Thursday, September 19, 2002


As today’s title might suggest, you’re not going to get a lot out of me today, dear readers, but I wanted you to know I am thinking of you, wishing you well, sorry I can’t entertain you more but some days are like that, you know? Some days are already way out of hand before he whose duty it is to shove the sun up in the morning has opened his eyes, stretched, chuckled and gotten out of bed, and this was one of them. I was behind before I saw a single ray of the sun and it only got worse when I staggered, uncaffienated, into action to exercise the dog, prepare for the board meeting, get through the board meeting, field the media calls, deal with the visitors.

I’m late now, as I type this. I’m due up on the hill at my parents’ house, where preparations must be made to welcome old family friends passing through (at least it gets me out of going to another meeting of the Economic Debating Club) but all I want to do is pounce into my mother’s record collection so that I can find out once and for all if I’m right or if the Minister of Fun is right about a snippet of Beethoven that I can’t get out of my head. I think it’s from the Seventh Symphony. I think I remember it being from the Seventh. I hum it again as I search through Amazon, CDNow, all the internet music sites I can think of. No one has a sample of it to download. It’s so insignificant, this fragment, that no one cares if it’s available at all. I’m just a weirdo. I hum it again. But mom has LPs of all of Beethoven’s symphonies. I can find out. It will just take some quality time with her turntable.

But not tonight, dammit, not tonight. Too much catching up to do, filling people in on everything on which I’m already behind because I’ve been obsessing over this Beethoven piece when I should be making phone calls.

Ah, screw it! I’m not going to feel guilty. I’m just one person and there’s only so much that one person can control, and right now I’m not even in control of myself; Beethoven is. Like he is quoted as saying in that movie about him, “Immortal Beloved,” music is like hypnotism, putting a person in the exact frame of mind as the composer. The listener has no choice.

Dum, duh duh DA, da... Dum, duh duh DAAH... Anyone know which piece I’m talking about? Allegretto, lots of low horns and strings... Dum, duh duh DA DA, Dum, duh duh DAAAAH...

Tuesday, September 17, 2002


...As I type this, we are one hour away from kickoff time for the Saratoga Middle School football squad's second game of the season. The Panthers play at 4 p.m. at Robert Hileman Field. The boys kicked some major adze Saturday morning, defeating Hanna-Elk Mountain-Medicine Bow 28-8 and showing some serious stuff on the field. So throw down those golf clubs and those fishing poles and those notebooks and those steaming piles of proposed ordinances that we're not going to vote on tonight anyway and go cheer on the Tiny Tanks!

(It's going to take all of the willpower and proper feeling I can muster to tear myself away from the action to go to a Hankless council meeting at 6 p.m. Sigh. The sacrifices I make for the sake of my village...)

As recent readers of this page have no doubt noted, Rawlins, WY is perhaps my least favorite destination on the planet – not that I am so very widely traveled; I am, for instance, ill-equipped to compare Rawlins to, say, the Black Hole of Calcutta or the middle of the Gobi Desert or Black Rock, Nevada ten days after Burning Man, but still, within my sphere, Rawlins ranks right down there with, oh, Newark International Airport and Sucker Lake on my list of places I’d rather go to a dentist who’s fresh out of novacaine than.

My readers will no doubt be both surprised and perhaps a little relieved to learn that my opinion has dramatically not changed after this morning’s excursion, in which I conducted a dear friend of mine on an emergency voyage to the Department of Motor Vehicles so that she can renew her driver’s license before setting off on her primary voyage, that of moving all of her wordly possessions to Kearney, Nebraska so she can go shack up with her man (the selfsame river guide who was asked, lo these many months ago, by a really entertainingly uninformed tourist, at what elevation around these parts the mule deer turn into elk).

