Archive for June, 2011


Thunder-Bolting, [thuhn-der-bohlt-ing], verb:  to make a sudden, swift dash, run, flight, or escape into downtown areas of Cincinnati, Ohio, and while doing so taking mental pictures of all the buildings currently under construction, being demolished, or about to be demolished, as well as paying very intense attention to the way buildings, parking lots, sidewalks, utility poles, and construction equipment (ie:  orange cones and barrels, orange-and-white-striped road-blocks, bulldozers, and other machinery) fit and slide into one another, to be used later in meticulous drawings. 

Yesterday we walked from Fountain Square toward the Serpentine Wall and over the Purple People Bridge.  There was a Reds game about to start on our way over, and I felt this sudden Raymond-ness to the whole scene:  people everywhere, Cincinnati Banks under construction, road blocks set up for the game, sunshine, cloudless sky.  But I wasn’t going to the game, and really I was just walking to take in the sights.  

It was a spiritual thing, so we coined the above verb:  thunder-bolting, as in walking down Cincinnati streets with an intense purpose inside your mind, and being silent and obsessive and collecting data, while everyone else is on their way to a ballgame or trying to find a parking place or late to cocktails.  The city becomes a weird work of art aching to be identified when you do this.  You don’t fit in to the crowd, but you are a part of it; the city swirls around you and you absorb its angles and essences. 

As we walked in his footsteps, I began to understand Raymond as what he actually was, a Cincinnati version of Baudelaire’s flaneur: “a person who walks the city in order to experience it.”  Raymond experienced the city visually and philosophically, absorbing its newness and scrutinizing its decay, and translating that reality into his version of it.

On the way back to Fountain Square, around 10 pm last night, the game was still going on, and someone made a home-run:  smoke and fireworks, those bright stadium lights casting an hallucinatory glow across parking lots and river-water.  Chainlink sparkles.  The places between buildings, crevices and cracks, brick into brick, lit up like a movie still.   

Try Thunder-bolting when you get a chance.


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