Saturday, September 18, 2010

A letter to a friend...

It's early here, a little after 4:00 am. I've been awake now for about half an hour, mostly because of some sort of gnawing ache in my lower back. Never fails that when I take a day off work I end up injured or hurt. I wish I could say I hurt it doing something grand and fine, but the sad fact is that I don't have the first fucking clue why it hurts. So, after about a half hour of lying I bed trying to keep some damned fly from landing on my face, I exclaimed to myself "ah, fuck it!" and got up and came back here to my office with Amos and one of our foster dogs, Xena, by my feet.

Staring at the keyboard for a long minute, I knew I wanted to write something...

That something has turned out to be some random thoughts and notes compiled and sent to you. While I'd much rather indulge my Luddite sensibilities and use my 1940's SmithCorona manual typewriter, I am sure the rapid staccato of the keystrokes would piss off Stine who is try to sleep just across our 1200 square foot domicile.

When I first woke, I stood in front of the refrigerator pondering having a glass of wine and trying to go back to sleep, but I quickly dismissed that as A Bad Idea and grabbed the last the bottle of Mountain Dew "Throwback" (made with real sugar!) for a jolt of caffeine and calories. I then wandered back to my office and briefly considered hoping in my car and going to "25" with the guys on my shift who are still driving around out there in dark, but I quickly dismissed that as A Bad Idea, too.

So, here I sit in the heat and darkness (summer turned a trick and it's freaking -hot- out here!), trying to put some coherent thoughts down.

I'm finding the acceptance of my atheism by most people at work really rather surprising. I would like it to have -not- been surprising, but my experience with the true believers is that the vast lot of them are non-thinking, intolerant, close-minded bigots. Most people here are one form of Christian or another, but I have been surprised to discover other non-believers, and I think my "coming out" has emboldened them as well. Of course, I've not had too many long conversations with the Mormons in the department, as I am sure that would probably end badly. I don't believe they are open to discussing their cult as I am to discussing my lack of one.

I had a ride-along last night, a gal from North Carolina. She's been contracted to photograph deputies going about their daily business, which immediately sparked my suspicions, but in addition to being rather easy on the eyes, she was very intelligent and spoke with a drawl that made me miss the Southland, so it was not at all uncomfortable, even if she is a civilian. She is kind of a kindred-spirit in that as well as being a southerner, she's a democrat and an atheist. Who'd a thunk it?

I am a member of the Ada County Sheriff's Employee Association. We have a newsletter. Each month, they 'interview' a member. They have them answer some questions. The answers are always generic lame pablum. I knew it was -only a matter of time- before they got around to sending me the questions......(Find attached a copy of it.)

Inserted here for blog readers:
______________________________________________________________
-How long have you worked for ACSO?
Since April Fool's Day 2004. Apropos, no?

-What is your current job title and duties?
Crime-fighter. I fight crime.

-What job(s) have you done before ACSO?
When I graduated high school, I got a series of uninspiring menial labor jobs until I came to the horrible realization that I didn't like full-time work. So, in an attempt to stay out of the workforce for at least a few more years, I went away to West Georgia College, a school known mostly for its ability to rank nearly every year on Playboy magazine's "Top Ten Party Schools," a dubious honor on hindsight, but one you can well imagine attracted me when I was a 20 year-old. I paid my way through school by framing houses and loading trucks at UPS. When people ask me what I majored in I tell them "Beer and Girls." My degree in Criminal Justice was just luck because it was the degree at my school that you could maintain the lowest GPA without being put on academic probation.

After I quit graduate school (I can admit that to myself now) and ran away to Vegas to get married by an Elvis Impersonator, I hopped a plane to Denmark where I lived for several years. Once there, I got what jobs I could with a Criminal Justice degree: I washed dishes at a white tablecloth restaurant called Store Kongens K√łkken (Which can be translated as either the Big King's Kitchen or The King's Big Kitchen). I was a bouncer/breakfast cook/bathroom cleaner/bar back at a dive called The Windsor Bar where fights between drunk Eskimos, transvestites, and outlaw bikers were not uncommon. I was K√¶ldermester (Cellar Master) for Hotel 71 Nyhavn, a very swanky Hotel in the waterfront district.

They put -me- in charge of all the liquor, wine, and beer. Oh my.

When we moved back on this side of the pond, I improved my lot in life by getting a warehouse job at Idaho Wine Merchant here in Boise where I eventually worked my way to Purchasing Manager. Then, in a fit of existential ennui, I quit that and went to work as a janitor at Hanson Building Maintenance. It was there, during the long hours scrubbing toilets and emptying trash-cans in an empty office building that I figured I'd better try to -do something- with my life. I applied with the ACSO as a Detention Deputy.

I didn't get hired.

They did hire Travis Ruby, though, who was a white shirt at the time, and I still hold that against him to this day!

A friend from down home was a sergeant at the Clayton County Police Department in South Metro Atlanta, Georgia (http://www.claytonpolice.com/), so I put in my application there and prior to coming to the ACSO, I worked as a patrolman there for a couple of years patrolling the streets of my hometown. When a crazy neighbor moved in next door to us, I started looking around and found out that ACSO was hiring again. I put in for both Detention and Patrol, and got hired. The rest, as they say, is history.

