Wednesday, October 8, 2003
Anyone who has ever lived in a large city knows that it is very uncool to stick around for the summer. If you can, you head for the coast or the islands or the lake house or just elsewhere. Except, of course, for the working saps, who stick around, pecking away toward their two-week vacations.
For an example of the latter, see me.
Such it seems with this time of year in Steamboat:
I must stay. I must not abandon my post. I must continue the ever-pressing job of telling you "what's going on."
At some point last week, everyone left. Time stopped and all the wind-up toys went back in their boxes until November.
I didn't realize this had happened until Saturday night when a friend and I wandered into downtown and found Lincoln Avenue to be about as lively as a nailed down 2x4.
We were the only people in almost every establishment we visited.
During the daytime, the people who are still in town walk slower. Foreheads are relaxing. Clerklings are shaking off their glazed and abused appearance.
The only people scampering about Steamboat this time of year, it seems, are political candidates.
As for your arts and entertainment writer, this time of year leaves my pen dry. But I still like it.
From now until ski season, Steamboat feels like the small, friendly town it wants to be -- the town you read about in brochures.
If I were to describe the scene, if I were the kind of writer who could sum up the season in one phrase, I would paint a word picture of a woman jaywalking across U.S. Highway 40 because there is no traffic as far as she can see.
As for ways to fill the late-fall quiet, if hiking and biking on empty trails is not enough, I have prepared a "Top Four" activity list.
n Talk. Converse. Socialize. Here is a list of my favorite conversationalists in Steamboat. Two things make a good conversationalist: range of topics and unpredictability.
Bill Van Straaten
n Listen to your stereo. Over the summer, I was (re)introduced to a lot of music I forgot about or had never heard of before. Try:
Minutemen / fIREHOSE
Earth, Wind and Fire, "I am"
n Places in Steamboat to sit and write a letter.
Steps of caboose in the Depot Art Center parking lot,
Stone benches at Lithia Springs,
Top of the ski jump on Howelsen,
In the brick window sill of Geeks Garage.
n Read a book. These are the best books I've read in the past six months.
"Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991," by Michael Azerrad;
"Notes of a Dirty Old Man," by Charles Bukowski;
"Tomcat in Love," by Tim O'Brien;
"Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village," by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea;
"Choke," by Chuck Palahniuk;
Otherwise, disperse. There is nothing to see here.