So I went to New Mexico again. And the client I was supposed to meet didn't come in to work that day. But I got to go to Bandelier National Monument and climb 140 feet of wooden ladders. And I got to stamp a piece of paper to put in my National Park Passport book. Nearly every stamp I have is on a separate piece of paper that I've stuck in the book because I keep forgetting to bring it with me. In my defense, though, I did not know I'd be going to a national monument when I left home.
As I'm writing this, I'm sitting in the Albuquerque airport listening to a man yell out his telephone conversations. I have headphones on (right now I'm listening to the Dazz Band's "Let It Whip," and before that was Cheap Trick's "Surrender") and I can still hear him. He has the Kansas City Star as a new client and his father is stressed out working on his taxes.
Last night in the Kansas City airport I overheard another conversation. A man was talking to a woman named Caroline, and he was telling her he loved her and she evidently was expressing disbelief because he then swore he loved her with all his heart, and then he said he really did, and that as soon as he had finished something he was going to take her someplace they could get away. I don't think she wanted to go.
I felt bad for the guy. He wasn't trying to be loud and overheard. He was just caught having an intimate telephone conversation in a crowded airport. (New song: Death Cab for Cutie's "Marching Bands of Manhattan.") First I felt bad for him that he was in a relationship that, from the sounds of it, had some serious problems, and I also felt bad that he had to let everyone at the airport hear it. (Although if I truly felt bad about it, I wouldn't be writing about it on the Internet, using the lady's real name, even.)
I have had bad luck in my life with witnessing the ending of relationships. Once when I worked for the lawyer who would become my brother-in-law I had to go to the county courthouse to get a document. When I got there I had a question for him, and since this was in the days before cell phones (I know--I'm a dinosaur) I had to call him on the payphone.
There was one payphone and there was a man on it calling his wife to tell her that he had filed for divorce. (New song: Jimi Hendrix's "Red House.") His home wrecker was there with him and she was smiling and rubbing his back while he said things like, "No, we've tried. It just isn't working." After a few minutes she turned to me and said in the most self-congratulatory tone, "We're going to be a while."
The second time was just over a year ago. I was a ward missionary (I got released last week! Freedom!) and I had to go on splits with the elders. One of them went with me to a little town north of Lawrence called Winchester. We were there to see a non-active member. When we knocked on the door, he asked us to come back in ten minutes. So we went and sat in our car. Some people came out and got in a car and left. We thought he had just brazenly dogged us while we were watching. (New song: Judy Collins's "Send in the Clowns.") We went back up and knocked on the door. He answered and let us in. His wife had just left him while we sat in the car. They were having their breakup argument when we knocked the first time. We talked to him for a while. Just when we got to thinking we had performed some valuable service, his girlfriend came over. Let this be an important lesson: missionary work is nearly always a wasted effort.
Early today I thought of a great topic for my next column for the UDK. Now I can't remember it at all. Which is just as well, since my columns suck. (New song: The Killers' "Sam's Town.") Oh! I remember something I wanted to say! It wasn't the subject of a column, but I thought it would be funny to write on my blog for no one to read. When we were driving up to Bandelier National Monument today, we drove past a road sign that warned of falling rocks by showing some sizable boulders falling next to a car. Then we passed another sign, but this one showed rocks falling more widely. One was landing next to the car, one was about to land on the roof, and one was coming through the passenger window. Why would they make two different highway signs? Why would they distribute them this way? Are they trying to say, "We're serious, people; these rocks will mess you up!"?
The guy next to me has stopped yelling his telephone conversations. (New song: La Mosca's "Todo Pasa.") Now he is eating a salad like it is his last meal. Maybe he is just one of those guys who puts his entire heart into everything he does. When he talks, he yells. When he eats, he devours. People like that are said, admiringly, to "wear their hearts on their sleeves." I hate people like that. Learn some restraint. What are you, five years old? The salad's not going to run away from you.
I keep writing because my flight keeps taking forever to start boarding. I think we're all in the A group, though (Southwest flight), so we don't have to go stand in line like idiots. We are all going to get our own rows. If mine is next to the guy on the phone, I am going to stab him in the neck with a spork. (New song: LaVern Baker's "Saved.") Well, I've said about enough.