Stare out the passenger window as the landscape blurs past. Anything to distract. He drives with one hand on the convertible’s steering wheel, his left arm rests on the door’s frame. He, a mustachioed middle-aged man with a paunch. He, who wears his comb-over like a Franciscan Monk. He, who won’t stop talking.
As we speed along, the wind plucks at his words, comically tosses his fringe of hair.
Arrive at a squat, two-story octagonal building. Robust and colorful graffiti interrupts the peeling white paint of the structure’s weathered exterior. Perched on a narrow spit of land, the building broods over the gray ocean.
Exit the convertible. Follow him — and his endless monologue. Up a wooden ramp that spirals simultaneously around the building’s wind-whipped skeletal exterior and its dim, yet warmly lit interior. Pass small clutches of people hunched and huddled at the ramp’s edges.
While tramping ever upward, notice that the inclined ramp is pocked with rows of evenly spaced, one-inch diameter holes. Each hole contains a large, thick, striped- and dotted multi-colored caterpillar. In a rolling wave, dozens — hundreds — of the creatures retreat, withdraw into their respective holes to avoid being stepped on. Then, in a rolling wave, they thrust their fat heads out of the holes again once the threat has passed.
— C.Birde, 2/18