I love walking at night, I love driving at night. I like the lack of glare from the sun, the absence of hypnotizing shadow patterns on the asphalt that make me inescapably sleepy. I like the way things seem to speed up--what is a sedate pace in the daylight appears to be drag-race appropriate at night--without the pressure of waking-hour traffic to break the illusion. To be specific, if I have four hundred miles of flat, boring interstate highway ahead of me, without the promise of pretty scenery or well-stocked antique malls, I'd much rather drive it after dark with an audiobook than during regular business hours.
Usually, such a trip guarantees that I'll notice little outside the bounds of the lane-lines, but the last, midnight hour between Columbia, SC, and Augusta, GA, on I-20 this evening was exceptional--mile after mile, there were ghostly shapes of dozens of evergreen trees down on both shoulders, clearly casualties of last week's winter storm, their tops cut off right at the painted lines so that traffic could pass. The whole highway had been turned into an obstacle course of impromptu roadblocks by ice-overburdened branches, and the local utility crews had come through with chainsaws, just sawing off what was necessary in the short term without clearing the rest. Heaven forbid one have a sudden flat tire and need to pull over--you'd like as not encounter a tree!
Mine was a productive, if unexpectedly extended, stay in DC. On Sunday, I got to church, finally passed my responsibilities as art collection inventory manager on to my successor, fixed a lamp that had been broken by the postal service en route north, and had a last dinner with Susan, Steven and Theo. Today, Leah (God bless her!!) punched in all those complicated numbers to complete my tax forms. I was down to my last pair of underwear and was re-wearing yesterday's socks as of this morning, but altogether the clothes I budgeted and the task and social level I maintained were satisfactory. Tomorrow, I have a bunch of eBay items to ship, and then I'm to dedicate the rest of this week and the first two days of next to getting ready for THE important job interview eight days hence. I have to come up with a witty, brief and interesting PowerPoint presentation that will so impress the search committee that they will beg me to work for them...I hope!