Ordinarily this would not be a big deal, except for the following caveats: 1. My car is still beached like a pithed walrus in my driveway because I gave up on starting it up every week during the five months it was sans license renewal tags and consequently that stupid, inaccurate little built-in dashboard clock that nobody really wants anyway drained my nearly-new battery so very badly that if vampirism really existed my car battery would now be stalking the nighttime streets of Saratoga, surreptitiously popping the hoods of other unsuspecting Fords and Chevies and Lincolns, oh my, and sucking those cars’ poor, helpless, yet strangely vapid and willing batteries dry themselves to prolong its own undead existence muhahahahahahahahahahahaha! Not that I’m complaining, because it’s my own stupid fault, but anyway, 2. Her car is a 1982 Jeep Cherokee that she recently bought for $200 that still needs some work, like a new roof liner and new floorboards and, oh yes, a new exhaust system, and 3. Apparently every single person with any kind of even remotely service-oriented job in Rawlins has apparently independently concluded that it’s more important to discuss their golf games long distance over the telephone at work than to take care of customers.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as I sometimes do, oh yes! Ahead of myself, I say, because even before we left town, we had an adventure! Because just as my car was until very recently not a licensed one and thus not street legal, neither is my friend’s! She’s moving to Nebraska soon, so she was just going to register the beast in Nebraska! Originally, Outfitter Man was supposed to take care of this for her and send her the plates, but oh, no, the beast has to be inspected first, because Nebraska is a very Advanced and Progressive State! So the beast has no license plates whatsoever, just a big sign my companion taped into the rear window saying “in transit” with the operative dates! Woo hoo!

So anyway, before we left town, it was really best that we have the proof of insurance, etc., that Outitter Man had (we hoped) faxed to the Beastmistress c/o our local print shop... which... didn’t open until 8 a.m. Uh-oh! We were kind of supposed to be at the DMV at 8 a.m. Oh well, like those people were actually going anywhere, we sort of nervously reassured ourselves, trying not to think of what had happened yesterday when the Beastmistress made the same trip (with a different companion) to take her driver’s license test, only to find upon her arrival that the DMV was “all booked up” for tests that day and she’d have to come back tomorrow...

Fortunately, the fax was there and without much further ado, fanfare, or adjustment (except of seatbelts and whatnot; this car has seen little use since its transfer of ownership) we were off!

Soon the Beast’s entertaining lack of a proper dashboard, which gave we passengers crammed into the front seat with Molly the Border Folly cheerfully along for the ride (never, ever, was there such a car dog; once after a road trip with Erin Go Braless, it took a full 45 minutes and two hot dogs waved temptingly just out of reach to get her to emerge from the comfy back seat) full exposure to the thermal output of the Beast’s sputtery engine (considerable!) and the immediate need on the part of said Beast for the aforementioned overhaul of the exhaust system (fragrant! And only slightly nauseating!), became pretty much our sole topic of conversation as we trundled down the road. Hey, what else were we going to talk about, boys? There are none in Saratoga. That's why she's moving to Nebraska and why I... write this column!

Providence, however is always a factor in any venture we undertake, and soon we had something else to talk about: in our anxiety over getting the insurance information fax, we had forgotten to get gas! So we had to stop at Wonderful Downtown Walcott lest we be less conveniently stopped at some random point along Interstate 80 in distress! And we bought gas at an unbelievable $1.59 a gallon! Gasoline that apparently produced in the Beast something akin to what, say, refried beans produce in a flatulent cow! And so we were off! Again!

We made it to Rawlins without further incident and pulled gratefully into the parking lot at the DMV’s new and very attractive facility near the McDonald’s, allowing one grateful dog to gratefully urinate on the DMV’s new and very attractive (and short) landscaping while a grateful Beastmistress gratefully and gaily traipsed into the building to see if somebody there would please verify that she was a competent driver more than worthy enough to get a new stupid piece of plastic with a really unflattering photograph on it (since I possess a current version of one of these on which my face is virtually indistinguishable from the new and very attractive artwork depicting Devil’s Tower which Wyoming licenses now prominently feature, I drove us over, never fear. We at LIANT do encourage good citizenship, responsible driving habits, and slavish compliance with even dumb regulations because they give us material for entertaining internet columns like this one) to replace her old stupid piece of plastic with a really, really unflattering photograph on it.

Unfortunately, She Who Administers the Driving Test had “just stepped out to the bank” and should be back “sometime soon, we’re sure.”

Meanwhile, the wind whistled through my dog’s hair and my very thin cotton shirt, making us both shiver uncontrollably; no dogs are allowed in the DMV building, which I should have known but hey, I don’t get out of town much and my dog is welcome in restaurants in Saratoga, we’re so insanely dog-friendly here. (Note to any health department representatives who may be reading this column: Look! Over there! That employee emerged from a restroom without washing his hands! Quick, Molly - hide behind the bar!). And meanwhile, the Beastmistress began, ever so delicately, to wail.

