Friday, May 8, 2009

No One in Weiser Listens to Weezer

Greetings from Weiser, ID. I bought a large pizza for lunch, and as with nearly everyone in this tiny town, the girl running to register told me she didn't recognize me and asked where I was from and what I was doing in Weiser. I explained, and told her I was just passing through 'Wiser'.

"Oh no, its Weee-zer, deary."

"Ah, like the band." I said. Blank look. "You know, the band Weezer. Singer is Rivers Cuomo." Another blank look. I sang a few lines from the songs 'Buddy Holly' & 'Hash Pipe'. Her brow furrowed in deep thought, she crossed her eyes at me, shook her head and handed me my pizza.

"Must be an Eastern thing."

As you may have guessed, no one in Weiser listens to Weezer.


As usual, I report from a public library in a small town. To my left, a dusty caked farmer in cowboy boots with a Milt's Feed and Grain trucker hat; to my right, a young mother teaching her sons how to Google. Behind me, the periodical racks, where someone has neatly written "Magazines" over the word 'Periodicals'. Nearby, the Teen Space, full of young adult books and CDs, as well as magazines of their own. 'Teen People', of course, as well as 'Seventeen' and 'Cosomo-Girl', but also 'Modern Bride' and 'Your Wedding'. That bridal magazines adorn the shelves of the teens-only library zone, I guess shows you that this town is in touch with its reality.

I have to say that Weiser is probably my favorite town yet. Polite and helpful people are everywhere, and curious in a way most others haven't been. It seems Westerners have pretty effectively bred out their curiousity in most areas- here, it survives. Within two blocks of the library I found a supermarket, hardware store, and best of all, a good used book store. The angels sang; I've been firing through books, finishing about one every five days. I just finished "Undaunted Courage" by Stephan Ambrose, as well as "Standing up to the Rock" by Louise Freeman-Toole and "River of the West" by Robert Clark. All highly reccomended.

I pass now into southern Idaho, a land of occasional canyons with farmland starting at their rim and extend for hundreds of miles. Land her is either Bureau of Land Management or is private- private in the 'I'll shoot you if you trespass' manner of the world. A farmer on an ATV actually said that to me the other day, but he was much more polite about it. Still, his four-wheeler did have a gun rack.

The current is strong here, and the river is rising everyday. The reservoirs and irrigation canals that blanket southern Idaho are quickly filling up, and soon the river will be in flood. A ranger at Farewell Bend pointed down to the river and then to the high-water mark on the bluff at our feet. He said that in ten days he wouldn't be surprised if the river hit that mark, meaning a rise of thirty feet. I pause now to plan. Fighting the current as it is brutal, the banks are overgrown and eddies nonexistent. There are almost no campsites in the next 300 miles. A few RV parks, boat ramps, and isolated stretches of canyons are my only options, unless the reality on the ground is different from what my maps and research tell me. So I pause and plan, thinking of solutions to the problems that I face. So has it been, as so will it continue to be.

1 comment:

Jared of the Glen said...

I'd just like to offer a comment from a "Weiser-ite". I was born and raised in that little town, and love it to this day. I am very familiar with the little library, and the stores and shops all around it. I will presume you had your pizza in the shop a block or so from the library? The one across from a hardware store? If so, as a little piece of trivia, it used to be a Rexall Drugs when I was a kid. BTW, I'm only 32. If it wasn't that pizza shop, then it must have been the one a half mile or so north, in the same parking lot as the other hardware store. For a town with two hardware stores, was it odd to see 4 or 5 banks? That's farming money for you.
I was most amused by the title of your post and the anecdote it derived from. I will assume that the girl that waited on you was older than 40, or younger than 25. Weezer was at their mainstream peak when I was in high school. My friends and I couldn't believe our ears when Buddy Holly came out, because one of the assistant coaches/English teachers was named Hawley (pronounced "Holly"); a few of the guys had been calling him "Buddy" from the off. We thought it was great! Since then, I have joked about the "3 major rock groups named for 3 major US cities" (ie Boston, Chicago, and Weezer).
And you were dead right about curiosity being encouraged and fostered: I grew up in a large family that encouraged education and expanding horizons, and I knew quite a few kids my age who were equally curious.
I know several former classmates that have gone on to become lawyers and doctors/dentists, as well as actors and musicians. One of the girls I graduated with moved to Japan!
It's a great place that I'm glad you were able to experience, and I'm so glad you enjoyed your time there.