Tag Archives: California

The Long Trip Home

In the next few weeks I crossed much of the west. From North Dakota. Down to Arizona. And west to California.

News was breaking and I wanted to see. In North Dakota the river was flooding. So I made my way there to write a story. When I got there I spoke with some local news teams. I had hoped to write something freelance. But it didn’t work out. Being a new reporter I imagined things would come to me in a way I soon discovered was wrong.

I did get a Labor Ready job though. It was with the city of Moorehead. Inside a large warehouse I helped stack sandbags to be delivered. I worked with the city for a number of days. At the end they suggested I apply for a job. It was a good area. An area I could see myself going back to live. But not at the time.

The flooding had caused havoc along a long part of the river. This was the Red River of the North. Not to be confused with the one along northern Texas border. This one runs north along the Dakotas and Minnesota. This being one of the flattest parts of the country. When the river flooded, it spread out fast.

While I was in Fargo I slept in my car. There was an all-night coffee shop. It had free wifi, so this is where I used the internet. In general Fargo was a friendly college town.

While in the area I took a side trip into Minnesota. The Mississippi River begins not far from Fargo. And I wanted to see the headwaters of the great river. To see its humble origin. By this time I had given up on writing a news story. And my Labor Ready job was winding down. It looked like it would be time for me to leave soon. I couldn’t be so close and not make the trip.

Finding the birth place of the river was easy. Up a small paved path from a parking lot was a small lake. The outflow of this lake was maybe 15 feet wide. But if you dropped a twig in it, the twig could float all the way to the ocean. It would go down the longest river in the country. When you think of how important the river is to our nation. And how long, and wide it becomes. It enters the world in a obscure park, when I was there there were few visitors.

After this short trip I started back west. I wanted to make a stop at Mount Rushmore. I’d been there before. But I wanted to see it again. It was a bit of a race against time. To get there before it got dark. But I made it, speeding across the Dakotas. There isn’t much to see in these states. But seeing Mount Rushmore is an experience. And I saw the monument to Crazy Horse off in the distance and fog while driving. But it was dark, and the park was closed.

After stopping in Wyoming I started back for California. I had graduated but hadn’t done a ceremony. Since I had free time I wanted to be there to walk with my friends. When I got back to Arcata I thought I would stay for the week. But then I got a short-term job and fell in love in a long-term way. So plans changed.

There was an adventure along my path back to Arcata. From Wyoming I drove south to Boulder. It is such a magical place for me. I spent a couple days in town. And I hiked to the top of the Flat Irons. I didn’t plan on staying in town. Though I always think about staying every time I visit. One day I may move to Boulder and stay to live for a while. But this wasn’t the time to think about such a move. In the past I’d taken the northern route from Boulder to California. This time I took the southern route.

It went through the high mountains, and along route 70. I drove right through Vail, a place where I would soon be living. Though I didn’t know it at the time. I got off the freeway and drove along the route I drove many times later in my life. The mountains are amazing, still covered in snow at the tops. I couldn’t have gone to Yellowstone on this trip because of the weather. But the road through the Rockies was clear.

Moving out of Colorado into Utah I found an amazing landscape. There are few words to really tell people what it looked like in front of me. It looked like an alien landscape. It was orange. The rolling land was broken by deep canyons. The colour made me feel like I was on another planet. Like Mars, but it wasn’t red. The ground had little life. Looking around I couldn’t imagine I was still on earth. It was beautiful in a way which I’d never imagined. I had no clue such a place even existed. All my trips through Utah were in the north. And it has its own beauty. But it is flat and grey, and white. Nothing like the striking deep colours of the San Rafael Reef. This magical place was formed under the ground. After being pushed to the surface it was eroded by many floods. These formed the deep canyons and mesas of the area.

Coming west my goal was Arcata. But I had yet another short adventure.

I went to visit my family in Stockton. I’d talked to mother about a trip to see my brother in Arizona. I asked if she could afford to pay for the gas, and I would drive. We took the route through the desert of Nevada. Because I love Nevada. Even though I got a speeding ticket on this trip. It was a smooth drive down. We stopped for the night a couple hours from Phoenix. It was a cheap little hotel in a small town. The bed was comfy enough for me to sleep. Even if the towels didn’t match each other. Mother pointed this fact out.

