Into the fire?
Movie night!

Weekend in Salt Lake City

Returned Sunday evening from five days in Salt Lake City, where I grew up and still have family and close friends.

I flew in Wednesday afternoon on DL1170. We left SEA nearly an hour late, which meant other passengers who were catching connecting flights in SLC would barely make it, if they were lucky. The flight was uneventful otherwise, and for the first time in my life I was the last passenger off an airplane as I waited for everyone else to debark according to the flight attendants’ request that passengers not making connecting flights please STAY THE FUCK SEATED so connecting passengers would have a fighting chance.

Not what they said, actually. But they should’ve said it, because people are generally assholes, and their asshole natures certainly showed on that flight. Everyone stood as one and I imagine the people right around me, who had 12 minutes from our gate arrival to catch their flight to Philadelphia, probably didn’t make it. By my watch, it was 10 minutes before our row even started moving toward the exit door.

But I was off the plane and to baggage claim shortly after that, my rolling carry-on waiting for me on the carousel already. Mom picked me up a few minutes later and we went to Red Rock Brewing Company, which over the last few years has become my traditional first-night-in-town dinner destination. Not sure how that came to be, just seemed like we went there a lot on the way home from the airport or first thing after driving into town and dropping off our bags, and now it’s official.

Hot day, but Red Rock’s patio is on the west side of the building, so we took an outdoor table and caught up on family and friends and work and so on over a few beers and dinner. Talked about some of the known plans we had while I was in town, and then it was time to go to the house and crash for the night.

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Woke up a bit headachy Thursday, but that passed quickly with a shower and a guzzle or two of water. Our big plans for the day involved the evening’s showing of Saturday’s Voyeur 2008 and, before that, a lovely day of some errands for Mom’s gift shop. Also The Big Event of This Trip: Mom Buying a New Car.

This was a big thing, because Mom last bought a new car in 1974. When I was 3, and that’s only if she bought the car in late December. Every new-to-her vehicle since has been used or passed from one relative or another. Some of those cars were classics, either in truth or in their own way to us—who can forget the 1964 Mercury station wagon, the Mercedes, the orange Pinto station wagon (1974’s new-car purchase)?

So it was about time, and the car-buying experience was typical in many ways (oily dealership finance goofball, even though Mom wasn’t financing the car through them) and atypical in some others (fastest car-buying experience I ever saw, only 3 hours total). And Mom drove away in a spiffy 2008 Escape, which the oily finance goofball mispronounced in a thoroughly Utah-native way: Eckscape.

I have never heard anyone who is not a native Utahn mispronounce “Escape” this way.

Relaxed for a few hours before Salt Lake Acting Company’s Saturday’s Voyeur, their 30-years-strong parody of life and culture in Utah. I hadn’t seen the play in probably 15 years, maybe more, and I laughed for two hours straight. Face hurt, legs cramped up, just a scream.

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We attended the Utah Arts Festival on Friday. Beautiful day, sunny and hot, perfect weather for it. I like its location the last few years too, on Library Square and Washington Square at 200 E 400 S in downtown Salt Lake City. They had the usual mix of artist booths, performance stages for music/dance/spoken word/etc., the kids’ art-yard area, the whole shebang. I actually managed to get away from the festival without spending any money on something new for my apartment walls, the first time in many years I’ve done that.

We had dinner at my single all-time favorite steakhouse that night, Fleming’s at The Gateway, before the late show of Jerry Seinfeld’s 2008 stop in Salt Lake City at Abravanel Hall. Took me right back to the first time I saw him perform live in that same venue in the late 1990s, or perhaps in 2000, I forget exactly when. A second night of nearly endless laughter for two hours and my face felt numb.

:: • :: • :: • ::

Saturday was Errand Day, which somehow involved a lot of large bagged goods.

Stops at PetSmart, Lowe’s, back to the house to unload four bags of dog and cat foods and six bags of bark. Then I met my old friend John and his friend Aubrey for lunch at Café Trio in Cottonwood. John had to work Saturday night so our time was limited, but we had a great afternoon catching up since I saw him in February and talking about possible travel plans for later this summer.

We spent Saturday night in Park City at Mom’s friends Caroline and Howard’s house. They have a 2-year-old black Lab, Phoebe, whom Charlie adores, so Charlie got his first ride in the Escape and then had a few hours of running around and barking and humping—if you thought the hormones diminished within 6 weeks of a dog’s neutering, I can tell you firsthand, they absolutely do not, though Phoebe held her own pretty well—and general mayhem as Charlie and Phoebe romped about the yard, to be joined later by Caroline and Howard’s tenants’ dogs in this huge roiling ball of legs and snouts and flying fur and growling and the occasional dog toy popping out the middle only to be chased across the yard again.

Howard was grilling, so we took the beer and the ice cream and stood around sucking on bottles of Squatters’ Hefeweizen or organic amber while the grill grilled and the dogs romped and Henry, their almost-7-year-old son, scootered about and bounced a super ball at light speed all over creation. Henry also has this water rocket-launcher thing that goes on your garden hose, and you control the water pressure with a launch handle so you can get the rocket to hover if you do it just right. I was ENTHRALLED, I badly!!! wanted this toy, but of course this was not to be. First of several problems: The toy belongs to a 7-year-old, so larceny was clearly out of the question. And I don’t have a garden hose at my 4th-floor apartment in Seattle, and biggest single problem: It turns out they don’t make this particular toy anymore.

I was born 30 years too early, dammit.

:: • :: • :: • ::

Back to Salt Lake for Sunday’s leisurely brunch at Squatters, another visiting-Salt-Lake tradition for the last day in town. Took a table on the patio and had beer and breakfast food, which has to be the best combination of tastes in the history of the world.

Back to Seattle Sunday night on one of the most turbulent flights I can recall taking. Arrived a bit headachy and annoyed, mostly from the turbulence but also from playing tour guide to 8 very talkative Italians who utterly surrounded my seat (3 behind, 2 to my right, 3 ahead). Rescued from SEA by Katharine and Julie Anne on their own way home from the Indigo Girls concert at Woodland Park Zoo, because of course SEA is on their way home from Woodland Park Zoo in Phinney Ridge to Queen Anne (Julie Anne) and Bothell (Katharine).

Yeah, it was a bit odd. But it worked out well.

And it turned out the turbulence was largely due to the summer thunderstorms brewing over the area south and southeast of Seattle. I was treated to quite a light show from my 4th-floor balcony as I dreamt about water rocket-launcher toys and having a dog of my own and remembered fondly the amazingly good filet mignon and the microbrews I first tasted in a state known for its bass-ackward liquor laws.

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