I walked through the bar doors planning for a beer and a quiet patch of time to write this. I needed to write this; I’d already missed my deadline once. I’d been driving through mountain canyons for the last three days without a spot of time or internet, and was really hoping I could bang this out in the twenty-four-person town of Lowman, Idaho. I planned on that.
A small bunch of adults and several mediumish children greeted me with pizza in their mouths and cards in their hands, not asking but telling me to sit down. The dogs that had charged my truck now laid curled at my feet. I thought to thank them for including me, but I really had some work I needed to do, that I’d planned to do.
Fourteen-and-a-half-year-old Max asked if I’d have a slice of his homemade pizza. Kevin and Darcy, Max’s parents and bar owners, brought me a tallboy and continued with conversation as though they’d seen me yesterday and were just catching me up. Paul, topped with a floppy brim and a kid latched onto both his front and back, insisted they put the PBR on his tab. Debbie gave me an exaggerated wink as she regaled the time Quentin Tarantino (adoringly, QT) slipped into her pajamas, while on a movie shoot up the river a ways. She and Max loudly whispered to Colin, Kevin’s dad, that I was pretty and had a cool knit hat. Colin’s blind. When I mentioned that the John Denver in the background radio was my favorite karaoke song, Kevin turned it up, not quite loud enough to match the ten of our swooping voices. Max’s little brother, Mickey, danced along on the bartop better than I ever have. A couple of card games and slices later, they sent me off to my truck bed with one of the dogs so he can scare the wolves off when you have to get out and pee in the middle of the night. I’d only planned for bears.
When I walked through the doors of The Lowman Inn, I had the bones of this piece already laid out. It was about the paradox of constantly planning the next thing before the present one has even finished. Of being so excited for all the things ahead that it overtakes whatever emotion might have naturally formed from being right here, right now. Sure. Well played.
With Duke curled next to me, I listened for wolves, forgetting for a second about missing yet another deadline, grateful for Darcy’s promise of tomorrow morning’s coffee.