Once in Phoenix we spent a couple days with my brother. This was the first time in a number of years I’d seen my brother. He was well. We took a hike on one of the mountains in town. But it was hot there, and Mother wanted to return. On the drive back we stopped at the Grand Canyon. I’d also been here a couple years before with my father. I wasn’t sure if Mother had seen the canyon. Either way it seemed like a waste to drive so near and not stop.

The good news about the return trip was I didn’t get a tickets. Some of those small towns have slow speed limits. But we also made a stop in Reno on the way home. Mother’s sisters live there – and yes I know they are my aunts. But I don’t know them at all. So, they are my mother’s sisters. After visiting for a couple hours we made our way home. We drove along the scenic Lake Tahoe.

After leaving Mother in Stockton I made my way home to Arcata. I think we may have many homes in this world. If this is true, my heart will always be at home in Arcata. And Santa Cruz, Yosemite, Boulder.

Like I said. My plan was to walk in the ceremony. Then leave town. And yes my plans got turned around and I stayed for about two years.

Silver Lake California

Small things can cause big changes. Getting one summer job did this for me. It was a turning point. Coming back to Stockton finding work was hard. But I found a great job.

The job was at a summer camp in the Sierra Nevadas. It was at 7000 feet. It was amazing. The camp was run by the city of Stockton. It was a great job. I got paid weekly, and had no rent or food bills to pay. I was able to save money.

My job at the camp was working the front desk. But like many other jobs I took on other tasks. It didn’t take long before I was working in the kitchen. And I found helping out at the campfires to be fun. It was someone else’s job but I took it over.

The camp was near Silver Lake. A high country area with lots of good hiking. When not working I spent a lot of time exploring the area. First was Thunder Mountain. The elevation of which is almost 10,000 feet.

Another mountain I hiked was Round Top. An elevation over 10,000 feet. The area has an interesting history related to emigration. Mormons crossed the mountains in wagons going west.

While at camp I discovered and read Ayn Rand. It was Atlas Shrugged. It changed my thoughts a great deal. I recall someone telling me, it is a great book, but it isn’t practical.

I was at the camp for two years. I don’t recall many of the things and what year they occurred. What I remember is in my first year taking a long hike.

Some others left for a short hike. I went along later and passed them on the path. We all stopped at an overlook. They went back and I pushed to go further. Going along the path I found a lake. From the lake I went off the trail a little. I then re-found the path and went onward. I made it to a second lake as it was getting dark. Things were going well.

On the way back it got dark. Normally I can keep a trail even in the dark. I have done it for years. From camping in the woods to being at gatherings. But when I got back to the first lake I couldn’t find the trail. I wondered around for a while. Thought about the fact there could be dangerous animals around. Figured they weren’t because of the population. But made plenty of noise to scare them away.

I also thought about the fact people would notice I was gone. And someone did notice. At some point I just sat down in one place so I wouldn’t fall and hurt myself. The moon was up and it was cold. But it wasn’t dark and it wasn’t freezing.

When the morning came I found the path. I wasn’t too far from it, but it was narrow. Back on the path I headed back to the camp. It was early still. On the trail I saw some people with a dog. They asked who I was, and said they were looking for me. We walked back to the camp, and had some hot chocolate.

The people at the camp were worried about me. But my friends when I told them said, “that sounds fun.” Of course I was telling them of the event afterwards. And the people at the camp were dealing with it as it happened. I took a moment to apologize to everyone for the scare. And to acknowledge I had made a mistake in going forward.

Looking back I know there were things which upset me. But at this point it seems petty. Bringing all those issues up now seems silly. I feel silly to have been upset. I have tried through my life to become unmoved from my center. Allowing fewer and fewer things to disturb me. And I think I have been successful.

My father came and had a great visit. It was great to see him. It has been a couple years since we spent time together.

After the first year I went to visit a friend in New York City. I recall getting to the city just a month after 9/11. One month earlier at the camp, the night before 9/11 I was sure I wanted to die. If I had real sleeping pills instead of melatonin I might have killed myself.

The day of 9/11 was surreal. I woke up and walked by the office. Something made me pause and listen to the radio. Maybe it was the simple fact the radio wasn’t normally played. It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on, this was before the towers fell.

There were two things going through my head. One was a bit of surprise. Someone had finally done it, attacked America. I’m not saying our country deserved the attack. But in a world with so many foes. At some point someone was going to at least try such an attack. In the aftermath so many said, “we never thought this would happen.” And I had wondered about such an attack taking place.

