Saturday, June 27, 2009

Missoula, MT

I woke up early (probably when the sun rose) in Bozeman and drove to Missoula. I parked in what may be a government building lot (city hall?) and fed the meter some quarters.

I went in a Bagel cafe to charge my laptop and use the internet.

I asked a question about a house bagel (turned out to be an "everything" type) and admitted that I was not from around here. I got into a little conversation with the cashier about my road trip. I told her that I'm from NY. "I went to NYC once," she said. "I sat down on the curb and whined: 'I miss my mountains!'"

I've had quite the opposite, complimentary experience. As I drive through the mountains I whine: "I miss my buildings!"

My friend had asked me to bring her a tiny bison she could sew onto a headband, so I decided that Missoula would be the place to find it. I asked someone in the bagel place where I could find this sort of souvenir. He directed me to the "Missoula Mercantile," and I drove my car a few blocks away, according to his directions. Though I didn't find the Missoula Mercantile ("That's Macy's now, it hasn't been Missoula Mercantile for 100 years!"), I DID find a million amazing antique shops.

One I found was packed, every square inch. It was a treat for the eyes, and for the camera. There were so many antique tools I wanted to bring home. So many knicknacks. Oh well.

I walked around a bit, and found a giant antique mall. I picked out a butter churn - $10, paddle, glass jar and all, some vintage maps of the west for myself and for presents, and a hand-crank meat slicer - $50. I approached the counter and asked if I could set my items down while I continued to look. The people at the antique mall talked to each other about what an idiot they think Al Gore is, and how An Inconvenient Truth is filled with loopholes and how he makes things seem urgent when they aren't ever going to effect humans. (I of course judge these folk in this mountain town because of this, and am later surprised to discover EcoGeek Hank Green lives in the same town, and is certainly of the opposite camp).

I ask the woman if she can do better on the meat slicer. She tells me that because it is below a certain amount, she cannot. I tell her that I will not take it, then. I watch her writing up my receipt, and I notice something that I hadn't noticed before ---the true price of the butter churn: $110.

Needless to say, I left only with maps.

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