I’m not surprised. It’s what I expected. There’s really no reason to expect anything else. But after doctors’ appointments the last two days, it’s pretty well official. I’m probably never going to leave Utah again. Polymyositis is nasty stuff, and I feel good about having battled it to a standstill. I’m unlikely ever to get better, but I’m also probably not going to get worse. I’m plateaued. In remission, but also stalled.
What this means is: Utah. It’s possible I could take a short trip, maybe to California. I can go wheelchair to plane to wheelchair, for a short flight, if I can sleep for a day afterwards. But my favorite places on earth–London, New York, Oslo–are beyond my reach. I’m exiled, like Euripides in his cave.
Plus, you know, in Utah.
Utah is incredibly beautiful. People who like to hike, or camp, or mountain climb love it, and should. The fly fishing, I’m reliable told, is magnificent. It’s a hunters’ paradise. It’s got some of the best skiing in the world. Just from my house, I can see amazing mountains, some of which have letters painted on the side. A politically conservative business person with a great love of the outdoors would thrive here.
I’m not any of those things. What I like about the outdoors is that it’s over there, outdoors, while I’m safely indoors. The outdoors has insects. Heck, it even has bears, or as Stephen Colbert calls ’em, ‘godless killing machines.’ The outdoors has abrupt and rapid changes in temperature and climate. You have to walk to get anywhere. Camping requires sleeping in a sleeping bag, which means, all night, you’re always either roasting, freezing, or having nightmares about being wrapped up in a cocoon by a spider. Plus you’re sleeping on the ground, which is hard and uneven and bumpy. In a tent; you ever change your clothes in a tent? Without dislocating your shoulder? I’ve never hunted in my life. I think fishing is the most boring sport on earth until you catch something, at which point it becomes the most disgusting. The outdoors is pretty, and you know what, I can see all that prettiness right here on my laptop, sitting in a comfy chair.
Utah’s also full of Mormons. Yes, I am a Mormon, pretty faithfully Mormon, but culturally? I drink Diet Coke. I like R rated movies. I’m terrible with authority figures. A guy called me a ‘secular humanist’ the other day, and I think he meant it as an insult. But that’s actually kind of right. I’m certainly a humanist, and I like ‘worldly’ art, or would if I had any idea what that term meant. I’m a liberal–I think the term we’re supposed to use now is ‘progressive,’ but I prefer liberal, plus Fox News uses it as an epithet, so I pretty much have to embrace it. I don’t own a suit or a white shirt, and all my ties (which I absolutely never wear except for Sundays) are designed by Jerry Garcia. I’m not a Tab Choir Mormon. I’m a rock and roll Mormon.
Which is why I’d be lost, really lost, without Salt Lake City. At least, darn it, there’s Salt Lake. Gay friendly, granola eating Salt Lake, with Plan B and SLAC and also Park City, with the Egyptian and Sundance. It’s not London, and it’s not New York. But it’s my favorite city on earth that I can actually get to. As long as I have Salt Lake, I’m going to be fine.