I recall that back when I first heard of the Allegory of the Cave I had no idea what Plato, Socrates, or the Phd grad assistant who told us the story was talking about. In fact, replete with the wisdom of one who'd been inhabiting the planet for all of 17 years, I haughtily declared The Allegory of the Cave to be the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard. (The grad assistant, impressed with my cheeky slap down of Socrates, invited me to come to his office to discuss the allegory further after I turned 18).
But if I didn't get the Allegory of the Cave back when I was a 17-year-old savant, now, a good half-century later, I do get it, oh so clearly. In fact in spite of all the many life experiences, discoveries, and megabits of information that have rolled my way over the years, every now and then I'll learn about the existence of something completely new to me, something I've never heard of before, the revelation of which leaves me feeling like the guy stuck in his own cave living in his own reality without a clue of the infinite variety of earthly phenomena and human experiences that exist on this planet.
I was hit with just such a Guy in the Cave moment a couple of nights ago while watching the recently released movie "Concrete Cowboy," an enthralling story of the Black cowboy community that has existed for decades in the heart of urban North Philadelphia.
The film tells the story of a delinquent teenage boy from Detroit,
But amidst the gunshots, drug deals, and run-down circumstances he's been dropped into,
To which, not having read the review as I often don't before watching a movie for fear of the presence of spoilers, I replied, "I don't actually know."
However, I pulled out my phone to find out, and found out to my amazement that the riders and horse stables of North Philadelphia are, in fact, real. And it was at that point that I was hit with one of my Guy in a Cave moments.
"Why have I never heard of this?" I wondered. After all, I grew up in Northeast Philly (Below are photos of one of my old neighborhoods. Our house was the one on the near corner with the red door and the brown fence. See post from 11/27/2018, "The Old House On Barnett Street"),
What makes it more unbelievable to me is that in my second novel "Hail Mary," which is set in Philadelphia, I included a small subplot that involved the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, though in my novel I changed the name from Strawberry Mansion to Wedgefield. So why, when I was researching Strawberry Mansion, did I not come across the horse stables?
Well, who knows, maybe I did but my eyes just didn't adjust to something I didn't expect to see on my cave wall.