I slipped out of my home and blended into the urban landscape. Nothing to notice here. Just another lost soul looking miserable and drifting along with the tides of refuse dotted across the city. For good measure I even added a limp which wasn’t that much of a stretch since my ankle was still smarting from being smashed on a rock during our last whitewater rafting trip. (A story that has yet to be told.)
No fedora, tattoos, Nike footwear, North Face jacket or 1890’s neckbeards for me. I was projecting identity that screamed, “Leave me the fuck alone.” It helps a lot to be ugly and look as grim as possible.
And so it was I moved silently through the city. Which is rather odd for me since I seldom leave the house. We’re the quintessential Portland family. We have less automobiles than residents in our home. My wife was gone so that meant I had to make other arrangements.
Arriving at the bus stop I leaned against the sign. I must have just missed it since it took many spawns to arrive. I climbed aboard and asked the driver, “Is it okay if I don’t have exact change?” He said it was so I stuck in three one dollar bills for the $2.50 fare. My transfer printed and I couldn’t help but notice no change was offered. So that’s how that shit works. I paused for a reflective moment of gratitude that I hadn’t tried a one hundred dollar bill.
Two days earlier…
It was a Friday. The crew and I assembled in the aft quarters to review the weather reports. They said there was a 10% chance of rain on Saturday and a 30% chance on Sunday. We decided to depart on Sunday.
One day earlier…
On one hand it was a good decision to delay because it gave us an extra day to perform dry runs. We ran equipment checks and drills. Our first trip had caught us unprepared. I’d be damned if that was going to happen on my watch.
We took some time on Saturday and got the rigging down to a science. That last portage had almost killed us.
While the canoe was out of the garage, we decided to go home improvement on this old house. For some strange reason we were tired of dry dock consisting of the canoe precariously balanced on the refrigerator and an old bookcase.
A one-hour construction project was about to go 500 percent past deadline.
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As I walk through this world
Nothing can stop the Puke of Hurl
And you, the trap you unfurled
And you can so hurt me, oh yes
TWO DAYS EARLIER
I love leftovers. There I was at the fast food restaurant picking up dinner when I had my aha moment. I’ll get extra deep fried things on purpose so I’ll have enough for leftovers in the future.
It would be something, a small thing, that I was actually looking forward to.
Meanwhile, deep in the Pacific Ocean, somewhere over the Great Pacific garbage patch, ominous dark swirling clouds began to form.
It was almost lunch time. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was in a good mood. I was on the way to the kitchen to prep my lunch. The lunch I had been looking forward to for two whole days. There was a bounce in my step as I walked down the hall. I hummed a little song to myself. I paused in the living room and played a game of peek-a-boo with the cat.
In less than five minutes I would be dead.
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Last weekend my wife and I decided to go exploring from Portland to Hood River, Oregon. Our new hometown of Portland, of course, you probably know well from the documentary series Portlandia. We moved here to do our part to help keep Portland “weird.” I took that as a personal invitation.
The city of Hood River is located about 60 miles east of Portland, 30 miles north of Mount Hood, and up the mighty Columbia River, upriver of the Bonneville Dam. It’s well known for it’s apples and pears.
Most of the journey cuts through the geologic and massively impressive Columbia River Gorge. Multnomah Falls is a well known landmark visible from the highway along the way.
After visiting Hood River, we departed on a 35-mile scene drive north of town named the “Fruit Loop” that wound its way through “orchards, forests, farmlands, delicious fruits, wineries, fields of fragrant lavender, and adorable alpacas.”
Of course my travel slog photography includes practically none of that scenic stuff. Below please enjoy other things that happened to catch my eye instead.
Oh, and the good news? My memory ain’t what it used to be. So I’ve forgotten about 99.99% of the laments I wished to document in this post. That’s good news for you, the loyal reader.
These are the facts as we know them right now. On or about Thursday, June 13th, a 26′ foot U-Haul truck rolled over my existence. The next four days of my life were consumed by dreams of said truck, with visions of boxes filling my head. Morning, noon and nights whiled away whilst moving boxes in and out of The Great Truck.
That’s about all I remember, really. The Tom B. Taker y’all knew is dead. He’s been replaced by this empty nutshell.
Oh, one other thing. The process of unloading our precious possessions (my precious!) into our new home necessitated the reality that doors remained open for convenience. The doors gaped wide open for two days straight. During this time, the local flora and fauna made use of the opportunity to move in with us. They made themselves right at home. Really, though, it was mainly flies with a few spider mascots thrown in for good measure.
Sunday, after returning the abomination of a U-Haul truck, I dragged my broken body through that portal into the new dimension. As the portal closed behind me, I gravely regarded the gathered throng of flies.
I collapsed into the assembled legions of my follows and they caught me and I was lifted up by millions of furiously beating little wings. “Daddy’s home,” I bellowed. “What the fuck is this? Amityville?” The flies parted and the walls began to gushing blood and they bowed to their new Lord…
Oh, beloved Musca Domestica! At least when humans are forced to turn to insects for survival I’ll already have my very own ready-to-go meal.
Luckily, like I indicated earlier, that’s about all I remember, so the story ends here. Hallelujah!
Shouts From The Abyss stars yours truly as a self-proclaimed guru of negativity, given (purloined) a blog which serves as a metaphorical highway where daily poop bullshit is dispensed to The Reader.
The parallels are uncanny.
Hell, I’m just like Johnny Appleseed only slightly different. And, like Mr. Appleseed, I’ve got places to go and things to do. For that I will, occasionally, use a highway.
Highway to Hell was a rockin’ little ditty by AC/DC.
One thing is for sure: That’s a lot of highways! And the other day I was on one of them.
Verily I say unto you, the highways shall be covered with billboards and they shall be legion but do not be tempted by the advertising messages contained therein lest thou’st risk thy immortal soul for they are abomination.
—The Book of Guru, Transportation Chapter
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. A serendipitous journey dappled with billboards containing messages like “Eat at Joe’s” and “Billboard Space Available.” Hell, who wouldn’t appreciate a journey like that? God forbid that even during the act of driving we might temporarily forget that the world is 24/7 after our wallets.
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