This is going to be a departure for me.
But with a year since my last finished batch, and two failed attempts to my name over as many recent months I need to change it up a bit.
Iíd say itís been because Iím too busy, and ostensibly I think most people would agree. But I know thatís complete bunk. Sure, thereís a lot going on.
Somewhere between trying to safely navigate a complex project through to completion and looking for traction in keeping the very nascent idea for a wholly new company going Iíve lost my way a bit.
So yes, this month is going to be a departure, I think.
No full arc stories.
No single entry vignettes.
Just a stream of consciousness, and whatever else comes to mind when I wake up in the morning.
Okay, maybe this entry breaks the multi-entry rule Iíve just set for myself today. But itís already the fourth of the month and Iím only just starting. The end to a chaotic week, so Iíll allow myself to rant into two-hundred words.
Hell, theyíre my words to use, right?
Anyway, Iím a firm believer in trying something new.
So, here it goes.
Iíve known about the whole concept and effect of scarcity for years.
And as I always like to say about other people, Iíve read all the right books. I also know all of the correct things to say on the subject.
But here I am, wholly surrendering to the wasteful results experienced from tunneling.
I donít have a lot of time to spare. Fact.
Between the hours of 05:50 and 16:00 my weekdays (and often Saturday) are filled with the need to make constant, and almost rapid-fire decisions. Fact.
These two facts tend to leave me mentally paralyzed after work.
When I was younger, and engaged in more labor-intensive pursuits at work, I often wished for a time when my shoulders were not constantly burdened.
A time when I could walk around, free from the weight of physical toil and effort.
Of course, it was during that time that I produced writing and photography in such a prolific sense that our house, and my computer, are still burdened with the results.
Now, years later I feel the opposite.
And often hope beyond all hope, for a time when my mind isnít burdened.
But at least my shoulders feel better, right?
Good phone calls donít come at 04:38.
Iím on my way.
Not for a hike or a canoe trip though.
But, for all the hikes and canoe trips.
Not for a nostalgia call or last month.
But, for all the late night calls and your two tiger cubs.
Iím on my way.
Mom got through on the second try, but sheís nervous.
Sheís with you know, hope you know.
For now they say your sleeping, calm.
After a long night shift, and quick ride home.
Itís just a short way up Cumberland.
Itís been a day, a long day.
Stopped by to see you tonight, feeling much relieved.
You were sound asleep when I got there, didnít even register when I walked in the room. Probably for the best though, it was a full day of surgery and you need to rest. Sleep will help your body heal.
They say youíre looking good, mostly in the clear at this point.
Probably the biggest relief of my life, was to hear your voice yesterday.
We donít know the lady who found you yesterday, but I could never thank her enough for saving you!
Woke up early in what used to be my room.
Itís a small space, now filled with the detritus of kids toys for your two tiger cubs.
Mom and Dad set me up on a small cot that you bought for nights spent there with your little ones. It was a short but restful night, I feel better than yesterday morning.
No surgeries today, and more certainty that you are going to recover. Yesterday dragged on, waiting for hours to hear from the hospital.
Even when you know it should be going okay, you never really know until itís done.
Yesterday I got to see you twice.
Awake and conscious both times.
I told you how relieved I was to know you were going to make it. Told you how hard it was not knowing if I was going to see you again during that agonizing flight from the west coast. Told you that I just sat by your ICU bed and cried while you were sleeping that first day.
You have never seen me cry, just not something our family does.
But you needed to know that I did, that you mean that much to me.
Donít forget that.
I donít believe in fate.
I donít believe in magic.
I donít believe in any higher power.
But sometimes things happen which make me question this complete absence of faith or deeper meaning.
Yesterday, after I knew you were leaving the ICU I found that my ticket had been canceled. A computer glitch, or so it seemed. Regardless, the next-best ticket was an hour later. I hate delays, and I hate waiting. An extra hour seemed intolerable.
But then we saw her, driving down the street delivering papers.
The lady who saved your life showed up while I was waiting.
She told me that she had gone through hell to get to that moment, when she found you next to your bike in the street.
And I told her that I still have my brother because she was there, in that moment.
She saved your life that morning, and I could never thank her enough.
And then came another wrinkle in the fabric of my universe, designed to make me question my faithless ways. She said that she never delivers the papers that early, that Monday was a fluke.
My rational brain will never accept it, but that was close.
I woke up in fog.
A dense impenetrable fog.
The rest of the country is on fire, roasting under record-shattering heat and we are sitting over here under a fifty-six-degree blanket of opaque moisture. I donít know why it works out like this, but you will find no complaints from me.
