Thursday, January 27, 2011

home town

If you live in a city, a town for, say, ten years – is it then your home town? What about twenty? Thirty? Surely thirty?

I’ve been in Madison now since 1979 – so almost 32 years – and yet, at no time have I felt so much as if it were home as perhaps tonight.

It was a no big deal day. At work -- teaching in the morning, teaching in the afternoon, meeting students – all that usual stuff until the sun sets.

By five I am done and walking along State Street. A different kind of evening – one where I am to attend a political fund raiser followed by a dinner out.

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So I walk along State Street and I think – my, there are new stores here. How did I miss this one? Ah winter! I’m never out in these parts when it turns cold outside. Give or take a couple of months and I’ll be rambling again. On my red bike. Up and down.

And it strikes me that life will continue in this way: spring will come, I will take out my bike and not worry about bus schedules again. Yesterday will have merged with tomorrow. How satisfying!

I reach the political fundraiser and Ed joins me as well and between the two of us, there’s enough history in the room to make it a very interesting little place indeed. (The political candidate who is running for office is a Madison fixture: he has been in and out of city politics for as many years as I can remember.)

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Tonight, I hear someone say – I’ve never enjoyed a social event as much as I have enjoyed coming to these rallies in support of (our candidate)... I can understand it. It’s like going to your college reunion in ten year increments, only without the hang-ups. No one cares how you look or how little you’ve achieved in your waning years.

I run into a lawyer friend who used to practice alongside me when I did abuse and neglect cases in Dane county court. I think – the shocking thing is that I remember him and he remembers me so well. Madison. It’s Madison’s fault, isn’t it?

Then Ed and I and a colleague/good friend go out to dinner. At the Costa Rican place around the corner. There isn’t really room for us even as the waitperson tries to squeeze us in, but to do so she must cut into the space of someone else. And so we compromise: we pull tables together to form one big whole, but we keep our separate discourse, and I think yet again – ah, Madison... you are so perfect.

And maybe I am sentimental, what with the end of the week drawing near and the political fundraiser tonight, but darn it all, this is such a good little town in which to mark the days and sunsets!