Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Reno, gloves, winter break

I was in Reno for Thanksgiving, which was a pretty straightforward affair, except I forgot to bring gloves, and it was like 25 degrees outside. No snow, no trouble at the Donner pass; I just neglected to remember you need hand coverings when it’s below freezing. This wasn’t a major thing, as I didn’t really do a lot outdoors, but I’ve got more winter wonderland travel coming up next week, so I have to remember to bring gloves.

I have these gloves I bought in April for Iceland, which are very thin, but have the special magnetic junk in the fingers so you can use a touchscreen, and the index fingers and thumbs flip open in case you need to twist a knob or futz with a lens and don’t want to take your gloves off. I haven’t used them since Iceland, and when I dug them out of the bin today, they were filthy. I got some Woolite, started scrubbing them, and my sink was suddenly filled with bright red volcanic dirt. I think the last time I wore them, I was climbing Snæfellsjökull, and on the way up Bjarnarfoss, I fell down and thought I broke my knee. Weird memory to see and smell all of that red soil again.

* * *

Reno was pretty sedate. It was my first time there since 2019. We stayed at a Marriott, had a mini-suite that wasn’t bad except the heater sounded like a hundred-year-old film projector. The gym was decent. The pool was outside, so no pool, although I can’t swim anyway. I did a lot of writing down in the lobby. I don’t know why I like writing in the lobbies of hotels, but I do. For some reason, sitting in this one very vaguely reminded me of the Grand Hyatt Berlin, where I stayed in 2014, but looking at the pictures on Google, it looks nothing like it. That seems to happen to me a lot. I just walked around the College of Alameda, which always gives me a weird sense memory of the IUSB campus, but the two look nothing like each other. They just built a new classroom building that looks very vaguely like it’s in the same style as one of the new buildings they put on Mishawaka Ave at IUSB, but all campus buildings built after like 1985 look like that.

Aside from eating and more eating, I didn’t do much else. Oh, I went to a sports book and bet $20 that the Rockies would win the 2024 World Series. I don’t even vaguely believe in the team after this year, and I’m honestly pretty much over baseball in general. So, no idea why I did that.

* * *

The Christmas travel is South Bend for a week, then Milwaukee for a week. I’m trying to tighten the blast radius on this so I can keep things under control, so there won’t be any side trips anywhere else, and just family stuff. This is the first time I’ve been to Indiana since 2018, and I don’t know what to expect. Well, I know what to expect. What’s weird about this trip is I don’t even think I’ll be in Elkhart. My sister was the last holdout there, and she moved to Chicago a few years ago. Normally I’d go to Concord Mall, but I’m done with malls, and there is no Concord Mall. Ray is there, but I will have to convince him to meet us in Mishawaka or something. I have no interest in doing the Jon Konrath Reality Tour and look at a bunch of vacant buildings. If it was summer, I might be up for walking Ox Bow park. And Goshen’s downtown is neat. But other than that, the nostalgia is far too depressing for me.

I often wonder about visiting Bloomington again, for the same reasons. Looking at old journals, I used to fixate on Bloomington far too much. I haven’t been back in over ten years, and I feel like that obsession has faded away. I don’t know how that happened, and I wish I could apply the same technique to like 167 other things or people in my life. Maybe it’s because so much has changed there. Or maybe it’s just not important to me anymore. I do want to go back at some point and look around, but it’s a hard trip to make just for the sake of that trip. It’s probably cheaper for me to fly to Europe. Maybe at some point.

* * *

Another glove memory: I once had this pair of leather gloves that were like Darth Vader gloves. They were very well-padded inside, black leather, and they had a long cuff that went halfway up my forearm. They were like motorcycle gloves I guess. I think I got them from my step-grandfather in like the late 80s or early 90s. I remember having them when I got my first leather motorcycle jacket in 1993. I lost them, I think in 1994, maybe by leaving them on a Bloomington Transit bus. I’ve never been able to find a pair exactly like them. Probably doesn’t matter much since it rarely gets below 40 here. Maybe if I move to Iceland, I’ll start looking.


One response to “Reno, gloves, winter break”

  1. I couldn’t leave a comment on your 2021 article about Pierre Moran Mall. I worked there in the late 90s as a high school student, manning the children’s wear counter at Sears. I have so many (faded and dated) memories of the place. After college, I moved away and had hoped to get back up there some day and see it one last time but couldn’t quite pull it off. Anyway, some good memories reading your reminiscing. Met quite a few characters there, miss and think of them to this day.

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