Wednesday, October 05, 2005I remember when I moved to Tuscaloosa in January 2001. I noticed that everytime I got out of my car at night, there was a terrible smell of burning rubber. I was constantly worried that I had a flat tire. Then one night, walking home from the library, my nostrils began to burn and I realized that on humid nights, Tuscaloosa just smells like garbage.
That semester was interesting. I started spending time at this coffee shop right off campus. I thought it was the best thing ever. In the four years since that time I've gone through all sorts of things, both good and bad, but the coffee shop is still there. I would contend that it doesn't taste quite as good as it did back then but it's of no consequence. I hung around and hung around, eating chicken salad and drinking lattes. I spent more money than I could count, skipped class and stayed up late. I spent time with every single person in this town that I count as a friend. I met my girlfriend there. I wrote papers and poems and read book after book after book.
Why am I talking about this? I don't know. Perhaps because tonight I caught that obscene smell wafting across the Druid City, cockroaches chasing one another on the sidewalk. I walked in front of the library with my girlfriend, hand in hand, and I thought about how in all the time I've been here, there have been two physical, tangible constants: the putrid smell of burning rubber and the Crimson Cafe. I'm not sure how things would be I had not had them.