Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Subway: Undressing the Dressing

“Can I please have a…..”

“Can I just have some…..”

“Well, can you?”

Why do people have to ask, “Can I?” when ordering at Subway? Unless its an item that’s not on the menu, (which is always the portentous first indicator of my LAST date with a high-maintenance gal), the worker’s sole responsibility, their reason for existence, if you will, is to get the customer, or sandwich patron, whatever, their heart, desires.

How often are we in the position to get exactly what we want? Not at my house. When I want a sandwich, I have one kind of bread, pickles, one kind of meat, tomatoes, and one kind of cheese. And mustard. Why can’t I get what I want at my house? Well, its cost prohibitive to keep up with the whims of my taste buds.

So, I go to Subway; where I can get what I want.

“Can I have a turkey sandwich?” I hear the patron in front of me ask.

“I don’t know, can you?” I want to respond. I hate it when people respond with that question to me but I want to do it to these people.

“Why can’t you have a turkey sandwich?” I want to respond. “You’re the sandwich patron, commissioning a professional sandwich artist to make your culinary masterpiece. Its all there! Whatever you want! And you apologize for your order. You minimize your mayonnaise!

“Sauces?” they ask. And you hear yourself say, “I just want a little mayonnaise.” Just a little. If its convenient. If there’s enough. The nicest people I know apologize for their sandwich and their condiments. The jerks should be the ones apologizing for the expansive space they command in the sandwich line, but its the nice people that are apologizing.

I remember when I stopped apologizing for my orders. I chose to not say, “Can I have?” or ask for “just a little mayonnaise.” I began saying, “I need.” (And ended my need with “Please.”)

I took charge of my destiny and became the captain of my sandwich.

And as I observed people asking, directing, apologizing for their sandwiches, I felt like I should have had people sign a waiver upon entering Subway. White, wheat, Italian Herbs and Cheese, then Turkey, Roast Beef, Sweet Onion Chicken, then American, provolone, pepperjack, then veggies then sauces…. by the time you get to the oregano, the sandwich artist and the artist’s patron have an intimate relationship. Onions, no onions…. Jalepenos? There are world’s of information in those choices.

And as an observer, as an unknown, camouflaged, social scientist in the field, I had witnessed this intimate relationship like a sandwich voyeur- knowing I was learning too much, but unable to turn away……

Monday, September 19, 2016

Housing Desegregation: What's the goal?

In discussing the causes of segregation in housing, it’s practically impossible to analyze without naturally looking at them through a lens of interrelated parts. If we look at race, geography, government stipends, financials, or personal choice, all individually, we’re looking at single cogs in a complex machine. Segregation in housing and how housing becomes “affordable” can only be properly analyzed within a framework of race, culture, economics, politics, and personal choice as a complete set. It’s no wonder that many programs for desegregation of housing have experienced mixed results, and many of the programs of integration have actually decreased available housing options for the people purportedly being targeted for assistance. (Sowell, 1994) There are different definitions of “the problem” and its subsequent solution, when it comes to segregation in housing. The mainstream media focuses heavily on the racial issues, particularly black/white racial issues, without looking in depth at some of the other issues (political systems, location, personal finances, cultures, choices) which also shape housing choice and opportunity.

It is clear that throughout American history, simple racism has governed many housing policies. We see them historically through Jim Crow laws as well as in corporate documents specifically precluding certain races from mortgage opportunities, thus keeping races segregated through lack of options. (Vaidyanathan, 2016) When we look at segregation in housing around the world, we also find that racism played into housing options and opportunities for Indians in Africa and Chinese in Malaysia. (Sowell, 1996) Many times, racism is fueled by political figures as a tool for political dominance, as in Hitler’s holocaust, or is fueled by economics, as in the American South both pre and post Civil War. There are many studies that look at housing geographical demographics, and they show scatter-plots of affluence, rising affluence, and poverty, which overlap in a seemingly correlated way with race, such as Hwang 2014, which compares St. Louis’ and Cincinatti’s residential segregation. And causation is inferred.

