Thursday, September 22, 2005

More About Me

I abhor cigarette smoke. Camels in close proximity have the power to make my eyes swell shut and give me the hangover no alcohol ever could. I hate that I can tell when a smoker used the washer before me at the laundromat. I have to admit, though, that smoking does have tremendous visual appeal. Smokers always look like they just don’t give a hoot, and that’s a look I have often had cause to go for. And, hypocritically, there are a few environments where the reek of somebody’s cancer stick makes me nostalgic and almost happy: casinos, pubs, and concerts in the park.

I love going to the laundromat, despite the residual stench of some asshat who likes to replace the oxygen in his tissues with toxic gases. The back door of the laundromat I frequent opens onto a sagebrush meadow across from the high school, and on warm evenings I like to sit in the doorway and watch the glowing sunset light the sage on fire. In the summer, buzzing dirtbikes raise a diaphanous haze over the meadow, but now that it’s fall the kids are back in school, dirtbikes garaged, and the mule deer can once again be seen gorging themselves on the blooming sage. The only drawback to this lovely pastorale: I am severely allergic to nature, too.

I got to drive Mr. Goodwrench’s new Blazer to Honeyville, UT and back last Friday night, while he chattered about the difficulties he faces as the boss in a busy equipment shop in town. There’s a cluster of hot springs in Honeyville that I absolutely could not live without. My sister and I are born mermaids and will gladly swim in any body of water at any temperature, but for some reason these steaming, mineral-rich pools in particular relax me and facilitate the tapping into of some serious creative reserves. My favorite time to visit the springs is on winter nights; the exotic appeal of steam mingling with snowflakes in the green glow of underwater lamps takes me out of my rather ordinary world for a while. I love watching people, and the casual exchanges you get in close proximity to total strangers amuse me; an apologetic look from a woman whose child splashes you (sympathetic smile in return), small talk about the weather or the temperature of the pools with an elderly couple (it was warmer this time last year, they remember), comparing tattoos with the synth-pop groupie (her guy’s got a gig in Elko next week). Mr. Goodwrench always gets a few stares, what with the tattoos, nipple rings, and shaved head, but after a while people grow accustomed to him and the boy scouts go back to splashing each other with the stinging, salty water. He’s always asking me if he looks like a thug. What can I say? He napped on the late way home and I took joyful advantage of his Paul Oakenfold collection and decided I will put that CD player in the Cadillac, after all.

I am only a bitch when I’m feeling insecure, an infrequent occurrence. Simply reassure me, if I can’t overcome it myself, and you’ll defuse me instantly. I never intentionally mistreat anyone. And it makes me unhappy to be mean.

The trees are just starting to turn, and I can feel that uncharacteristic surge of social energy I get in the fall. Suddenly I want to be in dim, smoky places crowded with friends. Maybe it’s the holidays approaching, and the tide of celebratory goodwill turning into a flood. September is a welcome prelude to my favorite month, today the start of my favorite season. I have always wanted to get married in September, outdoors, like Jeff and Candace are going to do this Saturday at their place out in El Caballo. We spent most of the day at work (after flushing a pump and mopping the lab) trying to estimate how much beer Jeff better have on hand. We decided a pony keg and a party ball should do it, the latter of which he can take back to Bateman if he doesn’t need to crack it open. I was delighted when Jeff said, “if it goes cold, wim’ll just haul the propane lantern down t’ th’ barn an’ continue the festivities.” It just sounds cozy, Candace in her dress in the hay, and all those black wool cowboy hats getting dusty. Travis, it turns out, has a keg tap with his name engraved on it. I’ve had beer from a keg only twice in my life. I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like.

Early September in Wyoming is generally quite cool, sometimes rainy like today, swinging back to Indian summer by the month’s end. October, my favorite time of year, is usually pleasant until a few days before Halloween, when it inevitably snows. I get those chain emails all the time with the subject, “You Know You’re in Wyoming When:” and the one that really strikes a chord with me is the one about designing your kids’ Halloween costumes to fit over a snowsuit. I’ve seen my share of unnaturally obese belly dancers, with bulky nylon Columbia parkas poking out from under their little bikini tops. I’ve seen little puffy princesses, and a Spiderman who had abs of down, and a ninja looking like a Negro Michelin man. But I can’t get started about Halloween right now. A Halloween post could very well turn into a plot-free novel.

Everything I own is now insured: two vehicles, all the gear in my apartment, my diamond and my life. The policy payoff for my life insurance doubles if I die in a City vehicle with my seatbelt on. I should point that out to my family. If I thoughtlessly snuff it of natural causes, or off the City clock, it would be pretty easy to haul me up to the plant, stick me in the little white Ford, buckle me in, put ‘er in drive and send me off E Hill.


Blogger Shepcat said...

From your McMurtryesque ode to sagebrush at sunset to that James M. Cain ending, with a somehow seamless detour into nipple piercing along the way, this post has something for everybody. I'm not even going to try to figure out how you did it; I'm just going to sit back and appreciate the meandering genius of it.

September 23, 2005 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger A said...

You seem determined to make me feel good about myself. It's working.

'Meandering' happens to be one of my favorite words.

McMurtry and Cain are two people I don't mind being compared to at all. You know I'm a sucker for an epic, and some days, like tomorrow, it's easy to pretend I'm living in the very pages of Lonesome Dove. It's not as bad as one might think.

September 24, 2005 at 1:17 AM  

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