Stay on Game

2

October 10. 2021, Gallup- Today is Double Tenth, the popular name for the National Day of Taiwan. The country is on watch, as it has been since 1949. Taiwan is staying vigilant, on game.

On a smaller scale, I, too, have to remain vigilant, on game-for a different reason. Life is getting more frenetic, I’ve noticed. More people are casting discernment to the wind, with me being one of them, for a split second too long, on September 23. The lesson was to not take eyes off my surroundings-in any situation.

After a morning that became whirlwind-a breakfast at Post 6, delayed a bit by human error (not mine), I hosted an online meeting-starting on time, but with seconds to spare. It all worked out, very nicely. A phone call to my mother, before all that, soothed any concerns I had about her well-being. She was more concerned that I was recovering from 9/23. I am, and just about completely.

Packing was fairly light, though I am ready for the vagaries of October-winter gear is mixed with near summer wear. I set out a bit after noon, noticing that there was a huge volume of traffic headed from Payson to the Phoenix area, for some reason going west to the Verde Valley, then south on I-17. I was headed in the opposite direction, but found it took seven minutes to be cleared for turning left so as to head north to Winslow.

There was no further delay in moving towards Gallup. I did stop for coffee, in the small Navajo Nation border town of Chambers, AZ. The restaurant attached to Days Inn was closed, but the convenience store had coffee. A well-meaning lady brought a stray dog into the store, pleading with the attendant to find a place for the scared puppy. Apparently, the finder was from Phoenix and had no way to care for the dog, which she said had been wandering around near the large semi-trailer trucks parked nearby. It being Sunday, and Chambers being a good hour from the animal shelter in Ganado, there wasn’t much the attendant could do, save put the dog outside and tend to her at shift’s end. Me? I am driving a rental car, have no pet carrier and would not be able to keep the animal at Home Base. I left a small group of people there to sort it out as best they could.

Once here, in western New Mexico’s regional commercial hub, I found no fewer than four motels closed for renovation. All can definitely use a world-class makeover, including the Lariat, where I stayed the last time I was here. El Capitan Motel is open for business and is definitely of recent renovation. The place is at least as good as a Motel 6, if not better. Who says Mom & Pop have nothing on the chains?

I am modifying my itinerary a bit, foregoing a drive into Chaco Culture National Historical Park, as the skinny on the roads into the park says there are very rough sections of the dirt roads, just before the park entrances, on either side. I am driving someone else’s vehicle and discernment precludes taking it on a rough route. I can drive a paved road, along the periphery of Chaco, which will suffice for now. Monday will thus be a day of familiarizing myself with the edges of the Bisti Badlands and the areas around the towns of Farmington, Bloomfield and Cuba.

My vigilance, in several instances of craziness, mostly pertaining to traffic, was much sharper today. I find that most reassuring.

Rough Adjustment

8

October 10, 2020-

Today, “Double Tenth” to the Chinese of Taiwan (who regard it as their National Day) is also the normal beginning of cooler weather, around these parts, give or take a few random warmer days in mid-October, Since it is a time of change, I tend to reflect on changes within myself and around me, in the month or so before I complete this latest trip around the Sun.

Probably the biggest change in front of me is actually a reversion- There will be more eating at home base. I have gone to restaurants, several times a week, since COVID19 hit-either getting take-out or, as things calmed down for a while, taking a seat at a table. I’ve mentioned before, that a single diner taking up a table is viewed as a nuisance in some places. That is true of about half of the establishments I have frequented- thus comes a good opportunity to cut back on “support meals”, which were designed to help keep restaurants afloat during the height of the first wave of the pandemic.

A year ago, or even a few months prior, I might have been inclined to take cold treatment in a public place rather personally. I see it now as more a matter of logistics and economics- places with limited seating and which draw families and couples, are practicing their idea of triage. There are maybe five restaurants in town where my presence is still very welcome, so it is those which will yet get my business.

What makes the whole change easy to accomplish is the overall benefit to my dietary health. It’s not such a rough adjustment, after all.