A bigger question that isn’t raised, is what is the ideal level of desegregation? Is populational desegregation a goal? Also, what would that demography represent? Based on 2015 US Census statistics, 61.6% of the U.S. population is White, 17.6% is Hispanic, 13.3% is Black, 5.6% is Asian, 0.9% is Native American or Native Alaskan, and the rest is either Native Hawaiian or multi-racial. (census.Gov, 2015.) If we were to go down every street in America, and artificially desegregate everyone, and place everyone in perfectly desegregated communities, mathematically it would simply require different races to move in between White people. Which, could be done. But, the very things that are emphasized in social work, such as community supports, cultural awareness, friends, etc, would be diminished for all cultures involved in this experiment.

The ghettos around the world don’t exist simply because of outside influences/pressures to keep them in existence, but they exist from at least as many influences from inward to out. Some are racial (familiarity of similar culture), some are economic (can work, doesn’t), and some are personal (family, friends). Some cultures cultivate a close family bond, and so leaving home is more difficult than for those cultures where leaving home is a right of passage. Sometimes this cultural phenomenon corresponds to race, sometimes its geographic.

Segregation happens naturally for racial reasons, along with other reasons, so segregation in housing in and of itself isn’t a negative thing. It becomes a negative thing when it represents economics, which can represent outcomes. Typically, poverty groups live in highly segregated housing. Poverty groups typically have less support (family, friends, teachers, money) for college, and thus the housing segregation due to poverty propagates itself due to lack of opportunities, which is where the economics and methodology of school programs are being analyzed. (Soares, 2013) Funding for schooling is less available to lower income students, which decreases opportunity and choice for geographical movement, outside of personal choice. New York City is currently experimenting with different school desegregation programs, as well as some housing desegregation programs. This will create a whole other set of issues and false economies through rents and prices. (Navarro, 2016)

An opportunity for further study is rather than simply look at large-scale data, which is usually a simple analysis of race and income, go door to door in poor areas, and ask, “Would you like to live somewhere else?” “Where would you like to live?” “What is keeping you from going there?” Since a portion of segregation in housing is individual choice, it would be instructive to know what the individuals experiencing the issue actually experience.

Sowell, Thomas. (1994). Race and Culture: A world view. New York: Basic Books. page 104

Navarro, Mireya, April 14, 2016, New York Times

Vaidyanathan, Raijini, January 8 2016, BBC

Hwang, S. (2014). Residential Segregation, Housing Submarkets, and Spatial Analysis: St. Louis and Cincinnati as a Case Study. Housing Policy Debate, 25(1), 91-115. doi:10.1080/10511482.2014.934703

Soares, Dr. Joseph A. (2013) Private Paradigm Constrains Public Response To Twenty-First Century Challenges. Wake Forest Law Review pg 427

Sowell, Thomas. (1996). Migrations and Cultures: A world view. New York: 1996. page 195, 325

Sowell, T. July 19th, 2016.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Becoming a dredger

Its difficult to describe the congeniality of a crew of dudes that lives and works in close quarters, that shares all its triumphs and disasters, with an “anything goes” attitude that has nothing to lose. I was awakened at 430am, with the wrong voice in the bunk-house. Jordon was supposed to be out on the boat. Shift change happened at 2am, I was supposed to wake up at 630am to get underwater by 8am for the next shift change. I got up to investigate.

We were supposed to have a strong Northwest, turning to West-North-West, turning to West later in the day. I knew it was supposed to get strong, but my business revolves around the crystal ball of foreseeing what Mother Nature has up her sleeve, and generally speaking, if you don’t have an aggressive attitude, you won’t get out very often. In gold-diving in the Bering Sea, you have to look for reasons to get wet, not reasons why the weather won’t cooperate.

So, my guys were out at 2am, and the wind had picked up early. The waves were bigger than expected, and we are starting to have dark night now, instead of the fleeting twilight as the sun dips down and back up from the horizon. Something eery about the waves and wind getting bigger and not being able to see into the distance. On the way out, the skiff was tossed around by large swells, at one point throwing both my diver and my dive-tender from one side of the skiff to the other as they got hit by a wave they couldn’t see.

We (I) feel so important most of the time. Like death isn’t real. Like I’m immortal. There is nothing I’ve found that is so humbling or impersonal as being alone on the dark ocean. It makes you perfectly aware of your mortality. And believe me, you think about your mortality up here. 

My diver, Scott, hadn’t known what was happening on the surface. The suction hose acts like a big, snake-like shock-absorber, and takes all of the wave action out of the hose from the surface. So Scott knew the waves were picking up, but didn’t know how bad until he got to the surface, and could barely use the ladder due to its severe undulations on the water. They got the hose out of the water, which is like wrestling a 500 pound earth-worm suffering from rigor-mortis. Jordon, my dive-tender, ended up swinging out on the rear pulley, walking on the hose in 4 foot swells, and attaching the hook to the hose so we could winch it up.

