In our own backyard... Sometimes you can't teach an old dog new tricks
Old habits die hard. Last Friday morning, as I drove south into Cloquet over the St. Louis River bridge, I automatically threw my turn signal into the left turn mode - just as I have for the better part of the last 12 years - to head east down Cl...
Old habits die hard. Last Friday morning, as I drove south into Cloquet over the St. Louis River bridge, I automatically threw my turn signal into the left turn mode - just as I have for the better part of the last 12 years - to head east down Cloquet Avenue to work.
At that particular point in time, however, I was struck by the realization this was the last time I'd be making that particular gesture because it was Moving Day. This was the day the moving van was slated to show up at the front door of our long-time Pine Journal office at 813 Cloquet Avenue. By the end of the day, the course of the past 12 years of our newspaper's history would have changed forever.
And when the following Monday dawned, I knew instead of automatically making that left-hand turn on the way to work, I'd be headed straight through town to our temporary headquarters in the Pine Tree Plaza.
After years of functioning almost by rote, I found I'd been acting strangely over the past week.
As I labored to come up with an alternative word for "alleged" for the crime story I was working on, for example, I automatically reached for my faithful thesaurus in its accustomed spot on the far left corner of my work station.
It wasn't there.
In the process of packing things over the past week, I'd cleared out my book shelf and all of the associated volumes of reference material that went with it.
There was simply no thesaurus to be had.
"You can always open the one on your computer...." suggested Editor Lisa Baumann helpfully.
"But I've used the other one since I was in college...." I wailed, grasping at straws over the absent thesaurus.
And then, there was the clock situation. Along about midweek, in a flurry of last-minute packing frenzy, I'd pulled both clocks off the wall, packed them in newspapers and sealed them into a box.
Ever since, I'd been repeatedly staring at the blank spot on the wall whenever I wanted to know what time it was. It didn't matter that I'd just done the same darn thing five minutes earlier, or that I had a watch right there on my wrist, or that the time of day was right there on the front of my cell phone.
Still, my eyes flew to the empty spot on the wall every single time I wanted to check the time.
Perhaps the ultimate frustration came on Thursday morning, when the phone company transferred our lines to the new location a day earlier than expected. The worst of it was the phones were still there, but they didn't work.
Every time I wanted to make a call, I would unthinkingly grab the phone and begin to dial - before I realized there was no dial tone.
I had the grace and dignity to simply smile about it the first time or two - but the several times after that, I was downright embarrassed. After all, I'm a savvy, cell phone-carrying business professional, right? I don't need a desk phone, do I?
Well, you know the answer to that....
And so, as I traveled across the St. Louis River bridge into Cloquet on Monday morning, I was in a bemused state of mind, thinking of all of the changes that were taking place, wondering what it would be like working in the mall, worrying about how far along the renovation of our new office space in the west end would be by now....
I admired the skyline of Cloquet from that particular approach - the spires of the Catholic and Presbyterian churches outlined against the clear, blue sky, the exceptional architecture of the historic Frank Lloyd Wright gas station, the dignified brick facade of Larson Commons jutting up into the sky.....
I hit my left turn signal - and headed down Cloquet Avenue.
Pine Journal Publisher/ reporter Wendy Johnson can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org .