Chapter 23, Blog 1
By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang
Thursday after work, Ralphie and I settled into his multi-dented Ford F1 pickup and cruised for Atlanta. I had less than 24 hours before I would run a 5:37 p.m. heat at Georgia Tech’s George C. Griffin Track and Field Facility.
But already I was in Angst City.
Was Harry right? Ralphie said no way.
“Don’t lissen to da ol’ nutjob,” he said. “Whut’s he know anyway? He’s probably forgot more dan he ever knew.”
Then it struck me.
“You’re an anarchist, aren’t you?
“So? So what if I am?”
“Nothing. Just sayin’. After all these years, you think you know somebody, but you really don’t. Maybe you shouldn’t even try.”
For the next 50 miles, I daydreamed about running against the best in Atlanta’s annual Peach State Games. Yeah, you can visualize only so many races. I was dying to see how I stacked up. On the other foot, I felt bad going against Harry’s wishes. What if I blew out a hamstring? What if terrorists blew up the track? What if …
“OK, whut da hell is an archivist?”
“Whut makes ya think I’m an archivist?”
“Anarchist, man, an anarchist, someone who believes in anarchy. I noticed you’re always encouraging me to go against authority. Like Harry. What the hell is the deal?”
Ralphie mulled the question.
“For one, it’s mindless. Can’t stand people tryin’ to tell me whut to do. Like you.”
… this is going to be a long trip …
“And I don’t like to be labeled,” added Ralphie.
Back into reverie I plunged. Through the moonless night and countless bad radio stations, we took turns driving and arrived with daybreak. We checked in at a mom-and-pop motel off I-75, 15 miles from downtown Atlanta. I tried to sleep. But my inner clock would not allow it. Rest? Forget it.
Did Harry think I was going to freak out competing against 20-somethings? Did he think I didn’t have enough heart? Could he not be telling me something? Something I needed to know?
Ralphie’s competition started at 1:30, so I dropped him at Griffin before noon, ate breakfast at Waffle House and went back to the motel to wrestle with more self-doubt – and lost.
Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang