Thursday, July 17, 2008

Entertainment on a shoestring

My friend Debby over at Drawing the Motmot noted that Garrison Keillor has a thing or two to say about how we will entertain ourselves in the $4.00+ per gallon, post-SUV era. As Debby is a fine banjo player, she enjoyed his prediction that banjo sales would increase.

Not being a banjo player (but being happy that adding a musician to my household has turned out to be a good environmental decision), what struck me most were Mr. Keillor's comments about community design:

".... it’s also showing most of us that we live in communities whose design is based on the assumption of cheap gasoline — big lots with backyard privacy make for a long drive to the grocery store.

In the big old-fashioned city neighborhood, if you’re bored in the evening, you just stroll out the door and there, within five or 10 minutes, are a newsstand, a diner, a movie theater, a palm reader, a tavern with a bartender named Joe — whatever you’re looking for."

They reminded me again how fortunate I am to be living where I am: in a small town with more than the usual share of artists, musicians, and community-minded shop proprietors. The DM and I can (and do) walk to groceries, coffee, cafe, bakery, pub, bookstore, workout, bank, post office, library, mountain hikes, movies, theater, and river. I can't bring myself to complain about fuel prices, in part because I saw first hand how our prices were artificially low more than 20 years ago, during my first trip abroad. But I'm also not really feeling this particular pinch very hard.

When the DM came over to Crested Butte for a couple of days last week, he lamented that he had just spent nearly $50 to fill the tank on his car. But he did so with a twinkle in his eye, and I knew he would laugh when I pretended exasperation - "Well, yes, but DARling! It's the first time you've been to a gas station since you arrived in APRIL."

We're not without our financial worries here in the Heart of the Rockies, we're artists and musicians, after all! Housing prices are out of reach, natural gas prices went up 23% last month. And of course those rising fuel costs make transportation of all the rest of our goods more expensive. But we're happy that our community design allows us to use our feet to reduce our footprint at least a little- and to entertain ourselves with art, music, friends, and an abundance of natural beauty just by walking out the door.

I'm sure there's a bad pun here about a life that's hard on the soles but good for the soul, but I will refrain from using it. I need to walk over to the post office.

Music at the bandshell, Riverside Park
Entertainment via foot and tush


  1. Sherrie: I had a wonderful evening on Tuesday: I rode my bike the two or so miles into the UC Davis campus and joined the hundreds of people who were sitting on the grass quad, picnicking, listening to a fantastic Cape Verdean singer-songwriter named Tcheka. I even sketched.

    Simple pleasures...

  2. Pica... hooray! Congratulations on an evening well-experienced. And it's great to have a mental image of you, bicycle, and sketchbook pedaling to the quad. Thank you!

  3. Hi Sherrie! Interesting post about Salida, our hometown too... so true!!! Hope you are well!

  4. Hi Sherrie - I lived at 15 Poncha Blvd, Salida for 3 years. I walked everywhere, all the time: rain, sleet, snow, wind, hail - well, probably not hail :). I loved it. Now we live in AZ - out in the desert. The grocery store is 25 miles. The desert is beautiful but I worry a lot about getting "stuck" out here with rising fuel prices and finally perhaps no fuel at all.


  5. Hi Carla! Thanks for stopping by... hard to believe that in such a small place I never run in to you these days!

    Lindy... You lived about three blocks from where we are now... and before the move I lived probably three blocks in the other direction. I understand about being out from everything... I lived for a while on a ranch, where the nearest anything was 45 minutes away. And desert is REALLY hard on bicycle tires!