The dark ride out to the dredge boat. The swinging out and walking on the floating hose in water that could make a person hypothermic. I’m supposed to sleep while all this high-stakes is happening. And we all LOVE this stuff. Its sketchy and crazy. And my crew and I, we’re all riding on the edge of the white lighting razor of crazy. 

This whole experience has become my life. I’m a professional gold-diver on the Bering Sea. There are no certifications. It just happened somewhere along the way. There is very little applicability or transferability of skill-set from this job to anything else. I walk around the world as if I’m a recently pregnant woman with a little secret she hasn’t told anyone yet. I’m a dredger.

And now, I’m a dredger thats tired. Its 730am, I got 3 hours sleep last night, and the extended forecast looks like we’re going to be off the water for awhile. But, I’m going to walk down to the water and look at it. I like feeling the wind on my face, and staring out at the storming ocean from the safety of firm ground. And frankly, I like feeling the storm under my feet, when I’ve stayed out too long and the waves are getting bigger than I want my dredge to handle. There are real stakes, at that moment. This isn’t #adventure. This is real life. And its precisely the reason I don’t Instagram those moments. I shouldn’t even be blogging about them. If you’ve never worked at something precarious until your eyes are stuck open, but your body is screaming for horizontal- the satisfaction isn’t something you’ll understand. If you haven’t, do us all a favor, and do it. The world needs more people that have experienced real stakes. I know it sounds cheesy and cliche and like some script out of a movie. The guy stands by the water, looking out epically toward the horizon as the stormy waves throw sea mist, crashing upon the rocks. Thinking of endless possibilities…. But that is precisely the feeling, and it feels as real as anything I know.

And now I’ll sleep without an alarm clock. 


Monday, September 17, 2012

Night diving

The other night, at 2am, I found myself at the bottom of the ocean, sucking up rocks. I am a dredger, and this is what I do for money, these days. I've always wished that the little things that happen as a dredger were things I could share with everyone. There are certain aspects of oceanic nature that continue to inspire me with curiosity and wonder. This night was no exception.

I've seen swarms of little jelly-fish all around me, like being in a dandelion storm. I've seen fish come right up to me and nibble on my fingers- or have staring contests with me. I've found 2 nuggets, just sitting out in the open, fully exposed. I've seen water-current stratification where it looked like 2 feet of the water had oil in it. And night diving is creepy, but I have a fascination with it. Fish swim fleetingly in and out of the glow of my dive-light, making weird shadows and peripheral movement that makes me constantly look up, until I accept the fact that if it really WERE something that could eat me, seeing it before it strikes really isn't going to help me- so I continue dredging and disregard the movement. I've seen sunrises and sunsets from underwater- some in the same night. I've logged 50 hours underwater in a week before, and felt like the land was constantly moving under my feet once I got back onshore. I love my job, and I love the little, beautiful things nature has to offer.

This night, something I'd heard about, but hadn't ever seen in Alaska, happened. My dive-light, when it goes out, it goes out quickly. It will dim, and be out in less than 10 seconds. I noticed it getting dim, realized it, and before I had time to do more than turn around the light went out. And then, something happened. It was pitch black all around me. I knew the general direction of the boat, but visibility was poor that night and I couldn't see my work-lights shining from the boat to help orient me. My eyes adjusted quickly, and then Shazaam!! There was an explosion of light and glittery color, all around me. It startled me, but I quickly realized I was in a phosphorescent kaleidoscope. I'd kayaked on a phosphorescent pool in Puerto Rico, which was amazing, but we were only allowed to touch it. Now I was a part of it. My hand movements elicited a glittery glow with every swipe through the water. My feet sparkled at ever foot fall. My foot bumped the hose, and traced it back to the nozzle. The rocks, sand and water movement going up the nozzle made it glow like a shimmering light ring. This was amazing. If my light hadn't gone out, I never would have seen it. I turned and followed the hose back to the boat to get batteries. I still had to work on my paycheck after all.

When I surfaced, the northern lights were shining a dull halo over Nome. Not the most impressive display, but I feel lucky to have seen them so much that now I'm a bit of a Northern Lights snob. What a lucky man I am, to have all these incredible experiences happening, all at once. 

