December 12, 2007
It’s been one of those weeks where casual conversation has played out with friends, confidantes, and sidekicks in bowling alleys, honky-tonks, and short-order joints.
For the few of us who park a ways off the pavement and like to pander to our hermit sensibilities, however, just getting to these hangouts requires a bit of motivation and improvisation. First of all you have to want to leave the comfort of the cave no matter how disheveled and provision-poor.
There’s something to be said for hunkering down for the night with an eclectic selection of reading material and music and endless cupfuls of performance-enhancing drugs — especially when your cell phone is going on the fritz and your loner sensibilities are allowed to romp with the recluse within.
But there is also something enticing about the wild ruckus of the social contract about the sharing of countertops and tabletops and polished dance floors with other members of your species. And that starts, initially, with dealing with your snowed-in conveyance with figuring out a way to get there from here.
Yup, you’ve got to at least get out every so often and slip the transfer-case of the old clunker into "4-high" and, by keeping the revving engine and the spinning tires singing in the same key, negotiate with the drifts to the point where both you and the snow can come and go as you please.
And it was during just such a snow-packing gambit, with the vehicle wildly careening about the horseshoe "driveway," that even one in the state of sensory deprivation currently occupied by the driver couldn’t help but notice the unholy racket coming from the rear of the ol’ buckboard.
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The bedlam, while not the result of running over and dragging a local cougar with a local hare clamped firmly in its jaws, as was initially believed, turned out to be caused by nothing more than a set of golf clubs in a high state of anxiety.
Their chief complaint, as spelled out by the lob-wedge, centered around the fact that, while the abuse they constantly receive out on the links is never less than excruciating, the trauma of slamming about the cargo area while their partner in crime cavorted in the snow was by no stretch massage therapy.
So you take them out and put them away for the winter. Good riddance! It’s not like they’ve done much for you lately, anyhow. Admittedly, however, there was a certain satisfaction to somewhat nonchalantly tromping through the snowdrifts toward the house with a golf bag casually slung over your shoulder and a wry smirk upon your face.
Then, once you’ve satisfied yourself that access to the local asphalt has been achieved, you decide you may as well head down the hill and rejoin the community and admit to yourself that interacting with humanoids is not nearly as boring as you would have yourself believe.
Oftentimes they see you coming, however, and remember they left socks in the dryer or avocados in the oven or some other catastrophic emergency that needs immediate attention. What’s up with that? How’s a pilgrim going to practice his "three R’s" reading, writing, and revelry?
And although both the interpretation and application of characters upon the printed page may be accomplished without accompaniment, it still, after all these years, takes two to parley, schmooze, or tango.
So, when it finally came to pass that you found yourself in the company of similar carbon-based life forms, not only was it pleasing to your finer sensibilities but quite entertaining and educational as well. Whoda thunkit?
The opportunity to gather once again at the Heber Bowling Alley for a Park Record winter wingding proved to be, as these soirees often are, quite illuminating for someone on the periphery of the operation. Each year, a few new faces appear, all of them fearless and fully willing to party. But, no worries! As they say, "what happens in Heber, stays in Heber."
Paying tribute to that ancient edict concerning "be there or be talked about," much time was spent deconstructing one in particular, who, with the night’s snowstorm in mind, spent the evening kneeling at the altar of "discretion is the better part of valor." Not that we plotted or connived or schemed or anything.
Then came the usual whiplash one acquires when you go from talking shop with a quiver of inkslingers to moseying on down the road to where the boot leather meets the hardwood and beer is spilled mainly from longnecks. Where James Joyce might be toasted at the former, it was all about the late Hank Thompson down at the dance hall.
Honky-tonks are most always vernacular rich and the Other End could certainly hold its own if, say, the colloquial Olympics came to town. Staggering is another discipline in which we might pick up a medal or two. Not to mention the off-key sing along often performed when the band plays a Merle Haggard tune.
Rumor also has it that, back in the day, "the O.E." was the first joint where women actually did get prettier at closing time. Supposedly there’s a certificate somewhere attesting to that fact.
So you came through the weekend relatively unscathed with your social neuroses stretched out a bit but pretty much intact. And with the current school of thought that even when you just spin their wheels you can get where you’re going if you catch my drift.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and a free-lance writer with a background in commercial and community radio, among other pursuits. He has been a columnist and feature writer for various Park City publications going back to 1973.