Every driving choice I made on yesterday’s trip to Philly turned out wrong. I avoided the Parkway by going to the Turnpike out by the Meadowlands. . . only to discover that there was a multi-mile backup forming on the Turnpike. Back to the Parkway. . . where more traffic awaited for the first 20 miles. Once I connected to the Turnpike, I followed standard operating procedures — just like I always 9-seed over the 8 in all 4 brackets, regardless of who’s playing — and took the bus and truck lane. . . and a semi rear-ended an 18-wheeler, creating a 25-minute backup. Getting into the city, I picked the wrong bridge and had to drive extra miles to get downtown. Then, instead of heading straight for the lot behind Drake’s building, I thought I’d overshoot it to look for street parking. . . and spent another 10 minutes waiting at lights to get back to the lot.
And then I greeted my buddy Robert Drake and realized that at least I’d made one correct decision that day. (For a little more on who Drake is, how he got queer-bashed nearly to death, and why I always feel like a heel for not visiting more, here’s an early post I wrote about him. Now you can check out his new site, too!)
We spent some time catching up. His life seems to be more about living and less about recovery (although he still does rehab, exercises, etc.). It’s sometimes hard to figure out everything he’s saying, but I don’t exactly make it easy for people either. Also, we repeats ourselves sometimes, but I don’t have any brain-injury to blame.
We had lunch and took a stroll through downtown Philadelphia. I was nervous that his wheelchair was going to tip back when we were going up the sidewalk, but he laughed. That thing’s pretty darn stable.
We went to a Borders and goofed on some of the lamer books. Being gay as can be, Drake checked out Tennesse Williams’ Notebooks. He also opined that this book should replace the “and” with a comma. He can be such a bitch. And he can look like Rowan Atkinson when he mugs for the camera:
Anyway, we had a nice time for a few hours. I got him back to his apartment, then hit the road. Rather than go back via the Turnpike & Parkway, I thought I’d take the longer, but more scenic and less traffic laden path: 95 North to 206 through Princeton and on to 287. So I took 76 across town to 95. . . which was standing still for miles.
I was torn. Turn around and stay in Philly for the evening, or make one last stab at getting home by hitting the Ben Franklin and hooking up with the NJ Turnpike? For once, I made the right call, getting to NJ and rolling up the Turnpike in short order. I called Amy and headed to the train station to pick her up, so she wouldn’t have to take the bus back. . . and her train broke down and was delayed over an hour. Fortunately, I’d stopped at a nearby comic store and had the new Love & Rockets to keep me company for a while.
Ultimately, we made it back home. . . and discovered two cop cars and an ambulance blocking our street about a half-mile from home. A few minutes before 10, we walked in the door, and my “vacation” day was over. Enjoy the slideshow.
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And that’s one side of the day. The other is the conversation running through my mind, the one between who we are and who we can be.
I look at Drake and I see a man who was viciously beaten, an emblem of the evil man can inflict on his fellow man.
But I talk to Drake and I find a man who’s capable of forgiving others for their trespasses against him, even a trespass that robbed him of nearly everything he had.