A Six Foot Column Of Sugar

Yesterday evening, I got the customary messages that new caches had dropped in the area, and by “area,” I mean within fifty miles of home. One caught my eye: it was about twenty minutes away once rush hour had died, and I don’t have an FTF yet this month. It wasn’t far from where I work, so it would have been much more convenient if it had dropped in the afternoon around the time I was leaving for the day. It also occurred to me that, since I was going to be over there anyway, I could grab my laptop from work and be remote today. All that was good enough for me. I went out to my car but hesitated for a moment. The clouds were getting dark. Because of a storm watch until late that night, a CITO I had planned to attend was moved to next week. But that had originally started around when I was leaving work, and it amounted to little more than some intermittent drizzle. I decided Damn the torpedoes! and set off north. I drove a couple of miles, and the sky got oppressively dark. I drove a couple more miles, and the lightning strikes were popping off at random intervals. I drove a couple more miles, and the heavens opened up.

At first, I thought it might be a quick burst, but when I decided I needed to turn my emergency blinkers on, that was it. I got off the freeway (at the exit I use for work), turned around, and went home. Sure, I have my trusty and long-traveled umbrella, but why risk it in the service of a streak I’m no longer officially maintaining? I chose wisely. Returning the way I came, I saw a new accident involving an 18-wheeler and a line of cars (nothing horrific; someone didn’t brake in time, and it snowballed). Disco lights from police, ambulance, and fire trucks were all aglow and blinking. I slowly passed them all and inched my way home. I sat to write with the rain falling, tempting me to burrow under the covers and lie down for the night. Days like that are what challenges are for. I chose the oldest one completed and unclaimed, then kicked back with my slippers and a cozy cardigan.

There was a time when I would have gone after it. I wouldn’t have been stopped by rain, sleet, snow (sometimes), or dead of night. Mud, buses, and oppressive heat wouldn’t have stopped me, either. But you know what? Maybe I’m not that guy anymore. Former me (and by “former”, I mean three years ago) would have chided the current me for being a little soft, reminding me that I wasn’t going to melt in the rain. He was a newbie cacher with something to prove. He can (and did) get drenched while the current me is warm and dry. I don’t have to find a cache every day. I do, but I don’t have to.

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