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Part 1: Mark Baumer Reflection: Impounding Vehicles & Immigrant Rights

This is part of a multi-part reflection I've been doing following the death of my friend, Mark Baumer . There's nothing graphic i...

South of the Towahhh

Yesterday I took a bus down to Kingston, which was the first place I ever lived in Rhode Island. I rarely get to South County, because it's so far flung (the worst part is going through Warwick, honestly-- it's like a den of inequity for bad transportation/land-use decisions). But I got down there, south of the Towahhh, and enjoyed retracing the steps of my past life.
I got to pal around with Bill Rappleye, who needed a word on the car tax. Lots of fun. State Speaker Nicholas Mattiello's plan to eliminate the car tax is an attack on the poor, contrary to what is often said, and is an attack on our environment. He may want ocean-front property in western Cranston, but the rest of us what social equity and an environment that doesn't go haywire.
. @TransportPVD thinks #cartax is good. @RISpeaker has plan to kill it hear from both @NBC10
— bill rappleye(@NBC10_Bill) May 30, 2017
I haven't seen it yet. I hope I was cogent. I joked with Bill that I had to run into the CVS at URI to buy some razors so that I could cross the subtle line I ride between hobo and disheveled professor. I think I came out on the professor side (the university backdrop may have helped). I also hope some state reps. from the progressive wing of the party will start to stand up on this.

One of the things I used a lot when I was in South County, since I have never learned to drive a car, was the bike path. It was an essential life-life that got me to work everyday, helped me visit centers of population like Peacedale or Wakefield, and gave me access to groceries. The ratio between affordable housing one and jobs in South County has to be about the worst one that I can think of (at least anecdotally, I have no numbers), and my stint there was very short. But walking there again viscerally awoke many feelings, smells, sounds, and tactile experiences that had long deadened in my awareness.
One of the things that surprisingly I had had no experience of in the entire three months I lived in South Kingstown was the side paths into the swamp and the forest that come off of that bike path. I walked from URI to Peacedale down South Road and onto the bike path, but when I veered off my normal route into these woods, I found planks on the ground leading me this way and that across an array of different sub-ecosystems. I came across swamps and bogs, forest trails, a meadow, a couple (clearly man-made ponds-- maybe one of them was Asa Pond?), a rushing (but very small) river that I suspect is a tributary of the Saugatucket, and lots of amphibians, birds, and small critters.
I got no pictures, because my cell phone was dead. The website for the path has some, but they don't even begin to do it justice. Take the bus sometime down to URI and just walk around, and you can see for yourself.
My broken life sometimes feels like I'm Al Gore growing a post-election beard, or Hillary Clinton stomping off makeup free into the woods. But I think that what a disheveled stomp can do sometimes is awaken happiness.
Among the memories I awakened were ones of learning how to ride a unicycle (did that in a parking lot in South County), watching meteor showers in a field off of Brown's Farm Road (I miss that time), and getting caught in the rain on 108 on a bike.
South County's fun.
The 70-year-old African-American man right next to me in the library just started playing the B-side of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, and my good luck is that he put his headphone jack in the wrong hole. So I showed him how to use the right jack, but the loss is now I don't get to listen to Marvin Gaye anymore.
Man: Wait, how do you turn this up?
Me: It's that thing. Click the speaker and drag the bar upwards.
Man: Click?
Me: Well, hmm. . . Here. . . Let me show you. You click which means to push this button down with this finger, but hold the button down, and then you have to drag that bar up.
That wouldn't have happened at Brown. He's telling me about the movie this song was in (he just showed me a Youtube with it, it's Trouble Man by Robert Hook, and it looks awful!), and  is wondering why I know this music. I have to tell him I don't know the movie, but doesn't everyone know this album? It's like one of the best albums of all time.
Life is good.

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