Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Undertaker

Yes, in case you were worried, today is a slightly better day. The rabid Tasmanian devil is still on my shoulder, but I've tossed him a bone to chew, and he should be quiet for a while. (Yes, I'm going to the doctor. There's no reason but hormones that I should be so violently angry one day and relatively harmless the next.) I have to learn to just sleep away the bad days.

In other news, my Christmas tree is finally giving up the ghost. It wouldn't quit after Christmas, and I didn't have the heart to send it to the chipper with those tiny, rubbery, pale needles sprouting all over, but it's finally starting to brown and wilt in the corner of the bedroom, and no amount of aspirin or sugar can bring it back. I'm going to find a place for it out in the yard with all the other evergreen molt from the big pine by the garage where hopefully it will crumble into mulch for the lilacs.

I went skiing today after work at the golf course, racing the sunset back to the car as the winter shadows became longer, a darker shade of blue. But on my way around the back 9 I ran into Joe, the cemetery sexton, and as we chatted for a moment, I thought how perfect he is for the part. His is a habitually doleful expression and there are perpetual dark circles under his eyes. He's tall and lean but slightly stooped and gaunt, and he's missing the last joint of one of his thumbs; I think it's the right one. All this outward gloom belies a dry sense of humor and a fitting sensitivity to his duties. His outdoor job has leathered his skin and narrowed his eyes, and he can be found doing active things in any season, like skiing at the golf course and bicycling to and from work. He's always been kind to me, and that's the stick I use to measure everyone I interact with.

I can't say that, after 6 years, I respect many people on the City. I started at barely 22, honest, trusting, reasonable. I am less giving now. I never expected to find a group of adults so concerned about themselves, their appearance to others, their status in this pretentious, fractured and feuding, unfriendly town. Which is a huge shame. Evanston could be a lovely place. It's quaint and, in the summer, green and blooming. And I suppose that yes, if I didn't have to fight my way to work on the worst of the winter mornings, I would find winter here lovely, too, if only it didn't last so long. Evanston is a gateway to almost every available winter sport.

Evanston has a lot of great history and a few people attempting, albeit in a very selfish and limiting way, to introduce some culture. But there is a malevolent caste system and a resistance to civility and tolerance that sets my teeth on edge, and I can't see that changing anytime soon. Maybe all small towns are that way, I don't know. We left Kemmerer (about a quarter the size of Evanston, which boasts 12,000 permanent residents and about 1,000 transient workers, give or take a few) when I was barely 12 and really too young to notice, and Evanston is the only small town I've lived in since.

So that's where things lie tonight, and I'm going to continue my therapy with the rowing machine and some Disney/Pixar magic.


Blogger mister anchovy said...

I've never been to Wyoming in the winter. The closest was a late September week of flyfishing. It was way cold, and we were chasing trout in the Park, and it snowed overnight quite a bit then turned sunny. I remember driving through Ten Sleep a couple days later, thinking how stunning it was with a fresh coat of snow. But then, we were gone, driving east east east. Back home, here in Toronto Canada, our winters are mostly forgiving. This one has been the exception. We've had more snow than we've seen in years.

I don't think I've been through your town. The closest I've been has been Rock Springs, and from there I turned north. I was going to meet my buddy Ken (who lives in Idaho) on the Henry's Fork in Box Canyon for a few days on the river, and I was going across into Idaho through that pass near Jackson. From there, I was headed down into Nevada and across to California, where I was going to a button accordion camp in the High Sierras.
I put a lot of miles on my old car that summer.

February 19, 2008 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger a572mike said...

"But there is a malevolent caste system and a resistance to civility and tolerance" -I think that this is one of those unspoken "Wyoming Values" that no one wants to acknowledge.

February 21, 2008 at 9:32 PM  

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