Strolling and snapping down the street
The town where I live is not a big town. Neither is it a bump and a burp in the road. It is quite walkable, which I like to do whenever possible. You only ever get the true measure of a city by walking it all over. You also get to peek into its alleys, which is like seeing what someone’s bathroom looks when you pop in unexpectedly and they’ve not given it that once-over for guest eyes.
This sparrow’s-eye view of the lady in red above is only possible from the sidewalk above the tracks at the Amtrak station in Charleston, W.Va., across the river. The Amtrak hoots through the valley twice a week, headed one way one day — to Chicago. Headed the other a few days later, to Washington, D.C., home of so many powerful scoundrels and puppets and puppies of the puppet masters.
What we’re left with — when not fighting the good fight or curled beneath the duvet from daily news despair — is daily life. My Thursday nights are spent hosting a cabaret round this corner of Kanawha Boulevard. This corner is music central in town. I’ve dreamed of moving our downstairs joint into the first floor of this building, whose curvilinear coolness at the corner of Capitol Street and the Boulevard I’ve long admired.
There is something about a building that curves around its corners. It softens the cityscape. The hard, straight lines of the city, chopped into blocks and rectangles by modern skyscrapers, are opposed and critiqued by a curvy building. Its lines mimic the meanders and rounded edges of Nature, which in any West Virginia city or burg is never far away.
I like living in a city I can walk across. I would like, though, if the sushi place down Capitol Street wasn’t closed when I walk in at 9:05 p.m., after being besieged with a sudden jones for California Roll and miso soup. Fortunately, Adelphia’s is open down the block. And by jove they’re still serving at their open-air tables out front. Which, trust me, eating a Caaser’s Salad with grilled shrimp streetside is a relatively new event here.
NOTE TO ADELPHIA: When a customer asks the waitress who keeps calling him ‘darling’ and ‘honey’ if he can add shrimp to his Caesar’s, you should really put more than three in there. I’m sure this wouldn’t happen in Barcelona. But… at least. A Caesar’s salad, out of doors. I head back to my cabaret joint because now I’m jonesing for a Campari. Trust me, too: Finding one of those in these hills is a balm to the Italian soul.
~ douglas imbrogno | 07.27.13
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