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Who won the election? Clinton or Trump?

News takes backseat to nature

The Lazy Lizard
The Lazy Lizard

The Lazy Lizard Saloon in Ocotillo seemed friendly on Wednesday afternoon, the day after the election. I had just returned from three days of backpacking in Vallecito Valley, not knowing if Clinton or Trump had won. Or if the election had been decided.

Three days of cholla cactus, bighorn, and deer tracks; no TV, radio, or smartphone. There were about a dozen people in the Lazy Lizard, split between the bar and the tables. Everyone seemed in a good mood. I ordered a Pacifico and waited. Ten minutes passed. I heard nothing political. Nothing.

Twenty minutes passed. My beer was getting low. A guy at the end of the bar murmured something about "Trump" in a hushed voice; he only wanted the woman next to him to hear it. I couldn't take it anymore. Turning toward him, I caught his eye, which made him stop talking.

"Who won?" I asked. The bar fell silent. The woman he was talking to turned around to examine me.

"Trump," he said without much reaction.

"Wow," was all I could muster. I ordered another Pacifico. The woman gently offered, "I hope that isn't bad news for you." The next thing I remember saying was, "Were the elections peaceful?" I was told about the shooting in Asuza...otherwise, all was good.

I introduced myself and explained why I was like a man who had just fallen to Earth. The woman left. "John" and I talked about the country, about jobs and immigration. John talked about the biased media and why he didn't own a TV. He put his faith in the internet and Google searches, saying, "It is fair."

He didn't ask who I voted for and wanted to know where I'd camped. I retrieved my tattered topographic maps from the car, opened them on the bar. We traced our fingers along contour lines, seeking out common ground, places with reliable water, features we could both relate to.

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The Lazy Lizard
The Lazy Lizard

The Lazy Lizard Saloon in Ocotillo seemed friendly on Wednesday afternoon, the day after the election. I had just returned from three days of backpacking in Vallecito Valley, not knowing if Clinton or Trump had won. Or if the election had been decided.

Three days of cholla cactus, bighorn, and deer tracks; no TV, radio, or smartphone. There were about a dozen people in the Lazy Lizard, split between the bar and the tables. Everyone seemed in a good mood. I ordered a Pacifico and waited. Ten minutes passed. I heard nothing political. Nothing.

Twenty minutes passed. My beer was getting low. A guy at the end of the bar murmured something about "Trump" in a hushed voice; he only wanted the woman next to him to hear it. I couldn't take it anymore. Turning toward him, I caught his eye, which made him stop talking.

"Who won?" I asked. The bar fell silent. The woman he was talking to turned around to examine me.

"Trump," he said without much reaction.

"Wow," was all I could muster. I ordered another Pacifico. The woman gently offered, "I hope that isn't bad news for you." The next thing I remember saying was, "Were the elections peaceful?" I was told about the shooting in Asuza...otherwise, all was good.

I introduced myself and explained why I was like a man who had just fallen to Earth. The woman left. "John" and I talked about the country, about jobs and immigration. John talked about the biased media and why he didn't own a TV. He put his faith in the internet and Google searches, saying, "It is fair."

He didn't ask who I voted for and wanted to know where I'd camped. I retrieved my tattered topographic maps from the car, opened them on the bar. We traced our fingers along contour lines, seeking out common ground, places with reliable water, features we could both relate to.

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Comments
4

Lucky guy. You didn't have to listen to the last minute election nonsense and get a hundred robocalls. Maybe we could all take lesson from this and plan to be out of civilization for a week prior to a general election.

Nov. 14, 2016

Cool story. Thanks for sharing it. I think anyone who visits the Imp. Valley has an Ocotillo story. Mine is about my wife rushing a cub scout having seizures from Agua Calente campground on Hwy. S-2. to El Centro hospital. Coming upon the Ocotillo fire station around midnight, two volunteer firefighters we sitting out on the station's front porch. They advised it would take longer for paramedics to arrive than just driving directly to the hospital. They did radio ahead to CHP and the hospital for her. Just a coupla guys sitting in rocking chairs at midnight in Ocotillo! They do things a little different there.

Nov. 14, 2016

Ah, yes that's true.

Nov. 14, 2016

Appreciate the comments on the story folks. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Ocotillo is a special place. I photographed this the same day. - Jim Carretta

Nov. 14, 2016

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