Friday, August 14, 2009

Old thoughts revisited

When I was working in Vernal, Utah, I had the opportunity to park a trailer on BLM land and live completely alone for 4 days a week. I haven't told many people about it simply because it wasn't something I was doing in an effort to get attention. It was so personal I wanted to experience it alone. Plus, how do you pepper that into normal conversations- "I work in a mine and live in a trailer for half the week." The questions don't stop. I'm over it now. This is something I wrote while doing that.

-I don't know if there's anything I can contribute to the world of thought and literature that hasn't already been vocalized or documented. I don't know if any of my thoughts are original to anyone but me, and even in that case I think most of my thoughts are just like finishing someone else's sentence from something I've read or heard. The only thing I seem to know enough to give my life for is work and reading.

I'm living in a trailer for half the week where my nearest neighbor is 5 miles away; a real life, modern-day Thoreau. Except he was even more long-winded than I am, and he built his cabin. Whatever. I'm really just following in the footsteps of Chris McCandless, and Eustace Conway, and Henry Thoreau and probably a thousand other hippie-philosophers who had an itch that lead them to scratch it in the solitude of the wilderness.

And half the week I'm a landlord and home remodeler; trying to make sure color schemes and "feel" are all complimentary in an old house. I think it looks better than just putting lipstick on a pig, but maybe my realtor isn't being honest with me. Is capitalism okay for those of us who want the simple life? Even the simple life costs money. And usually the simpler things get, the more time they cost. And in the end, that's what all this is about. How to use my time. Franklin Covey has it right, it would seem.

Middle Children of history. Another borrowed phrase. But I believe the dialogue from Fight Club 100%. Ours is a spiritual war. In the information age, in all of our exponentially doubling wisdom, we are redefining and rethinking everything. And we're getting a lot of it wrong. And a lot right. Its a war of information. A war of words. Some people say there was a war in Heaven, and God and Satan fought. God won, but Satan has dominion here. I've thought about what that war must have been like. No one died physically. So, we have another parallel information war. A war where the only weapon was logic. And we have a similar situation here, except that logic isn't always truth, as we saw with O.J. Maybe O.J. needs a dose of the Walden Pond too. Or maybe he'd just stab the ducks.

I wanted to get away. Not start over. I like the life I've made for myself. I have good friends, relatively nice things, healthy food, great family relationships, no love interest- which is a void thats always present but I'm not going to start watching the Notebook everyday or anything. Starting over makes it sound like you screwed up somewhere. I didn't. I just had a longing to try something different. I've listened to too much Pink Floyd. Or maybe not enough. 

But if 95% of people live, die, in various levels of social and economic mediocrity, why buy into a career? Why follow the model of debt accumulation, debt payment, with a 0 balance for 10 years at the end of your life when your knees need replacement and your bladder control is questionable? The underground hip-hop group Atmosphere calls this dilemma "from the cradle to the grave, from pampers to the depends." Another borrowed thought.

And just because its different doesn't mean its productive. Because we all have a stewardship to use the talents we have productively. Like it or not, we can't feel good outside of growth. And growth comes from doing hard things. Not just for the sake of doing a hard thing, but things that are hard for us personally. I had fear of confrontation. I still have fear of confrontation. I trained with cage-fighters for 4 years. I fought twice. I no longer fear physical confrontation, though I do get nervous every time I have a verbal confrontation. Information war. And I'm a sissy.

I'm not sure how it worked with Thoreau. But living this joint-custody life with myself, half-ferrel/half-domesticated, has been really interesting. When I go home now, I almost feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience. I hear the conversations, take part in them, but its like I'm going through the motions. The little nothings really are nothing to me. I can feel the stillness building. I don't know if other people notice it. I'm finally starting to just be because of my sojourn in the wilderness. Meaning from anonymity.

I'm getting to be comfortable with the idea of using an outdoor toilet; flushing with dirt. The Africans squat over a hole, even indoors. Their toilets are flush with the floor. In a hospital they had real toilets, and a sign inside that said, "don't stand on the toilet." Sitting on a toilet was as foreign to them as squatting is to us. I wondered how my dad would handle that sort of set-up with his fake knee. Maybe Africans don't get their parts replaced. Maybe life-span doesn't last long enough. Maybe activity keeps them healthy. I didn't see a McDonalds there. I'm sure there's positive correlation there between ability to squat and lack of McDonald's.

