Thursday, April 5, 2012

What, Me Worry? I'm Not Worried. Are You Worried?

Beyond any reason I can come up with so far, I have been anxious about this trip to the Eastern Aleutians.  When I made plans to come several weeks ago, I had the same, but stronger, feeling and eventually the trip was cancelled due to inclement weather.  I am now in the midst of this rescheduled trip which, obviously, has not been cancelled, but we are experiencing weather that isn't usual for this time of year in this area.  I'm supposed to be flying on to Sand Point on Friday, and then back to Anchorage next Tuesday, but I'm not really counting on much of anything to be as it is supposed to be. 

It's all right, though.  I'd much rather be grounded in bad weather than flying in it. And I don't think the difficulty in traveling is necessarily the root of the anxiety.  I got into town yesterday afternoon, got a ride from the tarmack to the B&B where I'm staying, but the downhill driveway was so snowed in I didn't want to drag all my luggage through the icy slush and mud, so the clinic staff member who was giving me a ride, took me over to the clinic where I re-packed my personal belongings in a new little piece of luggage I bought at the airport before leaving on Monday.  I met people I would be working with, spent a bit of time parking my equipment in the exam room I would be using for my low vision assessments, and then just piddled around for a while. 

We had made arrangements for a staff member to take me back to the B&B and pick me up this morning for my appointments, but I decided to see if I could rent a car instead.  They gave me Bash's number and I called him.  Not a rental agency.  Just some guy in town who has a lot of cars.  He's not set up to take credit cards and he said I should just wait til I get back to Anchorage and send him a check.  He brought over some sort of good "bad-weather" vehicle that smells like the old 1974 two-toned green Ford Ranger that made its rounds through several members of my family.  (My brother gave it to me back before the turn of the century.  I haven't owned it for several years now, but being in this rental evokes happy, sun-filled memories.) 

Bash drove me around town a bit to show me where I  might get groceries and Chinese food and mess at the Peter Pan cannery for $10 a pop.  As we drove around the cannery, down by the docks, we saw a lean-looking hound come running toward us.  Bash rolled down his window and whistled at his dog to come follow us and that lean houndy-looking dog did just that.  "That's my dog."

"You don't want to stop and put him in the car with us?" 

I thought he had escaped from a fenced yard or something, but Bash just said, "Nah.  He can run.  He likes to run." And so he did.  That happy, trotting bird dog ran along with us, overtook us when he saw some magpies he wanted to show off for and even tried to chase some birds in flight. 

After dropping Bash off, I went to the grocery store and bought some Fritos and cheese dip in case I would need something to eat that night, hedging my bet against the unknown Chinese restaurant fare.  And then I acutally went to King Cove China for dinner.  Drove back to my bed place, parked up the hill from the driveway which besides not being fit to lug luggage down is also not fit to drive down at this time. 

So far, not such a hair-raising experience, right?  A little more sincerely quaint and folksy than previous trips and let me just say right now that a lot of places I've visited in this state could claim at least a degree of folksiness. (I drove around town this afternoon when the sun was shining to see what there was to take pictures of and I think there's a law on the books that drivers have to wave at each other.  I'm not making this up.  Every single driver I passed waved as though they were obliging a long-standing custom of King Cove, Alaska. If you know me at all, you know I like waving, although I caught myself just tipping my chin up a couple of times instead and feeling like an old man in a saddle. "Howdy, Ma'am.")

I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself.  I'm still trying to figure out the anxiety part of being anxious on this trip.  I was safe and warm last night in my comfortable little room with a cat doll at the door.  There are cat statues of various types in various places in this home.  I walked out of the bathroom and saw a big marmalade tabby out of the side of my vision sitting on a bed, looking straight at me with glassy eyes.  It didn't move.  I looked closer.  It didn't blink, move or otherwise appear to be alive, but it was very real looking.  I walked in closer and looked harder because damn! that was a real-looking fixture.  Was it stuffed?  I mean, there were fox pelts hanging over the backs of chairs here, too.  You never know what you might encounter when you're on this planet.  (I'll write about the real-live foxes outside my windows and a few other interesting little things that I have taken pictures of after I get back into Anchorage where my camera/phone network actually works.) 

