October 2, 2005

Those in the know will recognize the title as a play on Isak Dinesen's work, Out of Africa. I met this book in late grade school shortly after a tempestuous meeting with Edgar Rice Burroughs in the stacks of Andrew Carnegie's library in Idaho Falls.

Thanks, Mr. Carnegie for building it and thanks to Greg Carr for keeping it a lively part of Idaho Falls even after it outlived its original function. I love that place. You don’t soon forget a place where you wet your pants because you were too shy to ask the librarian for the key to the bathroom.

Anyway, it's one of those books I thought for a long while was one I should read, but didn't. After all, I was more interested in going into Africa than going out of it. And, in fact, there was a melancholy in the title that was mirrored in the book.

But, now I'm actually going into Africa and that's the thing to dwell on. And appropriately enough, I am going by way of the land of Andrew Carnegie.

After weeks of preparation and being obsessed with this idea, it’s finally here, it’s happening & it’s now. And the things, the simple, the essential, things I forgot to do, even though they were on the lists and in my mind so much. . . It’s enough to make a grown man weep.

Two things spring immediately to mind, although there are surely others. My water bottle may be the worst. It’s that new kind of plastic that doesn’t taste like plastic and is stronger than the bottled water bottles.

The other is something I brought which I intended to leave: My beard. Not all of it. Just the vast majority.

I had my hair cut a couple of days ago in hopes that I could squeeze by until my return, but I just couldn’t seem to get the rest of the job done until I bravely tackled the job tonight with a tiny pair of scissors.

No pictures today. The cameras are all tightly locked up in their travelling compartments. But it was an exciting day anyway. We nearly got into a wreck on the freeway and if that doesn’t teach how tenuous life is, nothing will. One second things are going just fine and the next your driver is quite innocently changing lanes and there is somebody in his blind spot. So, a little thankfulness there.

And I learned something that added a little color to the day. The color may have been green. Jello green. Very distinctive.

I guess I haven’t made it clear that I took the SLASH - Salt Lake Airport Shuttle Hop - and we had stopped for gas in the picturesque Utah town of Willard’s Bay. It was about 3pm and someone commented that it wouldn’t be long before the Mormon 500 would start for the afternoon and it would be best to be off the road by then.

My new friends explained that twice a year “the Church” has a two-day Conference. Kind of like the Council of Nicea, I imagined. The President and hjis 12 apostles and various other dignitaries take this opportunity to impart the Word of the Lord to Maryanne and the other Faithfuls. Since the bulk of these attendees come from within a 250 mile radius of “The Place“, and, because there are over 25,000 of them all streaming home at 4pm on Sunday, despite their inherent courtesy as drivers, the local police have taken to calling this Exodus, the Mormon 500.

So, we made it to the airport, and I got just a tiny taste of how big a hassle it’s likely to be hauling two overweight bags all over creation tomorrow. Tonight I’m ensconced in the Super 8 with “free” high speed internet, so I can try out this blogging thing.

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