Nampa, ID -- July 23, 2007

Arrive Nampa, ID 9:30am Monday, July 23
Depart Nampa, ID 8:30am Tuesday, July 24

Coming into town--fields, then car lots, then the bus station.

Everything was so big.

Who are you doing this for? people would ask and didn’t quite understand that I was doing this for myself. But, they were really nice. The guy at the taco truck offered me a drink for free. A woman at a Mexican restaurant drew me a map. People talked to me, told me their favorite recipes. It was really enjoyable.

There was a little stream that flowed through town, with ducks quacking in it.

I poked my head into places, looking for readers and also tried a trick that my dad had taught me through his time in Search and Rescue--it's easier to find clues than it is to find the target. So, I asked people where I might find readers. At the Hong Kong restaurant they told me six people were reading there on Saturday and told me to try at Honker’s, where the waitress told me that there are two people that read at lunch time and to come back later and that they saw someone reading at McDonalds the day before. A pizza place told me that they have people reading in the afternoon, but not the evening.

And, though this time I did get to a convalescent home (in Salt Lake I arrived after 8:30pm, which was too late), I found myself at to one that specializes in caring for people with memory loss. Reading a book, the nurse explained, would be too much.

I thought a lot about my dad’s hunting, translating "think like an elk" into "think like a reader." It's a philosophy that rewards the thinker with scoring naps in the sun. You go somewhere and wait it out. Coffee shop? Park bench? Let the reader come to you. But, it turned out, I was too restless.

This was the first big small town I had visited. I had that same feeling I had in L.A., that feeling I had when I went to Moscow for the first time after spending a day in tight, compact Korea. The United States is built for giants.

A real small town would be easy. Condensed, small, you sit at a table in the local café all day, take breaks to go check out the park and then move to a bar stool in the saloon at night. (If anyone knows of towns like these, please email...)

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