Posts Tagged ‘The Duck! City’

Snow? No

March 11, 2022

It ain’t easy getting green.

We was robbed.

Just as well. The ladies have plans, and though they are Marylanders and used to snow, only Herself has enjoyed winter motoring in The Duck! City, whose drivers can’t keep the shiny side up on a sunny day.

Yesterday it was a Tesla and a pick-’em-up truck that ate shit at Comanche and Tramway, where the debris from old crashes piles up like the fast-food wrappers, liquor bottles, and dirty diapers drivers toss from their vehicles between texts as they breeze through the red five seconds late and 20 over the limit.

You want to keep your head on a swivel when your light turns green. Left, right, left again — count one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, etc. — then proceed as though you believe in an afterlife.

Never mind the asshole leaning on his horn behind you. Hell ain’t half full, as s/he will learn after finally honking at the wrong person, who then climbs out of the vehicle with something more authoritative than a middle digit extending from one white-knuckled fist.

The honkers are usually tailgaters too. Some of these yahoos will crowd you so closely you can smell the beer on their breath.

Doc Sarvis, the brains and bucks behind “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” had a solution to that sort of harassment. The Ukrainians are giving these ancient anticavalry weapons a go, and why not? I bet they work against horses and horses’ asses.

Red vs. white

March 6, 2022

March keeps pitching its meteorological curveballs.

It just snowed for a solid 10 seconds, so I guess the drought is over.

Whoops — on its thin white heels comes the red-flag warning. Winds of 25-25 mph, with gusts to 55? Ixnay on the inklerspray, hon’; we’d only be steaming the neighbors’ raggedy-ass cottonwood.

What a fine day to not be towing a rented travel trailer, as the neighbors will be doing directly. Even a bicycle will be too high-profile a vehicle for Your Humble Narrator.

Here in a bit I hope to squeeze in a short run. Got to keep the muscle memory alive in case Voldemort Poutaine decides he’d like to add The Duck! City to his collection.

Of course, the old spook might be having second thoughts about property acquisition given his struggles in Ukraine. And if he isn’t, he should be. To paraphrase Rick from “Casablanca,” “There are certain sections of New Mexico that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.”

“Boris, is this not where we parked the tank?”

“Da, Mikhail, it was right here. Central and Pennsylvania. Remember the friendly lady behind the In & Out who beckoned to us as we passed? She offered to take us around the world and you said, ‘But we just got here!'”

The dust storm we had on Friday would have reminded their fathers of the good old days in Afghanistan. It looked like one of the haboobs that periodically buggers traffic between Tucson and Phoenix. Blotted out the valley to the west and a slice of the Sandias to the east, redistributing portions of the Upper Chihuahuan Desert without need for tanks, aircraft, or artillery.

I didn’t ride or run Friday. But I got out yesterday for a 90-minute ride, and found myself dealing with another sort of Eurasian invasion — trails clogged with tumbleweeds, also known as (wait for it) the Russian thistle.

Not so bad

February 1, 2022

I practically had the Elena Gallegos Open Space to myself.

“February is an awful fucking month just about everywhere.” — Kevin Barry, “Extremadura (Until Night Falls)”

Truer words, etc. I have spent many awful fucking Februaries in many awful fucking places, among them my own head.

But Feb. 1 in The Duck! City was not too fucking awful.

I logged 90 minutes of trail time on the Voodoo Nakisi; didn’t fall over or nothin’. Bought some groceries, baked a loaf of bread, picked up a paperback copy of “Station Eleven.” Anybody watched the HBO miniseries?  I’m looking forward to seeing whether Emily St. John Mandel’s vision suffered in translation from print to video. She told The New York Times that the show “deepened the story in a lot of really interesting ways.”

But then she’s Canadian, and you know how nice they are.

Meanwhile, the next few days of February here may meet Kevin Barry’s standard, which is frightening, because he haunts the west of Ireland, where they know from awful fucking Februaries. Herself, who has visited County Sligo, where Barry hangs his hat, recalls many a fine soft day so.

Maybe it’ll make a novelist of me. Nah. Canada didn’t get it done, and Albuquerque’s coming off the bench awfully fucking late in the game.

Rise and shine

January 8, 2022

If you sleep in, you miss stuff like this.

Marriage, freelancing, and New Mexico gradually turned me into a morning person, kinda sorta.

I spent the bulk of my newspaper career working nights on various copy desks scattered around the West. Clock in around 3 or 4 in the p.m., clock out when the presses start running at stupid-thirty. If you’re lucky, there’s a bar still open somewhere.

But when Herself hitched her little red wagon to my jackass in Fanta Se there were accommodations to be made. I was on the usual night shift at The New Mexican, but she worked like normal people, running the B. Dalton Bookseller in the DeVargas Center.

She was asleep when I came home; I was asleep when she went to work. We saw each other at dinner and sometimes on the weekends, if I wasn’t chasing commas or racing bikes. Our wedding vows may have included the endearment, “Shut the fuck up, I’m trying to sleepI”

In case you’re wondering, kids, this is how you make a marriage work.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla insists on sunlight as soon as it becomes available, if not sooner.

In 1991, when my mom developed a hitch in her gitalong and we moved to Bibleburg to deal with it, my routine went out the window. Herself found more retail work, but I was trying to freelance, and the first thing you learn in that racket is fear. You fear that the last dollar you earned will be the last dollar you earn.

So I said yes to every job, worked a lot, and all the time, not just from afternoons into the dark of the night. In point of fact, I was compelled to embrace the early morning hours.

It wasn’t awful. Not nearly as bad as I remembered from having a paper route. For starters, I was working indoors, and I was writing the news, not sidearming it onto stoops.

Nor was I restricted to a copy desk, where the routine is … well, routine. Daily editorial meeting, editing copy, writing headlines, sizing photos, writing cutlines, laying out pages, drinking dinner, overseeing pasteup, proofing pages, taking a quick look at the paper hot off the presses as they began rumbling up to speed, and going home.

Going freelance took me off that daily merry-go-round. When the deadline was every other week, or once a month, I found I could squeeze the work into my life instead of my life into the work.

Yeah, I worked almost every day, and at all hours of every day, but I did it in bite-sized pieces and a lot of different flavors. Cover an early morning Tour stage for VN.com, go for a ride. Write a column for Bicycle Retailer, do the grocery shopping. Edit some copy for Inside Triathlon, drink a beer (editing triathlon copy would make a stewbum of a Seventh-day Adventist). Draw a cartoon for VeloNews. And so on.

True, I was not always at my best in the early morning hours. Old habits die hard. And Mom had her own routines, which included wandering the house at night while chatting with the voices in her head (yeah, that shit runs in the family). But you get used to it, or at least learn to manage it.

Eventually she passed, leaving only one of us to argue with his invisible friends. And the mornings got a little easier, whether sunup came in Weirdcliffe, Bibleburg, or The Duck! City.

My paying chores have drifted away one by one, but the mornings have not. Herself rises earlier than ever, working four 10-hour shifts as a librarian for Sandia National Lab. But I insist on sleeping in, until 6 a.m. if I can manage it, before dragging the old bag of bone splinters and bad ideas out of the sack and into the kitchen.

Somebody has to make breakfast and inspect the sunrise, make sure God’s on the job. Some days one wonders.

Early morning watermelon at the foot of the Sandias.