Off-the-wallBy Bob Spiwak

Over the years people unfamiliar with the doings outside the Mazama Store have inquired what is discussed at “SLIME” among the male denizens of the deck overlooking the patio. Not to say that women are unwelcome, and we do get an occasional drop-in female, but this is a rare, albeit welcome addition. The acronym is for Society of Lugubrious Indolent Mazama Entrepreneurs, referring to a bunch of fellows, some retired, who have no visible occupation.

This is not to say they are lazy, and many conversations refer to the cars and trucks that trundle by the gas pumps on their way to various jobs, from home contracting to highway repair. These discussions help the attending SLIMErs learn the identities of many local workers and their vehicles.

There is an ongoing unspoken requirement among the group: there are no discussions of religion or politics. These codicils were honored for years, right up to the election of 2017 when the chat devolved into discussions of the sad state of the Union. Sex is also a verboten subject.

This leads us to the most frequently asked query about the non-organization: “What do you guys (and women, of course) talk about as you swill your coffee or lattes or munch away on an egg-filled bagel?” Aside from the no-no subjects, anything goes. Without mentioning names we’ll give you a sample of what transpired this morning.

First, the water pan had to be refreshed for the dog or dogs that are part of the entourage. As usual, the weather, current and future, is touched upon among the group. If there are only two attendees, as this morning, the weather will be covered just in time for two more “members” to come out to the deck. Then began a tale of helping a friend with his finances. This diverged into studies of banks, stocks and retirement, which somehow segued into the skiing conditions in the valley. About that time a known local passed by in a newish pickup, which led to a fairly lengthy discussion of where he was working, and the pros and cons of that particular vehicle.

From this there was another segue to recycling – the value of cardboard, where to take it (which created a three-way side conversation as to which was the better place). Of course, Amazon entered the chat, which led to other stores and the new era of same-day delivery, etc., etc., etc., and more.

Some days there may be half-a-dozen involved and this is when things become complicated. It is not unusual to have all involved in different comments, and not unusual to interrupt one’s own topic into another’s a dozen feet away.

I tend to keep to the sidelines, watching and listening, and when there is a gaggle of people, all with different voices and “important” subjects, I envision all these words streaming through the air and colliding with any number of others whose tones are crashing into the air. At times there will be surrenders as a flow of words taper away in defeat of their quest for recognition.

And that, dear reader is SLIME. A daily dally of time, wasted in the eyes of some and treasured by others. I don’t plan to get a real job.