Flour & flowers

Okay, here's the nitty and/or gritty. Two weeks ago I signed on for a second part-time job. The position: weekend gardener at a local organic nursery. Now I'm working 36 hours a week, spread out over 7 days.

This is going fairly well so far, and more importantly it's going to help me accomplish some personal goals this summer.

My basic blueprint for summer '08 is to have a lot of fun and make some decent money at the same time. My philosophy is non-original but it's ridiculously effective: Get paid to do things that I'd gladly do for free. Mill all-organic grain into fantastic bread flour (and get paid for it). Water plants in quiet greenhouses while listening to podcasts (and get paid for it). And so on.

I'm going to give this another month or so, just to develop a solid routine and make sure everything's 100% cool & stable. If all goes well, I'm actually planning to add a third job to the mix. Something to bring my total weekly hours up to 50 or so. Haven't quite figured out what that might be yet, but it'd have to be an evening job, which limits my options a lot. (Bellingham is many things, but it's not a 24-hour city.) It'd also have to be fun & low-stress, of course. That goes without saying.

What do I plan to do with all this extra cash? Nothing terribly exciting. Get my own apartment downtown (I currently share a house w/ two other guys). Pay off debts. Take some more classes at the university. Leave some room in my monthly budget for a more-active social life. And so on.

Like I've said before, I'm having such a good time out here in Washington that nothing short of a total catastrophe could derail my dreams at this point. And having a safety net of cash on hand would make even that prospect less worrisome.

~ MWK/RP

p.s. And don't worry, E2-wise I'm not going anywhere. I'm still balancing out a new daily routine, but I'm going to leave time in my agenda for internet geekery, probably around 7pm (PST) every day.

I woke up this morning with my arms wrapped around a loaded rifle. It isn't as comforting as it sounds, not like a lover. You wake up every time you hear a door open, and have fever dreams about cowboys and bank robberies and deer hunts all night. I spent the day with a headache, the kind you get from just not sleeping. I wished there were a way to make it go away.

I'm walking out of class, and I think, for some reason, I should call Pretty Baby.

And I think, when was the last time I thought of her as Pretty Baby?

When was the last time I thought of her, and didn't feel trapped.

It's gotten colder this week. Nobody takes naps on the quad anymore. I don't take naps on the quad anymore. It's too cold, and there's no sun to lull me to sleep. It's cold, and grey, and ugly. Who would sleep outside in that?

There's something red in the tree ahead of me, and I can't decide what it is. Maybe a frisbee, I don't know. It seems significant, anyhow, perched way up there in that oak tree. They have leaves again, winter is over. I walk. Someone dashes into the middle of the road, stoops down to the ground. He bends down to retrieve a pair of sunglasses, then looks my way. We make eye contact. He returns to the sidewalk.

I look up. It's a halfway deflated, day old balloon, perched way up there in the oak tree. It still seems significant. I wonder if the man dropped his sunglasses in the street, or whether he just found somebody else's sunglasses lying there. It doesn't really matter anyhow, nobody needs sunglasses today.

His friends have the keys to the whole building, including my room. There's no deadbolt. The electronic locks are really secure, really safe. I'd have a hard time breaking it, without the key. Unfortunately, out of 120 people in the entire building, he had to be friends with the people with the master keys. I just took sleeping pills. It isn't easy sleeping with a rifle in your arms. I found out today he's armed. The police can't do anything though, he's their guest.

Ever had someone try to kill you? I have. There's this look they get in their eyes, when they've decided they mean business. I've seen that look before. A man gave me that look, right before he chased us down for a half hour, going 90mph on surface streets, trying to ram us, going on the freeway. Throwing his truck into reverse on the freeway after we stopped to escape him, backing up through cars weaving going 90mph coming back for us, he had that look. I've seen that look before. He has the keys, he has a gun. My rifle is not soft, my rifle is not tender. It does not embrace me like a lover. He has that look in his eyes.

It's really her he's after, too. He hates me for defending her, but what man wouldn't defend his girl, tell him to back off? I did the right thing.

I didn't call Pretty Baby. She called me tonight, while I was at the store. We talked for ten minutes, minutiae, the brakes on the car and when am I coming and she misses me.

Me and my roommate are sitting on my balcony thirty minutes later, 40oz beers in hand, and we're talking. He asks me if I would hate him if he violated something told him in strict confidence. I ask what.

He tells me, "Well, Saturday, when her mom came over with her and we all got drunk..."

She pulled me aside that night, scared to death I would sleep with her mom. I promised her I would never do something like that, I asked her mom to reassure her daughter later, quietly. She avoided responding.

"When you and her left the room, her mom told me something, and made me promise I wouldn't tell you..."

I spent half the night on the balcony, reassuring her I wouldn't hurt her like that.

"That night you got the text message from Adam, the night you were all depressed and upset with her for not coming, and he texted you and told you to take that rifle you just bought and shoot yourself..."

"Yeah?"

"Her mom said she was there with them, laughing. Her mom felt guilty not telling someone, but she made me promise not to tell you. I felt you should know."

"Thanks. I'd rather know."

And I'm sitting, waiting. The sleeping pills kick in maybe in ten, fifteen minutes, and I can try and sleep with my rifle in my arms. My problems would all be gone if I stopped defending her, stopped watching her. I could let the creep here have her. He just wants her anyhow, not me.

Her friends are telling me to off myself, and she's standing there, laughing.

I'm chambering a round now, and barricading the door. I hope he doesn't come tonight. I hate not being able to lock the world out of my room.

Time. Warp. Weirdness.

With me moving countries and continents quite regularly, it's hard to reduce your household to thirty kg's again and again, but then there's things that you hesitate to throw away, like a collection of good books or some really cool DVDs. Or photo albums (remember those?). Or comfy jumpers. Stuff like that. So I keep a large room behind a padlock in one of those anonymous warehouses in a capital within the European Union where I store all things that quickly have to go before I board another plane to a new home. Today I visited that place, and it was like cracking open a time capsule. The first thing I picked up was a folder with the collected letters from all the women I loved (in a spiritual sense, of course. What did you think?), starting in the early eighties. And a bunch of photos that went with them. Bloody hell, was I once thin. Also, two ancient address books full of people I forgot I knew once.

It's good to wallow in the old times once in a while. Looking back it's obvious that they must have been fun-filled and carefree. It's nice to remember what brilliant times one had and what amazing people were met within them. But would I trade them for the present?

Never.

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