October 27, 2012
A friend and I are planning a road trip for August 2013: a drive from Chicago to New Orleans, where he’ll be speaking on a panel at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists.
The other night I dreamt about this trip, dreamt a dream that offered guidance worth sharing with my friend. Here is what I wrote him.
I do hope there’s been no misunderstanding over the business with the rifle. My insistence on retaining it was not motivated by a desire to “teach you a lesson” nor exact a petty bit of payback. Please know that I was not especially upset over your having hustled me onto that express bus at a moment when I was concerned over the fate of my missing wallet. Under the circumstances, your having opted to take the express to the conference hotel made sense, as you had a session you needed to get to, and my negligence, wallet-wise, could scarcely have been a concern of yours. Mildly hesitant though I was about the bus, I did not protest, as I counted on having an opportunity to hop off near that subterranean restaurant where I suspected I’d left the article, claim it, then join up with you later on. Whether or not you were aware that the bus would make no intermediate stops and that it would take us so very far from the restaurant is no longer at issue, being what you might call a “moot point.”
Here is the thing: once we’d exited the bus, hiked up and over that very steep and grassy knoll, and paused to contemplate which forest path led to the hotel, I’d begun to reflect on the prospect of making a long (solo) walk back to the restaurant and on the need to do so before nightfall. As I knew I’d be navigating some fairly dicey neighborhoods, I really felt that I had to keep the rifle with me. I hope you did not find yourself at a loss, having to appear on that panel unarmed and all.
Such, at any rate, was my reasoning with respect to the rifle.
Perhaps each of us should take responsibility for his own firearm when we embark on our trip next summer.
By the way, I still find it curious that an eating establishment whose layout so resembled a subway tunnel should have been named The Sun. A waggish sense of humor on the part of the proprietor — or some inexplicable disconnect, do you think?