… Just Like Bogey and Bacall

We have been in Carbondale CO this week, and today (Wednesday morning) Robin is having a knee restructuring done on the left side. It’s being performed by a physician who is renowned for this particular surgery, and our hopes are high that much of the unpleasantness she has experienced postoperatively when she had the right side done in Montrose will not be repeated.

Carbondale? Where the hell is Carbondale? Well, it’s about 30 miles from Aspen, and offers a motel room for us to stay in that is less than $500 a night, that’s where. The hospital and clinic are located in Aspen, but that particular village is not famous for travel bargains during ski season. It’s a lot like that old story about an encounter in a Rolls-Royce auto dealership.

Salesperson: May I help you, Sir?

Customer: Yes, thank you. I’ve really been quite taken by this cabriolet in front of us. Could you tell me the price?

Salesperson: Sir, If you have to ask the price, you shouldn’t be shopping here.

So we’re in Carbondale. The idea of plunking down that much money for a room I will be spending very little time in seemed bonkers. Like paying for a full meal when you have no intention of eating anything but the okra.

My favorite genre of motels are the little “Mom and Pops” along the highway where you park in the lot right in front of your room and carry your bags about six feet before you put them down again.

A place where you can hang out on a hot summer evening, sitting outside your room on a rusty patio chair wearing nothing but a tank top and a pair of old jeans. That’s the motor hotel life for me. It’s like being a character in your own film noir*, waiting for Lauren Bacall to walk her most sinuous self across the parking lot with murder on her mind. Her husband’s murder, not yours.

Next you find yourself being handed a gun by Ms. Bacall even though you are not quite sure which side of the weapon is up and whether you would ever be able to pull the trigger, but she’s sure as anything that you are up to the task.

The two of you speak cooly to one another in clipped phrases, some plans are made, and suddenly you are only a couple of scenes away from becoming another poor sap going to the slammer on account of some dame.

All this good stuff goes with the room.

Compare this with spending a timid and insipid night in an upscale Marriott. Really … why would anyone?

Key Largo, by Bertie Higgins

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*DEFINITION DEPARTMENT

A common film noir structure goes like this:

It is night, always. The hero enters a labyrinth on a quest. He is alone and off-balance. He may be desperate, in flight, or coldly calculating, imagining he is the pursuer rather than the pursued.

A woman invariably joins him at a critical juncture, when he is most vulnerable. [Her] eventual betrayal of him (or herself) is as ambiguous as her feelings about him.

Nicholas Christopher: Somewhere In The Night

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We are now in the tedious part of Winter. The part where most of the season is past us, but it will still be another month or so before the first signs of Spring. I really want the birds back. While I am grateful for those hardy species that hang around all winter, it is the variety that is available in the Spring and Summer that is so amazing.

For instance, the plantings in the berm out front of our house attract hummingbirds galore, and once blossoms appear these birds put on their show all day long, every day.

Of course, it is not just the birds that make Spring so attractive. It is also the lack of shivering, improved footing on sidewalks, hanging out on the deck, picnics, hikes, wearing shorts once again, and the perfumes given off by blossoming trees. It is the possibility of camping out in some of those gorgeous areas here in Paradise that we can’t even get to during Winter because no one plows those remote roads. It is being able to take a long drive without needing a winter travel kit with its reminders that if you make a mistake out there in the cold it could be your last.

One day at a time … live in the present moment … don’t waste a second … I know and agree with all of those pieces of good advice. And I will do all those good things … but I am me, after all, and know that I will just enjoy everything a little more when my parka is put away and sandals can replace the snow boots.

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The question of the day is: with the new revelations re: Mike Pence and his sloppy housekeeping – who doesn’t have classified documents in their home?

Perhaps in the future instead of being a scandal having them will become a new status symbol.

“How many Top Secret documents do you have at home?”

“Thirty-two.”

“I have fifty-seven.”

“Damn.”

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Quite a long time ago, while vacationing in northern Minnesota, I was nominated to go to the village for groceries by other members of our party. A few miles from our rented cabin I passed a small motel of about six rooms, just sitting there all by itself in the forest along a rural two-lane. Its sign read: NO-TEL MOTEL. That was its name, that was its claim to fame.

I could see some weaknesses in their bold approach to anonymity, however. At that point on the road there was nothing but pine trees and pine trees and then this little motel sitting in the middle of them. Also, the parking lot was just off the blacktop, meaning that whatever transportation you came in was easily seen, for identification purposes.

So who were the customers? Tourists like myself would find it only by the merest accident on that back road. Also, when you are a tourist almost any motel would fill that sort of clandestine need for you.

Locals … I wondered. If I were feeling like a betrayed spouse that parking lot would be the first place I would check. I would drive out there in the country and if I found my beloved had taken a room I would significantly reduce the air in all four of their tires, take a six-pound sledge to the car windows, and toss a few shovelfuls of manure I’d brought along onto the front seat. You wondered about the availability of manure? We’re talking living in the rural here, where such things are easily obtained.

I finally decided, without any facts to go on at all, that the customer base might consist mostly of entrepreneurs in the sex trade who would now have a reliable location in which to ply their craft.

Somehow I found it jarring, thinking that people might travel all the way Up North for sex, when the fishing was so good there. Sex could be indulged in literally anywhere, but catching northern pike the size of sheep … that was a whole ‘nother thing.

Third Rate Romance, by the Amazing Rhythm Aces

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