Sunday, October 25, 2009

6,307,200 Minutes

This is my Anniversary card to my wife.

There's a little practice I do to help keep things in perspective. I imagine I was just informed that I have only one minute to live. Just one minute. Sixty precious little seconds.

What would I do for that minute? How would I pass the time?

I try to ask myself this question in as many different situations as possible. When I'm home alone. While I'm stuck in traffic. Sitting in a long, boring meeting. Watching television with my family.

Go ahead, do it right now. I will.

(sixty second later)

Today was an easy one for me. I stopped blogging, walked into the kitchen and on the way I looked out the window one last time at the beautiful world I inhabit; the sky and trees and clouds and sun. I gave my dog Taiga a good scratch behind the ears and planted a kiss on her nose. Then I hugged my wife for whatever time I had left. I smelled her hair, planted a kiss on her cheek and told her I loved her for the last time.

Today is our 12th Anniversary and when I woke up, for some reason, I figured out that those 12 years translated into 6,307,200 minutes. That's how long I've been married to my beautiful wife Melanie. That's how many opportunities I've had to do with her what I just did. So far, I've wasted a lot of those minutes filling my minutes with anger, fear, pettiness and so many other useless things.

I'm sure I can do better. Happy Anniversary Mel.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm Tired. So Tired.

Since moving to Central Oregon, car tires seem to define my very existence. I have spent more time at the Les Schwab tire store than just about anywhere in Sisters. Right after we moved here I needed new tires for the Audi and the Prius. So I bought a new set for each car. A few weeks later, winter blew in with a vengeance and I found out I had to buy studded tires to handle the icy roads. So I bought a set for the Audi and a set for the old Jeep I had up here. Then I found out I had to travel back to LA for a month so I had to take the studded tires off the Audi again because they're illegal in California. Then when I got back to Oregon I had to put the studded tires back on. And then when spring came around I had to put the regular tires back on the Audi again. I also had to put the regular tires back on Jeep and, at that time, I noticed a bubble in the side of one of the tires. They were getting old anyway and it was going to cost almost as much to replace one of the existing tires as it would to replace all four and I needed 6-ply tires for the backroads here so I bought another new set of tires. Now I'm selling the Audi and buying a new Toyota so I'll have to get new snow tires for that one. And, of course, I'll have to put the studded tires back on the Jeep.

Now I understand how Les Schwab, the owner of the Les Schwab Tire Stores- and one of the richest men in Oregon -got an amphitheater named after him.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Heard Any Good Books Lately

She lay on her back fastened by leather straps to a narrow bed with a steel frame. The harness was tight across her rib cage. Her hands were manacled to the sides of the bed. She must have dozed off because she did not hear the footsteps but she was wide awake when the door opened. He came closer and went around the head of the bed. He laid the back of a moist hand on her forehead. The cold point of a knife grazed her throat.

Outside the car window, in a grassy field, an adorable baby deer nuzzled its mother.

He tightened the harness across her chest and leaned over her. His stale, smoky breath filled her nostrils. She twisted suddenly to the left, pulled up her knees as far as she could and kicked hard at his head.

The dappled sunlight illuminated the Columbia River as it gracefully twisted through the canyon, like liquid gold shimmering.

He was out of reach. The sheet had slid off the bed. Her nightdress had come up above her hips. She could sense his gross excitement pulsating in the dark.

A sweet breeze was blowing across the endlessly beautiful fields of alfalfa causing it to slowly sway back and forth.

He undoubtedly had an erection. She knew that he would reach out and touch her.

An early snow had fallen in the evening and left the highest peaks frosted. Hawks and eagles rode the morning air currents doing their graceful dance in the canyons.

It was her twentieth day as his captive.

And that is why I hate audio books. I don't get it. How can anyone listen to these things and drive through beautiful country at the same time. They just don't mix.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lawyers, Bears and Casinos

Montana has a lot of things to offer but from what I can tell, it mostly has lawyers, bears and casinos.

1. Bears. I spend a good amount of time in the wilderness and I'm not particularly spooked by the idea of an encounter with a wild animal. It's part of the reason I walk in the woods. I have been camped 100 yards from hunting lions, crossed paths with angry elephants and water buffalo, dived with sharks, swam with crocodiles, stepped on rattlesnakes and even run into the occasional bear. But after a week in Montana they had me so edgy about bears that I was afraid to go to the bathroom without a can of bear spray for fear that some bear would swim up the sewer and bite me on the ass. Here's a typical conversation in Montana. "Good morning, how are you?" "Fine. Have you got your bear spray?" Every conversation we had eventually worked its way around to the other person asking if you had bear spray, wanted bear spray or knew where to buy bear spray. Every sign I looked at had some mention of bears, bear attacks, how to repel bears or where bears like to hang out. The only time I recall someone not mentioning the danger of bears was the ranger who asked if we had anything orange to wear. "For the bears," I asked. "No for the bow hunters."

2. Lawyers. They say people in California are litigious but, believe me, Californians have got nothing on the Montana folk. From the amount of lawyers and law offices we saw in tiny Whitefish, Montana people must be suing each other for entertainment. And by the way why is it called Attorney at Law. Is there something else you can be an Attorney of?

3. Casinos. The only thing you'll find more of than bears and lawyers in Montana is casinos. I saw a graph the said that Montana had more casinos per capita than any other state in the US. I wouldn't doubt it for an instant. It seems like every business in Montana is part casino. The Coffee Shack and Casino. Superior Car Wash and Casino. Dr Adams Proctologist and Casino (this one made sense actually) The Dress Barn and Casino. I went into the bathroom at a mini mart outside Kalispell and the urinal claimed to have the best payouts in Montana.

Now it seems to me that the number of casinos in a place is usually indicative of the number of losers, idiots and assholes there as well. But that's not the case in Montana. Far from it. In fact, the people in Montana are incredible. Probably the most sincerely nice people I've run into anywhere. It was impossible to find an asshole anywhere in the entire state.

I guess they're all at the casinos, in court or the bears ate them.