Monday, October 21, 2013

Some Notes on the Trip to Santa Fe

I don't sleep well even at home - away from home at best I get microsleeps - and apparently 7000 feet is enough to bring on altitude sickness and even the professional archeologists, better-prepared than me for absorbing stuff about sites and dates and geology and genetics and weather modeling, were complaining happily that their heads hurt with all the new information acquisition going on at the conference, so it's not surprising I'm crashing now I'm home. But, being who I am, I had a notebook with me, so let's see if I can put together a blog post from the scribbles I made in it on the way home (taking notes during sessions is hopeless; I just open my eyes and ears, let everything flood in, and let my backbrain sort it all out).

If nothing else, this example of the kind of random jaggedy prose that gets put into authors' notebooks should cure you of any romantic notions you may have about them. Notebooks are for notes. Any poetry or greatness in them is accidental, I don't care if it's my notebook or Hemingway's (or even DWJ's, who surpasses Hemingway in all things).


I don't know whether it was the car or the road but I slowed down coasting downhill.

Santa Fe is uphill from Albuquerque. My ears never popped. (This is significant because normally flying is like being under psychic attack - the air pressure changes assault my ears as if they wielded ice picks. But not this time. Apparently my ear doctor's advice to snort Afrin before flights is good.)

Petroglyph National Monument is inside the city limits or at least the exits were. I never saw these exists on the way north when I might have taken advantage of them.

The mountains have scalloped irregular edges like a pressure-worked chert flake.

My feet cracked badly at the tendons. Dryness I presume.

The automatic faucets waste water in the convention center.

Everyone I met was pleasant and relaxed, and helpful. I have not heard a cross word here.

I have not seen as many brown faces as I would have expected. Nor kids!

The last two nights the room breathed hard, like a giant coffee maker.

I could not ID an accent.

Stan Lee was in charge of the parking lot I used the first night.
(It was uncanny - same voice! A little shorter. I expected him to say "Excelsior!")

Scant birds. The ones in Santa Fe all seemed to be black and vaguely hawklike. Only thing I ID'd was a house sparrow.

The Gringo Market.
(This was a joke a man on the city bus - a satisfyingly dark brown man - made about the tents in the plaza on Saturday, the Gringo Market as opposed to the Spanish Market.)

The people at the bus stop talking at length about a scheme by which the city could take some of the desperation out of homelessness and reduce crime committed in order to find a place to stay the winter. Schizophrenia not considered in the discussion. Also, how to deal with dryness cracks. Liquid Vitamin E extolled as the best.

The woman in the next seat as I wait in the airport is on her phone and I'm finding out far too much about her life. Never seems to leave any time for an answer. She says she's a wreck but she maintains a flat, almost monotonous tone.

Pick-ups pulled onto the shoulder at regular intervals all the way SF to ABQ this AM.

Flying over the desert you can see the drainages, more than you'd ever imagine there were, the textures on the ground, the parts between, the desert, like painted concrete just washed with color and the roads the cracks between the slabs. Fields agribusiness all squares and circles, half circles, pie charts, PacMan, green and dust in squares on the flat land, and the drainages black and furry between, reservoirs and ponds flat and in the light it can be hard to tell if they have water in them or not, whether the color is the dust color because of the light or because they're dry or because - and there was a reservoir like this - because the water is silty. You could see the water in the deep part the color of water and then it turned silty in one part and then you could tell where the beach was through it was the same color as the water; next to each other you could see the contrast in the textures.

Some other day when I can type coherently and at length I will discuss the cool things I saw at the conference. I did like Santa Fe, altitude sickness and all; and if you're going I recommend the Burro Alley Cafe. They don't salt their fries and they took excellent care of me when I stumbled in fighting a migraine the first day.

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