LIaDVp.22: Out of Context
September 17, 2004
I’ve been losing track of time very easily lately. The days are running together, I think because of fading context. For one, it’s been pretty regularly overcast and rainy, making time hard to place. Also, I haven’t had a scheduled day off since September 6, but haven’t had a full, typical day of work more than twice or three times in about the same period. Every morning I wake up, put on my uniform, walk out to varying degrees of winter weather, report for work at 7:30, sit around the boat office or nap on the nearby couch until my acting boss (normal boss just had a bladder full of cancer cut out) decides what form of busy work he’s going to throw at us today. One day it’s replacing absorbent diapers under our fuel line access points, hauling roofing paper that is ultimately not going to be used pending lead paint and asbestos inspections, attempting to remove an inflatable crew saver from a boat before realizing that the water’s too rough, cleaning the boats throroughly even though it’s raining every other day, piping down fuel for the park service research boats, running an oil spill hazmat drill, and so on. So each day I work/sit around for between a couple of hours to a full day, getting home between noon and four, but you wouldn’t know it because the sky’s the same color. That and the occasional comatose daytime nap make it downright confusing. If it weren’t for the coffee and the bourbon, I’d be lost.
This is compounded by the lack of civilization-provided context that normally governs our schedules daily. The days and the hours are running together. It’s tough to remember what yesterday was, or when this morning was. See, I’ll let you in on a little secret…ready? There’s no such thing as time, at least not in the o’clock sense. There’s also no such thing as days of the week in the “—-day” sense. Or of the month. I know, because everyday I’m startlingly aware that they are nowhere to be seen until you make them up or ask someone else to make them up for you. All there really are are the seasons. Namely winter, as it approaches like a freight train. Now it’s fog and low clouds and rain and brief flurries of snow. They came early this year, but the real stuff, time in its realest sense is coming – winter. Before I know it my entire means of living: the shacks, the boats, the docks, even the weather buoys will be gone. Buried in shelters on Wizard Island, and then finally underneath 44-some feet of snow. No that’s not a mistake, 44 feet on average over a winter, often more. This whole place, even my room where I sit right now will be gone, buried by the only real time here at the lake: Winter o’clock. Time to go.
Another interesting side-effect of lake living: While I’m completely unreachable in the more modern sense (No phones, reliable computer, one landline in the building that you can’t make outside calls from), anyone can knock on my door at anytime. Hell, if you’re Stan, you can just come right in and knock me out of bed until I drink Sake and read Kerouac.That’s another weird sensation. I’m anonymous by most civilized standards, but in the traditional sense, I guess the sense of the village rather than the city, I’m beyond hiding. I’m right here in 101B, if you want me you only have to knock. I may not answer but you’ll know I’m in here. And you’ll just come back later if I don’t come out now. In the city, you’re surrounded by thousands and accessible by millions, but you’re completely anonymous if you want to be. You don’t have to talk to anyone on the way to pick up takeout. You can sit and drink coffee in public and likely not be disturbed. Here in Mazama village, or Rim village, or Sleepy Hollow, your connections with the people around are for good. It’s quiet and silent in many ways, but your interactions with others are only avoidable as long as you can stay away from them. There’s always the woods, I guess. Then you have to watch for cougars though.