Feb 27 2006
Overheard in the Salt Lake City airport: “Dude, my girlfriend, is like, soooo pregnant.”
It is amazing to me how easy it is; how with a certain measure of petroleum and steel (but really just the former; it powering mining, construction, manufacturing, transportation of everything from one place to the next) things like being in Las Vegas one hour of the evening (a city that really, properly, should not exist at all: it’s a mirage, I tell you, a mirage!) and back home in northern California the next (odd how a trip to the desert can put a thing like the loveliness of the trees of Davis in perspective) is perfectly normal and fine and, well, easy.
And here we are back home, with a measure of weekend fun under our belts; board games (Settlers of Catan) and expeditions to BLM parks (Red Rocks) and getting hopelessly drunk on overpriced drinks (let’s not talk about it) and staying up all night (twice!) (but not gambling), and seeing friends, seeing my dear friends. We all wish that we lived closer to each other (though I have no real desire to be closer to Vegas) but if some kind of compression of central California could occur (it’s an unnecessary part of the state, really) that would be grand. In the meantime, petroleum and steel, petroleum and steel… If I ran the world, we’d save our oil for plastics and jet planes, the miracles of our times. I am hopelessly in love with commercial flying (not the action itself, of course, as it’s uncomfortable, boring and expensive) but with the concept of jetting around, to go the places I want to go, to see the world, see the sights, be home in time for dinner.
There was an older gentleman in my row on the way back to Sacramento who was coming home from vacation in Cairo. His wife, a seat ahead of him, had recently-hennaed hands, which is likely an Egyptian tourist industry, like seeing the pyramids. They looked tan and happy and couldn’t stop talking about how amazing it was. There were colors inside! I was happy for them and insanely jealous; I know and love the surreality of coming home from a long, exotic trip somewhere else, how strange it is. (When S. and I came back from Thailand, after being gone for two months, we took a shuttlebus home which went along highway 99 in Seattle; a road that shows off the skyline and the water’s edge to perfection, like a postcard. We could have been coming back from Ohio for all anybody knew but we felt touched, and strange: here it is a Tuesday morning and the shuttle driver is talking about the Mariners and we were in Bangkok 24 hours ago. Anyway, I can only assume it was like that for this old couple).
The other person in my row was a grad student at my university, who, oddly enough, is a patron of my library and knew my colleague’s names. Caught in the act of coming home in a ratty t-shirt, smelling like casino smoke, from Vegas: alas, librarians just wanna have fun.
I finished the Dave Eggers on the way down (and have been talking it up to everyone ever since; I’m afraid I’m in the infatuation period). This though people whose judgement I respect seem to concur that he’s rather a jerk, and anyway I feel guilty talking about (recommending, even) a book that’s so posturing: a book that’s too brave (or too pretentious), a book that I know perfectly well not everyone will enjoy and some people will even hate. But if you get the paperback version with the apologetica attached, upside down, at the end, then you may read the part where Eggers begs the reader to just take him at face value — and you know, I’ll buy that.
Also read most of a collection of Charles de Lint stories, long a guilty pleasure, and am waiting with bated breath for the millionth article. Am also, sadly, going to work in the morning and so should now try and sleep this mad weekend off.
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