Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Lame Odyssey, Part 1

My mother said we were going to Huntington Library.  That was cool, I love libraries.  Then she told my brothers and I that it would take an hour to get there.  Wow, that’s a long ways to check out a book or two.  When we got there, I understood much better.  Huntington isn’t a library, it’s a Library.  It’s not a large assortment of Harry Potter and Dune, but a museum of books.  It has original manuscripts of Jefferson, Emerson, Blake and, the greatest of all, one of the few original copies of a Gutenberg Bible.  I was in awe.  Then, afterwards, we travelled another ten minutes to Northwoods.  That was less awe-inspiring but just fun.  Peanut shells all over the floor, Nineteenth-century woodsmen’s porn on the walls, and a salad and cheese bread drenched in salt and fat.  A teen nerd’s paradise.

            Such a marvelous experience must be repeated, so I got a couple of my friends—Diane and Trish—and told them about Huntington Library, and we decided to go there together.  It was marvelous: we explored the exotic gardens, pointed at the books and wondered at just how large The Blue Boy was in real life.  Then, I told them, to finish the experience we would go to Northwoods.  It’s just a few minutes away, I said.

            Well, it’s a few minutes away for someone who knows where they are going.  And I didn’t.  We wandered the streets of San Marino and Pasadena for the better part of an hour before I finally found it.  We were hungry enough by then to be eating the dashboard.  But, we found it, and all was good.

            The next summer we decided on a repeat experience of this trip, and we got it.  Including getting lost for an hour before finding Northwoods. 

            After the third time of spending long amounts of time looking for this restaurant, this trip was becoming legendary.  Looking in phone books, arguing about asking for directions, wandering through busy streets—it was all part of the experience. 

            But what would have happened if we never knew we were lost?  Perhaps we didn’t know we had a destination.  Perhaps we just enjoyed the journey.  Sure, it would have been a lot less stressful, but it would have ended with us starving, exhausted, and out of gas.

Being lost is part of the joy of getting there.

No comments:

Post a Comment