December 1, 2003

For Good or For Awesome

Time to get crackin’. The Internet and I haven’t been on very good speaking terms as of late. I have no convenient way of hooking up our broadband connection in my bedroom, and I typically browse the web for sites that depict questionable moral practices. These sites are not appropriate splayed across our living room, out our bay windows and into the bustling family-oriented streets of downtown Bend.

Nevertheless, that is where I currently find myself, sitting on our living room floor hunched over the keyboard in a most precarious abuse of ergonomics. And that is where I will stay for the next couple days until my wireless router and PCI card show up and I can broadcast this nonsense into my bedroom, liberated from pithy cords and ruthless dictators.

However, ‘bedroom’ is a bit of a misnomer. I haven’t had an actual bed for the past week, as beyond the smell of cat piss my room came unfurnished. I outfitted it with a night stand and dresser from the Goodwill Superstore, but procrastinated on buying a bed for as long as possible because, really, who with my current relationship status needs a bed, and really, beds are expensive.

The endless nights of weird dreams, however, eventually forced me to cave in and buy a mattress. One night I was playing a game of Whack-A-Mole that instead of moles had me whacking kids from summer camp. We were figuring out whether we should give the kids helmets, and decided against it because they would only get in the way of the pop-up mechanism. Another night I was paddling a canoe through a lake in the BWCA, filled with hundreds of swimming moose. Then I was screaming down a melting luge track in a metal snow saucer while little snowboard punks jeered at me.

These visions I attributed mostly to the fact that I was spending my nights on a hard floor curled up in a sleeping bag, and partially to the fact that my mind was a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives. The bed arrived today, so we’ll see if the brain clears up a bit. I simultaneously hope so and hope not.

What else? It’s becoming increasingly apparent that working as a snowboard instructor this winter will be one of my more financially-ludicrous schemes. I was one of the lucky few who got hired on to work as an instructor at the Mountain, and we’re currently going through all the phases of training that are necessary before we’re competent at teaching our sport to the interested public in a constructive manner. And we don’t get paid for it. This may sound rough, but consider that our training consists of strapping on our boards and riding all day. Sometimes we ride in the fog and the wind and the driving rain. This may sound rough, but consider that we’re employees riding on free season passes that are sold to the public for a thick pile of sawbucks.

For all of the time I have already spent at the Mountain I’ve only gotten paid $13.80 in wages, and I probably won’t be getting more hours for another week or so. And even then, as instructors we only work from 10-3 and our actual hours are extremely dependent on weather and business. All this, coupled with the fact that as an instructor I get any gear remotely associated with snowboarding and skiing for half price, cooks up a recipe that is primed for financial ruin.

I’m finding ways to deal with this situation. I bring a PB&J sammich with me to the Mountain instead of buying half-price chili fries. I drink myself dumb with free hot cider, cocoa, coffee and tea. I outfit my room with the latest cutting-edge furniture from Goodwill. I commute a mile to the Park-n-Ride and ride the convict/employee bus for the twenty mile drive to the Mountain. I skip the glitz and glamour of Safeway and instead buy my food from the warehouse aisles of Food 4 Less, where fat women with goatees go for their prescription Oreos. I’m buying a wireless card for my computer so I can scan the neighborhood and potentially access the Intermooch from an unwittingly generous neighbor.

Still, some costs of living refuse to disappear and they make my joints ache. Monthly rent payment is as monthly rent payment does. My cell phone will continue to drain the beast, as we don’t want any leather-clad crusaders in sunglasses spontaneously apparating in Lava House so we don’t have a landline. We’re splitting utilities evenly, which means I’m paying for cable TV even though I have no use for it. My job will likely be hard on gear, so I’ll probably need to upgrade my hard and soft goods out of necessity. My car insurance is clear for the next six months (or should be, if I played those cards right), and such things I pay in a lump-sum so I can forget about them until June. I have health insurance until mid-January, at which point I’ll need to start paying homage to the Mountain God to ensure the continued immortality of my mortality.

This website continues to jab at my insides monthly, and even though I can’t promise that I will update it regularly through my current phase of Life 1.0, it’s not going anywhere. No matter what happens, no matter where I go, this is my permanent address. I’ll starve before I’ll let this baby disappear, and since I have assurance from people in my life that they won’t let me starve, it will never come to that.

In celebration I’ve added three new photos to the oft-neglected Photolog, that glimpse my recent introduction to Farewell Bend. The snowstorm on my drive down. Shane and his turkey puppet. Smith Rock State Park.

Welcome home, ya’ll. Welcome to December. One month left of the grand and beautiful two-thousand-three and then a new game begins. I have no clue what oh-four has in store, but in the shadows I’m laying the philosophical and psychological groundwork that will make it happen. And it is going to happen on one premise that we hold to be self-evident:

Dane is awesome.

First Runner-Up: “Young George Washington decided to chop down a cherry tree — a strong and purposeful act. However, when confronted, instead of standing up for his right to act against mindless convention, he abjectly apologized and sought mercy. After this, it is not surprising that, as an adult, he sought refuge in government jobs.” — Parson Weems’s biography, retold by Ayn Rand

I remember you from Duluth. We’ve never spoken, but I stood behind you for 2 hours once. Last year, when the hypnotist was in town.
You’re amazing.