I took a yellow pad and a book I need to write about down to a café on State Street. I also brought the NYT crossword puzzle and some admissions files. I did not bring my computer, because I feared the usual mesmerization. At one point, taking notes on my book, I paused and then felt I needed to do something and then realized it was that feeling of needing to save. I've really gotten out of the habit of taking notes with a pen and paper. I read three admissions files. I do the puzzle. I notice a figure looming over my table. It's Chris -- my younger son. He's here to get some writing done and takes a table in the back. I'm using all the room on my little table. Later, I get up to leave and stop over at his table to say goodbye. I take a picture:
He takes a picture of me:
I leave and take a walk on State Street. It's a sunny warm day. Someone is playing the saxophone. One of those people who hang around in Peace Park saw a man walking a golden retriever and called out to the dog, "Hey, Lassie." Most of the shops were closed, but there was some good window shopping to be done. My camera battery conked out, or I would have taken a picture of the big store window where they'd built a pyramid out of cigarette cartons and posted a big sign that read "Dip Your Lungs In Sunshine."
That was Madison in the early afternoon. Later in the afternoon, some sports-related unhappiness settled on the city.
UPDATE: I started the diagramless puzzle in the café, but it was tricky, and, using a pen, I found myself in need of Wite-Out soon enough. I switched to the far, far easier regular crossword. Later, at home, I finished the diagramless puzzle, and it was a puzzle for the ages! Wow! Just plain: wow! And "wow" was actually one of the answers. But ... wow! I can only think of one diagramless puzzle that was more impressive. And if you do the diagramlesses, you know what I'm talking about: Connect the Dots, the most amazing puzzle ever to appear in the NYT.