I went to Utah. Seemingly ages ago, but it was merely January.
In no particular order (other than the order in which I thought of them):1) On our day of touring downtown
Missionary #1: So where are you two from?
Maren: I live here now but grew up in
Missionary #1: Great. How about you?
Me: I live in
Missionary #2: Ohhhhhhhh that makes so much sense (looking at the M#1), because you’re so SHEEK.
Of course you have no visual of this situation, but many people who know me don’t even need the particulars to find this amusing. Because people who know me know I’m about as sheek as an armadillo. But just imagine me wearing Asics sneakers (European style, not running-sneakers), American Eagle Jeans, a houndstooth jacket and sunglasses. In
2) Almost getting kicked out of a bowling alley. How, you may ask, do you get kicked out of a bowling alley? Well, I decided that I was going to be, uhm, how shall I say this, TOTALLY ABSURD, and throw my ball slightly higher than normal just to see what would happen. Except there wasn’t so much forward motion to my throw as there was vertical motion, and the ball literally came straight back down, bounced in my lane and then happily bounced itself over to the neighboring lane. Where it sat. Conspicuously. Let’s just say that I didn’t so much knock down any pins in either lane. I turned around to face my friends, hands over my mouth, not quite sure what the protocol was for “idiotic East Coasters” at the bowling alley. Apparently this kind of thing doesn’t happen too often (shocker), because the bowling alley attendant looked particularly perplexed when he came over to rescue my ball. Joining him was a friendly rent-a-cop, who stood at the back of our lane for a good 5 minutes. Conspicuously. Watching. After that I was all of a sudden better able to work with the whole forward motion concept rather than try to play with gravity. Miraculous.
3) Caloric decimation. This is a phrase that was uttered many a time as we schlepped around the (extra wide) streets of Salt Lake on our night of bar hopping. So, the problem was this: unlike New York, there are not many cabs (read: like, none). Also unlike New York, the bars are few(er) and far between. However, like most places, the whole Drinking and Driving thing is not looked upon so fondly by authority figures (which are in abundance in
4) Dueling piano bar. Uh.May.Zing. I had never been to a dueling piano bar but heard that A) they were awesome and B) I would love them. So we did it. And it was seriously a great time. To the point that when I got back to New York the first thing I did was try to track down a dueling piano bar in the city. In the city with EVERYTHING, you would think there would be a few dueling piano bars. But alas, there is only one. And it’s in Times Square, increasingly the likelihood that it’s some trashy tourist dive, i.e., someplace loathsome and painful to enter. But then again, the absolute coolness of dueling pianodom may even trump the tourist factor. Yes, yes, I said it.
5) Not sweating. I am a sweater. Not like the wool garments you wear in winter. But like pigs, which supposedly sweat a whole lot, though I doubt the actual validity of that. I am a sweater to the point that I have to seriously consider the color and material of shirts that I buy and the likelihood that I will be embarrassed by a large pit stain while wearing said shirt. No matter how cute/sexy/slimming the shirt is, that is all trumped by a big ‘ole wet stain stretching from spine to sternum. It’s a delicate art, and those of you who are one with me in this special circumstance are nodding your heads. The rest of you are disgusted. But I have a solution. Just move all of us sweaters West. It’s dry. It’s remarkably a sweat-free zone. Where I could carelessly bust out even my gray shirts (notoriously bad for sweaters), my spandexy thin tissue-paper shirts (also up there in the notoriety column) and be SURE, rather than UNSURE.
6) Good skin. Again, maybe a little too personal, but New York has been a disastrous place for me and my skin. With my McGee blood, bad skin is a God-given unavoidable curse, but alas, something about my city (Stress? Dirty subways? Humidity?) made it particularly bad until I found a really great derm who helped me immensely. But in Utah, it was like my bad genes were long gone. Left back in the flight over the middle part of the country to dwell with some pre-pubescent Iowan. It wasn’t too oily. It didn’t get all dry and flakey. It was just… dare I say it? Normal. Again, I very strongly considered my choice of habitation.
7) Mountains. Like, real ones. I grew up calling these little rolling bunny hills around me mountains. But, quite frankly, if the Rockies and Appalachians were humans, the Rockies would be Shaq and the Appalachians would be Gary Coleman. They are just in different stratospheres. And oh, the beauty of a perpetual view of snowcapped mountains. There are no words. I wanted to bring one home with me, situated it outside my window (nevermind the other building 7 feet away) and enjoy for all of my life.
8) Ski Bunny. Growing up, my parents never let me ski. Fully convinced that I would break one or more legs, arms, or otherwise be severely maimed, they made me sit at home on the weekends while all the other 8th graders went to Killington. Then welcome to adulthood and the reality of being surrounded by people who ski. For fun weekend trips. For corporate events. For family trips. It’s just what people do. But not me. So, while in
And come on now, any culture that promotes being in spandex and sweats all day and then in a hot tub or lodge all night is totally fine by me. I could definitely get used to that lifestyle.
9) Andy's Bar. This was basically the sweetest bestest dive bar I’ve ever been to. At this particular dive bar they sold one thing. Beer. And we’re not talking about high-brow German beers. We’re talking Coors Lite, Bud Lite and Miller Lite. Take your pick. Run by a wonderful man name named Bruce who had a handle-bar mustache and his name on a duct-tape name-tag, it was perhaps one of the most memorable parts of my trip. We also met a really special guy named Dave. Who started his communication with us by laughing at us for playing cards. Until we explained the reason we were playing cards. Then he thought we were the coolest people he had met in recent memory.
10) Local Flare. I would not go so far as to say that I would have thought Utah was lacking in culture, but I certainly had no idea that I would find so many great little gems waiting for me. One of my favorites was definitely Jack Mormon Coffee Shop. So, as you know,
This is merely a Top Ten. I could certainly go on and on (and I have gone on for quite some time) about the wonders of