What am I Missing?

February 16, 2011

T-Bar Lounge, Wellington, Colo.

3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Notable Matter:  Favorite signs: If you drink to forget — please pay in advance; Get me drunk and enjoy the show.

Good ‘Ol Boys

I love Colorado. Despite being white, it’s fairly diverse — cowboys, hippies, yuppies, mountain people, potheads, granolas (hippie/yuppie combo), etc.

I love Colorado. Despite being white, it’s fairly diverse — cowboys, hippies, yuppies, mountain people, potheads, granolas (hippie/yuppie combo), etc.

Wellington is part cowboy, part cookie cutter. My drive to Wellington a short jaunt down memory lane. I recognize fields and barns where high school compatriots with little self control partied; a particular curve in the road was reputed as landing spot for blown chunks in the 1990s; and a fence post broke records for destroying first car fenders.

I drive a car. Everyone else drives a truck. Cowboy stands outside smoking. I like the black cowboy hat, green Carhartt jacket and creased Wranglers.

The bar is clean, smells like vinegar. Various types of barbed wire and rusty tools hang on the wall, cigarettes for sale behind the bar, someone hacking out a lung in another room.

Six people sitting in upholstered chairs — think 1980s pastel dining room — a thin old man and an older woman at the bar. They are not together. The woman wears looped, electric blue earrings. They look like scissored glow sticks. I doubt she raves.

They watch Ellen, talk about lottery tickets, the Grammys and the newscaster who had a stroke or something while covering the Grammys. They know more about pop culture than I do.

Man talks about the weather, tells me the steers love the unnaturally warm weather (60 degrees).

“But,” he says. “the mountains are at about 130 to 140 so imagine what’s going to happen if we have a dry spring? All the water will go east anyway.”

For you out-of-staters, this means the mountains have a 130-to-140 inch base, which is normal however, if we have a dry spring, floods will follow and regardless of how much water we have, surrounding states and communities will steal it. Good to be back in the land of water wars.

Someone Else’s Skin

I’m writing on a bar napkin. The bartender asks if I want paper. This has never happened. Ever. He says he’s a southern gentleman. He loves booze, women and cigarettes and, “if you take one of those three out of my equation I may as well cease to exist.” Touché.

Old Woman: “I’m leaving but I’ve got some Avon in the car. I’ll just leave it here so Deana can get it when she starts her shift.”

The old man buys me a beer. I can’t remember the last time a man other than a friend or family member bought me a beer. I remind myself to rethink the ranch lifestyle and 70-year-old body parts.

They all know each other and by the time I leave, they know me too — my name and my hand that is. I end up talking to a man who looks like a politician but is a former newspaperman and publisher.  After he buys me a beer — everyone else drinks liquor — he says, “I’m sorry. I just don’t say much.”

“That’s OK. People who talk the least tend to say the most. My brother is like that.”

I tell him things I haven’t shared with you. I will. Someday soon. Perhaps.

Driving home through a fairy tale land of the old west and urban sprawl. I think about the dichotomy between what I think I want and what I thought I wanted.

Separated by less than half a mile, this is Colorado.


This is also life.

I feel more comfortable in places I don’t belong than those I do. People sense comfort. When I travel, tourists ask me for directions even in countries where I clearly standout. I rarely get this in the states.

This is why I have to keep moving. That, and superficial relationships are more palatable than those that are not.

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6 Responses to “What am I Missing?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ivy Hughes, ThumpMe. ThumpMe said: Cowboys, Bud, mansions and bars http://wp.me/pWQtY-a7 […]

  2. humanitarikim said

    So you think it’s because we expect people from superficial relationships to let us down and we aren’t surprised/hurt when they do?

    • thumpme said

      No. I think it’s easier for me to form superficial relationships because I don’t have to deal with the emotions. I meet them for a few hours and then the relationships is over. I’m not around them long enough to even see if they’ll let me down or hurt me. That’s, in part, why strangers are so intriguing. Relationships get so complicated and my natural inclination is to shutdown. Working on it though. Lot of work to do in that department.

  3. marg said

    Just wanted to let you know that I am still reading about your journey…I just haven’t had anything to say. (I’m not sure if you have a way of knowing if people are still reading it or not…)

    ~marg~

  4. […] Refrigerated the box, brought a few cans to the front porch, took off my socks, made a face at the dirt jammed between my toes, turned my face to the sun and created my own white trash dive bar. […]

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