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day 3: a beehive state of mind
saturday, Aug. 28, 2004 | link

Just a few slender moments after I signed off last night, who should roll in but some ROCK BAND from CALIFORNIA, who spent hours and hours showering, slamming doors, and yelling each other's names preceeded by the word "fucking" like it was a title, "Fucking Mike!" "Fucking Chris!" And here I take momentary leave of you to craft a tender love letter to my earplugs.


Advice for Next Time
(from nice reader Josh)

The Garden restaurant at the top of the Joseph Smith Building next to the temple. They have fried pickles! Sounds gross, tastes great! If you go near sunset there is an amazing view and a retractable roof. You should also go to Hatch Family Chocolates, (801) 532-4912, 390 4th Ave., and get a rice crispy treat with marshmallow, caramel, and chocolate on top. If you want pizza The Pie is the place to go. Just ask someone where it is and they will know.
So, thanks to my fine-assed earplugs, I woke up refreshed and early, and opted to let Jill sleep while I snuck off for some complimentary hotel lobby cereal (good), juice (thick), coffee (horrible, horrible, a coffee calamity, "Officer, I'd like to report a crime? Right here. In this cup?"), and local news programming (shots of a fresh and blond reporter in an old-style sexy nurse outfit pretending to pass out and then receiving CPR).

The hotel clerk came and sat with me as the news ended and "Ambush Makeovers" came on, and together we watched a man propose to his newly madeover girlfriend with frightening badger highlights. "So, will you? Will you make me the happiest man in the universe?" With frightening gusto, the woman with the hair screamed, "DUH!" and I actually flinched.

"Isn't that cute?" the clerk said to me with a beautiful earnestness. "Haha," I laughed noncomittedly, but I think invitingly?, because then we got to chatchatchatting, and I told her about our trip and she was absoluteley smitten. "I've never driven across the country, it just sounds like such a THRILL," and, "it's always been my hugest FANTASY to go to New York some day and just WALK in Central Park!" "You totally should! It's great, and different, really different," I said. "Oh I know. I should! But I have this job, and, you know, this whole life ..." And I felt very sad for her and also lucky, lucky, lucky.

And what did I do then, my heart brimming with the heady awareness of my own good luck and unfathomable freedom? I went and converted to Mormonism, almost!

Scary death-spider sculpture hovering above the road in front of the Beehive House in Salt Lake City.

Jill and I split up and she went off to do some grocery shopping and I walked up to take a tour of the Beehive House, the restored home of Brigham Young, the Elder who brought the Mormons from Illinois to Utah. I'm not sure what I was expecting, some cute peeks at oldy timey stoves and outfits I guess, and not the hard god sell. Basically I just didn't think it through! I don't voluntarily spend a lot of time amongst people submerged in conversion-frenzied religions, otherwise I would have known better. But it became pretty clear what I was in for when the first tour guide started right in with the crazy Joseph Smith talk, and the "what can you do" shrug of an explanation for the whole zany bigamy thing as a workaround to protect the yesteryear women who couldn't legally own property. Maybe giving Mormon women the right to their own stuff? Maybe that might have been a more straightforward solution than polylove? But that's okay, I'm not here to make waves, I just want to see some hot pot-belly stove action.

But then one of the sisters (as we moved throught the house, we were handed off to a different sister in each section, like moving through some sort of religious digestive track) asked me where I was from, and once they heard "San Francisco," I was in serious trouble. I think maybe converting a loose Northern Californian is the ultimate feather in a Mormon's cap, it gets you like fifty gold stars and a SECOND year's supply of jerky. Because from that point forward, every tour-guide sister beelined straight for me and my soul. Maybe they radioed ahead? The whole experience came to a completely surreal head when an Argentinian sister snagged me as I was walking out the door, so close! As she was asking if she could have my phone number so she could call me in a week to see if I had any questions, any fears, say, about my spirituality, I realized that unexpectedly there was blood gushing from my nethers.* The complete awkward horror of the situation paralyzed me for few moments, and I just stood there, shaking her hands and laughing, "haha, no, no thank you" and then I kind of just ran for it. Jill was parked right out front, contemplating busting in and rescuing me, but first I had to weather an extendo-remix surreal addendum where I went back into the house and interrupted an all German-speaking tour that was just starting to ask for a bathroom. And THEN Jill and I drove off into the Utah countryside with its many billboards ("Unity: pass it on!"), more, of course, Mormon churches, and a steady supply of farminess whiffs, a sweaty, horsey, muttony smell not at all unlike the smell of the Rennaissance Pleasure Faire.

Things took a turn for the yay when we started getting in to Bear Lake country, where we saw, in swift, satisfying succession: a cow-crossing sign featuring the shape of a standard cow followed only seconds later by an actual cow with the same exact profile, facing the exact same direction, like maybe each cow has its own sign, and it's someone's job to run around after it, moving the sign in its wake; a monstrous tailgaiter, who really ought to have had a rubber glove snapped to her grill she was so up my ass, getting pulled over not moments after she jerked unsteadily and terrifyingly past us; and finally, just seconds after I descibed what kind of sign from the universe I was looking for regarding the difficult proposition of selecting one of the five total Bear Lake raspberry milkshake outlets, "I'm just looking for a huge, 3D milkshake, that's all I need," I said, and lo there it was, flying high and proud above La Beau's!

So that's exactly where I went for my shake. It was very ice-creamy while the actual raspberriness was pretty subtle. Jill's shake, which she got across the street, had a much sharper raspberry taste, which to me presented as a little too frozen yogurty and not nearly as good as mine, but Jill by far preferred its raspberriful taste.

So: A happy ending for all, each with her perfect glass-slipper milkshake.

Bear Lake is bright, brilliant, 80s turquoise, regarding (so Jill tells me) a build up of limestone deposits. So if you're filming a throwback video, a boating "Rio" kind of thing, you should totally take it to Bear Lake.

Oh! Another location scouting tip? If you ever want a place to film your "Giant in the Grand Canyon" project, about twenty miles outside of Eureka, Nevada (versus Eureka, Utah), there's a mini canyon that briefly runs along side the road. It's perfect in every way, looks just like a regular canyon, the kind you'd rent a burrow to traverse, only it's MINI. So as your actors stomped down its center, it would only come up to their shoulders and they would totally look HUGE. In fact the mini canyon is so small and brief, we only spotted it because we were slowed for road construction. So when you go looking for it, I suggest you ignore posted speed limits of 55 and take it down to like 15 so you don't miss it.

Anyway, after Bear Lake we cut into the corner of Idaho for like three seconds and I managed to see a llama (just like in Idaho-set Napoleon Dynamite!) and a baby cow that was so pretty, I swear it was made of ice cream. And then I fell asleep and woke up in Wyoming. So that's how I will remember Idaho, as the home of llamas and baby ice cream cows. Oh and the crazy bear town we stopped in to bank, the ones with bears holding up everything, I think that too was in Idaho.

Jill poses atop a bear bench in "bear town," Idaho.

While Utah will forever recall memories of ferocious Mormons, endless billboards, and delicious raspberry milkshakes. And now ... Yellowstone!

* Gene: You know, you post about your period a lot.
Me: I find that you don't post about my period enough.

(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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