Thursday, August 7, 2014

Travelogue – quiet drive

I'm just east of Toronto this evening. I got to the hotel about 8:45. But back to the beginning of the day.

In making breakfast I realized I had enough perishable food that I could make lunch as well. So I did. That allowed me to delay my departure a bit, which was good because, in spite of getting up early I had doubts I could make my original plans.

One task for this morning was to reload my car's CD player (yeah, old school). Alas, it decided to jam. I fussed for a bit then gave up. Every time I start the car the CD player tries to shift to another CD and fails. Pushing the CD button merely gives “error.” So parts of today's drive, when I was out of range of a good radio station, were rather quiet.

I took the highway to Port Huron and crossed into Sarnia. The wait at the border was 20 minutes. I was feeling a bit late, figuring lunch would be at a picnic table by the lake. Then just before I got to my target – Stratford – the road was closed for an emergency and we were diverted on the farm roads (some gravel, none marked). I pulled into town at 1:30 and devoured lunch in the car.

The rush was to get to the 2:00 performance of Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht. The title character has a wagon she uses to sell goods to both the Catholics and the Protestants in the Thirty Years War that began in 1618. So, yeah, she profits from war and isn't so sure she wants peace because there goes the business. This being Brecht it doesn't end well (not a cheery start to a vacation), though it gives him lots of room to comment on war. Three big ideas in particular. First, when the battle is raging around you what are you willing to do to stay alive? How soon will you give up your beliefs and honor? Second, you can cower or you can act heroically (as the daughter does) and likely you'll be just as dead either way, so you might as well act heroically. Third, the rulers declare war but the peasants pay for it in money and lives.

There was one bit of theater that I thought was quite effective. This theater is a thrust stage with audience in rising platforms on three sides set up in a large room. A soldier's chorus sang under the platforms at one end, then walked behind the seats along one side. We could hear their progress. The character on stage reacted to their passing.

I stopped in Kitchener for supper, then joined the big highway through Toronto. Through at least half of Toronto the traffic was quite slow – and this was 4-5 lanes of express and 3-4 lanes of local. At 8:00 at night it shouldn't have been rush hour.

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