zone bands. They are my people. They are a band that totally fits my preconceived notions of a kind of band I should love. They are clever, original, and quirky. They express themselves in a unique matter. They are funny and fun and I'd enjoy it if they just spent the entire set talking and being silly. There is a reason they've played the Budgiedome more than anyone.
After the show we helped clean up the club and load the sound equipment in the sound guys vehicle then headed home. Steve went to bed and always happens; Lori and I talked for hours. More than anything that's the purpose of the visit. We switch back and forth from politics to people to silliness. It's pretty much like reading Wise Madness.
Now it's time for me to post this, wake Lori and eat something. Pictures and such will have to wait for me to get home.
On the Road Through Fairfax County - March 23, 2017
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