I was worried that I was going to have to find a rock in a field of rocks for this one, but it turned out not to be the case (blessed be and crap). But this isn’t what I intended to talk about. I was thinking more about the night before. A new cache showed up at a nearby neighborhood recreation center. I had considered placing a cache there myself (and there’s still room), but I hadn’t gotten around to it. That, and it’s in one of those poorer parts of town I seem to have been going on and on about lately. It had been published the day before, so I decided on a lark to make it my cache of the day.

The mural (and the center on which it resides) is dedicated to a former Austin Mayor and City Council member (and, as far as I’m concerned, the pride of Zapata). All I knew from the cache description was that one was supposed to enjoy the mural and that GZ was at the foot of it. So, imagine my surprise to arrive at 11:00 p.m. to find a soccer game in progress literally on top of GZ! I can sometimes be bold about going for a cache when there are people around because, despite my talk and worries about being Black in white spaces, it’s amazing what you can sometimes get away with when you act like you belong there. In this case, it was pretty obvious that everyone there knew each other, and the odds of someone official doing a building inspection at that hour were both astronomical and ridiculous. I kicked back and watched a soccer game for a while. They played for about twenty minutes more, and then all headed off for their homes (I assume). Once the area was clear, I began my search, but as you can tell if you look closely, there are not really any places to hide a cache along the wall. I gave it some time, but the clock was ticking, and as much as I claim I don’t care about my streak any longer, I’m still not entirely keen on ending it just yet. I searched and searched to no avail until there were ten minutes left in the day. At that point, I just logged a challenge to maintain the streak and called it a night. I also posted a DNF, questioning if there was a coordinate problem or if it had gone missing. I’m usually pretty hesitant to do that, and if I don’t give the search a good-faith effort, I typically don’t bother. But there was no way that a new cacher (the CO only had twenty-four finds) was going to place something so diabolically clever that I wasn’t going to find it.

The next morning, I awoke to a message from the CO. They had corrected the coordinates (about 200 feet away in a different direction, coincidentally close to the spot the mural photo was taken), which made a world of difference. I let the CO know I’d go back and take another shot at it that afternoon. With the time I had put in the night before, I was looking forward to getting a new FTF. But, as Mr. Burns pointed out, “the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley,” or some kind of crap like that. While I was working, another cacher swooped in. In the daylight, he went further afield than I did and managed to find it before the coordinate update. Kudos to him. So, I went and found another cache for the day.

That’s it. No deep thoughts. No metaphors or meanings. Some days, the search encapsulates the human condition in miniature. Some days, the cigar is just a cigar.

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