I am at the sit-down place in the DSM airport, a large space with a bar and a number of tap handles featuring all-Iowa beer. The staff have an assortment of brewery t-shirts on, the likes of which I would have had to drive hundreds of miles to obtain on my own. Even though I know it’s just work wear, and most of these folks don’t care much, I AM JEALOUS. I promised myself I would try to expand my wardrobe beyond brewery t-shirts and hoodies, but I am not equipped, mentally, to be comfortable in like…I don’t know, a polo shirt? I had to wear collard shirts for a job I had (very hazy memory here) and I hated it, but I’d be alright if I could wear brewery polos. Probably. Ok, I wouldn’t. Unless I was like a sales rep or something. If you’re reading this, and unlimited logo’d high-end shirts are your thing, hit me up on twitter. I just now realized I know who to get in touch with for my initial ideas but I’d still love to hear from the apparel folks who are making inroads on the brewery swag front.

The sky is mostly clear and the sun is out, yet I know it’s still below freezing on the other side of this glass, and I’m reminded of what it’s like to live in Iowa…despite the member berries promising me happiness if I return to the cornfields and vast distances of the Iowa life. My melancholy mood hasn’t exactly abated, but I’m not holding on for my mind while I sip on this pint and listen to actual 80’s electro-pop. I am quite self-absorbed today, much more so than normal, which is probably ok since I always end up judging the people I see. Like the 4 people who just walked in, with three of them wearing big flannel prints. I want to walk up to the guy wearing the solid-color fleece and ask him if he didn’t check his email this morning, or if the other 3 intentionally iced him out of the flannel crew. I am not going to judge, because I almost wore some very comfortable LLBEAN flannel on my trip but decided against it for *looks down* a Confluence Brewing hoodie.

I think I might have missed a motorsports event, a lot of these folks are wearing sprint-car team hoodies. Aside from beer, my other easiest-access passion is motorsports. I am immensely intersted in engineering and materials science and a lot of the intergral parts of the automotive industry, but the guys that get to drive fast always get my attention. I’m also coping with something strange there, along with the mortality events of family, which I talked about in another post.

Ken Block died last weekend in a snowmobiling accident, and it’s not something easily dismissed if you’re into the subcultures that have helped the automotive industry evolve beyond the 90’s ideals of basic appliances on wheels. I wasn’t always the biggest fan of him but he developed this thing he loved doing into an entire industry parallel to the mainstream automotive and autosports segments, and had fun doing it. I could only dream of finding the niche he did, but I still keep my eyes out. He worked hard, and had a great mindset, something that has limited me in a very real way (see some of my other posts on my struggles) but Ken never lifted. That was a real thing, he never lifted. His commitment to what he was doing was 100% and I can not honestly hope to find that energy inside myself until I fend the thing that I am willing to commit to in the same way. Of course, I won’t be doing smokey burnouts and hanging a wheel of the side off Pike’s Peak anytime soon…or will I? The future is wide open.

I’ve got to board now, with a belly full of fried tenderloin and Iowa IPAs, but I will be back with more. I’ll leave you with a slogan Ken had commissioned a few years ago for his rally car designs and general merch –¬† JUST DON’T DIE

One Reply to “STOP ALREADY”

  1. Great series of posts for this trip, it seems you’ve done well adapting your expectations as you went. I’d guess you really enjoyed the breath of fresh air.

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