August 9, 2016
I'm sitting in a real saddle at The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson, Wyoming. Looking around, I think it's time they realize a goodwill impairment charge on the name. They don't have draft beer, but they have a live dog lying by the front door and some dead game on the walls. A friend suggested I come here because it's schlocky and hokey. He's right. Jackson is schlocky and hokey as well as sophisticated and exclusive. I should probably have a drink at Amangani just to balance out my experience.
Sometimes I think I'm the only the only woman in the US who doesn't have a tattoo. I don't get the need to self-decorate to the point where often I rue having pierced ears (single holes only). I developed a love-hate relationship with jewelry from working in the jewelry industry for a decade. I like looking at jewelry more than I enjoy wearing it because it's time-consuming to put it on. Most of my attraction to jewelry stems from my interest in geology – precious and semi-precious stones, and just plain rocks. Two weeks ago I bought a bumble bee Jasper ring in Big Fork, Montana just because I liked the colors. It didn't matter that the ring is a nine and I wear a six. Now, I have my first forefinger ring. The silver setting was tarnished beyond belief and the owner didn't know it. Last Saturday, I cleaned it and the rest of my jewelry, so I started wearing it again. I've even worn mascara a couple of times. Girly me.
I just gave up my saddle at the bar and I'm tempted to throw back the rest of my Stella and bolt. The saddle was a form of genital mutilation as I tried to sit up straight and lean forward to type. I could have left my iPad in BOB and just walked here to have a beer, but I don't like sitting alone at bars and I hope that being busy will be a sufficient deterrent to anyone who might want to chat with me.
There is some sort of kayak slalom course event in the Olympics. It takes place in a man-made setting. What a stupid fucking idea to make kayaking an Olympic sport! It should just be a thing one does on a river, a lake, or an ocean, and the competition is between the kayaker and the water. I don't watch the Olympics because it's full of other stupid events like synchronized swimming. Rhythmic gymnastics sounds like something couples do when they're trying to get pregnant. Olympic sports should be tests of speed, strength and endurance with a quantitative outcome whose participants are amateur athletes. Period. Track and field and swimming meet my criteria. I would add other endurance events like listening to Enya or the Japanese "Who Pees Last?" game show where the contestants eat cold noodles and drink cold beer while sitting practically naked in a cold rain. Actually, the Olympics should just be replaced by Japanese game shows. My favorite is the one where six or eight guys are lined up on a stage, asked questions, and take levers to the nuts if they answer incorrectly. It's brilliant. Everyone (well, really just women) loves seeing guys get hit in the nuts.
I was speaking with Jean before I went to the bar. She was ranting about the sizing of Under Armour's and Nike's activewear. She said it’s so small that I could wear an extra-large (I'm a medium). She said they need to make clothes for fat, active people. "Ah!" I said, "Factive wear!" Is Jean a party of one? Jean is among many women who rant about the sizing of clothes, including me, but for a different reason. I wear clothes two to three sizes smaller than I did in college, yet I'm the same size as I was when I graduated. If this vanity-sizing trend continues, I'll either be a naked 80 year-old or shopping in the tall boys department. It's bad enough that as a 51 year-old woman I'm shopping at places which cater to women half my age, but there's nowhere else for me to shop. I'm neither wealthy nor trendy, so that leaves out better department stores and designer boutiques. I just want simple clothes which fit me and don't make me look like an asshole. Why aren't there specialty retailers which cater to 40- and 50-somethings like me? Am I a party of one?
The other problem I have with the Olympics is that none of the athletes is the size of an average man or woman: for most sports you either have to be a midget or a giant, and mostly the latter. I was a pretty good athlete in high school and I played soccer, volleyball, softball and boys' tennis at the varsity level. I am too small to have played any of those sports at an elite level, regardless of talent. I mentioned this to Jean as a follow-up to the clothing size problem, and I pointed out to her that she is too short to have played soccer, swam, or ran track-and-field beyond high school. We were lucky to have grown up in an era where kids played every sport - changing sports each season - played outside, went to everything camp, etc. Our generation has raised a bunch of kids who only play hockey or soccer from birth, and they travel to compete from the time the kids can walk. My favorite is the parents who have teenage daughters in gymnastics who compete at the club level. "So, how tall is your daughter?" I ask while staring at a picture of a girl whose facial structure indicates she could row on heavyweight eight team. "Oh, she's 5'10" and still growing!" the proud parent replies. Really? Have you seen the size of elite gymnasts? Stop the madness! There is no D-1 scholarship in the offing. Teach her how to throw darts, and play pool, beer pong, and poker: teach her these lifetime sports and get your life back!
Jean just called to ask about my cowboy bar experience. I gave her my spiel: I prefer drafts to bottles, I like IPAs, I don't like wheat beers, and I hate flavored beer. She said, "I'd rather lick the bottom of a pair of shoes I've worn in New York City for a week or drink toilet water than drink an IPA!" (I didn't ask her if the toilet water included that of The Port Authority in New York City mostly because I was too busy laughing.) I told her I'd drink a fruit flavored wheat beer well before I'd lick shoes or drink toilet water.
When I arrived a couple of days ago, "Grizzly Adams" and his wife "Mona Lisa Smile" occupied the travel trailer to the south of BOB, and super-self-aware-of-how-awesome-they-are-yuppie-scum-California couple occupied the Class C to the north. Grizzly and Mona left yesterday morning. It took them four hours to decamp. Grizzly did all the outside work. Mona walked the micro-dog, but Grizzly carried him to the truck. The Yuppies got in a car Sunday night and were gone for 24 hours. Another couple with a car with Montana plates drives them around the area. I'm not sure whether they slept in their rig last night. He doesn't shower in it, probably because she's using it as a closet. It's like a set change: she enters her rig in one costume, changes, and emerges in another. He is either shirtless or dressed head to toe in expensive action garb.
Everyone has probably seen the Enterprise-Rent-a-Car ads where they deliver the car and return the driver to his/her pick-up location. Well, they don't really do that. When Dad and I were in Gig Harbor, he rented a car from Enterprise and was told that we'd be picked up and I'd be returned to the RV park the next day. We were picked up, but when we got to the Enterprise desk we were told that it was closed on the weekend and I'd have to make my own way back to the RV park. Fabulous. It cost me $20 to take a taxi. Today, I called Enterprise at the Jackson Hole airport to inquire about the pick-up/drop-off service. "Oh, we only offer that for the insurance customers, not the retail ones." Did you ever hear anything during the ad which disclaimed the service for retail customers? No? Me, either. Fuck you, Enterprise. And, you should be sued for false advertising, either per se or for the inconsistency of the offering. I'm walking to National to pick up a car on Thursday morning. I have a seven person minivan for $60 including taxes. It’s too bad I don’t have six friends.
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Siobhan M. Knox
In May 2016, I bought a five ton, 25’ long Class C motorhome because I like to drive, I like to travel, and it’s more fun and less expensive than living in a hotel. No prior RV experience was required, and I had none: perfect. I’m writing a book about my adventures which will come to an end when I get a job. The dogs will be sad.