The Adirondacks
August 15th, 2013

When I first came to Salt Lake City fifty years ago I slept on a cot in a room in the basement of the Cadillac Motel on Twenty-first and Main. Since then, I’ve moved up—and by up I mean uphill, because nothing in these parts bespeaks prosperity more than elevation. I now live on what is known as the East Bench, which once upon a time was the shoreline of an ancient inland lake. Officially, I believe my neighborhood is called Highland Park. I prefer to call it The Adirondacks.




Why? Because every which way I look, I see plastic Adirondack chairs. Usually they are in pairs, but sometimes in larger groupings that include miniature chairs—signifying, I presume, children. However, I have never seen a child sitting in one of those little chairs, nor for that matter have I seen a seated adult. Clearly plastic Adirondack chairs aren’t for sitting; they’re just there for decoration. To be seen sitting in a chair on the front lawn of your house in this neighborhood would signify that you have nothing better to do with your oh-so-valuable time. It would be akin to, say, walking at a normal pace instead of jogging. It would be like driving a car or pushing a shopping cart without having a cell phone attached to your ear. People would talk, tongues would wag. WHY is that person just sitting there? WHY is he or she not multi-tasking?

The boundaries of the Adirondacks extend eastward as far as Foothill Boulevard. Cross Foothill and you’re in an area populated by older people—who, even though they are mostly retired, do not sit in lawn chairs. In fact, they rarely venture outdoors, and when they do they have no need of lawn chairs because they’re already seated—in wheelchairs or on electric scooters paid for by Medicare.

West of Thirteenth East, plastic Adirondack chairs begin to peter out. You seldom see one in the Liberty Park area, and beyond State Street they are nonexistent. What you do see on the West Side are La-Z-Boy recliners on porches, each containing a lazy boy. Sitting outside isn’t something to be ashamed of there, because if you don’t have air-conditioning in August, where else are you going to sit? So for a certain segment of our population, outdoor furniture is functional. However, you will never see a La-Z-Boy parked in front of a house up here in the Adirondacks, unoccupied plastic lawn chair capital of the Intermountain West. Nor will you ever see a pink flamingo, except at Tracy Aviary.

-Richard Menzies