In the year since I came here, my life had gone through even more change. I have gotten comfortable with my new geography, but getting divorced has made my surroundings unfamiliar again. But this time I’m prepared, because my move from California to Nevada last year taught me a lesson I can use in moving from my married life to my single life.
That lesson came to me this week as I stopped after work one day to watch classic cars turn the corner at Tenth and ‘C’ streets just outside the Tribune building. Last year when Hot August Nights rolled into town I was too busy and preoccupied with being new to the area to appreciate the event. The same with Star Spangled Sparks and Artown. The only reason I made it to the Rib Cook-Off was because I was hungry.
In hindsight, my unfamiliarity was an excuse to not get in my car or walk down the street and take in the festivities. Plus, I told myself at the time, work was too busy or I was too tired or I simply needed to get home.
Since then, the passage of time and my marriagectomy have made me realize that I cannot and should not use work or ignorance of my surroundings or anything else as an excuse to miss out on what life has to offer. It was this thought that prompted me this week to stop at the corner and watch the cruising. For 20 minutes I admired the shiny paint jobs, roaring engines and bygone designs of the vehicles whose pristine appearances are the result of countless hours of TLC on the part of their passionate owners. It was nice to just stop and for a moment take in one of this area’s most unique happenings.
I haven’t made it to all of this summer’s events, but I have done better and even used my job to my advantage. Since I was working on July 4, I assigned myself to photograph the Star Spangled Sparks fireworks show. Even though I was technically on the clock, I thoroughly enjoyed being out in the crowds and taking pictures of the impressive pyrotechnics display over the Nugget. I forgot I was there doing a job. A couple of times this summer I have even gone to the Sparks Hometowne Farmer’s Market just for fun, no working involved, and I am already salivating at the thought of the various meats that will sizzle in a couple of weeks on grills lining Victorian Avenue.
It has been easy to walk out my office door for these activities, but a bigger accomplishment has been using my days off to get to know northern Nevada. As a single guy who doesn’t have a big circle of friends here, it’s easy to spend non-working hours on the couch or moping about having no one to do things with. But about two months ago, a beautiful young lady from Gardnerville (let’s call her “The Girlfriend”) entered my life and has inspired me to get off my backside. I am getting to know Carson City, Gardnerville and Lake Tahoe in my travels to see her, and for my birthday she took me to the Old West ghost town Bodie. Among The Girlfriend’s many wonderful qualities is our common passion for exploring off the beaten path.
I have learned in the past year that it’s very easy to let life get in the way of living. Work and worry can be pretty big distractions from enjoying the places and events that we take for granted. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to put work and worry aside, and sometimes we have to make a concerted effort to make time away from perceived obligations and fulfill our often-forgotten obligation to ourselves.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go buy wet naps. The Rib Cook-Off is just a few weeks away.
Nathan Orme is the editor of the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at norme@dailysparkstribune. com.