I haven't made time to do much exploring until today. I took my guitar, took off my shirt, and went to an outcropping of rocks right above my trailer. I got to the top, and it overlooks the entire Uintah basin. And I laughed a laugh I don't know if I've laughed ever. When I was a child, I think I would laugh for no reason other than some sense of happiness that had no understanding. I got tickled. I laughed. Big deal.

I've been to Africa now. I've read hundreds of books of human suffering. I've read and watched the news. People are dying everywhere.

The other day in Yoga, which to me is physical and relaxing all at once, I was thinking, "How dare I, enjoying myself while people are suffering." And I then asked myself, "what would they be doing if they were me?" And the answer hit me so powerfully, like a cricket mallet of truth across the butt. "They would be enjoying the reprieve as completely as they possibly could. They would be happy, and living and laughing. You do not dishonor struggle with laughter, you celebrate it for those who wish they could have things better." 

I like to think that these eyes that look on the world are the eyes of an experienced man. A man who is not disillusioned about the nature of things, but is still happy to be alive. And when I looked out on that valley, I laughed a pure, guileless laugh. The laugh of a man who sees something beautiful and remarkable and awesome and is filled with an energy that is completely spiritual. Basking in the purity of nature.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I'm a corporate reporter for a home security company called APX. I write internal news stories and have a 7am deadline every morning. So, I roll out of my cot at 5am, pull the pants on one leg at a time like any other human being- but then I write golden stories. 

Anyway, I get on a quad to go to a place that has an internet connection. As I'm about to leave the beach, there's some kind of fuzzy, rumbling thing in front of me. My eyes focus, and I'm looking at a bear's hindquarters. Its brown.

He lumbers up a hill, and I keep driving around his way on the road. I'm new at this Alaska stuff, so I remember thinking to myself, "Uh, do you follow bears?" But he was running away from me, so, whatever, right? 

He/she- (funny how I got sexist in my description of the bear. No guy wants to be scared of a girl, even if its a bear-girl. I have no idea if it was a girl or man-bear). He/she was about a quad and a half in length. When you're chasing a bear, you compare it to your own relative size. If you're bigger, you're okay. If not, well, proceed with caution. Moose, for instance, are not impressed by the size of a quad, as one of my friends up here got chased for 3 miles by a cow once.

I keep on chasing, though following would probably have been a better description of what I was doing. We were rolling through the boatyard now, and he/she ducked through two containers that I thought were physically impossible for him/her to fit through. I had to drive around them, and he/she was 75 yards off by the time I got around them. 

The bear was heading across the Tundra back towards our camp, though probably 50 yards off. And he/she was really cooking now. I called one of the guys at the camp and told them, in a voice which retrospectively must have been giddy/excited/(and I'm ashamed to say) a little blubbery. "dude, there's a bear. Its running. Its going past the camp. Its, a bear." If it had been a 911 call, the operator would have said, "Um, sir, slow down. Fire, medical or police..."

In Alaska, however, you hear "bear", you grab your gun, which is what Scott did.  I just wanted him to see it, but he didn't understand it was just a zoo experience. He got back on the phone and the bear was long gone. He thought the bear was at our camp. I just wanted him to see the fuzzy guy/gal. 

Then I drove the quad to write my stories. Another day in Alaska. Surreal. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


When I first started working in a mine in Eastern Utah, I loved the anonymity and the newness of it. I loved the masculinity of the work; the sheer physicality of it. I loved how dirty I got. I loved the necessity of a shower after work. 

An opportunity came up to go to Alaska, dredging for gold. I was formally offered a position on a Tuesday. On Wednesday I accepted. Thursday, after work at the mine, 20 of us were laid off. Over the course of 2 months they laid off half their work force. Interesting how when one door opens, sometimes the door closing slams you in the butt.

Don't know what's with me and wild, open places. I wanted to go to Africa for that reason. I wanted to see stretches of land where I was the only person. I saw it. It was beautiful. I wanted to see Alaska for the same reason. But its only since I've lived here that I've realized what its all about.

Its a search for stillness. So, so very hard to find in the 'real' world.

