Friday, August 11, 2017

Not My Day?

I belong to a library in downtown Boston called, appropriately, the Boston Athenaeum.  I had somethings I wanted to do today and thought that venue would be conducive to getting those things done.  Took a late morning train and was in South Station, a half mile easy walk from the library, by a few minutes after noon.

South Station is a hopping place. It used to be a dreary and not particularly comfortable place in which to linger.  But about ten, maybe even twenty years ago, they overhauled the space and it now is bright with restaurants--fast food and otherwise-taverns, all sorts of amenities, not to mention the comings and goings from everyone who is just commuting from a suburb, to those--like my table partner for an hour--who was off to Syracuse to visit his fiancee after having traveled from some spot in Maine to make the connection.

I sat in South Station sipping some ice coffee reading a tome I picked up which has become a burden to carry and given its length, something of a burden to plow through (These Guys Have All the Fun). After my fiancee visiting neighbor went for his train ("It's always late" he told me.  Prompting my sophomoric--unstated--thought that I bet he hopes his fiancee won't be after their rendezvous), another fellow--he silent-sat down for a spell.  Then a young dad with his son who attempted to grapple with a slice of pizza that was about the kid's size.  The mom came by with a chicken sandwich for the kid having gotten her signals crossed with dad about who was taking care of lunch.  Then I left.

I walked up through what is called Downtown Crossing. There, not far from where Macy's and Filene's stood next to each other in their hey day, a choir of Mennonites, were crooning for the passersby.  They were singing, very sweetly, about religion while those, I imagine, who could not carry a tune were mingling with the audience handing out pamphlets that conveyed the same message.  It was more fun to listen to the singers.

 I proceeded up through the Boston Common which is the route to the Athenaeum.  What a diversity of humanity were sprawled here and there.  Businesspeople eating lunches, homeless sleeping with their life in bags near them, tots darting around, appropriately, childishly as their parents told them to get back over here.  A cluster of teenagers walked past with boys gossipping about girls, and girls pretending to ignore the boys.

There were a couple of calls I needed to make. So I dialed, thanks to the Jetsons coming to our lives, from my portable phone.  After I left a message for two people, thanks again to the Jetsons, I got a hold of my erstwhile tennis partner to shmooze about something.  He and I have not played in three years as I have been out of commission and he too has had bouts on the injury list.  We are about ready in a month to give it a whack.

Finally about two hours after arriving in South Station I move toward the Athenaeum.  Today, Friday, the place closes at 5, so I was startled when I got to the doorway and a librarian told me that the place was closing. Apparently I did not notice a banner on the website that said that today had a special closing for staff.

Okay,  a bit disappointing, but it is a gorgeous day in New England so I walked through the Common again, and then to the adjacent Public Garden which is a magnificent rectangular spot that includes a duckboat ride and statues of ducks from the kids' story, Make Way for Ducklings.

The Boston Public Library is beyond the Public Garden a few blocks west and I figured I would park myself there.  I get to the entrance and there is a crowd around it.  I am told that it too is closed because of a fire scare.  Fortunately, this was only a temporary scare and within fifteen minutes we were allowed in.

When I was first told that the library was closed, I said to myself, "Not My Day."  The fact is, though, that it had been and will continue to be a great day even if every building I go to in the next few hours is closed like Fort Knox.  I am here, living and breathing.  Drop dead beautiful day here.  Get to talk with a guy who is seeing his sweetheart in Syracuse, and the dad of a kid that is struggling to hold up a slice of pizza, and talk to my tennis partner, and see the duck boats, and listen to true believers speak about their lord, and do all those things dead people are screaming at us, we the living, to take advantage of before we join them on the other side.

Not my Day? No. The challenge is to remember that every day is our day.

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