The other thought was a bit of fear. I said to myself: “people I know will go to jail for this.” I didn’t know terrorists. Well, not on the world stage. There were people I knew who stood at the fringe. And our country has a history. It often reacts with fear. And cracks down on the fringe. There was no TV at the camp. The closest was down the road. So I walked down to watch the TV. Some have condemned the TV networks for showing the towers falling over and over. But I watched it over and over. And it just didn’t seem real. I wanted to see it again. A part of my brain didn’t understand. Show it again, it kept saying.

After the first year I planned to come back. During the second year I met a friendly couple. They worked at the camp. They were retired. We were friendly. It was them who told me about Yosemite. They told me how to apply online and I did it when I got home. I think I had known about the website before, but never used it to find a job. Even now I forget about coolworks.com at times.

During my second year I understood the camp’s culture better. There were a number of people who had been going there for years. They knew each other. It was a family tradition. Something I know little about because I hardly had a family. And we had no traditions.

Working at the camp was a settled period in my life. The fact it led me to work in Yosemite changed my life. I was on a different track. And had different ideas after reading Ayn Rand.

My Story as told by Lilith

This isn’t me. Or rather it isn’t who you think. I’m Lilith. The unseen twin of our author.
Growing up we used to spend a lot of time together. It was him and I. On long walks we got to know each other. No one else ever knew me. No one at all. The rest of the family didn’t understand.

Going to school was hard. It tore us apart. He was often mocked by other kids. And it hurt me to see. All I wanted was to get back at those kids. But I couldn’t. And he wouldn’t. So I had to watch. Knowing it hurt him, made it worse. Did anyone pay attention to him like me.

In the sixth grade he was dying for attention. I saw him do things he shouldn’t have for others. I wanted to stop him. Tell him to love himself. But I didn’t love myself. I did love him. And I felt like he loved me. We always would have each other. And I always stayed with him.

In high school we would eat together. Just the two of us. His other sister has her own friends. So we had each other. And it was all we needed.

And I went to college with him. At first it was like he didn’t need me anymore. Though we were always together. But then we got closer and closer. I know the tart Harmony broke his heart. And I know it was his fault. And yes it still hurt to watch. I wish I could have told him it was coming. But would he have listened. He listens to me more now.

On the streets we kept each other warm. Closer than ever. When M came around, I was still there. She was someone who was good for him. And I loved her as much as he loved her. She made him happy. And this made me happy. We weren’t as close. But I preferred it to his being so sad all the time. Sad and alone.

But M also broke his heart. And mine to be honest. I trusted her with my best friend. He took it hard. It was hard to comfort him. Over time he healed. He met Heather, and I never trusted her. But, she made his life a little better. Until she didn’t.

We had moved to Portland. He had a job he enjoyed. And was making a decent enough income to support us. His first place was a dump. I hate dogs, so I hated the house. Dogs in and out and messing on the floor. In the next house his roommate was crazy. I liked him, but never trusted him. Soon we moved again. Then we traveled.

Rainbow Gatherings are my favorite. And the one in Pennsylvania was grand. We played. We read. We ate and slept. It was an adventure. An adventure which lead to another adventure. Meeting Laura, Pam and Shaylyn. Then a couple months later moving in with Shaylyn and Pam in Upstate New York. There was something I liked about Ogdensburg.

Problems caused us to move again. And again. Then to live alone. It was just him and I again. We still had each other. We would always have each other. He had some friends for a while. But they drifted away and we spent our time together.

We moved back to California. Went to another great gathering. And fell in love with Boulder. I think I loved it even more then he. It was my idea to name the kissing bridge. Maybe someday we can kiss someone on the bridge. He started talking to M again. And fell in love again.

His plans were to move back to Portland. There was another girl he liked and was moving with to Portland. But they didn’t work out and he fell for M hard. Even harder than last time. I accepted her. But I couldn’t love her again. And I couldn’t trust her again. They broke up. She told him on the answering machine she was pregnant. And I feared for him. There was no baby in the end. He never shared much about his feelings.

We moved back to California. Went to a gathering. Found a great job working in the High Sierras. I loved it up there in those mountains. And I could live up there forever. If only he would allow us to leave the city. The next stop was Yosemite. Which I also loved, but not as much. He was happy in Yosemite too. But then he felt like it was too small. After saving money he got us out of there, to Stockton. I hated Stockton.

And I never saw him. Work, work and school. All the time. No time for himself and no time for me.