As much as Iíd like to see the sun or the ocean, Iíd much rather get a comfortable nightís sleep and not need an air conditioner.
Like those assholes who stood watch in the air-conditioned CIC while I toiled away in the sweltering engine room underway.
My turn now.
Self-imposed graveyard shift this week.
Do I like waking up at midnight? No, not really.
But, not having to see other humans for at least 50% of my workday is nice. Especially after the events of last week.
Heís going to make it through, and for that Iím grateful.
However, learning the details of the crash; finding out that whomever hit him not only fled the scene, leaving him for dead, but also had the gall to get out of their car and turn off his headlight, angers me to the core.
Iím not fit for human consumption this week.
For someone who has a constant running dialogue in my head, I have found it exceedingly difficult to put those thoughts on paper [or on the computer screen].
My natural inclination has been to think of vignettes or longer stories to cram into each entry this month. But Iím trying to avoid that, for at least one batch. Iíve been too exhausted and strapped for time to put together any sort of storyline, or make sure thirty short stories are varied enough lately.
Figured typing some inner dialogue would be simpler for this batch.
I was wrong.
So desperately wrong.
I know that the graveyard shift worked out to my benefit.
After a week out of the yard, itís always better to look like a hero by throwing yourself into a graveyard shift to ďcatch-upĒ than to ask for even more time off to make it to pre-scheduled appointments.
Last week sucked.
This week sucks.
But at least no one at the shipyard is questioning my dedication. Even if I donít care what other people think, I do like to manage what they think. Because you never know when youíre going to need to call in a favor or exception.
I didnít want to wake up today.
Hell, it was barely today when I did wake up.
But once I got over the shock of waking up at an ungodly hour, it all worked out. No traffic, no people and everything still cloaked in darkness. I like waking up when itís still dark out, having some time before the sun shows up and lightens up the mood.
On days when the sun is up before I wake up, I feel like Iíve missed something.
Like a critical part of the day is already spent.
And so I wake up, early.
I knew today wasnít going to go well.
I could feel it in the air, something was out of sorts.
And that was before a tug knocked over the day marker, and we found out that all of the new galley counters were two inches taller than the specification. Okay, I knew the galley counters were out of spec, found that out yesterday.
But we didnít for sure know who was to blame when I woke up.
It was also before a forklift smashed one of the Superintendents trucks.
Today didnít need to be complicated, but thatís how it went.
Desert mornings are good mornings.
Waking up under the eastern slope of the Sierra, waiting for the sun to come up over the sagebrush behind our house was the reset that I needed after two arduous weeks.
Once the coyote yelping stopped, the quail calls started.
It was a chilly night, good for sleeping, and I woke up rested and refreshed. Itís an unreasonably long drive to get up here on a Friday, but we make it up before sunset during the summer. Itís always easier to open up the house when itís light out.
I love the high desert.
I had to run you off the land yesterday, yet here you are again.
We always put out enough food for all of you, without question. And if youíre here you already know that. Why then, has your pea sized brain decided that you must prevent other deer from eating too?
Iím by no means someone to tell you how to live your life, or cast moral judgement on the actions of a deer.
But, these other deer get to eat too.
Thatís the deal with us benevolent humans, we demand coverage for our purchase.
So away you go again.
Todayís problems started before I woke up.
I didnít know it yet, but the Hawaiian BBQ place opted out of cooking for ninety people this afternoon. I donno, maybe theyíre allergic to doing good business.
Doesnít matter though, I already told ninety people not to bring a lunch today. Now Iím on the hook to pull off a magic trick before lunch, great.
And that was the second problematic phone call I got before 06:00 this morning.
It was only down-hill from there.
My usual line, ďthatís what the moneyís for,Ē would seem to apply.
But Iím getting real tired.
Iím by no means a sympathetic character.
The archetypical greedy American.
But I have my limits, and mistreating workers is one of them. Thing is, Iíve read Smith, Rand, Keynes and the other canon enough to know that there are things you shouldnít do in business.
Or more accurately, there are things you SHOULD do in business.
Generously compensating workers is one of those things. Itís such a universally understood concept that even Ayn Rand demonstrated it in her seminal work.
Itís not that there arenít any welders to hire, is just that you donít want to pay for them.
I literally just wrote the two of you letters of recommendation because you told me that your boss was being unfair, that he was treating you like shit. I did that to insulate you from that treatment during your upcoming reviews.
How are you going to turn around and do the same thing to someone Iíve assigned to assist you. I know heís only a forklift driver, and not what youíd call a skilled crafts worker.
But, heís still a worker, right?
