Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Free at last and getting ready for a road trip.

Part 1 of a 5 part travelogue.
What I did on my summer vacation. Except it wasn't summer and at roughly 72 hours more of a ‘holiday in the north country’, but you get the idea.

I wrote a little summary of my time in the newspaper business.
The blog where it was posted has been deleted. sigh

I started it but don’t have the heart for it right now. The plan is to type out what I remember of my newspaper days for posterity. I'm calling it "Last of the Ink Slingers". I've forgotten so much already it better get written soon. 

I would like to say that there were emotional connections to sever like you might at the end of a long term gig but there really weren't. Of the people who did what I did with that company at the start in 2004, I was essentially the last one to go. The people who actually worked there (not contractors like me) were always aloof and only communicated when necessary. One manager saw value in interacting with us but the bullshit finally got to her and she left. The clerks and shop owners where I dropped papers were barely acquaintances. I will miss my assistant of 8 years Damien. A truly noble man. A hard working father of 3. A good friend. The work he did for me was always after his full time "real" job. The job itself was like a giant beast or machine or something. I often remarked that the long runs of no days off were like riding on the roof of a runaway train. The midnight train to Wasco.

I knew that I needed to make a clean break. I originally contracted with the newspaper because I was dealing with health issues that, while they limited my functioning, were too vague for the Dr to help much with. A night job with few people to deal with and an income decent enough to afford an HMO was a welcome refuge. 

By 2010, coincidentally when profits started falling off, I was able to identify and deal with many of my health and well being woes. No one task or part of the daily routine was hard. It was surprisingly fatiguing for a job that took me away from the house for only 5 to 7 hours a day. (plus paperwork, collecting etc.) When I got home I never drifted off to sleep. I passed out.

Customer complaints were an ongoing source of stress. Being a person of few voluntary routines I was always taken aback by the pure outrage of some subscribers who didn't get their paper. Logically they are paying a fraction of what they would if they drove to the store and bought one everyday. Figuring in the fuel, cover price plus tax and their time. Even the ones that could walk to the store in 5 minutes were paying less than half price. Using one coupon or discount from an ad would cover that. If the thing only managed to show up at their house half the time they were coming out ahead. I have in the past read a quality newspaper cover to cover. The one I sold was no such newspaper. While one in a hundred articles do detail interesting facts, the remainder are the same articles over and over documenting the passing parade of human events with minor adjustments to dates and names. I do understand in an abstract way the appeal of it as a day starter. As for me, I find the banality toxic and for the same reason don’t watch TV news or sitcoms (I suspect many who I invite to read my blog don’t finish or even start for the same reason. My blog however is free and delivered fresh). That is my quirk and I'm the one who has to live with it. To me the quirkiest subscribers were the ones that got so angry that they brandished threats to cancel like a scimitar. Cancel a subscription that meant so much to them that they got angry about it. How would never getting it make things better? And the type of outrage was the thing. It was personal. Like my carriers withheld their paper as a judgement value of them as human beings.  Always a special kind of circular logic. That was only one part of the complaint/redelivery saga. My point is . . . were was I? . . Oh yeah, I was born a poor bla . . Nooo.

I knew that I needed to make a clean break. The stresses and strains of the daily routine, the job and the rut my life was in had parts of me distorted beyond recognition. A break in routine and a whole new path. First a trip out of Jesus’ dad’s valley. The weirdness of the days prior to march 19 will also be in the Ink Slinger blog. Let’s just start with; I didn't plan my trip away till Monday the 20th. I had vague images of going to the coast or maybe catch some shows in LA. Perhaps I've never gone with a person who knows how to do it up right. I have never seen the appeal of Vegas. Except the shows I guess, that I never could or would afford. Besides, going to those places alone would be just lonely and sad, . . and lame. The solitude and singularity of the past decade (or two), is about to change also, but that will take time. I need a destination that will rejuvenate me without shared laughter.

I went to a place in the 90s called Osmosis Enzyme bath in a small town called Freestone, near Santa Rosa California. It is the most tranquil thing a person can do.
Okay, this is a big enzyme bath in Japan. Here's Osmosis
As a person newly on sabbatical from income generating activities, $239 for the whole treatment and another $400+ for lodging seemed frivolous. As good as it is, the place and the treatments are on the etherical side. I had been having more than my share of cosmic awareness the last months already. Another place I went, back in those days was in Calistoga. Indian Springs offers a similar treatment except in place of cedar chips is a mud bath of geothermally heated sulphur spring water and volcanic ash.

Yeah like that
The place has gone all gentrified since I was there the first time. The whole treatment costs even more than the cedar bath. After some research and consulting with a friend I found 15 or so spas in Calistoga and a nice one where the whole treatment was only $149. Calistoga has some nice accommodations, bed and breakfasts etc. Pricey too on short notice. I lucked into a nice little motel in St Helena 9 miles away for $160 for 2 nights. Bookings have been made and I’m all set. For the next week. So I wait. 5 days. Till I can go. So I wait. 5 days. Till I can go.

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