Jammed in between there I have been a pet-fish salesman, a Research/Teaching Assistant at West Georgia College, a bill collector, manager for a produce warehouse and janitor, again. I seem to like cleaning stuff up.

-What city/state are you from?
I was born in Atlanta, Georgia and spent my formative years in a then-nice suburb of Atlanta called Morrow, a town with a shopping mall and not much else. When people ask me why I moved to Idaho, I simply ask "Have you ever been to Atlanta?"

-Family?
George Burns once famously said "happiness is a large family...in a city very far away." I think he was right. I am the youngest of five children by 7 years. Can you say 'accident?' When I was born the doctor is reported to have asked my mother if she was "Catholic, or just careless." My father, a Korean War vet, will be 79 in February. He still rides his Harley.

My wife of 15+ years, Stine (who speaks with an accent even funnier than mine), and I are childfree. We also have "some dogs." You've probably heard the horror stories.

-Hobbies/Interests?
My mind often runs at double speed and I tend to be interested in almost anything from Etruscan pottery shards and UFOology to photography and trout fishing.
I tend to just spend my time hanging out with my dogs. I think mostly because they can't speak and all I have to do is give them bacon to get unconditional love. Occasionally, I'll put one in my Honda CRX and drive all over the country.
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I have not heard whether they are going to publish it or not, but I have a sneaking suspicion they won't. After all, I mention fun things like beer, girls and Playboy magazine, and cops can't have a regular life, you know, we have to be upheld as more than human with shining morality and unwavering convictions. My hypocrisy goes over less well at work than my atheism, but, unlike everyone else, I am aware of, and quite comfortable with it. Perhaps I should consider hiding it?

As for work, what is there to really say?. You know I transferred out of narcotics (well, I got kicked out, but that's really a long story best shared over a few pints of bitter) in mid-2008 and went back to patrol. Until January of this year when I volunteered to do a 6-month rotation in the jail. Despite the politics of the thing, it was a pretty good time. I am back to patrol again (find attached my schedule) working red graves, which means I go in to work at 2045 and get off at 0730. It makes for some fucked up sleeping, especially on my off days.

I have been conspiring with an internet friend, a Brazilian guy who owns a law firm, and we have business venture in the works that, if it comes to fruition, could be fairly profitable. I say "fairly" meaning stunningly, mind-fuckingly profitable. Like 7 figures profitable. It's still in the works, so I am pessimistically hopeful. I have done scant little writing.

In non-work news, I took last night off and took Stine to a local italian/greek joint called Romio's. The prices were OK and the food was excellent. I had the single most expensive item on the menu, which I loved both for the food itself and that I ate it in the face of pending bankruptcy. My hypocrisy knows no bounds, apparently. The dish was a crab ravioli with shrimp in a garlic cream sauce and was about $15. The total, including the tip and the three beers (two New Belgium Hoptober for me, one Samuel Adams Octoberfest for Stine) was $67.

Sadly, I suspect that Stine will be feeling under-the-weather today because she ate so many ingredients that she has some allergy to, such as olive oil, wheat, cheese and tomatoes. She had a fucking calzone. I had a cup of coffee and we split a tiramisu, which is a wonderful espresso infused sponge cake.

I've been feeling very encumbered lately, and have sought solace the where I always have...in the bottom of a wine bottle. My alcohol consumption, while never interfering with work, was getting out of hand, so I am making an effort at keeping it more under control. Being the man of extremes that I am, I first quit cold turkey, but then I resented myself for making me do that and felt that, like the Buddha teaches us, I needed to find 'a middle way.' Much better now, thanks.

I have not cast a line into a body of water since 2009, and I've spent only two nights in a tent in as long.

I've not laid eyes the ocean in nigh on three years now. I am dying for an adventure.

I've been unsuccessfully trying to fight off my 'narc-fighting-weight' that I put on being so sedentary. I'm around 210, which I can hide pretty well being 6'6", but I'm pudgy and slow and achy. I've tentatively agreed to run a marathon in 22 months, so that should be a bit of a motivator. I'd do well to shed 25 lbs. of fat.

Given all that, I have started working on a 7-year plan to leave the rat race behind and go off-grid. In 7 years, you see, I can take early retirement from ACSO, which pays only about $1300 a month, but I think with the proper pre-planning, that can be 'enough,' especially if the final destination is someplace between in the tropics.

The primary idea is to buy some sort of home-on-wheels (Stine wants something huge while I want a 4X4 VW Westfalia) and live the remainder of my days in the complete freedom of gypsy penury. The second, less feasible idea is a home-on-the-water where we can sail away at a moment's notice, or just live aboard in one place for a while. I've heard, though, that boats are "holes in the water that you throw money into," so it's probably less than 'less feasible.'

There are other ideas bouncing around in my skull, but, well....you know.

But 7 years is a long way off, and I'm finding it difficult to keep motivated. I've been doing a lot of reading about voluntary simplicity, van-dwelling, and off-grid survivalist living, and while I do not see the future as some inevitable 'Mad-max" apocalyptic nightmare, I see my future as merely one of -not working for someone else- and owning my own life again.

Well, it's after 5:00 am now, and I am going to end this screed, mostly for lack of anything else important enough to discuss. The dogs make me happy lying silently on the floor.

more later

-mark

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