“Are you open?”
“Yes. I’ve got a calculator, half a brain, fingers and eyes.”
That’s the cheerful joking cash man at the cash register in RoadRunner Cafe darkened by a power outage at 10:45 in the morning on this Saturday (Sept. 27).
From the conversations abounding, you’d think we’re in Frankfurt! We American English speakers are outnumbered by the Germans 5 to 1. Five years of studying German in my youth leaves me highly recognizing the sounds and words. Many many ears of not using the language leaves me stumped in what they’re saying.
The entire state of Arizona’s in the red today, so Tim the motel clerk tells me. Red as in storm warnings. Major rains and winds have already flooded out Kingman to the west in a state highly prone to flooding and road closures. I’ve another 1-1/2 hours to travel to Prescott through both flat and hilly high desert. When it rains here, it rains torrentially. A 10-second run to cover of a car or store is all it takes to get drenched.
I called off my planned half-day exploration of Seligman — but not my morning coffee! I ducked into the RoadRunner between rain bullets. Took my Americano to my seat at the cafe bar with a great view of the action — i.e., a horde of German tourists shopping and sipping — and not 5 minutes later, boom! Blackout Punctuated by couple of dying flickers that arouse an ahhhhh of anticipation from the crowd.
Alas, it was not to be.
The entire town’s down. Happens with the hard rains here. Residents reset their clocks often! It’s all good.
The Germans eventually filtered their way out the door to who can say where! After all, every shop, restaurant and motel is powerless. The cash register man keeps a cheerful and watchful eye on those present while monitoring those coming and going in a shop full of Road 66 memorabilia, knickknacks cards, jewelry and snacks. The doors are still open for business, cash only. He jots all sales onto a pad for entering into the register when the power’s back up.
Germans filter back in, seemingly content to browse. There’s an eyeful that’s for sure so passing time in a little town in the high desert wetted by rain isn’t at all hard.
The cheerful cash register man strolls the large shop with a flashlight, using it presumably to keep a relaxed eye on things as well as spotlight items of interested to browsers. “This handbag,” he says, pulling one from the shelf and presenting it to a lady, “is perfect for carrying a handgun.” He illustrates by sliding his hand into the concealed pocket and invites her to do likewise. “Ohhhh, really?!??” exclaims the woman in her German accent.
I guess they don’t have concealed weapons bags in Germany but in the open-carry and state of Arizona, who fiercely loves the Constitution and the Second Amendment, such bags are common.
In worse neighborhoods, a blackened shop would be an invitation for theft. In fact, most likely wouldn’t endeavor to keep their doors open.
Here, it’s otherwise. Seligman’s a cool little town rooted in historical Route 66. People come from all over the world — particularly Germany evidently 🙂 — specifically for Route 66 tours and they bring a thriving business to this Wild West town once heavily engaged in mining and the railroad. The motels alone are worthy of a post with their classic Americana fronts, small rooms and little beds are just in 1950s films. If James Dean sauntered out of a room, it wouldn’t surprise ya a bit. Conceptually speaking, of course. 🙂
The RoadRunner staff and Germans are very chill about the outage, now 30 minutes and growing. The showers are paused and the skies remain blanketed with thick gray clouds that promise another downpour at any moment.
A while ago, a German man came up to me and in broken English better than some Americans speak asked “how long ago this?” “About 20 minutes ago.” “How long does it last? It comes back on now?” The anticipation in his voice is audible. “You never know in Arizona. It happens a lot with hard rain.”
A hard rain and a soft congenial mood make for a fine Saturday in Seligman!
What a power outage looks like in a cafe. Never would guess it’s about high noon wouldya?
And in the gift shop:
But a handful of many eclectic wall pieces for sale:
Think that fella there in the lower left displays the best attitude to the blackout: