Errants


" … a whole five days will stretch to the horizon to promise fresh errants needing my attention."

The Muse and I live in a neighborhood from which we cannot walk to anywhere. Though we're plopped in the middle of a wildlife refuge, the only trails seem more suited to game and dog walkers than any through hikers. Even the village center lies a mile and a half away along a narrow-shouldered two-lane that feels equally dangerous to traverse by either foot or bike. Consequently, errands require driving, belying the rugged outdoors cache this conclave carries. The Muse was raised ten miles from anywhere on a South Dakota farmstead, so the commuting seems more wired into her system than into my own town-bred DNA. I'd much rather walk there and back again, but groceries wait ten miles away, uphill both ways, and I haven't figured out how to carry a couple of shopping bags there and back again. I'm married to the car.

I try to plan ahead, to limit the number of outings necessary to satisfy the list. I plot paths between the various purveyors as carefully as any knight Errant might, employing shortcuts and secret passages to reduce overall transit time.
I guess that Google, which has probably been tracking my every move, could construct a fairly reliable profile of me by simply plotting my various trajectories, my usual stops and my routes in-between them. I'm nothing if not predictable now, three and a half years into this particular location. The first few months found me wandering, almost randomly searching to satisfy my quests. Now, I never leave The Villa without first envisioning where I'm heading and how I'll get there and back again. I improve my overall efficiency by steadfastly refusing to shop. I never enter a store without reminding myself why I decided to stop there and I mostly keep to simply satisfying my narrow list before leaving. The Muse has been known to wander, even in grocery stores, just to see what she might suddenly discover she wants there. I never, ever do that.

My 'Errants' rarely take me further than down into the small town at the foot of these hills. Larger roamings occur exclusively on weekends with The Muse on board to second-guess the GPS, partly because I dislike wandering into the deeper reaches without a trained navigator. Denver still remains a looming mystery to me, and likely always will, and I invariably get lost when flying solo there, even with GPS navigation hindering my confusion. Even when I don't find I'm lost, I feel disoriented for most of each excursion, so I might just as well be lost. I chanced to stop in Boulder this week and miraculously made it out alive, but only because I successfully second-guessed the on-board navigation system to avoid a paradoxical traffic tangle. Boulder is a city of driving paradoxes, and so best avoided even with The Muse navigating.

Each excursion seems rather like a search for some unholy grail. Now that I better understand my choices, I'm surprisingly often able to find whatever I'm looking for on my first try. This morning, I'd been tasked to find currents, a staple around The Villa. I immediately envisioned three likely sources. Since I was also seeking cashews and walnuts, I decided to grab currants in the same place, which lead me to reject the idea of walking an extra aisle inside the 'SooperMarket' to grab currents there. I knew exactly where they were shelved. The place I'd decided to score them was out of them, so I had to backtrack to the newly down-scaled Amazon Whole Foods, a shop to which Amazon has brought all the atmosphere of a Wal-Mart. I usually avoid the place and carried my frustration at having to backtrack there through the door when I entered. I opted to check to see if they had stocked any fresh Chanterelles and they had. The true purpose of my mission then became clear.

I bought the currents and the mushrooms before turning the trusty Schooner back up the long hill to The Villa. A fetching damsel greeted me upon re-entering, Rose The Skittish Spinster Cat awakening from her Sleeping Beauty Sleep just long enough to grumble at me and try to scratch my outstretched hand She seems to ask, "What have you brought ME lately?" I'd brought her nothing except my companionship, which I can imagine grows slim by this late in the week. Tomorrow, The Muse will be home and my armor will slip into the back of the closet again until next week, when a whole five days will stretch to the horizon to promise fresh Errants needing my attention.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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