Shelter from the storms.

Friday, May 26th, 2006

I’ve been told that posting from a Panera Bread is What Folks Do These Days, and sure enough, here I am, sitting in a Panera in Dublin, Ohio, watching a fierce downpour outside.

It’s a rainstorm not unlike the one I drove through yesterday, heading down I-71 from Cleveland with my father, after accompanying him to his home town (located in extreme NE Ohio) for his annual Memorial Day visit. That thunderstorm, experienced at freeway speeds, was a lot scarier, accompanied by dramatic lightning and almost-cyclonic gusts of wind. All this was after a gloomy, sporadically rainy morning that gave way to a sunny afternoon that gave way to…well, rain like this.

I’m making this Panera my Friday outpost as Sammy drives up from Atlanta for a rendezvous, and from here, it’s, of course, on to Michigan. I’m sure Sam will have braved rainy freeways on her way up, and we’ll probably have further soakingness before the day’s travel is done, but I’m glad I spent some quality time with my father, and will have some quality time with Sammy’s parents (her mom’s birthday is on Monday) as well.

I’m using this morning and afternoon at the laptop as an opportunity to catch up on some reading, and I’m also finding myself, in extra browser tabs, googling people I’ve gone to high school with…an experience that’s sometimes painful when, as in one case, I find that a fairly sensible friend from those days has married someone who is a beyond-right-wing religious ACLU-hating nut case who has taken as his calling the perpetuation of his fanaticism while (as he says on his site) his wife works teaching handicapped kids to keep food on the table as he fights his Goliaths.

Hand me the large polo mallet of common sense, please. I guess it’s one pathetic way of dealing with a midlife crisis—report to your wife that Jesus wants you to have her become the breadwinner while you fight for prayer everywhere, abortion nowhere, and apocalypse soon.

Is the Columbus I’ve come back to visit now more predominantly filled with beyond-right-wing religious ACLU-hating nut cases? Yeah, I think so. Does that make my complex, diverse, flawed, intelligent, contentious southern city intown neighborhood feel just a little bit more like a haven, a shelter, a place to keep from drowning in intolerance?

Yes. For now, for sure.