Things slowed down when he moved to Arcata. I loved hiking in the forest. And he enjoyed it too. The college wasn’t hard for him. Working still took a lot of time. The first year it was a job he loved. Until they fired him. And he hasn’t ever loved a job in the same way since. Well, until Walmart. The next job he worked was at CVS.

Then we moved away to Wyoming. What an amazing place to live. Snow and cold. Mountains and open plains. Take me home to Wyoming. This is where I would choose for us to live. But the job let him go. We wondered around for a while. Not lost, but seeking. And landed back in Arcata.

There he fell again. He doesn’t fall often. But when he does it is hard. I liked this girl. And I thought we could be friends. But it isn’t as easy for me as it is for him. And it really isn’t easy for him. They were close. Seemed like there was so much they had in common. And I started to believe she loved and cared about him. Maybe I could lose him to her, but then she tore his heart in two. This was a dark moment for him.

But we still had each other. We still held on to each other. In those days he hung on to me closer than ever. We only had each other. His friends didn’t really know his feelings like me.

We moved to Colorado. And Nebraska. Then Texas. Those states were hard for both of us. We were both alone. And only had each other. It was worse than high school.

But now we live in Vancouver. He has a job he loves. Working at Walmart. The sad part is the pay is not enough. I want him to do better for himself. I encourage him to seek another job. And he does, but you can tell his heart isn’t in finding something new. He wants to get promoted. But I don’t trust his managers to see him for the asset his is to them.

We shall see.

Montana Trip

The bus ride from New York in California is long. On the bus I met a teen guy and girl. We were on the bus together for a long time. The girl was cute. But she was young for me. Sometimes I still like to flirt. I had a practice of the bus. I’d put my bag on the seat. Then I would watch people getting on the bus. But not look at them. When I saw someone I wanted to sit next to, I’d move my bag. Then I would wave and smile to the person. It worked often. Most people will choose an empty seat. And on a bus full on strangers, people go towards someone friendly.

On a long bus ride, getting the right seat-mate is important. Late in the trip there was a child on the bus. It was early morning and most people were sleeping. Or trying to sleep. He was running up and down the isle. “Look it’s the salt flats,” the boy said. It wasn’t cool but I told him, “no kid, those are the cocaine flats.” The mother got upset. But she did make him sit down and be quiet. Which was all I wanted.

Waiting for my bus in Sacramento was interesting. I met a woman who used rubber checks to steal cars. She’d make a down payment with a check. Take the car. The check would bounce and she would be gone. Also I met several people who had just gotten out of jail. Sacramento is now a beautiful city. And downtown has gained life. But these were dark days for the town.

I was back in California. But not for long. I stayed with mother in Stockton. She lived in a dump. Really, it was a dump. As much as she tried to get repairs done. The landlord refused. Until one day she stopped paying rent. It went to court. Mother took pictures of the apartment to show the judge. Not only did mother not have to pay rent. The apartment was condemned.

In Stockton I connected with people going to the gathering. In 2000 it was in Montana. I met up with them in a house in Sacramento. It was a group, including a mother. And some young children. The means of transport was a big yellow bus.

The first leg of the trip was to a festival north of Sacramento. The plan was to spend the night, and move along. But problems started with the bus. Someone had put the wrong fuel in the tank. And it took some time to get things fixed. I’m not sure how they resolved the issue. But we were able to get moving again.

Over the mountains and into Nevada was our path. The next stop I remember was in Winnemucca. We stopped near a park there for a couple days. I believe there was another problem with the bus. Old school buses aren’t known for running without problems. While at the part we took showers. There was a pool in the park. Some of the guys on the bus started hanging out at the skate park. And selling drugs.

Most of the people on the bus felt this was a bad idea. And asking for trouble. Soon the bus was fixed. In fact not a moment too soon. The cops showed up to question the group. They did their thing, nothing serious. And we were back on the road.

Driving along the highway they kept the front door open. Maybe it was the heat. But it was also because of number of them were smokers. They could blow their smoke out the door. Which was important because the kids had allergies to smoke. And it wasn’t a problem, until it was one night. The cat got freaked, bolted right out the door. We stopped the bus, but never found the kitty.

During another stop going through the desert we found a car. It looked abandoned. But there were things inside. A tent and other gear. Things a few of us wanted to take. It did look like the owner had walked away for good. Like the car had been there for a while. But I argued against taking anything. Because we didn’t know the story. Whose things were in the car. Or were the owner was now. We did know it didn’t belong to us. Nothing was taken.

