20 pages into this book and I’ve already had to look up definitions to the following:
Cabeza Prieta (Spanish for “black head,” apparently some kind of desert-dwelling demon; also a name of a mountain in the Sonoran Desert)
signcutting (the act of identifying tracks or signs left by animals or humans traveling in the wilderness)
La Migra (slang for INS or border patrol)
I don’t want to be an expert. Wondering if there is any room left for the relentlessly curious, the perpetual wonderer.
*Tip toes into the room*
Light floods the space in a momentary darkness that bursts into shards of white and violet sparkles.
Is anyone still here?
Well I am.
1. The dryer here is not working. Hasn’t been for a week, apparently. Landlords (i.e., my relatives) don’t look like they plan to address this any time soon.
2. Been dreaming of quilts. Like a whole trunk full of quilts, like in the olden days.
3. It’s raining here and I need to do laundry. Sure would be nice to have a working dryer.
4. I’m headed to a laundromat.
Way back when I was still a cub reporter covering the police beat in a small town on the Big Island of Hawaii, I had a detective tell me that his dream had been to be a air traffic controller. He’d passed everything but the eye exam. So here he was, he said, a police detective, which as far as he was concerned was a job for a flunkie, not someone who had the skill and aspiration to be something as elite as a air traffic controller. It was weird, he continued, to have a job that allowed him to live with his wife and kids in a nice neighborhood but to recognize all the druggies and law breakers whenever he was out shopping or at the beach and know intimate details of their personal lives from police records, almost as if they were his friends instead of the upstanding citizens.
I don’t know what made him tell me this. Perhaps it was because I was young and fresh and I was starting out at the job I wanted. Life had not thumped me or handed me a real disappointment yet. I didn’t appreciate what he was saying at the time. I was anxious and stressed and insecure, sure, but I didn’t know disappointment or what it meant to persevere despite it. But now that I am where I am now, which is not where I expected to be, I understand a little more.
I think about the cops a lot. They were such a pain in the ass, or so I thought at the time.
“…the chiaroscuro desert sky, with its promise of rain that rarely came.” —Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner