Day 9: Time, Travel and Tech (Theme)

posted 7 Aug 2005, 11PM

More interesting than Old Faithful, we thought, were the tourists waiting for it to erupt. Families lined up in a giant semicircle, standing in shorts and fanny packs or seated on the designated benches. The army of oohs, ahhs and camera clicks as predictable as the geyser itself. Hundreds of people staring at tiny LCD displays of the spectacle instead of gaping in awe at natureÔŅĹs controlled fury. We had our cameras out, too, preserving memories (or whatever). Everyone wandered toward the gift shop.

That meta layer stays palpable most of the time. Iíve been thinking back to the summer of í91, when my family took am 8 week cross country drive. I used my dadís Nikon camera (like Jennyís, it had a polarizing filter) and wrote nightly in a small paper journal. At thirteen, I wrote about the dayís events (curled up in our 30í RV) and nobody read it except me.

Fourteen years later, youíre reading my adventures in real-time; Jenny and I consider which photos should be immediately posted to the web; connectivity fades in and out with passing states and cell towers. (Iíve got unlimited data transfer with Cingular this month, so weíre using my cell like a modem, blueteething through from my Powerbook. Itís like living in the future.)

Maybe thatís the secondary theme of this mountain leg of this trip: the modern sublimating the natural. Email from a Montana pine forest; eating the same Subway sandwich in Wyoming that I enjoyed in California. Cars in campsites.

The primary theme (since life, like, needs a proper narrative to be worth anything) follows me and Jenny carrying our love and friendship beyond of L.A., separate from the area where we dated and lived and got to know each other, romance mixing with smoggy geography. Traveling is, I think, about learning to live and love in the present.

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