“My center of gravity is in my feet.”
– The Wife
“My center of gravity is in my feet.”
– The Wife
What a month. Just awhile back I was criticizing the news for running nonstop, but now that we’re at the end of the longest, hottest month of what started out as a good year, people are finally giving the news a reason to run 24/7. Right now there’s a hair-thin truce between Gaza and Israel, and if it doesn’t take the path all the others have then we’ve made a shaky step towards world peace.
Robin Williams has left us, and I think it’s odd the way every talked about it as if it were a cup of coffee, or a can of beans. It just gave me a weird feeling–at least right after it happened–why did the enthusiasm come after his death, when it was much more needed while he was in rehab? And why was this the wake up call to depression when thousands of people fall victim to the same fate every year? Very strange to me.
Ferguson is kicking down the doors on corrupt cops, and disillusioning the nation from the FOX News notion that racism is thing of past (white people will say anything to maintain their outrageous salaries, and powerful positions). I got into a fight about this earlier this year with my dad, who tried to tell me about someone’s kid bringing home “propaganda” from elementary school, but what the kid brought home was a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. he colored for Black History Month. He argued how black people just want more and more attention–like a fucking idiot (I haven’t called him since). When I tried to joke around with my sister about it she took his side. I literally started crying and hung up the phone. It’s a sad fucked up state when you have to explain equality to people.
In another month I’ll be returning to school to get more necessities out of the way before transferring to a better albeit much more expensive school. And if everything goes according to plan I’ll only have the school loans to pay off after I finish my AA, so I think it might be a good time to travel; write and take pictures from a different patch of Earth. Afterword it’ll be the long climb, pursuing jobs in communications, and working on my BA.
What I’d really like to do is return to Sri Lanka with my wife, and write about the island since it’s been about a decade since we last went–after the tsunami hit their coast. I took lots of pictures and kept a journal, but that was when I was a missionary. It would be fun to explore the place as an adventurous tourist who now sees Buddha as a philosopher, not as an evil I should convert anyone from.
As many of you know, I work with fruit. I cut it, I package it, and I stack it. I’ve been losing huge amounts of sleep opening in morning to cut fruit, and I’m currently trying to transfer to the night shift. This has me caught up in opening two days a week and closing two days week–it’s not very fun. But knock on wood with me, I hope to cruise into fall quarter with four closing shifts a week, it’s enough to pay bills and get through school.
Anyway, thank you for reading. For some reason you and 399 others on WordPress follow my work, and that’s awesome. In just under two years my blog has been viewed over 16,000 times–Jesus, just think what I could do if I could get paid for all this shit. Thank you again, and if you’re enjoying the recent picture taking here: http://instagram.com/boiledearth, I haven’t been doing much lately because I scratched the living hell out of my iPhone lens, and am waiting for a replacement.
August 28, 2014
Just another white guy’s opinion on Ferguson.
The day to day of grocery is a lot like the day to day in general: uneventful. Occasionally you’ll hear an over-sized metal pot echo across the store as it kisses the ground, coating it in gloppy layers of “Stampede Chilli” lipstick. Perhaps a poorly packed pallet will pour over, sending cheap imported shit scuttling in all directions like ants. But generally it’s a smooth day, and it should be; how much can go wrong when 95% of your job is moving stuff from the back of the building to its assigned shelf?
A lot, if you happen to be a wine steward bringing out bottles from a small cellar, you could get Formaldehyde poisoning. I never think about shit like that. If I smell something nasty, I don’t assume it’s slowly killing me, so I wanted to put the good word out. People think the only ones who should worry about Formaldehyde are morticians and necrophiliacs, but the chemical also leaks into the air via pallets, plywood, resins, and lots of other things.
If you work in the same areas all day with little or no airflow, and you start to get red itchy eyes, scratchy throat, cough, headaches, sores, you need to report this to your manager, union rep, or OSHA immediately. Formaldehyde is toxic, even at very low levels, and can cause cancer, respiratory, and general health issues. If you have if you think you’re suffering symptoms make sure the air gets tested, and that the incident is documented.
