I just found out that Dylan and his wife, Joan, are going to move to Boston soon. May 10th was Dylan’s birthday, so I reminded Mike to give him a call and wish him a happy birthday. We haven’t seen Dylan and Joan for a while and I thought that Mike could open up the doors of communication.
Dylan is one of the original Gifted and Talented friends, but I knew him long before we were placed in that class. Dylan wasn’t the first friend I had when my parents moved me to West Valley, but he was the most memorable. When I described him in the Gifted and Talented class, I said that there were so many stories to tell you about him that it would take you several blog entries to catch you up.
I guess I’m trying to catch you up before he moves away. He’s another in a string of friends who have left Utah to find his fortune. He’s going to get his Masters in library stuff. It all sounds so incredibly boring to me, but I’m sure he’s going to be needed. Can you imagine how the Library of Congress is going to look when they try to archive everything that has ever been on the web? They need some good people trained quickly to get this thing saved for posterity.
I’m sitting here, stuck and unable to start. There are so many stories about Dylan to tell that I have no idea where to start. I guess I’ll start at the beginning. When I moved to West Valley, I immediately became friends with Anita Park. She was an outcast girl in need of a friend and I was a new girl in need of a friend. The only problem with being friends with an outcast is that I became an outcast in the process. I shrugged my third grade shoulders and figured that it wasn’t a big deal.
The first time I saw Dylan, Anita and I were standing outside at recess. It was a dry, hot Utah day and the activity level of all the children was pretty low. There were no frenzied games of kissing tag. There was no fighting for the swings or tricky bars. The entire third grade was just standing in the shade of Academy Park, watching Dylan.
Dylan was on his hands and knees on the pitcher’s mound about 50 feet away from the school. He was spinning madly and a cloud of dust surrounded and engulfed him. It reached higher and higher until it was a six foot tall swirl of dirt, stirred up by Dylan. “What is he doing?” “That’s just weird.” “That’s just Dylan.” They all stood there, questioning his actions. I decided to find out.
I walked the fifty feet from the tepid shade of Academy Park to the blistering sun of the pitcher’s mound. “Hey,” I called out to him, “what are you doing?” Dylan stopped spinning and came to rest on his bottom, “I’m seeing how high I can get this dust.” I looked at him, sitting in the dirt, and I wanted to know what short-circuit made him wonder such a thing, “Why?” He was leaning back on his hands, “I don’t know.”
I tried to convince him to stop twirling like a dervish and to come back to the shade of the school, “People are going to think you’re nuts just spinning around in the dirt like that.” He didn’t seem bothered with that at all. I don’t know if he had given up and assumed that everyone thought he was nuts already or if he just didn’t care what other people thought. He stayed on the pitcher’s mound and continued his experiment.
“Why is he doing that?” they questioned me when I got back to the shade. I shrugged, “He wanted to see how high the dust would go.” It was decided. Dylan was a nut. There was no questioning it now. He was a complete nut. Anita and I looked at each other, knowingly, if he hadn’t been an outcast before, he surely was now.
A few years ago, Mike and I were driving in the Las Vegas desert between Jean, Nevada and Vegas. The wind was hitting our car in bursts: a hot, dusty wind. On the side of the road, about fifty feet from the car, a dust devil raced us to the city. I sat in awe at the height of the twirling column of dust and I thought about Dylan’s experiment.