False Start-Penalty Declined
[Editor’s note: Best fasten your seat belts.]
I tell you, this bipolar crap is not all it’s cracked up to be-or maybe it is. I don’t know. I’m not having that much fun and am seriously considering not renewing my contract for next year.
Take the other night, for instance, when Markie seized the controls and set out for North Dakota, on foot, about a half-hour after the sun had set. He had taken sixty seconds to pack his backpack, meticulously consulting a list available to only himself, and included two pairs of underwear, two tee shirts, one woolly top, one pair of cargo pants, one pair of sweat pants, and a handkerchief.
Sadly, he had forgotten the one pair of wool socks he was going to bring-subzero temperatures require extra protection when you are wearing sandals.
He included a cannabis grinder, but forgot the cannabis; he made sure he had his phone but forgot the charger; he included his headphones but forgot his camera; finally, he also forgot his water canteen, meaning he was dead in the water, before he even got started.
|Mark, or Markie? How would I know?|
The idea of North Dakota has settled over both Markie and me, like the sushi fog over the oaks, the photos of which I post incessantly. One minute Markie is ready to stick his thumb out and hit the road; the next Mark is acutely aware of how much planning would have to be involved, even if I were only going for a month or two.
First off, neither of us has any loot. That makes it devilishly hard to start thinking about going traveling, especially if you are planning on hanging out for a couple of months, or so. But if Mark were doing the planning-not Markie-this is what I would say to myself: Hell, hitch-hiking doesn’t cost, and if I put a sign up, simply saying DAPL, or ND, or even WATER PROTECTORS, I ought to be able to make my way up to Washington State, and across to North Dakota.
As for the mundane matter of where I would stay, I figure that wherever there are a whole passel of people, there is going to be a big kitchen. To keep that kitchen running, there are going to be volunteers, working so that everyone has something to eat. These volunteers are going to need a place to crash.
So, my plan would be to simply hit these folks up and list my qualifications: I can cook, wash dishes, mop floors, clean counters, scrub toilets, do light construction, and I can keep a journal of what I see and hear.
If there is something there that the powers-that-be feel can can help them, then they’ll find a bed in a bunk-house, somewhere, for me. If not, then I guess It will be a short trip.
There is just too much happening in North Dakota for it not to be right up front on my agenda. There is the social injustice factor, magnified ten times over; there is the environmental factor, ditto; and there is Corporate ‘Merica versus the little guy. David and Goliath comes to mind. I want to be in on David’s victory.
I think about going a lot, simply because I can. I am not tied down to a job which requires I clock in every day, and I feel confident that the home fires would continue to burn brightly because everyone on farm would be keeping a close eye on my home front.
I know what one or two of you are thinking: Considering I have anxieties about going down to the corner market, what makes me think I can do this? So I will say that I am the same guy, albeit 45 years older, who went halfway across the country for ten weeks to do basic training, and then all the way across to New Jersey, where I did AIT. When I was done there, I traveled 7,000 miles away to Korea for sixteen months.
I figure North Dakota is a cakewalk in comparison.
So Sunday evening, when I hit overdrive gear, and all else slipped aside in my anxiousness to be on my way, Markie took over and I left without a few things that were essential for success. I got as far as Green Gate, two miles from the house, when I realized my thirst was catching up to me.
Though my pace was extreme, and my sandaled feet were keeping up, I had an ache in my side, and my throat was beyond parched. I had spent the day packing up the bamboo out back, and storing it away out of the elements.
Additionally, I had pulled the 120 metal T-stakes, and moved them laboriously, back behind the greenhouse, which is referred to as the bone-yard. It is where all unused/leftover construction/farm materials are stored. I was already wiped out when I hit the road; it was only a matter of time before the road smote me back.
Cramps are not something I have had any success battling, except with water.
Reluctantly, I started back to the house, stopping at the quarry where our Wednesday markets are, to rest in one of the chairs that are always on-site. I was tucked back in the corner so I was hardly visible from the road.
There was much traffic, Sunday night, most of which I avoided as I walked by simply fading into the shadows on either side of the road. As I sat in the quarry minding my business, I dozed, waking with a start when a vehicle pulled in and sat, with its engine idling.
I couldn’t even tell from which direction it had come so I sat and waited. Someone making a phone call? Twisting up a doobie? Waiting to make an exchange of some sort? The longer I sat, the more worried I got. I started catastrophizing, imaging all sorts of bizarre reasons the vehicle could be here.
I decided to stick to the shadows along the side of the market area, and head out to the road and continue homewards, passing directly in front of the idling car. I was walking at a prodigious pace. And then I was past and around the bend and headed down the home stretch.
I paused at Moese’s memorial spot, as I do every time I ever go past, and then pressed on. The road is open on both sides leading up to this point and several passersby paused to holler out, “Hey, Markie! Need a ride?”
How they knew it was Markie, and not Mark, I have no idea, except I guess it was late and the backpack was a little out-of-sync from what they might have expected.
“Great success!” I replied each time, with a wide grin in place, and the best constructo wave I could manage, and on they drove.
Needless to say, Mark is back at the controls, not because he took them back, but because Markie relinquished them. He’s a funny guy, that Markie, lol.
I just wish he’d schedule his appearances so I could take evasive action.