I like to wander a little on my day off. I stay within my 23 mile perimeter of home but I allow myself free range anywhere in this territory. I see myself as the stray dog who either visits favorite spots or finds new places of interest by accident.
I have written of my love for crane vending machine . I truly enjoy operating these little money-disposal machines. I’ve often wished they still had cranes at the fair. The morning of my day off, I happened to stop by Walmart. I’ve done this before but never noticed that it was a virtual warehouse of vending cranes. There are crane vending machines full of worthless treasure just waiting for someone to manipulate a limp-wristed grapple hook into such an unlikely position as to retrieve one of the items from the floor of the machine.
I stopped at Pennington Main for coffee after my gamblers outing to the cranes on my day off. Kathy asked me if I wanted a Powerball but I deferred as I know what anyone who pays a dollar at a time to face insurmountable odds for a 30 cent stuffed animal; gambling doesn’t pay. If you do it for fun then you’re fine. If you do it as a way to make extra money then you have committed the equivalent of pointing a financial pistol at your foot, controlling your breath and carefully squeezing the trigger. I just got the coffee.
So I strayed around town for a bit on the morning of my day off. In retirement, my dad used to cruise the machinery lots and look at tractors, hay balers and tillage equipment. I do the same although most of the machinery lot iron is so expensive that I would be better off buying the Powerball. Coffee is always worth whatever its cost so I got another cup and went home.
There is something nice about mowing the lawn on my day off. I wear Lisa’s headset and listen to the radio as I mow. I haven’t played baseball for years but I really like listening to a ball game while I mow. I think it is the art of the play by play announcer that really attracts me but there is something about the slow,steady rhythm of a baseball game that makes me relax. I think it’s the promise of predictability with the occasional harmless unpredictable event that makes baseball seem at once exciting and restful.
I said my day off was similar to a stray dog exploring his neighborhood. I don’t hold my similes and metaphors to as high a standards as did my high school English teacher. A dog explores with his nose while I really explore with my imagination. I see old buildings or empty lots and I always try to create a back story to fit the scene. There’s something about a day off that just lets my mind wander not only away from deep thought but from the present to the past. I am a nostalgic person and a little trip back always feels good. Good enough so that I can face what comes after a day off-which is back to work.