Thursday, sitting high on my green locomotive, I was reflecting on the new steps that I have taken in my life. I've gotten a job driving a train (man is that horn fun to blow), I have another job interview lined up after work. This, another temp job with another company working at an Office Depot warehouse. The job starts at 4:00 and runs into the evening. I had already interviewed and gotten a position the previous day with a catering company offering weekend work. I have every intention of working three jobs for 16 to 18 hours a day to make the money that I need to get out of debt, and to start my new life at school in November. I reflected on how my life to this point is comparable to the steel in the yard. I have been formed and molded into one useful apparatus, designed for a certain set of circumstances. Those circumstances change, and thus so has the usefulness of the apparatus in that application. How frequently those circumstances have changed, and how I have to recycle myself and my intentions circuituously every few years. Form, destroy, reorganize, melt down, reform. How the underlying theme of my intentions to this point have been the search for freedom in a wild and untameable environment. Freedom from land, freedom from the government, freedom from what I think I have to do every day to make other people happy. The crabs will eat me if I fall. The waves will rise and fall if I neglect my taxes. The salmon will spawn if I don't have time to talk to them. I don't want the fish. I don't have an interest in harvesting the sea. I don't care if noone eats another king crab or salmon again. Fishing is an excuse to do something new, and difficult. An excuse to go to my untameable environment and shout at the strongest that nature can throw at me that "I WANT MORE!!!!" This point is humanity at its' most powerful, and its' most frail. We cannot conquer the sea, we can only try to compromise with what she throws at us.
But here I sit, high on my green locomotive. The horn is loud, the magnet crane picks up punched tin sheets that glisten in the sun like reflected water, the front end loader drops its' load of destroyed machines and siezed engines in my railcars, reorganizing them so that they can be melted down and subsequently reformed. I have resigned myself to this temporary fate. Considering it the darkness before my renaissance at school. I came all this way, fought the wind, the rain, the 30 foot Santa Clauses, the sugar sand, the grooves and the grates. All so I can sit high on my green locomotive, waxing philosophical about a pile of crushed washing machines and the reflected blue of machine turnings.
Jubilee has not come through, my buddies Joe and Chuck have no work, dozens of applications, meetings, interviews have meant squat. I have to stay on land until November, working my butt off for temp agencies that want me to solder electronics, brave striking union members, and answer phones...
My phone is ringing.
"May I speak to Pete Addicks?"
"Who shall I say is calling"
"Oh, screening your phone calls, eh Pete? It's Marlea."
Marlea I have never met. I know her only as a name that one of the HR people at one of the dozens of boat companies told me to ask for at a company called Ocean Peace. I had already called Ocean Peace and been told that it wasn't even worth it to come in and fill out an application. I happened upon the office by accident, looking for another company that was offering merchant mariner positions in the Bering Sea. Here I met Megan. The receptionist. She recognized my voice from the telephone. We chatted for a bit about why we were here, our romantic problems, how good the raver lifestyle was, and other getting to know you subjects. She recommended that I fill out an application. I told her of my conversation with her co-worker, and she said that it doesn't matter. "Marlea may call you in a couple of days." This was almost 3 weeks ago.
"You caught me Marlea, I'm at work. How can I help you?"
"You need to stop by the office on Friday for a drug test, we're flying you up to Alaska on Sunday"
"I will stop by after work at 3"
"Nope, won't work 10 or 12"
"I'll see you at 12"
... and the punched tin sheets turn into tinsel on a Christmas tree. The crushed washing machines become presents in pristine white wrapping paper with misshapen grocery cart bows on top. The 30 foot pile of machine turnings are the streamers and beads left over from Mardi Gras. The sound of steel hitting my train cars is the cacophony of a grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth.
I go to sea on Sunday. I am on a 6 am flight from SeaTac to Dutch Harbor, with one layover. We are fishing for Mackerel in the Bering Sea. I will be a fisher/processor. Not pretty, not as dangerous as crab fishing, but I am finally going where I have wanted to be for 10 years. And THEY are paying ME! Maybe after school I can get on a crab boat for a month, maybe not.
When the adventure begins, I will be unavailable for at least 4 weeks and probably closer to 6. I will try to take notes, but I don't know if I will have the time. I hope I do. The return publication will be voluminous, with or without notes.
Good things happen slowly, great things come at you all at once
Questions?, Comments?, Hate Mail? Send it to Pete or John
08/22/06 Issue 12 - Ever heard the verb shunt?
08/18/06 Issue 11 - Close but no cigar
08/14/06 Issue 10 - On the hunt
08/09/06 Issue 9 - I've really been at my parent's house this whole time.
08/07/06 Issue 8 - Nooooorth Dakota where the wind comes sweeping down the plains
08/02/06 Issue 7 - Grooves, Grates and Gravel
07/30/06 Issue 6 - Moon Over Parma
07/28/06 Issue 5 - I LEAVE TOMORROW!!!!!!!
07/24/06 Issue 4 - Why Jersey, and what's the holdup?
07/23/06 Issue 3 - Is this fraud? and Welcome to Delaware
07/22/06 Issue 2 - MVA, Headaches and Miracles
07/21/06 Issue 1 - Mission Statement