We know those ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it, but what about the miserable lot of us whose curse is watching everyone do just that?
I’ll be thirty next year. Many millennium ago 30 was a good long life, when making it another week qualified a person’s advise as valuable. If I could give just one piece of guidance to anyone turning 18, or getting out of school it would be to travel–to a different country. Do it while you don’t really give a shit about making next to nothing, before you’re tied down to anything. You have your entire twenties to get sick of partying and go back to school. It’s not like you’re going to get the job you study for anyway, you’ll be waiting in line with me–so you might as well not rush it. Find a way to get out of this country and experience something far greater than yourself, far higher than what you think you can reach. I’m a man of no wealth, but my feet have walked the Temple of Dawn, I helped smuggle food to starving families in Sri Lanka, and explored Florence, where a bottle of wine cost as much as a bottle of our water. I don’t write these things to brag, only to argue that it’s doable, and should at least be considered. One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself was unlearning everything my parents taught me about the world, and it couldn’t have been done without seeing it with my own eyes.
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I was walking home from work when a stranger who was crouched by a new looking powder yellow bicycle said, “Hey, are you in a rush?”
“Mind doing me a favor?”
“Just stand there for a second and shield me from traffic.”
“You’re not serious. Are you stealing that?”
“I know this sounds like bullshit, but I’m only borrowing it.”
“I’m calling the police.”
“If you pull out your phone I’ll smash it with a pry-bar. You didn’t even hear me out. Who ever this bike belongs to, they’re probably going to get it back. All these people have more money than they know what to do with, and they almost always give a hefty reward to get their shit back.”
“Jesus Christ, that’s Fight Club shit man, get a real job.”
“ANnnnnd, got it. Come on. Where you headed?”
“Jesus, who cares, I just want to get home.”
“Well now you’re an accomplice to theft. So, do you want to keep standing there like an asshole? Look, my truck’s parked behind a gas station just two blocks over on Powell. If I can’t convince you that what am doing isn’t wrong or theft, then you can have the bike and do whatever you want with it.”
“Fine. Then after that just leave me alone.”
“So enlighten me, why is it that what you’re doing isn’t wrong?”
“Rich people want you to steal. It’s a byproduct of capitalism. Think about it, you wouldn’t have to steal anything if you could simply make enough money working. There are only three ways to get money: you can earn it, it can be given to you, or you can take it. I’m in the position where earning it isn’t enough to really get by, but just enough to not get much from the government either; I got bills and I need food, and I just happen to be pretty good at this, so I call it creative capitalism.”
“Do you actually make anything doing this?”
“Fuck yeah I do. One year, I only had to do this once a month. Every hit, they offered a grand for their bikes back. That might not be much, but compared to my ‘real job’ it’s more than I make in a month. Even $500 is nice, that’s a steak week. That’s student loans getting paid.”
“You can get another job you know.”
“Jesus, you’re not listening. This is my second job, and it’s great. If the people in charge wanted things any other way then they’d pay us based on real life needs, but they don’t, so what’s actually wrong about what I’m doing?”
“You’re hurting the people you directly steal from, not the system you want to fight.”
“Hurting them! Are you fucking kidding me. I’m inconveniencing them. The massive tax breaks and bonuses those pricks get are actually hurting me, because all that extra money in their wallets is less food in my stomach. So I get that money back, and guess what? I don’t have to worry about making it though winter without heat. And don’t think I steal just any piece of shit on the street. If you don’t know what you’re doing then you shouldn’t be stealing. I’m not some kid trading in junk for heroin money, this is a calculated business, otherwise it’s not worth the risk. I’m right there, want a pop?”
“Sure? Want the bike?
“So you understand me then?”
“Jesus, I just want to get home, I don’t care either way, but you’re still breaking the law.”
“Whatever. By the way, you utterly reek of weed, and that shit’s illegal too, so fuck you.”
I find the night’s sky to be the most beautiful, and terrifying thing in existence.