Oh, the stuff I’ve seen …

When I came up to Chico, lo those four wild weeks ago, I got a new cell phone. My old one was a dinosaur—a T. Rex-size Nokia in an era of Raptor Razrs. It took me three years to learn it had a phonebook and two weeks before I figured out how to turn my fiancée’s listing from “Amx” to “Amy.”

Yes, indeed, I surf the trailing edge of technology.

So you can imagine how far along I am with my shiny, happy flip-phone.

I got the phonebook (a.k.a. “Contacts”) working relatively well, though about half the time I end up editing the listing—deleting the second “d” in “Dad”—instead of placing the call. Text messaging is a minor mystery, Web access a cold-case file. I can take and save pictures; getting them out of the camera will require some serious tech support.

I could check the manual, but I’ve got too much else to do. Moving, working, getting out and about—those rank higher on the priority list than reading fine print and diagrams.

So I muddle along, like a caveman in the Matrix. I’m seeing things, and I’m even taking some snapshots. But for now I’ll have to share them with you, Amx and Da by painting pictures with words.

Click. First Christian Church hall. Spaghetti-satiated guests sit at rectangular tables gazing in the same direction. Cameryn Titus, in the eighth of 12 Chico Community Ballet numbers, twirls across the green-curtained stage, gracefully whipping her scarf to punctuate the crescendo of her “Merry Widow” dance. Youth, art and community support coalesce in one majestic moment.

Click. Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. Imagine an industry trade show in Las Vegas. Then shrink the scale, replace all the suits with casual wear, but keep the interactive booths. That’s the Chico Business Showcase.

Click. City Council Chambers. In varying degrees of repose, the seven council members peer over their elevated crescent desk during the appeal of a development plan. This project has spent two years in the civic pipeline; Councilman Dan Herbert, reflecting the irony with his expression and inflection, notes that this isn’t long by Chico standards.