Central Oregon is an absolutely magnificent place to live but it seems to have a shortcoming that renders the place somewhat less civilized than it might be. That shortcoming? The New York Times does not do home delivery here.
This is important because for a very long time now, our routine has been to work our way through the Saturday and Sunday Times – we've been doing weekend-only delivery – while also working our way through a pot of coffee each morning.
The Sunday Times is imortant to us because it combines terrific writing and reporting and terrific insight. If you really want to know what's going on, it's what you read. Not to mention the book section, the travel section, and much more.
But for the two-plus months we've been here, we've had to forego this pleasure. It's been frustrating, and yes, even painful.
But I have discovered a work-around that is at least partial. It seems that our local bookstore, a really cool place called Herringbone Books, will arrange to receive a copy of the Sunday Times on behalf of anyone who wants one. The store is closed on Sundays, so what you do after you register request is, you drive down to the store, stick $7 (pricey, yes, but completely worth it) through the mail slot, then grab your copy of the NYT from the bundle that a distribution truck leaves by the store's front door.
Yay! Not as cool as having the paper tossed into one's driveway, but if that's the only option, we'll take it.
We did this routine this morning. We are now happy, and much better informed, campers.
There's also a second indicator of how civilized Oregon is, something I hadn't realized. I mean, sure, I knew that when one applies for an Oregon driving license, one also can register to vote. And we of course did that. But what I didn't know is that in this state, there are no physical polling places. So when there's an election, every voter receives a ballot by mail, marks his or her choices, and returns his/her ballot by mail. (Laura, of course, knew all this. She's much smarter than I am.)
We received our ballots yesterday. We sat down, went through the voter information pamphlet and recalled and discussed news coverage of state and national issues. Then we filled out our ballots. I will take them to our local post office tomorrow.
And with that, we're done with this year's election. Even though we have to endure a few more weeks of the campaign until the rest of the country actually goes to the polls Nov. 8.
See? Civilization in central Oregon.