There's not much interesting to write about yesterday. The productive part was spent in the Athenaeum, researching New England ghost towns, the house at 135 Benefit Street, Rhode Island hauntings, and such like. I haven't made this many handwritten notes for a novel since Silk, I think. So, yes, I mostly prowled the library and made notes. I've found a number of books I shall have to try to acquire by interlibrary loan once I get back to Atlanta. Just getting into Providence was probably yesterday's greatest adventure. We got stuck in the mob of July 4th vacationers, most of them from Connecticut and Massachusetts, it would seem. An endless stream of cattle...I mean sheep...no, cows...er, tourists. Yes, that's the word. All of them going to the same place at the same time for more or less the same reason. I can't imagine there can be any sort of actual pleasure in such herding, I don't care what the destination happens to be. The beaches I've enjoyed in Rhode Island would be unbearable in that press of human presence. Spooky cursed them, and I made monster doodles in my notebook and tried to pretend I was somewhere else entirely. Last week, when we were out at Fort Weatherill on Conanicut Island, we actually left a beach because three other people showed up. I can hardly imagine how unbearable popular spots like Narragansett Beach will be over the next three days. And I can't even begin to imagine why anyone would want to be in the middle of such a mess.
But at -0, I've come to accept there are very many things that I shall never understand about humans.
On the way back last night, the roads blessedly cleared of their earlier congestion, Spooky lamented the changes that have come to Providence and parts south in the last decade -- the huge, ugly mall plopped down in the middle of the city, the loss of so many of the funky little shops and restaurants along Thayer Street to corporate entities like Starbucks, The Gap, and Johhny Rocket's ("There used to be four record stores," she said; now there's only one, so far as we can tell), the plague of strip malls afflicting Washington County. Of course, this is happening everywhere, all across the nation. Business districts that once catered to the eclectic tastes of college students are now catering to the bland, cookie-cutter tastes of college students, kids who've been raised in mall culture and would rather buy their clothes at The Gap than a thrift store. And everyone wants a McDonald's on her doorstep, right? I've seen so much of RI and MA this week, and it's disheartening how so much of it really looks exactly like Atlanta. I suppose there are those who find this homogenization of the country comforting. No matter where you go, you have the security blanket of all those familiar stores and fast-food places. And then there are the just-add-water suburban housing developments, encroaching on the woodlands and wetlands, but I won't even get started on that. Where's the percentage, hmmm?
I saw a giant blue bug squatting atop New England Pest Control yesterday. Seems to me a giant pink human would have been more appropriate.
And how about this crazy business with Bush asking for church rosters in order to bolster his campaign? He's even starting to piss off some of the Southern Baptists.