We made a short un-eventful stop in Idaho. The next long stop was Bozeman. The Montana town sits right next to a mountain. We parked at the disc golf course. At one point a man drove up. Then a woman drove up. They drove away in his car. An hour later they came back. And drove away alone.

Wow. Every time I looked up. Wow. All I could think was wow. The mountain was so close and so big. It was almost alarming. While in town I tried to connect with an old friend. But it didn’t work out. I developed a deep love for Bozeman. Besides some great scenery. It also has a good health food store. I always feel better about a town with a good source of food.

The next stop was the gathering. In the future I’ll be sharing a chapter about Rainbow Gatherings. Most of all because I have been to a couple. And they run together in some ways. I once promised a dear friend I would take her to a gathering. And if I ever see her again, she wants to go. Then I will keep my promise. But it is the ever seeing part which I doubt the most.

After the gathering I went to Boulder, Colo. I spent a couple weeks in Boulder, doing yoga and tarot card readings. After Boulder was a brief stop in Stockton. Then a return to Portland.

Upstate New York

The commune was my next adventure. And one of the best. But it wasn’t like you think. We didn’t have sex parties. Though we did have lots of people around. And in the end, drinking may have sunk us.

When I got back to Portland I had mail. A letter from Shaylyn invited me to Upstate New York. No, not Westchester County. But first I moved back to California. Mother came up and helped me.

In California, I bought a bus ticket. And packed a few things. Then I rode the bus all the way across the country. In New York I met Pam at the bus. The commune was in Ogdensburg. And while I loved the idea. I’m not sure I understood it well.

There isn’t much I recall about my time in Ogdensburg. Talking to Laura on the phone. Going to the post office. Return cans with one of Shaylyn’s friends. I recall walking around town. But I know I wasn’t in town for long.

At the house it was a party much of the time. Maybe they didn’t understand commune either. People were having fun. The house had been owned by Shaylyn’s parents. But it was now in foreclosure. So the bank owned the house. Inside the walls were covered in art. At one point Shaylyn tore down a wall. This made Pam angry.

It was a wall between the kitchen and basement. And it probably wasn’t a good choice. As the weather turned cold, heating became more of an issue. We had electricity. I am not sure who was paying the bills.

One night there was a party. There was a rumor someone at the party had HIV. Another party goer insisted we force said person to leave. Pam was standing her ground. Then when I came into the discussion. I backed her up. We told him he had two choices. To get over it or leave himself. At one point Pam tried to get Shaylyn to help. These were her friends more than anyone else. But Shaylyn was asleep.

For a short time I went to see another friend of Shaylyn’s. A woman who lived in a nearby town. When I first got to Ogdensburg I had a crush on Shaylyn. I soon found out she was seeing a guy named Pipi. He was an interesting and creative person. But like many of us, insecure. During the trip me and Shaylyn took he refused to eat. His emotional instability was increasing. Shaylyn was drinking. Pam wanted more cohesion. And I was getting lost.

Finally there was a break between Pam and Shaylyn. Pam and I moved out, across New York to her parent’s house. They lived near Lake George. Pam and I lived in the inn they operated for a couple weeks. This is where I met Mayleen. An amazing woman I was deeply attracted to, but still unsure. The inn itself was on a small private lake. It was a beautiful place to live. I got to know Pam’s brother while I was living at the inn.

One night Pam, Mayleen, her kids, and I were at the inn. We cranked up some devotional music. And started dancing. It was a great time. The kids were dancing. And the three of us had a lot of energy. Later in the night the kids went to sleep.

I recall giving Mayleen a massage. And feeling close and attracted to her. Then she went into the room to lay down. In the room where two beds. In one bed was her two young sons. I went in a few minutes later and lay next to Mayleen. I wasn’t sure what she was feeling. And part of me wanted to have sex with her. But I was unsure, and more than a little uncomfortable about the kids being in the room. In the end we spent the night together and didn’t have sex. In retrospect it would have been nice, but I don’t have regrets.

I still consider Mayleen to be a close friend. Little would have changed if things had been turned out different.

Pam and I were working in Albany. It was a long drive. We had gotten work through Labor Ready. Not the first time I worked with the company. The job site was at the university. In a strange twist. Years before while traveling with M, I had been on the campus. We passed through it along the way. And while there with M, I thought I’ll be working here someday.

