Monday, November 26, 2012

you might as well call this 'flint and nineteenth' blog, my wife says, since every post you're obsessed with that darn intersection. it's true, i have a kind of morbid fascination, drawn out in photojournalism, and a running interest in the steady stream of accidents on that corner. this morning i'm riding to work and the glass is all strewn out in the crosswalk, shining in the morning sun; this is the little square glass chips that come out of a car's windshield when you broadside it as someone did to a car on sunday. would have taken a picture, but the timing wasn't right; i couldn't get the camera out and use it in the time i had. but i got to work only to find out that my good friend's husband was the victim of that one; he'd been broadsided by a guy who ran the light pure and simple, due to texting or whatever, and he was lucky he wasn't hurt or killed, or his child wasn't in the car.

had my two grown boys to town for the holidays, and we had an excellent thanksgiving, due entirely to my wife who doesn't let me get near anything except maybe the potato peels, and then we shot out to las cruces on friday only to return on saturday, me and a van full of four boys. couldn't resist, of course, stopping at white sands (see below), which is on the way; we stopped there on the way, then again on the way back, got a lot of white sands on this trip. the fine white sand, sledding, dry herb bushes, delicate; i felt like we were in danger of sunburn, since the sun reflected up so sharply that it hurt our eyes. a lot of people were wandering around the place. it occurred to me that it was black friday, white sands on black friday, and i resolved a few things. one, black friday is the lowest possible day of the vilest american commercialism, people slugging each other over shopping issues, people waiting in line all night for the chance to buy some dumb thing, people going out on thanksgiving itself, because they just can't wait for the stores to open. as a result of this crass overbearing light-show heavy-traffic commercial mentality i am in the habit of drawing inward in the month of december, using my personal resolve to get through it sanely and get presents that are either useful, reasonable or homemade, or even some combination of the above, and stay out of malls altogether. but the white sands, the pure fine-grained of it, is so fine, so light, so pure, it was kind of an all-saints day kind of event, you could say the opposite of the standing-in-line-punch-thy-neighbor kind of event. it was awesome.

come back to town, and it occurred to me that the road had been quieter than usual; since flint goes right into campus, and nobody was going into campus, there was actually a lull there, and a couple days, thanksgiving included, of almost no traffic. by last night of course, it had picked up again; they're all back, of course, and the pressure is on. finals, next friday. the question of what to put on a calendar, if anything (jim leverett's photography, maybe), the possibility of bundling up more short stories for another book. i'm a little behind, as usual. decorations have flung up around the neighborhood; they couldn't wait until thanksgiving. it's the season, and the cool nights are bathed in different colors as people around town get their deco pumping. i myself wait, i try to get my wife onboard, i keep the lights to a minimum, i put illuminaria, the real stuff with sand in a bag and a candle, out on the curb on christmas eve. and that's it; it takes a lot of effort, but it's worth it.

the road to las cruces from here goes down to brownfield, over to artesia, and up the back of the rockies into a town called cloudcroft new mexico, high in the mountains, then drops straight down into alamogordo before going past white sands, across the organs, and into las cruces. long stretches of it were barren but quite beautiful. artesia actually smelled like oil fields, and had beautiful trees in a quaint downtown, but the downtown was full of crows or some such bird that made a horrible racket as we tried to find a place to eat. finally we found the "wellhead" restaurant, all decked out in oil-rig pictures, kind of a wild place, though people were friendly. people were friendly in the mountains too, up near cloudcroft, though the top had been burned off of one or two; that was definitely a back-road, cowboy type of place. no smell of oil up there, it was all mountainside, woodsy, ranching kind of place. it was clear that when the snow came, i might want to take a different route. coming back, the boys drove, but i couldn't get my eyes off the road, and we rolled back into texas and into the city, glad to be home, and getting back into what routine we have.

then again, i've started using boston and nineteenth, though that intersection is little better than flint and nineteenth. it might be a different kind of obsession, this intersection being over by the dorms and all; it's been a little rowdy in the past, urban, dangerous, in fact a guy cut me off this morning, just veered right, directly in front of me, but it doesn't have the sheer number of accidents that flint and nineteenth has, as far as i know. i'd like to do a study, why exactly one intersection could be so much worse. or, what does it take before you simply build a pedestrian walkway that goes over the darn thing. it's worth thinking about, but i'm not taking it up with the city of lubbock anytime in the near future, or if i do, i'll take it up on the lubbock blog. they have enough problems, and so do i.

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