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My cabin never leaks when it doesn’t rain

March 12, 2013

I’m back from the state I’d never been to before and now I’ve been there. I’m not sure how to assess this point but it does mean that the number of states I’ve never been to is now in the single digits (North and South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii), which somehow seems like an accomplishment. I’d been uncertain about the Arkansas at the outset and became even more so when I turned on the TV in search of weather and instead saw news of how they sought to make ab0rti0n even more restrictive. I quickly turned if off again. It was better to look out the window, where I could watch the wide sweep of the river with its steel bridges.

Many places claim to be full of nice people, but Little Rock really seems to be. I had conversations with everyone. And so many people were interested in music and what we were all doing there. The young man who brought my room service one night had been a vocal major before he dropped out of college. Now he does musical theater on the side. A slightly man in his thirties wandered into the exhibit hall one day with a small girl attached to either leg. He talked to us about our books for a while and said he and his fiancee were amateur musicians. He mentioned that he was getting married that afternoon and that the girls were his fiancee’s daughters. “I’ll have to bring her back down here. She’d love some of these books,” he said as he picked up a copy of a book about Pete Seeger. Because what every woman wants to do on her wedding day is read about folk music in a room full of college professors.

On International Women’s Day, I dined with a couple of feminists and then took in the Clinton Library up the street. The place was so overrun with musicologists that one of the guards at the entrance scratched his head. “Where are y’all from?” he said, looking puzzled. “And what are you doing here?” Upstairs, in front of a recreation of the Oval Office, a guard insists on taking my picture. “We want to make sure you have a memorable experience.” Meanwhile, as I’ve been fielding hilarious text messages from Mr. Spy full of Monica Lewinsky jokes, I briefly consider asking if I can pose under the desk and then think better of it. Thus I managed to escape with whatever gravitas I had come with.

As for the reasons I went, I’m still digesting. There are many things to think about. I always come home from conferences with a lot I want to do — it’s one of the best things about them — but this time seems to have kicked it up a notch. Meanwhile, back at Spy Headquarters we are preparing for our first visitors — my parents are coming. I am hoping the city does not scare them off. I am hoping the 60 steps up to my apartment doesn’t kill them. I am hoping the warm weather sticks so we can go to the park.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2013 9:31 am

    Hi to your parents. Time to plan a trip to Yellowstone “for Andy” so you can wrap up a bunch of new states.

  2. March 13, 2013 10:01 am

    I’m delighted that you found Arkansas as delightful as I know it can be–skim politics off the surface and you’ll enjoy drinking in the rest.
    Did you know that in Oregon, you don’t have to pump your own gas?

  3. March 13, 2013 6:49 pm

    And in New Jersey you aren’t allowed to pump your own gas.

    Best of luck with the family visit — will they be staying at your place?

  4. drgeek permalink
    March 14, 2013 6:09 pm

    It’s not that you don’t have to pump your own gas in Oregon. It’s that you are legally prohibited from pumping your own gas.

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