You've had too much to think...

One of my best friends, Nathan, is getting married in a few weeks. That's pretty remarkable because he was perhaps the most commitment phobic guy I've ever known. On the other hand, watching him be single made me wonder if being single forever would really be that bad. Despite the level of our raucousness, Nathan's kept himself surprisingly marryable. Ashley hasn't had to do much work to get him into husband shape -- if he were a house, he's basically just needed window treatments and a little paint. The whole process has made me wonder about my own marryability. (Yes, I know it's supposed to be written marriageability, but it's my blog, ok?)

If you haven't gathered, marryability is basically the credit score of a single male. It's a function of age, status, income, maturity, spirituality, hair follicle density, fashion sense, culinary talent, waist size, horsepower, fuel economy, taste and everything else you can think of. The younger you are, what you lack in maturity and income, you can make up for in potential and sheer fun. The girl sees you and says, "Ah, I can work with this."

As you age, what you loose in some areas you gain in others. Your hair thins, but now you've been on cross-country road trips, you have a degree, and your clothes still mostly match. At this point, the girl says, "Well, I'm going to have to train him to not do a, b, and c, but his car is paid off and he only quotes The Simpson's about half the time." Of course, this process continues until you reach the riper ages of male singleness. At this point, you've been single so long unless you make a conscious effort to stay marryable, you may acquire so many odd quirks that no one can put up with you.

For example, around age 30, every male loses whatever instincts they had once had to change my sheets regularly, do the dishes, wipe the counter, not be flatulent, avoid wearing sandals with socks, shower daily, eat vegetables, vacuum periodically and every other thing your mother insisted you do for the first 18 years of life. Basically, if left to your druthers, you'll turn into your father, except as becomes when your mom goes out of town for several weeks: unkempt, jaundiced from a canned chili/Mountain Dew diet, and wearing 90's era Doc Martin sandals with a t-shirt tucked into jean shorts.

To prevent this from happening, you have to at least make an effort to keep up appearances, even if just seems like a bunch of hassle. I say at least because if that's all you do, your marryability will still go down. The reality is that we age, we get weird. We get weird because the world is constantly changing around us, and we simple can't adapt to everything. Some stuff we readily accept, like switching to MP3 players instead of CDs. But you know there's some dude somewhere caressing his collection of Aerosmith cassettes/Bee Gees 8-tracks/Pink Floyd LPs and wondering how the world got so off track. That dude's marryability index is plunging fast.

The reality is that the older you get, to stay as marryable as you were at a younger age, you have to bring more to the table. This is not just to make up for what you've lost, but also to offset all your extra baggage that someone is going to have to put up with. I'm not saying you need to grow biceps the size of your thighs or read the Divine Comedy in the original Italian to woo a mate (such pursuits are actually non-stop detours to Douche-ville.) But you've got to keep yourself up to date, as inane as it appears sometimes. Returning to the house metaphor, there's absolutely nothing wrong with a house built in the 70s, but selling one with the orange shag carpet and faux wood paneling is going to be tough. They're fun and quirky, but remodeling is a huge hassle and can take forever.

Yes, yes, I can hear the chorus of, "But I want someone who accepts me for who you I am." Well, that's baloney. You don't want anyone whose standards are that low. And as for the fairer readers of this blog, I have no comment on your marryability. I am, after all, trying to keep my own marryability index high as possible.


Land of enchantment...

I just rolled into the house from a week of work travel and a weekend of vacation. Strange how you can not have a care in the world, and the next, you're surrounded by piles of bills and laundry, simultaneously trying to find something for dinner while contemplating the week ahead. Sigh.

I spent the week in Roswell, New Mexico. Yes, the alien place. And no, my visit was completely terrestrial. Even so, there is something a bit off about the place in general. There are only two flights there daily, and the nearest town of any notable size (Albuquerque, Lubbock, or El Paso) is more than 3 hours drive away via US highway. With a population of about 45,000, this is the kind of community that really feels the effect of a down economy. People do what they can to get by. Little restaurants spring up everywhere, long established business get shuttered. Everything seems tainted by the malaise of disaffection.

