WHO IS THAT MASKED MAN, CITIZEN?

Here is my latest piece originally written for the Quilcene Community Center Newsletter, offered here to get a few more eyes on it:                                        

        Seasons

It is still SUMMER, technically, the season when lines of tourists seem to roll up and down Highway 101, passing through Quilcene on the way to somewhere else, mountains or beaches. They come through in bunches, more than five vehicles, typically, and despite the signs and pullouts provided along the Hood Canal, all are stuck behind someone towing a boat or trailer, or both.

Yes, some drivers are slowed by the seemingly random and constant road construction, some do stop (for directions or hand-dipped ice cream), some (hopefully out-of-staters, locals should know better) are stopped, pulled over. This (make note) is usually by the Village Store, caught up in the seemingly random but constant speed trap, usually by the Washington State Patrol, though the ‘Staters’ seem to be spelled by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputies.

So, if it helps balance the books and they don’t get me, great.  

FOOTBALL- There are, for some folks, two seasons- Football and Non-football. No, that’s a bit simplistic. There’s the Pre, the Season itself, and the Post; and, for a true Seahawks fan, if our team isn’t in the Superbowl, we go back to following all the intriguing stuff that occurs off season. There’s the Draft, the trades, the Combine, the Training Camp, the Drama (like, maybe Richard Sherman could come back… oh, no, Richard, no!), the Rumors about how happy (or not) Russell Wilson is. Basically, a true fan is up on everything that happens between the last game, in which, without doubt, bad calls and bad luck led to our team’s elimination, and the current season.

Yeah, so, just so you might think I’m more of a fan than I am, ask me about Luke Willson’s career-ending illness; ask me who is going to be cut from the running backs. Yeah, and I’ll ask Trish and get back to you.

As always, we have the chance to buy more team merchandise. Maybe we’ll get a bigger flag. Anyway, we’ve got a break before the first real game, and, if it’s cold enough, I go outside, sit in my Seahawks beach/lawn chair, enjoy the game right; on the radio, with Steve Raible; only running inside for a replay of some great play. Yes readers, it is true, all the network commentators and analysts (especially Joe Buck) are either against us or think Seattle is closer to Alaska than we know it to be.  

I might even break out, to go along with our Beast Mode and Doug Baldwin Funkos, my D.K. Metcalf t shirt, my Seahawks socks, my “You mad, Bro” hat.

Yeah, I mean, Yea; real fans would get the allusion.

OTHER PROFESSIONAL SPORTS- There’s, um, uh, baseball… Mariners; just, I heard on the radio, within strike out distance of a playoff berth. I think I heard that right. There’s basketball (Women’s) and soccer (Men’s and Women’s) and… oh, yeah; the Kraken. I’m not sure if they’ve actually played yet, but merchandise is available; hard to resist with such a colorful name. I’m waiting for the door mat with “Wipe your feet so you don’t track in.” Oh, they’re working on it. Toilet paper, the slogan writes itself. It’s not like I’m not a fan. If a Seattle team makes the playoffs, yeah, I’ll watch… the news coverage.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES- We have hunting and fishing and clam digging and crab caging… yeah, all those things, most of which require permits and fancy equipment, some knowledge of rules and regulations and how to actually do these things, and some desire to actually spend more money on food than one would by just going to the market.  

We have lots of water from fresh to salt, from cold to very cold. Not everyone realizes this temperature reality, which explains why, when people learn that I surf, I am frequently asked, “What, there are waves?” Not in Quil Bay. Second question, “Do you wear a wetsuit?”

Yes.

Yes, we also have mountains for hiking up and getting lost in or rescued from. I have done some hiking. Have done. Once it was to help rescue a woman with a purse who made it halfway up the trail to Mount Walker viewpoint. “What, there’s a trail?” Yes. Arnie Finley, taller than I am, was on the downhill end of the stretcher. I do have a fear that if I went hiking now… No, I wouldn’t put that burden on anyone, and yes, the woman did weigh a bit more than I do now. Plus, the purse.

PAINTING- September is the busiest month for exterior painting. People, including painters, get worried about rain and cold, as if time is running out. October is crazier; I’ll worry about that later. No, already worried.

HEATING/AIR CONDITIONING- We are at that time of the year when, at our house, the portable heater and the cooling unit with the tube that goes to the window are both set up in the living room. Even if we get another heat dome, the shorter days pretty much assure us that the nights will be cooler and the air conditioner will be put away.

RAINY SEASON- It’s coming; pretty sure. Luckily, I have my Seahawks raincoat. It’s reversible, goes with my assortment of green and blue caps.    

“Yeah, it is, technically, a mask and all, but… okay, thank you for shopping at Walmart. If you need help at the self checkout, just holler.”

COVID- You do, perhaps, remember that lovely, brief, idyllic period when people who were fully vaccinated could mingle, mask free, with those who decided, for any number of perfectly valid and occasionally changing reasons (according to them, freedom of choice being chief among them) to not get injected. Yeah, well, now we’re all back to wearing the masks (not arguing mandated versus required). I do tell my vaccine-refuser friends that, one, I can, according to the data, infect them, with the result to them being somewhere between no symptoms and death; but the odds of them killing me are, statistically, low. Oh, and two; they are taking away some of my freedom because we’re a long way away from the herd immunity that they must be counting on.

I hate wearing a mask as much as anyone does, but, in public spaces, I do wear it. You’re welcome.

OF ALL THE SEASONS, the one we’re all looking forward to the ending of is COVID. Stay safe, slow down through town. See you around.

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