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day 2: salt lick city
Friday, Aug. 27, 2004 | link

Right now I'm watching the stuffing out of some Olympics from the comfort of a firm, clean Metropolitan Hotel bed (above which hangs, inexplicably, a portrait of the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz -- the Tin Man hangs above Jill), right smack in downtown Mormon capital, USA.

Today was a good day, full of many fluffy, non-Californian clouds puffing across wide and tall non-California skies. It's the amazing breadth of uninterrupted flatness, I think, that makes the sky seem so much bigger here. Not just bigger, though, but righter somehow, too, like maybe this ratio of sky to land does a better job of hitting the comforting golden mean? Anyway, the wide open sight of it left me feeling a little tearfully lucky to be right there, right then. Jill's been taking Polaroids through the windshield as we go, and today's shots were truly beautiful things.

Of course some of that joy also came from the two towering cups of Austin diner coffee which defibrillated my day into life circa 8:30 this bright, bright morning. In addition to extremely caffeinated coffee, the International Cafe also is home to a stunning portrait of Sean Connery, crepe-like "Swedish Pancakes" (once a fluent speaker of the Swedish, the owner has since completely lost the language ... JUST LIKE ME, twins), and weird collections of "The [X]er's Guide to [X]" books available at each table as well as for sale at the register. (Intrigued by the illustration of a cow with a plump, pink udder hanging over a clutch of crabs with pinchy claws held threateningly aloft, I picked up "The Worrier's Guide to Worrying" and discovered "a farmer with cold hands" to be at the top of the list of a cow's greatest concerns, which was surprising as it seems like the crab-claws-clampng-on-nipples threat illustrated on the cover was infinitely more compelling.)

The only other stop of note was Ely, which I have dim memories of from my early-teen summers spent on an abandoned silver mine in southeastern Nevada. Ely was always the "nearest town with a hospital," and it was a good two-hour drive away. You basically had to have sliced off something important to bother with the trip ... when I fell off a horse and hit my head on a rock and spent the next day hurling steadily, I just got a rough-country "eh, you'll be fine," a calm approach to injury I think did soft, only child me a lot of good.

But today I finallly got to Ely, and what did I find? Watery slaw and a disappointing slice of cake (the taste of the cake itself, weak to begin with, just could not stand up to the slabs of scary white tub frosting ... I tried to get Jill to verify the scariness of the frosting, "Please try some of this scary frosting" I said, but she refused on grounds that she didn't want to jeopardize the pleasant after taste of her excellent piece of cherry pie, and as well she should) at the Nevada Casino (with the huge neon miner out front).

Then Ely took $21 from me at the black jack table. But then Ely redeemed itself by letting me win FIFTY DOLLARS playing NICKLE video poker (four queens!), and now Ely and I are in love.

Finally I leave you with this: according to the Italian language tape playing on a loop in the bathroom at Salt Lake City's Cafe Macaroni where I just had a tasty angry pasta and also one glass of completely spot-hitting wine, "the future is just like today, only longer."

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

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