Thursday, February 27, 2003

Curse my early morning nature. This morning, I had breakfast, read Lileks and not martha, shoveled and swept my steps, showered, read the GRTC schedule four times, made sure I had a one dollar bill, checked the state library’s website to be sure they opened at nine, not ten, and got on the bus.

The bus! The smugness of doing the Right Thing! The diversity of people! (Truly: two Asian men speaking their language; an all-American, clunky shoe-wearing, young Asian woman; a white guy or two; a black woman; a young woman of indeterminate ethnicity.) The city looks nice from bus window height. I enjoyed the beautiful porches and windows of the Fan, the snow-outlined trees, the brightly-painted lofts on Broad east of Allen, and of course Central National Bank. After that comes the depressing site of the metal detailing on Miller & Rhodes rusting away and staining the building, and the grubby, broken windows hulk of Thalhimers. I pulled the Next Stop cord.

At 9:20 a.m., I waltzed into the Library of Virginia, and nice woman told me that they had delayed their opening for “two hours because of the snow.” D’oh. I was welcome to stay in the lobby for two hours.

I walked west for two blocks: dummy, you just watched this wasteland go by. I turned around. I’m in the City Hall Deli, now, with a cup of coffee and daydreams of that excellent laptop case at Levenger. I’d look much cooler with one of those. Lime, do you think? I wonder if one of those could take freezing rain, though? This case seems not to mind the spray it got from not being completely under the umbrella.

If I weren’t a morning person, I might not have left so early, and wouldn’t be in this predicament. If I were a real Virginian, I would have been scared of the inch and a half of snow on my street and called to see if the library hadn’t shut down completely. But no, I got up, I felt energetic, and so here I am, in a bright cafeteria with Rod Stewart’s voice coming out of the ceiling.

I wonder if the observation deck is open. Not only was it open, it has clean restrooms! A security guard directed me up and had no need to search my bag. Various city personnel were having their cigarette breaks. I gawked at the snow-grayed view from all sides.

I wonder if I feel more conspicuous hanging out here than I would in a lobby. This place is nearly empty. They can’t mind.

On the ride home, I squinted at the street lights by the new convention center and don't like my description from the other day. They have tubes of back-lit white plastic, with a light grid of black metal on them.

Capital City weather: oh, who the hell cares.

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