LIaDVp.10: Trouble in town during shore leave
August 15, 2004
It’s been so long since I’ve done anything worthwhile, in the sense of productivity. I’ve been way too social. Going out and drinking. Whether it’s Shady Cove, Prospect, Medord, Klamath Falls, Ashland, the Ranger dorms whatever. I think I’m getting a bit of cabin fever and responding normally. I guess the real regret comes from the fact that I’ve instilled a lot into this little adventure. I pictured it monastic, solitary, studious, introspective. And it has been all of those things to some extent. But lately I’ve felt the lifestyle drift toward another slacker job in another slacker town. Stan tries to reassure that it is what it is and warns against trying to steer it one way or another, which I can appreciate when it’s such a good time. But lately I’ve been thinking about Grantly Warren’s advice when bartending: you never let your station run you. Run your station. I guess I can feel the days passing and I don’t want to look back and think, what the hell was that all for?
I went out on a rescue mission the other day on the lake. Casey was in town for a few days and she spent the morning on the boats with me. While she was out on tour a visitor was hiking along the base of the Caldera and fell off of a boulder, smashing his head, ankle and knee. A ranger scurried over to him along the wall of the rim, while Captain Tim and I took the Rogue, a tour boat, to the shore. I rowed the skiff out and tied it along the Rogue in case we needed to row to shore for a rescue. I kept up communication with the dock and the park rangers and it was decided that the patient couldn’t be moved without a neckbrace and a back board. We took the Rogue back to the shore, picked up medics and gear and went back out. Tim was able to push the nose of the boat into a nook in the rocks where patient fell. He was awake but groggy. He and his friends were covered in blood. He smashed the back of his head on a rock and gushed. After falling, he seized for a few minutes and couldn’t breathe. His friend gave CPR and he came to. The friends thought they were watching him die. I helped position the boat and carry the guy from the rocks on board. We circled for a while so they could stabilize the guy, Ian. He was 20. We loaded him on the dock and helped attach him to a one-wheeled, off-road gurney. Eight guys carried him up Cleetwood trail and I think he ended up fine. I, of course, made it known to the park that I had singlehandedly saved one, if not several lives.
That night we went to get Mexican food in Shady Cove with Stan and Dru. It was a mild night and we sat on the restaurant’s patio, with the Rogue River rushing by in the dark.
Traveling back in time, the day Casey arrived in the State of Jefferson, boat tours were cancelled because of weather. The lake was full of thick fog and clouds, and wind was rocking the water. It was really beautiful and a raven spent the morning with us, perched on the ticket shack squawking for food. Garfield Peak was hidden. A group of us made a hooky-day trip to Medford and Ashland. Casey met us in Ashland that evening and we had been drinking slowly but steadily all day. Soon after, it was about time to go, so Casey, Stefanie, Tim and I went back to Medford. We left Rabbit and Stan at the Irish Pub in Ashland and they were to meet us at Tin Tin Buffet in Medford. We had a pleasant dinner in the shitty bland sprawl of Medford.
As you might guess, Stan and Rabbit never made it to Medford for dinner. Or the Trophy Room to meet Casey and I later. Or home that night. Casey and I went to bed, and Dru came knocking at our door at 3 am wondering what happened to everyone. She had a visit from Alan the security guard who reported that Stan was spending the night in the drunk tank in Medford. Rabbit’s location (or 20 in nautical code) was unknown. I lent Dru the Honda to go pick him up and passed out.
The next morning, still no Stan and Rabbit. Casey and I went to meet up with the boat crew, exhausted, a little hungover and rattled. There were rumblings about ‘Stan,’ ‘missing,’ and ‘detox.’ Not good. I opened up the boat shack along with Tim’s help. Roger, our second in command, was furious. Stan showed up not too late with the story:
From various accounts, what I have gathered is that the two of them got properly shitfaced in Ashland. They were getting ready to head out around 10 p.m. and Rabbit decided to park the car to either A) go to a bank or B) panhandle for gas money. It’s unclear. A sloppily parked car and Stan, inside asleep with his ratty long hair and beard, drew the cops, who interrogated him about whose car it was and what he was doing in Ashland. He was pretty drunk and eventually got into a civil rights showdown with the cops, at one point calling a black officer an Uncle Tom. Without charging him, they cuffed him, hauled him into the drunk tank in Medford and impounded Rabbit’s car. Ashland cops, I’ve since discovered, are essentially there to clean up the streets of whatever they deem riff-raff, hustling off hippies and vagrants, backpackers and drunks, all to keep the clean face of Ashland’s tourism heaven free of unwanted detritus. “Stay out of Malibu, Lebowski!”
As all of this was happening to Stan, Rabbit, who may have panhandled some cash for gas, saw his vehicle and Stan swarmed by cops and EMTs. He understandably lost his mind and fled the scene to go spend his newfound cash at another bar. A wave of conscience or necessity came over him and he called the Ashland cops with a story about his car being stolen. They called his bluff pretty quickly. A squad car was soon out to Rabbit’s 20, if you will, where he was picked up and delivered to a mission homeless shelter where he would stay until the impound lot opened.
During the night in detox Stan recited the constitution to his guard, blew several breath tests, and ultimately peed on the floor of his holding cell, under the door toward his captor. Rabbit, however, slept like a baby in the mission. He didn’t want to get up and go when Dru and Stan showed up to grab him. He came out of the church bright-eyed and bushy tailed, ready to go. I’m trying to get the nickname, “Rabbit,” to stick. His car cost $215 to free. No charges filed, they just weren’t welcome in Ashland that night.