My first week here, a good friend of mine, Bo Gardner, came to visit and we drove from Nome to Council. Council is a little outpost group of homes/cabins/shacks about 2 hours south-east of Nome. The drive follows the coast, then goes inland. I can't remember when I've felt more like Christmas than what I saw on that drive. It was like God had saved a special mural just for us, and 30 years into my life he was finally willing to share it with me. Lord, it was beautiful. 
The greens and shades of greens inside of greens. The shacks. Even the evidence of man in the form of rusting machinery and discarded this and thats can't detract from it. All evidence of work and industry. Hard to begrudge the abandoned tools of a man's dreams.

We went fishing, and I hadn't fished since I was a kid. Felt bad for the suckers- never really caught anything anyway. But now, well, we needed the meat. I was fishing of necessity. Caught 4 grayling in exchange for 10 mosquito bites. The Lord giveth and taketh away.

Just like Africa, when you frame pictures in Alaska, it frames itself. Because of the 22 hour day, most of which have been overcast, the lighting has been perfect. Dusk is a great time for photography, but it usually is a small half-hour window. In Alaska, dusk lasts from 9pm-12am. 

I came up here to dredge for gold. The process is simple and is applied to creeks, rivers, lakes and for us, the ocean. You vacuum up silt from the floor of the ocean, the sediment runs through a sluice box which sorts the gold from the sand/rock/nothing. Someone has to be on the end of the hose to direct the flow of sediment. Enter Ian Foster. 

I now find myself in Nome, Alaska, living in a big WW II Army tent on the beach, diving in 50 degree water, running an 8 inch vacuum hose, 20 feet deep on the bottom of the ocean for a living. Its totally nutty. Working in the mine was sissy stuff. 

Last time out I dove for 4 hours. At the end, I had to unclog a rock from our hose. When the pump turns off, it turns the hot water off too. We keep hot water constantly pumped to our suits... So, no hot water, I came up to the surface. Couldn't see where the rock was. Went back down the hose to visually inspect the hose with a flash-light. (it was 1am.) Couldn't see it. Came back up. Went back down to bang on a bend in the hose with a hammer. Came back up. Still clogged. Took a rope back down, tied it off at the nozzle. Come back up for good. I can see my breath. 

I'd been in the water for 20 minutes. Shivering. Glorious. You can FEEL that. It isn't sitting at a computer moving stuff from one electronic box to another all day. You can feel the life in your body. And its beautiful. And miserable. Can't remember a time I've been more miserable since I got to the Denny's in New Mexico a few years back after a 5 hour motorcycle ride at night. I ordered 6 cups of hot water and just let my hands hold the cup to warm up. Took 6 cups before I could unbend my fingers from the motorcycle grip they were frozen in. Misery along those lines. Marvelous misery.

And the whole package deal, the job, the town, the people, the setting, and Alaska, I keep wondering when something really bad is going to happen. Can it really get as good as this? People leave the keys in their cars when they walk into the store here. People know each other here. They let you shower at their homes because you're living on a beach. 

The dredging community is really connected here. All the men that do it are the loner types. Some have wives, but all feel compelled/pulled/drawn by the silent seduction of Alaska. She's a lover that seems to say, "keep pushing forward, there's something else if you dive longer or go over that hill or try that river. You may just find it. You just may." And they keep trying. 

And I've seen gold on the bottom of the ocean. You vacuum through a layer of sand to 8 inches of rock, but there, on a layer of clay, 1 foot below the ocean floor, you can see little flecks of gold. An ounce of gold isn't that much. In flecks, it takes up about as much space as the first two knuckles of your pinkie. And I trade my time, energy, and put my life on the line in one of the harshest seas of the earth for this golden rock in such damned small amounts. Even the ironies of Alaska are monumental.

But its still. There's manly drama as you're likely to see anywhere men who know it all are trying to get something done; but without the nastiness of women, man problems are so easy and innocent.

 "Swear word, that guy is an idiot isn't he?" "Swear word, ya. I sure know better than him. Swear word." "Curse, sure glad I know better than him and I'm not as stupidly retarded, Cursing curse." "For sure. Spit. Scratch. Curse." Eventually men talk or fight about it, talk again, figure it out, then have a drink. 

And all the while, the wind off the Bering Sea gets cold, and warm. It gets sunny and cloudy. The day never ends. And there's a stillness, even when its busy. I can feel it soaking into my bones like those warm cups of water into my hands, 6 years ago.