Monday, November 07, 2005


It never fails; every time I go to Jo's she sends me home at least half drunk, with a box of Eddie Bauer and L.L. Bean shirts and a Rubbermaid tub of leftovers. I was walking back from Golden Rule, where I'd dropped my rent check off and visited with Mary for a while, when I found Jo and Don in their driveway. He was attaching a custom-cut layer of Plexiglas to the top of her old ironing board; he'd seen the snowbirds on their last fishing trip using just such a contraption to clean fish on and realized how sensible the idea was, a rig with adjustable height and easy to clean. He's an extraordinary craftsman, and he had countersunk the heads of the screws so that no fish guts would get embedded around the hardware. I was getting their new photo printer and digital camera all squared away and teaching her how to print pictures when she brought out the pineapple Valle and coconut rum, and you know me: I am never one to turn down coconut rum. Jo and Don would still be two of my favorite people if they lived in a cardboard box and didn't keep me perpetually buzzed, but I adore their conversation and their style and their absolutely lovely home.

I meant to get a lot of work done this month, mostly fiction drills to replace the good experience blogging a novel would have been. I've roughed out a short story based on the "I Saw You" ads in the
City Weekly, Salt Lake Valley's free "underground" liberal rag, a publication I always enjoy (especially the arts reviews and the "I Saw You" page, which has always just plain tripped me out). I picked up the Weekly at the Loco Lizard Cantina in Park City last night, desperate to get my mind off what a pretentious, tacky place the once quaint ski town has become. It's nauseating to see the mansions of the pompous sprawling through the pretty valley and choking it like a disease, the malls and marts and rows of condos that feature the most ridiculous architecture, like something from the set of Toontown at Disneyland. Everything I see in the valley now just reeks of extravagance and waste. I hope to God they plan to stop at the Utah border; if not, I'll be waiting with a shotgun for the first developer to cross the line. Wyoming already has a malignant tumour bulging with ostentatious implants: it's called Jackson Hole.


Blogger dorothy rothschild said...

Mr. Benchley and I were in the Hudson Valley this weekend, which is surprisingly free of much of the developer caused strip-mall tackiness and hideous condo architecture you describe. However, in one little town that was mostly old farmhouses and cottages from the 30's and 40's, there were a couple of lots up on a hill. One had been cleared, an ugly bald spot at the foot of a hill. The other already had its building, a mafia princess McMansion that looked as if it had been ripped out of the ground somewhere in Queens and plopped down there. Awful. Truly awful.

I'll bet your fiction writing is superb.

November 8, 2005 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger A said...

Isn't that strange? Something makes people want to live somewhere unique and beautiful and untouched. So they build a monster house and park their massive Hummer out front, and live in a fashion completely contradictory to that which they saw and admired. I just don't get it. This is happening up in Pinedale, the town where my grandmother is moyor, which is the town in the US farthest from a railroad (in other words, it's remote). Wealthy CEOs are building these obscene compounds up in the mountains and then discovering- my goodness!- that they can't get in or out in the winter. It's so funny.

I'm glad to hear that the Hudson Valley is relatively unscathed by typical rural disfigurement. I've always imagined it to be a lovely place.

As for my writing, I'll work up the courage to post it here, and you can decide. I'm starting to worry that my talent is mimicry, not writing. But there's always hope. I haven't been at it long. And I sure love it; isn't that what matters?

November 8, 2005 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger a572mike said...

It's happening here too... A developer is trying badly to build a gated community between Cody and the East Entrance to Yellowstone.

In one of my previous lives, I worked for a contractor that was building an $80M condo complex Sun Valley, Idaho. It just boggled my mind to know that they were only going to be occupied for maybe 2 weeks of the year... The owner was adamantly opposed to any upgrades to the local infrastructure like the roads leading into town, even though his complex was only going to make things worse.

November 8, 2005 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger A said...

Aren't they something? There is no method to the madness... except money, I think.

November 9, 2005 at 12:16 PM  

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