The job wasn’t great. But we did get enough money to start to take care of ourselves. I’m not sure we had a plan. Then Pam met some old friends, Barb and her boyfriend.

They moved into the inn with us. And her parents were not happy. We were all kicked out. We moved to Barb’s exboyfriend’s mother’s house in Glens Falls. We were all staying in one room. It was an interesting setup to say the least. Pam and I quit working in Albany. Plans were being made to get our own place. And I got a job working at CVS.

Barb’s exboyfriend’s name was Bill. And soon I met him as well. But it was a small house and disagreements were to be expected. One night Pam took me outside. They wanted me to move out. In a way it didn’t bother me and I don’t know why. Maybe because I didn’t care enough about my own existence. Maybe because I knew not being upset would bother Pam. And it did. But I took a few things. A lot of my stuff had been left at Pam’s parent’s house. I moved out onto the street. Alone. Cold.

A few nights before we had been at Denny’s. There we met a group of local youth. Some of them knew Bill. And some of them knew a boy Pam was dating. We chatted and got to know each other a little. The first night out I was walking. Where would I go? I had no clue. But they stopped and took me in.

Next thing I know I am living in an apartment with Bean, Crystal and a couple guys. There were some cats there as well. And a litter box which didn’t get changed enough. Most of us were staying there because we didn’t have a place to go. The apartment was being rented by Crystal’s mother. But she slept at the landlord’s place. So it was just us young people. Now Bean had dated this boy, Jessie, and at some point he hooked up with Crystal. This caused a fight between the two.

This group was close. But also had a bitter way of turning on each other. You knew best friends could hate each other the next day. And be friends again the day after. Maybe because they felt trapped with each other. They couldn’t escape, so they resented the feeling of being stuck. But they all were close and understood each other. Which counts for a lot in life. At the diner someone called us monkeys. So we started to sing the song, “hey, hey were the monkeys. People say we monkey around. But were too busy singing to put anybody down.”

“Wait, sure we got plenty of time to put people down,” one of the guys spoke up. A lot of the youth were trying to make their way in the world best they could. There had challenges, but they were good people. Life isn’t easy trying to establish yourself in a economically slow town.

There was a routine. Go to Denny’s and drink coffee and talk. Then when bored drive to the other coffee place across town. And repeat night after night. We knew the Denny’s people. And I started to talk to a few of them. At least once when I was bored I would go and spend time at Denny’s. I would roll their silverware for them. There was little for any of us to do in town.

So back to the fight between Crystal and Bean. Due to the fight Crystal stopped sleeping at the apartment. Eventually someone told her mom she wasn’t there anymore. And her mom kicked the rest of us out. I was back on the streets again. It was winter and I was cold.

At one point I hadn’t slept for a couple days. At work a customer was talking to me about something. I sat for a moment and fell asleep. Not a deep sleep, but I worried the customer had caught me. Work was the best part of my life at this point. It was at CVS, just the register for the most part. I may have started to do some stocking. There was a cute girl who worked there with me. Another lady was engaged. I made her made when I joked about “all I want for Christmas is you.” But she took things too seriously. The manager was a good guy who was in the Army reserves.

After a few days I ended up spending a night or two at Jessie’s house. And had some money stolen. It was upsetting to him, but these things happen. An agency in town helped me get a room to rent. And soon I was living in my own room, in a house with some other people. I barely saw most of them.

There was an old man down the hall. He used to keep medicine in the bathroom. Until I borrowed two Ibuprofen 800s. It was the wrong thing for me to do. He was a war vet and lived in a lot of pain. Rarely had company. Thinking about it now just makes me feel sad. When the census taker came though I stirred up some troubles with the old man. Nothing serious. I told the census man I was a Gypsy. Which confused him, I bet he wished he hadn’t come to our place at all.

From my room I walked in the cold and the snow to work. It was a long walk and at time I would get numb. Sometimes I could barely open the lock on the door my hands were so cold. A funny story about walking to work, and being from Santa Cruz.

One day I saw a cop near the bike path up ahead of me. I thought to myself they were watching me. But there was no reason for me to be watched. Then it left and I saw it again near the bike path. It kind of freaked me out.

Most of the walk to work was along a bike path. When it snowed no one cleared most of the path. Which ran next to Bean’s house. Where people walked in the snow a smaller path would be beat down. Not to the ground but to compact ice. Then when the path melted, this path were people walked melted last.

