Head into Dallas. (Must admit, since November 1963, cannot [WILL not?] suppress a certain “negativity” towards Dallas. Recognize it as irrational: an act by one man should not be an indictment of an entire population, but, as a close friend often points out, we humans are “wired funny”)
Arrive at Dealey Plaza and what was once Texas Book Repository. Am surprised to see a number of “ex offico” guides, and so many young people and foreigners, at an alien site in terms of THEIR time or geography, photographing themselves. (The ultimate, being those who step off the curb, into a multi-lane street to be filmed standing on an “X” painted on its pavement, signifying JFK’s position when hit by Oswald’s shot). Somehow, this “carrion call of Dead Kennedys” urges me away completely from this milieu.
Fortunately, close by a charming old red Courthouse relic, a simple, unadorned memorial climbs high: its (intentional? accidental?) irony being that it projects a sense of “protection” so at odds with our actual heartbreak over a president’s assassination.
Wander through artsy “West End”, and, as weekend traffic is nearly non-existent, traipse along a path of new skyscrapers. Commercial “Fountain Place” is an exquisite building,with a cool, charming pool at atrium level.
Still on “shank’s mare”, notice a gorgeous, white, harp-like bridge which attracts me, so, erroneously, wander off into what becomes urban boonies: an old, deserted, multi-level parking structure beside a now abandoned, gigantic football stadium. (It is, indeed, a strange feeling to be completely alone, in acres of cracked concrete, numbered parking lot slots, diminished by sheer scale of surrounding ruins, while, within sight, traffic pulses through a major metropolis. “Scary” is too strong a word; but “vulnerable” and “anxious” are close to the mark).
Decide to go “cross-country”, and pause, enjoying air-conditioned refreshment, at an obscure loading dock at Reunion Tower’s base.
See “green fields” and assume “civilization” must be “just over the hill” only to find myself on a shoulder of heavily-trafficked Interstate highway. By this time, hot, tired, dehydrated, decide to “run across” highway toward a visible off-ramp.
Fortunately, Gods watch over drunks and children (even those, like me, obviously in a “second childhood” of invincibility), highway traffic lessens, and, except for a single, surprised driver entering from a ramp unnoticed, am able to raise my blood pressure several hundred points and safely cross eight lanes of roadway. (As a reward, stumble into a nearby McDonalds, and slurp down two quick, caffeine-laced, chilled colas).
Luck, being better than wisdom, notice, upon exiting, my now-suspected “Brigadoon” bridge is barely a quarter of a mile away, substantively visible from a now-closed off bridge easily traversed. A youngish man walks by: the only other person enjoying this panoramic view of bridge and downtown Dallas skyscrapers, but am still too tired to buttonhole him and “confess my sins”.