As I turned to walk out of the room, the cat statue blinked slowly. OK.  Now that's settled.  Then when I saw a similar looking, less real marmalade cat doll lying by my door, I jumped a bit, feeling relieved that I hadn't stepped on it's tail.  There I was again, faced with a cat that didn't move, but this one had a good excuse.  It wasn't real. 

I finally got to sleep last night and had a horrible nightmare.  I dreamt that I had blown off all my appointments, completely missed my whole two days at the clinic and gone back to Anchorage not having done anything for anyone.  Why didn't they call me when I didn't show up?  I thought, "Boy, those people really are casual!" Now what am I going to do?  All that expense and trouble to get me to King Cove--how do you fix that one?!

Fortune smiles brightly upon those who finally wake from nightmares and can say, "Whew.  I'm glad that was only a dream."  And I had a wonderful day, today...EVEN THOUGH I FORGOT TO FINISH GETTING DRESSED BEFORE I WENT IN TO WORK!!

I didn't discover this happy fact until I was back in the exam room taking off my coat. Getting up that slickery hill to the car this morning took a lot of faith, hope and bargaining.  There was no way I was going to go back and finish getting dressed.  I would wear my coat all day long if I had to. The one with the buttons that popped off when I climbed on the toy airplane wing. Or would I run back home and get the top layer to my layered top?  I wished I could go to the office and call home for someone to bring my clothes to me.  Why wasn't this just a dream, too? 

Hmmm.  Black pants, black shoes, black long-sleeved pajama top.  Could I pull off being "emo" today?  Well, I was just going to have to.  And you might think it's not such a hard thing to do, to work with people who don't see very well and stay in the room and not walk the halls.  Ahh, but you would not be knowing that I also had a presentation to give to the staff.  Standing.  In front of strangers with perfect vision in a conference room.  Pretending that I was fully dressed in the right clothes to be giving a presentation.  Standing.  In front of people.

And this was only my first day.  I still have people to work with tomorrow, two more nights to stay in this cute little place on the hill with no window treatment on the big bathroom window.  How long can I go without showering?  I mean, yeah, maybe there are no houses out that way, but I know there are animals on the hills--I've seen their eyes shining at me.  How can a person get undressed in a room with a big picture window that is not covered, especially at night when she can't see what's out there?  Could I maybe just get undressed and dressed in the shower behind the shower curtain or possibly wrap myself in a towel and run back downstairs to my room to get dressed?  Yeah, that's better--running half naked through a stranger's house where there really are other people...and a cat...or maybe more.

To recap:
  • People are eerily casual around here
  • I can't tell the difference between live and stuffed cats
  • I know I'm just going to have to go ahead and fall on the driveway to get it over with
  • I actually went to work in perjammas in a fully awake state
  • And stayed there
Maybe it was the MSG in my dinner last night, but I still don't know why I began this trip feeling unsettled about it.

5 comments:

Laura said...

Aw,Penny. I'm glad to hear at least one cat was real. I was afraid the cat wasn't real, but still blinked at you. The story could have gone in a completely different direction. As for the perjammy top... Well, better luck next time. Maybe those sighted peeps thought you were just too brilliant to be bothered with unimportant things like appropriate clothes.

Roybn said...

Penny, I never comment but I always read your posts. You make me chuckle and smile, and mostly be very impressed with your beautiful, nonchalant style of writing. You have the ability to invoke me into thinking that I am riding alongside you in the old vehicle, waving at folks as you coolly lift your chin.
Cheers to more adventures!
Robbyn

Penny said...

Bite your tongue, Laura--I would not have wanted the story to go in a blinking stuffed cat direction! Thanks for the comments you two! I love the adventures, but it's much more fun to share them with someone than to try to savor and understand them myself!

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Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

live and stuffed cats... hahahahaha you just made my day!