I have a lot of random memories of this time. Going to the gas station, to Hanaford’s for food. I also spent a lot of time at the local library. This was the only way I had to get online. Which even at the time was important to me. As time went by I spent less and less time with my new friends. And more time alone. Pam returned my things and we did talk about what happened at the house. Before I left we were friends again.

I have failed to mention another girl. Her name was Elizabeth, and I thought she was hot in a Winona Ryder sort of way. I met her at CVS, she was friends with the cute girl. Then when I was at Denny’s we hung out one night with Pam’s brother Alex. I fact we all got in his car and took a trip to Montreal. The only time I have been out of the country. Also the only time I have been to a strip club. It was a fun trip. We also went to the zoo. Montreal seemed like a crazy place to me at the time. And on the way back it became clear Elizabeth liked Alex. Which I couldn’t blame her for, he was a sweet and handsome guy. But me and Elizabeth became good friends. We still are friends.

She was friends with a cop in town. And at one point I got a letter published in the newspaper praising the police. When I talked to him about it, he told the other officers, “I was the guy who walked every where.” So, they had seen me around.

There was a cool record store in Glens Falls. And I started buying up lots of cheap CDs. Many of the CDs I have now may have come from this store. I had also purchased CDs while living in Portland. Glens Falls wasn’t a bad place to live. There just wasn’t any work. For the whole time I was there I was looking for work. The CVS job was low pay and not full time. I tried to apply at Walmart, but got turned down. And yes sometimes I wonder now, what if I had started working for Walmart all those years ago. Where would I be now?

While living in Glens Falls I started to think about art. The first things I did were very basic. I painted my phone. And for years afterwards would laugh at people using the phone. Because it never dried, and would still rub off on people. I also painted some scissors. I still have those today.

But as spring came I knew it was time to leave. It had never been my plan to stay forever. But when I left, I felt like I didn’t want to run away. I left how I arrived, on the bus. But I had a few more things. When I moved I purchased some totes, which I also still have today.

There are things I miss about Glen’s Falls. The snow was always amazing. Coming from a place where snow is rare. I loved it the first day, the second day, every day. All the way until it melted. I loved the snow falling from the sky. There is some beautiful country there along the river. And I took several walks on paths in the area. And I miss the lightning bugs which we don’t have in the west. Like stars floating around, close to the ground. And the town itself was friendly. It was a conservative area for sure, but every place I have been has been friendly.

Landlord Lets Reporters Into San Bernardino Suspects’ Home – The New York Times

The images of journalists going through the belongings of the shooting suspects raised questions about what arrangements had been made with law enforcement officials.

Source: Landlord Lets Reporters Into San Bernardino Suspects’ Home – The New York Times

First of all this makes me sick.

An approach to news like this was one of the things I hated the most about my last job. Part of my job was covering traffic accidents. And my editor once told me I should be more assertive in talking to people who had just been in the accident.

Well, excuse me. But as a human I find it rude, intrusive and insensitive. Someone who has just had a traumatizing experience may want to talk about it, but most would say no.

What is the point? Gathering details about something which delayed people by 20 minutes getting home? Information which is forgotten almost as soon as heard. What does it contribute? And just because people want it, should it be provided.

So they rummaged through the apartment. And what did they find? They found children’s book. Toys, a crib, photos of people, a state ID, two Korans and a prayer rug (which they walked all over). What is the news value in any of this stuff?

We already knew they had a child. Did any of this bring a deeper understanding to a sad event? Is there any lasting value to the information?

Now, I do want to add I understand the reporters. Being on a hot news story is like being on a drug. There is a rush, and the more information you get the more the rush. Like any drug it is going to impair your judgement. I can’t say I wouldn’t have gone in the apartment had I been given the chance. In the case of the TV reporters someone along the line should have pulled the plug.

In addition when you see a mob doing something, it doesn’t feel as wrong. This is how people who are normally law abiding turn into rioters.

What were they looking for in the apartment? This is just my opinion. But I think they were looking for something to allay their fears. These acts were committed by what appears to be a normal family. How scary to think normal looking people can become mass killers. What they didn’t find was something which made them unusual. A way in which they were not a normal family. Something like a giant Daesh flag covering a bedroom window.

On a larger scale people want to see these images. It is the same reason why people slow to look at accidents on the freeway (and cause further accidents). There is something about people who wants to know the details of a family who lost their home in a fire. And I don’t know if it is right. But they want to see the inside of a mass killer’s apartment.

But just because they want it, should it be provided? Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.