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GEEZERS / Ursula K. Le Guin THE IDEA OF DRIVING OVER to the coast for the weekend came to him as a revelation—what his English professor used to call an epiphany. Actually it came to him from Debi, his personal secretary. "You look so tired, Warren," she said. "Last weekend, I left the kids with Pat and went over to Lincoln City and found a motel, and I just sat there with a dumb novel for a whole afternoon, and went to bed at nine, and in the morning I had this long walk on the beach. I must of gone a mile. It made all the difference. In case you noticed how cheerful and brilliant I've been all week." Although he did not always get the details, he generally listened to Debi; and this time what she had said, even the words, came to him, as an epiphany, while he was driving home. Saturday was lunch with the Curry County commissioner about South County development, but a phone call put that off till Tuesday. He got back into the car in jeans and windbreaker, with pyjamas, running shoes, sweats, and a toothbrush in his briefcase, and took off. He knew he was a creature of habit, stuck in every rut he got into. He knew that was why he was effective, got things done. But Debi was right, he needed a break. And the fact was that because he was so steady and routine, when he broke loose and did some thing out of the ordinary he appreciated it, savored it to the full. Since the divorce he hadn't given himself much to savor. But now he was free, and he wasn't even going to go to Lincoln City, but farther, to find some hidden place, a discovery. "I found this incredible little place over on the coast___ " The Cutlass flew through the winding Wilson River gorges—God, it was beautiful, he ought to get out of town more often—to Tillamook Junction. A toss-up, 101 south to Tijuana or north to Fairbanks. He did not hesitate. Fancy free, he sped north. He had forgotten that 101 ran inland for a good way north of Tillamook. By the time he got back out to the coast the sun had set and motel signs in the little towns said NO and SORRY. When he saw the sign for Klatsand, Pop 351, Please Drive Carefully, he took the chance and turned off the highway. There'd be something down in town. 26 · The Missouri Review There was: the White Gull, VACANCY, marigolds in wooden boxes brightening the twilight. "You're lucky," said the short woman at the desk, with a smile that grudged him his luck. "They booked the whole place. But they're two short, and they only pay for what they get. It's two nights minimum. Fourteen's the end one, across there." She pushed the key at him with no questions about what he wanted and no information concerning the cost. He was lucky. He accepted the luck and the key and put down his credit card. A lot of people in Salem would have recognized his name, but not over here in the boonies. The woman (John and Mary Brinnesi, Your Hosts, Are Pleased to Welcome You) ran the imprinter over the card with a heavy hand. "Have a nice day," she said, although it was nearly nine at night. "Park anywhere. They're all in the bus." What she meant, evidently, was that the other people staying at the White Gull had all come on the huge bus that loomed across four or five parking spaces. Walking along beside it on his way to Number Fourteen, he read the sign that ran along under its windows: The Sightseeing Seniors of Cedarwood A Christian Community It'll be a quiet night at the White Gull, he thought with amusement. He looked over the clean room, its king-size bed, its gypsy dancer on black velvet and schooner in the sunset, smelled its bubble-gum disinfectant, and went out to dinner. Coming into town he had noticed a place called Mayfield's, a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 26-33
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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