I know it might feel good to step on people, but itís not a good look.
Yesterday I was in a torrent of rage as I drove home from the yard.
I donít like being mad, or holding on to anger.
Itís been a long time since I walked through that gate for the first time. A lot of good times, and bad times. The kids have essentially grown up on shipyard paychecks and stories, and for that Iím thankful for the dizzying array of chaos and production thatís been my daily toil for so many years.
Why do they have to be so damn American, sometimes the blunder gets to me.
There was no time to write this morning, I needed to get straight to the yard.
Itís been a full week, and today promised no break from the onslaught of activity. Last engine needed to land on the foundation, galley equipment was planned to start flying onto the ship, and the vertical exhaust runs were set to be rigged into the stacks.
I know Iím supposed to be on an eight-hour per day diet, thanks to that nickel they gave me in recognition for my toil over the last twelve months.
But, oftentimes the job just has to get done.
Today I slept in.
Like, really slept in.
No alarm, or pressing need to get out of bed.
As much as I hate waking up after sunrise, I think on some level it was worth it today. Woke up naturally at about 06:50 and slowly crawled out of bed.
Itís been forever since I woke up without an alarm, without an agenda for the day. For the life of me, I donít know what the hell Iím actually supposed to do with the next fourteen hours.
Regardless, Iím sure Itíll pass way too quickly, and Iíll be back at work.
I know I say it often.
It may seem reflexive.
But you need to know, I mean it every time, and to me itís more important than anything else could be.
Those three words, which punctuate nearly every sentence, are not for show. I say them, because I canít not say them. I say them because at the very fiber of my being, there they are.
Itís been an adventurous sixteen years.
Wherever I am, and whatever Iím doing, Iím thinking of you. Weíve spent days away from each other, even weeks and months apart, but always;
I love you.
I didnít write an entry this morning, another early day at the yard.
Okay, maybe not too early.
But, seemed like a good excuse to be lazy on a Monday morning. It was a very relaxing weekend, and that seemed to carry into the start of my week.
Of course, all relaxation ended promptly at the first whistle.
I complain a lot about work, and to an extent the yard earns my disdain. But at the bottom of it, Iím at home in the bilge or on the focsle.
And so, I just keep going back, for kicks [or something].
Why are you making me defend poor worker treatment?
Yes, lunch break could be longer. I get that thirty-five minutes might not seem long enough to get off the boat, eat and return.
But thatís how long break is.
Itís been that way since before I started, and it will likely be that way until the yard closes.
Do I like it? No.
However, after thirteen years of consistently making it back to the ships before the second whistle, Iím used to it. Besides, most of the people here would rather have shorter break in order to leave work earlier.
"I just got back from patrol."
That used to be my excuse of choice when I didnít have the mental willpower to do something that required effort, but would ultimately benefit me. Itís the nuclear weapon of procrastination.
Going to learn Spanish- Just got back from patrol.
Fix my broken old pickup- Just got back from patrol.
Sign up for night classes- Just got back from patrol.
Itís been twelve years since the last time I was underway, in any capacity. That excuse shouldnít rate any more, but some days I still have the urge to throw it out there.
That oversized ego youíre carrying around isnít a good look. I understand that you feel like some sort of alpha, thatís great.
Whatever gets you off.
Personally, Iíve never been into that whole macho thing. I show up and do what needs to be done, without all the pomp and circumstances. Maybe itís because Iím a short person and didnít have an easy option to look like some big guy. Or maybe itís because that sort of approach always looked stupid to me.
Either way, youíre not fooling anyone, with the alpha act.
Save the big talk for Instagram posts.
Iíve never been thankful for a flat tire before.
But car problems always seem to come in clusters.
Yesterday, after leaving the yard I wanted to get home. And after a long day, the absolute last thing I wanted to find was a flat tire. Driving home on the dummy wheel sucked, the ride of shame.
However, if it werenít for that flat I might not have discovered the small leak in the rubber gasket connecting the drive shaft to the wheel. And from there it wouldnít have been much of a stretch to run dry of lubricant.
Youíre not conservative.
Youíre an idiot.
And Iím not even convinced that you actually believe any of the garbage youíre spouting off. Any of the garbage you use to bully your own kids. Any of the garbage you use to justify shitty actions.
No, youíve decided to double down on idiocy because thatís your team.
Itís no different that people who irrationally love a football player, who literally has no allegiance to their hometown beyond the extravagant paycheck.
Only, thatís just sports.
Youíve actually used this idiocy to prevent your kids from getting vaccinated.
Prayers wonít stop polio, you dolts.