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Faux Outrage

Literally the most important blog in the universe since 2010.

In the summer of 1997, for reasons that were not immediately clear to me at the time, I found myself at a John Denver concert.  I was not completely aware of nor enthused by the musical stylings of Mr. Denver — he was certainly no James Taylor! — but cannot deny that by the end of the night, I was sporting a commemorative John Denver Live In Concert! t-shirt.  To this day, I’m still not completely sure whether I was wearing the shirt with irony or pride (prirony?), but in either case, there is photographic proof.  Unfortunately, the show turned out to be one of John Denver’s final performances — he died in a freakish experimental plane crash only a few months later.

During his life, Denver leveraged his fame to raise awareness for important issues like environmental conservation and world hunger, but most of us remember him for one particularly catchy tune, Take Me Home, Country Roads

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, Mountain Mama
Take me home, country roads

These are beautiful lyrics, of course, but they are written from the perspective of a person who is not me.

A person who is not me at all.

I went to West Virginia this past weekend, and just as I did some time ago after a trip to New York City (see: part 1, part 2), I would like to present some lessons that I learned while out on those country roads that lead to a place that, I think you’d all agree, I do not necessarily belong.

Lesson #1: Bear Conditioning

Technically, since I slept in a cabin deep in the woods with limited cell phone reception, I am able to convince folks that I was “camping” this weekend.  Technically.  What I tend to fail to mention, however, is that this “cabin” has three floors, three bathrooms, a hot tub, and a bigger, softer bed than I have in my apartment.  And while the six pillows on my bed were less than perfect and the cabin toaster’s ability to, well, toast left a lot to be desired, I wasn’t exactly roughing it.

Around 2 o’clock in the morning, I meandered outside to check in on this “fresh air” I’ve heard so much about.  The scenery was beautiful.  The stars were twinkling like the eyes of unrequited lovers in first poems everywhere.  Suddenly, an air conditioning unit — that I mistook for a large powerful animal capable of turning the food chain on its head — sputtered in the distance.

When you’re surrounded by stainless steel, travertine, and granite countertops, it’s easy to be distracted from the fact that there are bears.  Outside.  Like, right there.

I had forgotten, too.

Lesson #2: Townies vs. Technologies

When the waitress from Tari’s explained in a perfectly straight-forward manner how to get to the nearest grocery store from the cafe (“You take this main road about a mile south, you’ll see a McDonalds, make a right, and it’s right in that plaza.”), we all nodded along in agreement.  But when we got in our car, the first thing we did was turn on the GPS, which promptly pointed us in the opposite direction.  What did we do?  Obey our computer overlord, of course.

The result, you will not be surprised to learn, is that we ended up driving to a wide open industrial lot.   Not a grocery store — not even a single grocery — in sight.

Townies know what they’re talking about.

Lesson #3: Not-See Germination

There are a number of reasons to enter a second-hand store.  One is that you are traveling with an unapologetic kitty fiend friend and you — or rather, she — spots inside a row of teeny tiny kittens in consecutive cages purring at innocent passersby.

We went inside.

While the kitty-cats lured us in, it was the vintage (and “vintage”) West Virginia paraphernalia that kept us from leaving.  Although sadly, we were a day too late to participate in the Thursday Anything On This Rack For $1 Sale, we were exactly on time if we wanted to buy a Creepy, Smelly Leather Visor for $2.50.  And one of us, to the horrified chagrin of the others, did exactly that.

Of course, like most reasonable people who are in the process of buying sweat-stained visors from decades ago, my friend politely asked the cashier what could be done about any possible disgustingness still contained within the leather fibers (to the extent that leather is composed of “fibers”).

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about.  Whatever germs were in there probably expired by now.”

So there you have it: germs expire.

Lesson learned.

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