“Where y’at?” is an old New Orleans expression.
Originally born of itinerant musicians asking each other where they’re playing at, it has evolved from a question of mere place or location to a query of “How ya doin’?” and “How ya feelin?”
Where I’m at is a place of conflictive reflection.
Three days ago, we were at New Orleans.
Things there felt like the daily laidback liquidity of that city below sea level.
It was feeling normal-ish if often masked-ish.
But then, we dipped our toe in at one end of the French Quarter.
Where the Quarter was at felt a little tired and mean.
We were feeling pretty good about other things.
So we pulled out our toe and moved on to those other things, which were happening at a place where the loose and languid stride of The Big Easy seemed as easy as it should.
We also dropped in at a history museum.
That place touts the triumphs of the greatest generation united against an axis of evil in a time when most of this great nation lacked indoor plumbing.
Then, the next day at sunrise, we climbed behind the wheel.
At central Texas urban sprawl, we dared to brave a bumper-to-bumper driving viciousness where an every-man-for-himself ethos seems in full effect.
We were then spit out of the Interstate like a slippery watermelon seed, propelling ourselves onward onto the plains, eventually landing at a little town at a place of cows and crude and little else.
Other than the town, nothing there is little.
It is great and vast and empty and feels as if it’s waiting for something big that may never come, or maybe came and went, or maybe visits every once in awhile.
At that little town at the little lobby of the big-name hotel chain, there was a feeling of judgment from our fellow guests.
Call it an undercurrent as they regarded us.
Why were these two people who were clearly coming from away wearing masks on their faces?
Some rough-edged Texas gentlemen who drive great pickup trucks and sport mask-free visages in public seemed to have adopted a polarity response to the hotel’s signage proclaiming, “ALL GUESTS ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR FACE COVERINGS.”
It made me wonder what happens at their house if the wife asks an entering guest to remove his boots.
Beneath my mask it was easy to smirk at my own silliness. Nobody would feel compelled to wipe it away.
Yesterday, we stopped for gas at the middle of the Navajo nation in rural New Mexico.
At that place in the high desert, the official name is inspired by long-ago Anglo rulers’ fondness for the greatest sailing vessels of ocean voyages and trans-oceanic trade.
Seems sensible, right?
It’s also hard to not ask where you’re at when pulling your Japanese luxury car up to a pump island surround by creaking, bent pickup trucks filled with the worn, battle-scarred tools for keeping the challenging world of desert commerce on an even keel. So to speak.
Inside a modest mini-mart from a different century, shopworn and clean and threadbare and neat and chipped and tidy and masked and polite and poor and gentle and easy-friendly was the order of business.
Part of me wanted to hang at that mini-mart and know more.
Like, do Navajo travelers use the electronic cappuccino dispensers?
Or are those just for the periodic, Japanese luxury-car driving ramblers passing through this corner of their sacred land dotted with sweat lodges and singlewides?
Now, we are back at Park City.
And Park City is at a place where the order of business is shoulder season.
The tourist multitudes have cleared out. The roads are uncrowded. There are no lines in the supermarket.
Park City is at ease again, if only until the start of golf trout cycling season.
As I write this, the weather’s working at snowing.
Not sure where I’m at.
But today, it’s different here.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in Park City
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Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.