Saturday, February 27, 2016

Diary: A lovely Friday morning jaywalking in Louisville, with coffee, a bagel and beers.

For the first time since 1999, there was no Gravity Head for me, but our friends from Dayton OH were coming down for it, as is their habit. It was decided to meet them for lunch, and because my wife works in downtown Louisville just a few blocks from Over the 9, the Falls City/Old 502 gastropub was our choice.

It occurred to me that if I rode with Diana to work, there'd be time for me to walk around downtown, drink coffee and people watch. Once upon a time, I worked for a company called UMI-Data Courier in a building on 5th Street (now demolished, as was the adjacent Standard Gravure). That was 28 years ago, and yes, the area has changed -- often for the better.

In 1988, a brand new retail development called Theater Square was underway where 4th Street meets Broadway. There was a deli there, and it sold inexpensive Carlsberg in bottles. On occasion, a liquid lunch was merited, until management quashed it.

Later, Bluegrass Brewing had a restaurant in the same spot. Now both Theater Square and the BBC are gone as Kindred constructs a building on the site, although I'm told that BBC will reopen after completion. Let's hope so. It was nice to have a few BBCs before walking a block to the Louisville Palace performance venue for shows.

On Friday, I began with coffee, and lots of it. Heine Brothers (above) has a shop on 4th Street. So does Nancy's Bagels (below) on the south side of 4th Street Live opposite the defunct Theater Square.

The garlic bagel with lox spread from Nancy's was heavenly. I had a double espresso at each, and then another at Sunergos down the way on 5th.

At some point during the morning, enjoying a pleasant caffeine buzz, I remembered that recently, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer decided to crack down on jaywalkers as a response to the fact that so many speeding drivers regularly strike (and usually kill) pedestrians.

It gripes my cookies, because jaywalking is an entirely artificial construction meant to buttress autocentrism.

Philosophically, the problem with jaywalking laws is that they treat pedestrians as a menace to cars, instead of vice versa. The laws first emerged in the United States in the early 20th century, when automobiles first began competing for space with pushcart vendors and playing children. As University of Virginia historian Peter Norton has documented, carmakers prevailed by winning legal restrictions on pedestrian movement — and promoting the very term “jaywalking,” which originally meant something like “the clueless wandering of hapless rubes.”

Accordingly, I decided to devote my Friday morning to jaywalking as much as possible. I stopped counting at 13 times, two of them in full view of the police. I was not cited. Wonder why?

Perhaps I'm not black enough, or street-person enough. Either way, Fischer remains an empty suit, and civil disobedience was making me seriously thirsty. It was eleven a.m., and I was waiting outside the door at Gordon Biersch when the key could be heard making its turn.

The drinking day promptly began with a lovely Marzen. It was hard to leave that stool.

By the time I arrived at Over the 9 just before noon, I'd walked five miles. Our friends arrived. We caught up with life and dined on fish and chips. I had a Black IPA and a Smoked Baltic Porter, and thanks to the friendly people there, an advance sample of one of the new bottled releases coming on Tuesday, March 1. But I won't ruin the surprise.

I'll have to make time for more mornings like this one. It was good practice for Session Beer Day.

Come drink beer with me on Session Beer Day, April 7, 2016.

I'm toying with the idea of starting before lunch and traversing downtown Louisville on foot, much like Leopold Bloom in James Joyce's Ulysses -- walking from brewery to brewery, and having a session beer at each. Most usually have at least once 4.5% choice available on draft.

I'm doing pints, and won't be driving. If I could manage this without a single "Session IPA," it would suit me just fine.

The brewery list, traveling roughly west to east, would be Falls City, Gordon Biersch, BBC 3rd Street, Against the Grain, Goodwood and Akasha. Others might be too far away to walk, but perhaps they could sell kegs to Akasha for duty on the guest taps.

I know: It's a work day, and so is Friday. However, if you're interested in joining me, let me know. I just may see you on Session Beer Day, 2016.



Gary McClellan said...

Since it's session day, you should be able to handle the trek from Akasha to Sergio's and Apocalypse. Or Akasha across the Big 4 bridge to Red Yeti and Flat 12.

The New Albanian said...

I want to do breweries only, so if Apocalypse is open -- maybe it works. I want to end with Akasha so that we can celebrate the day in an official ceremony. Thanks for jogging the memory bank.