Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tchaikovsky the Worm and Rapscallions

Good old North Idaho. It's not just a state- it's a state of mind. Here's proof:



See, only in North Idaho would you come across a worm farm that not only raises and sells worms, but also teaches said worms to compose. The worms compose songs, I guess.

And just think, this sign is just down the road from where my wife was raised. She married me, so something obviously ain't right with her.

We spent five days in the panhandle of Idaho, or "North Idaho" as the locals call it, as if it's its own state, seperate from "South Idaho". At one point while we were there, we went to the grocery store a couple miles away from this sign in Priest River. I swear, every person in the store stared at us the whole time we were there. It didn't seem like one of those things where they thought we were hideous freaks, though. It was more of a "hey, I'm not related to you, so you must not be from around here" curiosity type thing, even though Cathy was from around there, and I lived near there for almost eight years. I guess we've lost the "North Idaho" in us at some point, and now we just look like a bunch of weirdo foreigners. Luckily, they didn't think we were from California, otherwise they might have keyed our car.

The store itself was going through this weird transition, as if it was having some sort of identity crisis. They had recently expanded and added a fancy indoor sitdown espresso bar cafe, but their customers were logger type guys wearing dirty carhartts and flannels. It was an amusing dichotomy.

Anyhow, it was good to see the family while we were up there. And I'm not just saying that because some of them read this blog.

The nine hour drive each way was tolerable, mainly because we had The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on CD to help pass the time. The narrator was some guy named Norman Dietz. I don't know anything about him, but apparently he also narrated books by Kurt Vonnegut and Patrick McManus, so he must be okay despite his stupid name. He has this cool down-home Southern style accent, which was perfect for the story.

Listening to someone else say the words out loud was quite different than reading them. I found myself wanting to speak with his accent after hearing 12 hours of it. I also found myself wanting to use phrases like "rapscallion", "blim-blammin'", and of course, "It's the beatenest thing I ever struck". I think I'll try to work those into my vocabulary.

On the way back, a strange thing happened. I was driving on I-90, and there was a big pickup following a semi up ahead. They were going kinda slow, so I went to pass them both, and the pickup decided at that moment to pass the semi. I had to slam on the breaks to not hit him. I tapped the horn at the guy and eventually passed him a bit annoyed, but not terribly angry. Later, we stopped at a rest area and as I was standing at the urinal, a guy walked into the bathroom and asked if I drove that silver car.

"Yeah...," I responded, thinking he was about to tell me somebody just crashed into it or stole it.

But instead he said, "I want to apologize for cutting you off earlier. I just didn't see you there, and I feel real bad. I'm sorry."

There you go. No matter how backwards that area of the country is, the people are still cool, worm farms and all. This would never happen here in Eugene. No, instead, Eugene drivers would cut you off, then flip you the bird for having the nerve to be in their way. It's not like they can turn their heads to see you either, because they're using their shoulders to hold their cell phones up to their ears because they have an I-Pod in one hand and a bong in the other, and they're steering with their knees.

They're likely to be my classmates, too. You know, the ones who shout out in the middle of a lecture: "When's the next test?"

That reminds me, school starts in a couple days. Goody.

On that note, I think that's it for this edition. Until next time.

Rob

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