I've seen a lot of these places in my travels. I thought I knew what to expect. Roswell was something else, though. I was struck by it the moment the airport was visible on the horizon. The airport was covered in commercial aircraft, parked wingtip to wingtip. Dozens and dozens of DC-10s, A-300s, 737s, and even a huge contingent of colossal 747s sat in the dry desert wind, doing nothing, and airline ghost town. Over the next few days as I worked around the airfield, I never really got used to seeing all those hulking birds parked around the runway, like used cars waiting for buyers.

I had high hopes that a week in Roswell would be a nice escape from the fickle Utah spring weather. In some ways it was, as the sun was out everyday, but the nights were bitterly cold, and my spring jacket wasn't nearly insulating enough for 40 degree weather at 8:00 am. Finally, on Friday, I even broke down and bought some hand lotion for the last 24 hours of my time there, because my hands simply couldn't handle the dryness anymore.

Roswell strikes me as fundamentally an agricultural community. From above, you can see that the town is surrounded by large green circles of crops, marking quite a contrast against the beige desert floor. The town itself is stretched out along the single main street, like something out of American Graffiti. On the outskirts you have the modern accoutrements of modern civilization, Subway, McDonald's, Walgreens, but as you near the city center, the stop lights are 200 feet apart, and the streets are lined with classic buildings, which you imagine were once soda fountains and barbershops, but are know struggling to be eclectic boutiques and coffee shops.

This is where Roswell takes another turn for the odd, since a disturbing number of these stores have alien paraphernalia hanging in the windows. On Friday, with my work completed, I walked a few blocks of main street and stuck my head in most of the shops. Most were simply trying to lure people, and the aliens painted on the windows had nothing to do with the incense or indian jewelry inside. Others were clearly local people trying to capitalize of the dumb tourists looking for a silly memento to send home. A few places, though, were clearly run by true believers. In one store, I picked up a few shirts for my little nephews, and the proprietor was quick to suggest that I pick up a recently published children's book about UFOs, so that I would be able to explain to them all about aliens.

It wasn't all weird though. Roswell had some surprisingly great food. Though the places were really run down, the food and the service was excellent. As you may have heard, New Mexico is known for it's chiles. I had green chile enchiladas and a relleno one day, and liked it so much that I had red chile enchiladas with another relleno the next. And in perhaps the biggest surprise of the trip, I had really excellent chicken saltimbocca that rivaled anything I've had in SLC.

All in all, it was probably one of the more interesting trips I've had. Roswell has a lot of personality. I still don't understand why they call it the land of enchantment, though.


Best 3 out of 5?

This afternoon I was in the backyard, trying in vain to cut down this shoulder height wild grass stuff near my fence. It's not actually a weed, but some sort of tall ornamental grass that serves to at least partially obscure the 87 Pontiac rusting away in the neighbor's backyard. As I hacked at the mound of grass for 10 minutes with the hedge trimmers I thought to myself, "Do I know anyone that has a scythe?" No one came to mind. But then I remembered my favorite scythe wielding movie character:

I'll bet reaping burns a lot of calories.


We've Reached an Accord

I bought a new car last week. And that's not "new" in the sense that I bought a 3 or 4 year old used car which was new to me, but "new" in the sense that I drove off the lot in a car that only had 32 miles on the odometer. When my friend Nathan found out I had bought a new car he said, "I didn't know you were in the market for a new car?!". I replied: "Neither did I."

Well, that's not true. My old Honda Accord was ten years old, so every few months or so, I would think about what it would be like to drive a new one. When I got an e-mail from the dealership advertising 0% financing (which hadn't happened in the past, well, ever), I thought maybe it was a good time to take a test drive. So I did, and when I saw the final price for the car I wanted with all the necessary accoutrements, I bought it. So yes, it was technically an impulse buy, but maybe a little less impulsive than it could have been.

Of course there has been some buyers remorse, particularly when several thousand dollars of value disappeared as I drove off the lot, but that remorse very quickly evaporates when I slide into those heated leather seats and climate controlled environment.

Here's to you, 2010 Honda Accord, may you serve with the same distinction as your predecessor.