This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, October 25, 1995

October 25, 1995 - vacation

I just got back from a vacation. I mean I stepped out of the car about ten minutes ago. My family went on a long-overdue visit with my wife's family in Arizona. I also chased a few ghosts of my own past in that area.

Long car trips are disorienting. When we sped reckless out of Phoenix two days ago, it was edging toward 100 degrees. This evening, we edged cautiously over Monument Hill, which was under about an inch and a half of snow and ice. It's hard to piece that together with a Mass Ascension (wherein 20% of the balloons in the entire world were launched at dawn over a dusty field north of Albuquerque), and a late morning when the entire LaRue Nuclear Family, in an ultimately fruitless attempt to find a pair of huaraches that fit me, strolled the surreal streets of Old Mexico.

So my mind is filled with the usual observations of the traveler returned. It all seems profound to me. But I just crawled out of a car. I suspect that for most folks, this column is best described as "Revelations of the Obvious."

For instance:

1) It is good to leave home.

2) It is good to get back.

3) Weather -- and climate -- are very odd things. Since I was traveling with a 20 month old child, I have learned that the body deals with rapid changes in altitude and temperature primarily through the production of snot. I still don't know why.

4) Different people behave differently, or seem to. On the way back, we got stuck in Tuba City, Arizona. We spent two hours waiting for (we thought) the light to change. It turns out that there really was a "Pow Wow," snarling traffic for miles in many directions. We stopped at a local McDonald's for some ice cream and I observed that for about 20 minutes, not one Navajo, of any age or sex, smiled. Then a bee buzzed a family gathered at an outside table, and everybody not only smiled, but laughed outright. It turns out that most Arizonan bees now have some genetic contribution from the more aggressive African bees. But what I find myself wondering is this: if I were to sit at a table at a Douglas County McDonald's, how many people would be smiling?

5) Douglas County has good libraries. As usual, I wandered into public libraries at almost every opportunity. In one Arizona town, the building was spanking new, an obvious testament to civic pride. But I stood at the front desk for almost 10 minutes before someone deigned to make eye contact with me. And then, this person gave curt, impersonal service. I saw the library director, lurking in his office, oblivious to the poor service around him. I was overcome with anger, then with pride. Every single one of the people who works at the Douglas Public Library District is smarter, more alert, more alive, than any of the people working in that library. While all of the other libraries I visited were certainly better than that first one, I'd happily place our staff against any of theirs, any day, any time.

6) Time doesn't matter much when you don't wear a watch. You wake up when you wake up. You go to sleep when you're tired. You eat when you're hungry. At this writing, I don't even know what day of the month it is, and I'm a little uncertain about the hour. But I suspect that a library column is due.

Here's hoping that this one provides at least some shadow of the diversion my vacation provided me ...

No comments:

Post a Comment