The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer:
Watching CPAC so my readers won’t have to. Hm. Odd. Entire conference only lasts an hour.
Ellen tells me I’m watching a CPAP infomercial.
I channel-surf and find the actual CPAC fun fest. I gasp in shock and disgust so often I’m short of breath. I channel-surf back to the looping CPAP infomercial and order a CPAP.
To break the monotony, Ellen and I try COVID games like “Find the Mask,” “Socially Distanced Tag” and “Count to 500,0000.” Bored, I clean the oven with a Q-tip.
Been way too sedentary and gluttonous during this stressful time. Learned a hummingbird’s heart beats 6,000 times a minute. That is almost as fast as my heart beats whenever I bend over to pick up the Uber Eats delivery left on my porch.
Ellen butters me so I can squeeze through the front door.
I visit the Arizona Daily Star building on South Park for the last time. We’re Zooming these days and moving to better digs.
Inside the giant building, which I always thought resembled a concrete fortress, it’s dark and silent save for friendly ghosts. Is that a whiff of Jack Sheaffer’s cigar smoke in the old photo lab? Am I imagining the faint whisper of wire machines and typewriters clack-clack-clacking away in the shadows? So many years, so many ghosts.
I say goodbye to our beloved printing press, a leviathan of cogs, rolls and ink wells, a dinosaur felled by an asteroid called The Internet. In the dark I yell “Stop the presses!”
Always wanted to do that.
I find the 35,000-year-old cafeteria table where I was informed I was hired. Pre-Columbian, I think. Smithsonian-bound.
I like our new offices. In the heart of town, downtown, along the Santa Cruz. Always thought South Park looked like the kind of bunker you’d find on a cliff overlooking the beaches of Normandy.
One last gaze out my old office window at the parking lot where I often enjoyed seeing furious readers with torches, catapults and pitchforks.
Vaccination appointment day! As I turn into the UA pod, I’m listening to KXCI on my radio. Buck Owens is singing a perfect anthem for this moment:
“Oh the sun’s gonna shine, in my life once more. ... No more loneliness, only happiness ...”
Heck yeah. I thank the traffic cones. I thank the flashing signs. I thank every volunteer I see. I thank a volunteer directing traffic with the calm grace of an air traffic controller. “Keep moving, sir.”
I thank the volunteer about to give me my shot. He says, “Don’t thank me. First time I’ve ever done this.” A comedian! Thank you, comedian. “Can I keep the needle in my arm as a keepsake?”
“Keep moving, sir.”
I think of all those in our town still waiting for their turn. Before driving out I ask an older volunteer why he’s doing it. “Like I tell my kids. Served my country once. It’s a chance to serve again.” I choke up. What Americans can do when we’re motivated. “Can I give you a big kiss? “
“Keep moving, sir.”
Daughter keeps us up on the grandkids with a weekly digest app called “Qeepsake.” Qeepsake asks her quirky questions daily about the kids and every week I get her answers, her stories, her videos and pics of the beasties.
I want a version of Qeepsake for grandparents.
Qeepsake: “Did you take a funny picture of grandma this week?”
“I did. Grandma stubbed her toe and cursed.”
Qeepsake: “What did Grandpa learn today?”
“Not to take ‘funny’ pictures of Nana Ellen.”
Ellen and I watch “Antiques Roadshow.” Weary of me ridiculing her favorite show, she spikes my punch. I wake up bound and gagged like Bobby Seale at the Chicago 7 trial, forced to watch a “Roadshow” repeat featuring a visit to Tucson.
Gives me a column idea. “I was antiquing at the Tortolita Swap Meet. I said, ‘Holy jalapeños!’ I ain’t never seen a javelina head mounted like a trophy before. Especially missing a glass eye. And a fang.”
“On the open marketplace this fine object could fetch $12.95!”
“Well, shut my door, buck my bronco and refry my beans!”
Today’s the big day. The Tucson Virtual Festival of Books. Check it out. https://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org
I can’t wait to watch 165 amazing authors unmute themselves — with 27% unsure how to do it. I got my feet up, kettle corn’s in the microwave and an infinite margaritas flowing nearby.
This is great.
No endless walking.
No bag of books to haul.
If I want a book, I’m burning Bezos the bookstore killer, by ordering mine from the UA bookstores:
I lift my margarita to toast TFOB 2021. Viva Tucson! And the first presenting author online who says, “I’m not a cat.”
David Fitzsimmons: email@example.com.