July 20, 2003
Lots of Zen driving over the weekend. Traffic was surprisingly light going over and coming back. Several times I found myself in the middle of nowhere with no cars behind me and nobody in front of me for miles. Slowed down and rolled down the windows and enjoyed the ride. Didn’t listen to the radio, just dug the road.
Stopped in Datil and went in the only cafe, adjacent to the Phillips 66. Went up to the hostess-cashier and said, “Hey, what is that big monument style gravestone west of town? Is it worth going back to see?” She looked at me like I’m an idiot and said, “No.”
I looked at her somewhat surprised and then asked her who the monument is for.“It’s for the Clevelands,” she said as if that answered everything (after all everyone in Datil has known this for years and years). And I said, “Were they big ranchers?” And she shot me another idiot look: “They built the railroad across the country.” And I wanted to say, “Which one, you dumb twit, There are several, you know,” but I didn’t.
Farther up the road in Magdalena I had a similar experience. Went in the new Community Center. Three people were moving a display case. I walked around, nobody ever said hi or welcome or who are you? I brought in an issue of True West and was going to give it to them, introduce myself, offer them help on publicity for local events, buy something, give them some support. Finally, after about ten minutes, I left and thought I’d go across the street to the museum, but one of the women comes out and asks me to move my truck (there were only two cars on the entire street, hers and mine!). I got in, backed out and drove away. I was ready to spend money and support the town but nobody seemed to care about that. This got me to thinking: are these people suffering from small-town-shyness that sometimes passes for Arrogance? Or, are they so stupid they don’t get it and then wonder why no one stops and buys anything at their “cultural centers”? My good friend Lew Jones who used to own the Mineshaft bar and restaurant in Cave Creek says it’s the latter and the attitude from these people is: “Just mail us your money. We can’t be bothered by your stupidity.” It’s hard to feel sorry for fools like that, but somehow I manage to.
"For every person with a spark of genius, there are a hundred with ignition trouble."
—Old Vaquero Saying
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