(Not to spoil the ending, but we didn’t win. I should also clarify that I use the word “prestigious” here not because I’m uppity—trust me, I hate myself—but because the award is prestigious. In my experience, these types of things often feel a bit mechanical, all done by email or snail mail or whatever. Look, when that Kennedy majesty touches you, you feel it.)
Last week I was driving in Baton Rouge traffic, which is generally acknowledged (or should be, anyway) as the worst traffic on the Earth planet, which defies logic because Baton Rouge is a provincial town at best. When you drive in, say, Dublin, where the lanes are narrower than the cars, you can at least appreciate that there are millennia of horse-drawn carts and such that dictated the width of the streets, and that just because cars are the latest fad in human transportation doesn’t mean the city needs to change, and if you’re so uppity about it, anyway, why don’t you just take the DART and leave the streets to everyone else. But Baton Rouge? There are no excuses, and worse, there is no public transportation. And worse yet, if only because it’s inexplicable, the people of Baton Rouge are actively hostile to pedestrians and bicyclists. I run anywhere from 5 to 13 miles every single day (and of course there are no sidewalks) and the sneers I get from drivers, who are busy texting while steering their Yukons with their knees, turn me cold. These are people who consider walking—man’s oldest form of transportation—to be weird and uncivilized and deserving of scorn and so they get as close to you as they can without actually killing you, and I am not exaggerating. And so I, not giving a damn, remain as immovable as Bartleby the Scrivener. I’d prefer if the Yukon didn’t hit me, but a man has to stand for something, even if it is a little patch of crumbling Baton Rouge asphalt.
So while I was driving my phone rang, and it was late in the day and the area code was 202, which meant D.C., and I just didn’t feel up for talking work that late in the day and was just going to let it go to voicemail, but then I remembered that if I don’t work I don’t get paid, and so I answered.