About 20 minutes later, She Who Administers made her leisurely return.

“I waited until 8:45 but you didn’t show,” she said to the Beastmistress at a point in the conversation in which most people say “Hello.”

“Of course you did! Fine! Hi! What do I have to do! I’ll do anything you want! Really! Just let me take the test!” the Beastmistress more or less replied (she might not have said “Hi” but artistic license is the name of the game here at LIANT, isn’t it?), with an exasperated quiver in her voice only those unique and rare individuals endowed with both souls and partially functioning ears could possibly detect.

She Who Administers sort of grunted and led the Beastmistress into the building.

I sort of huddled up against a wall with my dog, whipped out my notebook, and began to write a smutty story to pass the time. No, really, I did. I’m versatile that way. And I still aspire to get something published on Prairie Porn. The editor there says I need more practice, is all. Really.

An unknown amount of time later, She Who Administers and the Beastmistress at last emerged from the DMV building for the Administering of the Test itself, the Beastmistress sort of looking sidelong at me and rehearsing what would be her mantra for the rest of the day “I’m sorry, Kate, I’m so, so sorry.” My own mantra being “Huh? Oh, sorry; I was writing. What did you say?”

Well, of course the Beastmistress passed the test, as she proudly informed me between clenched teeth sometime later as we made our way to our second stop, the U-Haul dealership. Passed it perfectly; it all went as rapidly and smoothly as could be... once She Who Administers got done spending about 45 minutes (wow!) discussing her golf handicap over the phone while the Beastmistress stared at the Highway Patrol posters.

Alas, a similar fate awaited her at the U-Haul dealership, with whom she had made all necessary arrangements about a week ago to make her pick-up of the actual trailer with which she would haul those of her personal belongings not currently crammed into the Beast as quick and care-free as possible... which it was, it was... after the U-Haul man got off the phone, long distance, with his... yup... golf buddy.

By the time we were done, the Beastmistress’ repeatings of the aforementioned mantra were plumb operatic, and the Colly of Folly had clambered onto my lap to get off of the lack of floorboard’s scorchingly hot metal surface that all but sizzled whenever her paws touched down, poor thing.

She was soon very happy, however, sprawled out on my lap with her head hanging out the open window for our 40 mile drive through all the road construction and other delights that had made our trip into Rawlins almost as delightful as the trip back out (Rawlins being perhaps the single most beautiful sight one could ever hope to see in one’s rearview mirror) (well, except all that could be seen in this rearview mirror were the tops of very tall boxes full of the Beastmistress’s wordly possessions) (thank goodness for side mirrors).

Never have mileposts denoting one’s progress across the landscape been such welcome sights. Never have two women been so very glad, so very, very glad, to see the highway construction that makes traffic such an entertainment between Fort Steele and Walcott – so very glad because said road construction meant we were nearing Walcott and the turn-off to 130, glory be.

Sigh. We made it into town at 11:05 a.m., a mere two hours later than we’d orgiginally projected for our return, but it had felt like so, so much more.

But hey, I got a good start on a bad story! And the Beastmistress now has a flimsy, silly-looking piece of paper that says she is due to receive, in just a month or so, a stupid piece of plastic with an unflattering photograph of her – just in time for her to turn it in at the Nebraska DMV for a new one there.

Let’s hope for her sake the Nebraska staff don’t play golf.

Monday, September 16, 2002


But nothing has come together for a column for today. I’ve tried lots of things - Henry Miller, the importance of always having a hair clip handy because you never can tell, the joys of completing overdue grant paperwork, the latest gubernatorial candidate forum, the importance of the fifth penny sales tax, everything, and I can’t come up with a single paragraph that doesn’t make me want to retch, throw something heavy, give myself a papercut on the lip, or take up shuffleboard.

So, rather than bore you with any of those, I’m going to go home and open a bottle of wine and get into some arguments with some squirrels and watch my dog wallow in the two inches of river water feebly trickling past Kate’s Landing and maybe see if I can’t make some headway on aorist mi-verbs!

Happy Monday, everyone!