As we head back from the morning’s adventures, we approach the core of downtown Gettysburg, which is composed of a traffic circle which veers off into all four directions. To me this is proof positive that not only do all roads lead to Rome, but to Gettysburg as well.
As we are about to turn and drive down Baltimore, my husband surprises me by pulling into a vacant parking spot.
This can mean only one thing.
Noticing that the ancient parking meter is on empty, I begin to rummage through my purse for change. All I can find is a nickle and a dime.
This meagre offering to those who wander the corridors of Gettysburg City Hall is inserted into the meter and we are granted eight minutes. Knowing that it is impossible for me to make a formidable yarn purchase in a mere eight minutes, I instantly begin another assault on my poor purse. Let me tell you, there is a weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Seven minutes. Grrr.
At six minutes, I give up and make a run for the street corner. Now, in the past, crossing at these corners have always scared me, as there are no traffic lights. In the past, townspeople would take pity as they see me waiting for the oncoming cars to pass. They would correctly tell me that there is no need to wait because the traffic must yield to me. Still, I waited.
This time, as I approach the corner, I don’t even look to check for oncoming traffic before as I step out onto the street. My actions take me completely by surprise. Something about me has changed, but what could it be? Why am I not afraid?
The answer comes to me in a heartbeat. Since I was last here, I have had the experience of trying to cross the streets of Rome. If I can cross a street of bumper to bumper traffic with overly aggressive Roman drivers who solemnly believe that traffic rules are inconsequential and my life a triviality, I can certainly cross a mere little street in downtown Gettysburg.
I am Spartacus.
In less than a minute, I have quickly walked the entire block length, eyes keenly fastened to each shop window, for the familiar and decorative skeins of freshly spun yarn that are usually hanging there. As I reach the opposite street corner I am beginning to fear the worst. Turning around, I go back the length of the street, eyes straining, but to no avail.
The yarn store is no longer here.
Sadly, I begin to head back to the car.
In my mind, I can easily make sense of it. In a struggling economy, a business committed to wools, fibers, silks, knitting needles, weaving looms, and spinning wheels is of little use to those who are having a hard time paying rent and putting food on the table.
As I reach the car, I still have one minute on the meter. At least that crisis has now passed.
As we pull away, I am not the least bit bitter or upset. I am content in the knowledge that the sun will continue to rise and set whether or not I get my holiday yarn fix.
What I find confusing however, is that in the three blocks or so back to our hotel, I count four shops advertising psychic readings, fortune telling, dragon potions, charms & crystals, fairy dust, and tarot cards.
Business is obviously steady, as I see customers going in and coming out.
Suddenly, I am confronted with an altogether new and unexpected lesson on life.
Now I’m bitter.