So, two follow-ups to the fable of the country mouse and the city mouse–wait, three.
1) Aimless wandering in a strange city with people with different agendas drives me insane because it reminds me of high school, when we drove around and around saying, “What do you want to do?” “I dunno–what do you want to do?” Extra pointless because it was Albuquerque in the 1980s–there wasn’t anything to do anyhow. And we all knew we’d just end up back at the Burger King parking lot.
In fact, Jefe’s tale of his worst date ever brought to mind a (far, far tamer) terrible date, not the worst because I’m assuming I’m blocking out that one. This was in high school, when I finally went out with my junior-year crush object, whom I had boldly alerted to my existence with a cheesy French Club-issued valentine-o-gram. We were pretty much strangers, and I was totally shocked that he’d agreed to go out with me, and awestruck by his hotness (red hair, glasses, kinda arty), so we just did this same “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know…” exchange for several hours, and then I drove home. Excruciating. Oh look–Google says this unfortunate date of mine is married and lives in Portland, Me., and makes toy monsters. I guess the lack of activity drove him out of town too.
2) Something cool that would have saved us from wandering around Seattle: generative or algorithmic psychogeography, which is grad-student-speak for walking according to an algorithm, such as first left, second right, first right, repeat, and seeing what you run into. Genius. But to be honest, I read about this (to be even more honest, in the Utne Reader at my brother’s house) before our Seattle slog–but I was too tired to implement it by the time we really needed help. Next time, next time…
Hey, maybe I could apply this to shopping and cooking: first left, first aisle section, second row, etc. Then come home and cook something with what you got? Or broader scale: must buy something in the second store on every block…I hope I run into the store that sells grasshoppers! (More on that later.)
3) I looked up the real country mouse/city mouse fable to remind myself of the ending: Oh yeah: Country mouse returns to a steady, boring diet of barley because he likes it better than cheese, brown sugar and prunes and the constant fear of a cat and a mousetrap. People are teaching their kids this?! Freakin’ weak.