You can blame the economic crisis for a lot of our woes and worries these days, but sometimes, the things that wake you in a terror in the middle of the night are due to just plain old bad luck.
Take my friend Sammy Prettyflowers, for example.
Mind you now, this is supposed to be a funny story.
He's a fisherman who spends his life alternating between 24-7 work on an Alaskan fishing boat, and 24-7 slacking on beaches in exotic locales like the Phillipines and Malaysia. And in the time in between those two, he lives in Portland.
He last left the Rose City in December, after months of unemployment and a few too many trips to Devil's Point. He hadn't planned on getting another fishing gig for the winter, but when the ten-buck an hour jobs at the corner store started being a hotter and hotter commodity around here, he had to go back to the old standby. Since then, he's endured the following calamities, which may or may not be due to the economic crisis:
- A broken-down truck, in the midst of our Arctic Blast . The shady repair shop he decided to go with made him wait a month to get his car back, so during the heavy snow, he was driving around a Daewoo. Or not driving around a Daewoo, since it couldn't be moved from its spot in front of the house.
- Two weeks of squalor and disappointment, fixing a broken boat while languishing in Seattle Harbor. He got the winter job and moved promptly to the harbor to set off for Alaska. But serious repairs caused delays and way too many a night stumbling home from the bars near the harbor.
- More disrepair and disgusting food. When they finally made it to Alaska, they had to hole up for a little while longer, because their refrigerator had broken down and they needed to get a new one. And all new food.
- Dismal fishing prices. This story tells a slightly different tale, but Sammy says their first trip out yielded them much less than in other years. This was in part due to their late start, because of the broken fridge and the spoiled vittles.
- Shitty Weather. When they made it for their second run, all was going along according to plan, when the boat broke down again. Sammy says they were already enduring some scary water and weather when the boat just crapped out again. But because of the stormy weather, no one would tow them back to town for ELEVEN days. Imagine sitting on the deck of brokedown boat for eleven days twiddling your thumbs and hoping you don't get tossed into the sea. You kind of have to laugh.
-Volcanic eruptions. You may have heard that the eruption of Mt. Redoubt shut down flights in and out of Anchorage. The same is true for all the puddle-jumpers too. So guess what? That boat that left them stranded out there in the ocean now can't be fixed, because none of the regional planes can bring in the part they need to fix it.
And then, to top it all off, he's got a broken truck to come home to. Sammy tells me it's still not fixed, even after all that fuss and trouble back in December.
Sometimes you just can't win.
But hopefully, come April, there will be cars that function and skies that glow a clear blue, and a home to look forward to, that looks so lovely in spring.