2006.04.12 They went to NYC, I got antibiotics

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I wanted to tell you about my train trip this week, but that will have to wait until I actually take a train trip—if that ever happens.

Two spring breaks ago, I rode the Greyhound to meet up with my traveling family in Kentucky. They had been in the south and were on their way back to Michigan. Daughter Rozee was still a prospective student at Berea College and we met to check it out.

The most startling thing I discovered about bus travel is that a ticket is no guarantee of a seat. You could buy your ticket in advance, show up at the station to board, and discover there was no seat available. I think there were three empty seats when I boarded, and I was almost forced to spend a few hours in the Toledo station waiting for the next bus, which also could have been full.

The Amtrak website makes it sound as though your ticket is a seat reservation. And besides, how many people travel by train these days? Maybe there are more than I think, but I doubt it. I’ll have to stand close to the tracks in Wauseon sometime and watch it go through.

Of course I wouldn’t be watching my train, the Lake Shore Limited, because it passes through Wauseon after midnight. I was to board at 1:30 a.m. and spend the next 14 hours looking out the window—so much good entertainment at only five bucks an hour.

The trip from Toledo to New York City is actually billed as taking about 13 hours and 35 minutes, but there is some fine print attached: Delays may occur on this train due to freight railroad congestion, track work or other operating conditions.

I didn’t care. I really looked forward to the grueling trip. It’s just something I wanted to experience. And besides, I learned in that terrorism manual that I wrote about recently that my chances of dying on a passenger train were one in 70 million—even better than that of dying from anthrax poisoning (one in 56 million).

But then I got sick. I acquired the respiratory thing that so many others have had, but I wasn’t shaking it off. I suppose I wasn’t doing what so many others do: rest. The train ride followed by frolic in the city didn’t seem like a wise choice.

Getting stuck at home wasn’t so bad. I heard reports of cold weather and rain in NYC, and they were visiting some places that wouldn’t have been high on my list.

But when I came home for lunch on Friday, there was a message on the answering machine. The travelers wanted me to consult the latest New Yorker magazine for gallery ideas.

Hmm, now they were doing exactly what’s high on my list for New York.

There’s always something interesting at the established museums. A retrospective of Edvard Munch, the artist who painted “The Scream.” The steel sculptures made by David Smith who worked as a welder at the Studebaker company. A recreation of Charles Darwin’s study, plus fossils he collected and live specimens of the animals he encountered on the Galápagos Islands.

It’s doubtful we would have made it to any of those, but we would have squeezed in a couple of hours for some small galleries. This is where you see the stuff that makes people say, “You call that art?”

At the Bonakdar Gallery in Chelsea, we could have watched videos showing young Turkish amateurs singing karaoke versions of songs from the Smiths album “The World Won’t Listen.”

A block away, at the PaceWildenstein, an artist carpeted the floor with an undulating landscape of thousands of plastic cups. She also used cups to create an Arctic landscape in which the “shimmering white expanse exerts a charm well beyond the sum of its repeating parts.”

Nearby were lawn chairs turned into giant whale skeletons, Nike sneakers reconfigured into Pacific Northwest aboriginal masks, and much more.

I could look at that stuff all day, and in fact we have spent what the others might describe as too much of the day going from one weirdness to another.

Now, as I’m awaiting the travelers’ return, I’m thinking about what I missed, sitting here with my antibiotics. I can only take comfort in knowing that nothing in the city this past week could ever match what we saw a few years ago: a very authentic-looking bird skeleton constructed from fingernail clippings. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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