I was sick for two weeks in February and since I've regained full health, it's been alarming how derailed I am from my life's previous goings-on. I mean, just look at that last sentence.
I'm generally out of sorts lately and work's kicking my ass to boot; but I don't mean to complain about it. Happy to have a gig, always keeping with the perspective, good problems and what not.
I've been on the phone with a local guy from La Push for thirty minutes now. He's a drifter in his late-60s and I've known him for almost seven years, from surfing on the peninsula. He's telling me about Mexican cartels. A serious gaggle of gun-toting geese, I guess. He tells me "they stuff dogs with cocaine!" and I interrupt, "why bother stopping with dogs, when they can stuff drugs in babies!" I'm only half-kidding, of course. I've seen Traffic!
Despite an enthusiasm for our overdue conversation, I can tell he's run down. He has a trailer out there now, which is a significant improvement from the Toyota van he was residing in when I met him. Winters in the rain forest take a toll on his old heart. Visitors are few and far between, even in spite of the onslaught of vampire/werewolf mania there in recent years. He is lonely, but ever-spiritual. Summer is just around the corner and he's holding on for it.
He wants me to find a particular Jimi Hendrix movie (a near-impossibility in his mind, due to its obscurity). I tell him I could probably find it - or anything - on the internet these days; and I lose him at the very concept. He reminds me of the time in which he grew up; and I'm reminded that my tech-savvy father is not so far behind him in years.
La Push is known for its stunning beauty. It was the first place I stepped foot in Washington, the first place I surfed, and it obviously made an impression. But there is a sorrow there that seeps into the landscape, if you stick around long enough to discover it. Rampant alcoholism and drug abuse consumes the small native community, run on hopelessness and meager government checks.
My old friend tells me he's sick of it, his health has gotten worse, he's moving to the mountains. This isn't the first year that I've heard this plan. He daydreams of someone at LP winning the lottery and for the ticket to be sold at the general store there. "Just think of what that would do for this place," he says.
"Yeah, it would be like Twilight but without all the bullshit!"
I know better. Some places just carry the burden of stagnant, suffocating sadness. Money doesn't make that go away; but it could put a real roof over my friend's head.