I've had a very boring week. I've done nothing, up to this point, that could be considered "blog-worthy." This evening, I set out, and some may say I have succeeded in my attempt, to change that.
Craving adventure, as I am wont to do, I set out from the coffee shop at which I spent a large portion of my day, in search of something--this ephemeral something I could not yet put my finger on, but I set out, regardless, to find it.
So I left. Lucy (my bike) and I wandered through the streets and alleyways of Stillwater for a time, searching for that which is inherently unsearchable.
My first encounter with the extraordinary came abruptly, when I noticed a pile of what seemed to be junk on the side of the road. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the contents of this particular pile were not the ordinary sort of junk (bits of rusty metal, slowly rotting wood, stained couches, and what-have-you) but rather rusty, slowly rotting, and stained business signs, from every type of establishment conceivable. Among those that I recognized were Conoco and Holiday Inn (as seen in the photo), and many, many more. I was slightly disappointed, because being on a bike prohibited me from stealing any of these great pieces of unintentionally modern art.
Regardless, and with my appetite for the unusual whetted, I pressed on through more parts unknown. (Side note: If you've never experienced a city completely by bike or on foot, you're completely missing out. There is a myriad of sense experiences that you are missing out on by driving a boring car through your city. Try it out some time, and pay close attention to the sights, sounds, and smells of your particular parcel of the country. For instance, I noticed today that many parts of Stillwater smell a bit like poo, and that's all part of the experience.)
Anyway, the evening was wearing on, and I was determined to continue exploring while I still was able. Hearing the sounds of drunken collegiate revelry in the distance (foreshadowing!), I came upon a very strange sight. It was some sort of monument, I guess, probably to the rail lines which used to cut through Stillwater back in the day. I was more struck, however, by the fact that I had no earthly idea why there should be a train engine, on it's own tiny set of tracks to nowhere, sitting in front of a mock station, in the middle of downtown Stillwater. In a way, though, not knowing why that train was placed there made the scene more poignant and mysterious to me. There was someone out there, I thought to myself, who cared so much about this particular train, that they enshrined it here, so that I could later find it, and wonder at its origin.
But mysticism and determinism aside, I snapped a few poorly-lit photographs of the scene and carried on. By this time, it had gotten properly dark. Lucy, with no front or rear light to guide the way, was as blind as I, as we barreled down the ill-lit streets of our town, searching for another sign.
As you probably know, there is an inverse correlation between the effort put into finding something extraordinary, and the chances of finding something extraordinary. That is, the harder you look, the less likely you are to find such a thing. Knowing this principle full well, I charged on, into the night, telling myself that I only needed to find one more exciting thing before I could go home and report my findings. And it was at that moment (roughly) that I noticed something odd. By this time I was headed roughly towards campus, and I began to see that the car-density per parking lot was increasing sharply. Nothing made this point more clear when I noticed that a bank, located very close to campus, had it's lot packed with vehicles, well into the ATM lines. What could be the cause of this?
Of course! I thought in a sudden bout of Sherlock Holmesian insight, the football game!
The OSU whatevers were playing the Texas A&M whatevers at the manly-man's sport of college football tonight. Thus, as I pierced the heart of campus, my way was consistently and frustratingly blocked by drunken revelers, orange-clad alumni, desperate to relive former days of glory, frat boys and the ever-present sorostitutes, all of whom were shouting and stumbling and generally milling about. For several square blocks, an entire tent-city had sprung from the ground, orange and white canopies protecting wide screen tv's, beer (pronounced in typical Oklahoma fashion, BEHR) coolers, and lawnchairs filled with fans. The sense impressions, which I previously alluded to, were threatening to overwhelm me as I coasted through the heart of the madness, the sights: orange masses of people moving amorphously about, clutching BEHRs and trying to cross the road, the sounds: horns honking at random, shouts of "Go Pokes!" and in reply, "F**k you!" and the smells: a strange mix of the telltale scent of an impromptu wing stand and urine.
Eventually, not caring much for the madness and debauchery concomitant with collegiate sport, I left the mob scene behind, in favor of quieter territory. And this is, I'm afraid, where today's story has to end. I'd seen quite enough for one day, perhaps even one week. I silently pedaled home, where I then sat, with my laptop in the most literal of positions (on the top of my lap), to write it all down.