It's my day off today and I'm doing laundry instead of hiking through the park. Outside I can see my breath and it is drizzling.
I came up here for several reasons. One being restlessness from being in Austin for more than two years and still not having much to show for it other than bar tending at the Cactus, making sandwiches and a tight knit group of friends and being adopted into the "Friendly Fellers". Oh yeah, and bike culture galore. You know how you start to feel when you've been somewhere for the right amount of time? I plan on living in Austin again some day weather it be after my job here is done or years after. Oh yeah, two: a new friend, Calvin W invited me to join him here in the largest state of the Union (much larger than TX... I know). Earlier in the year I had tried desperately to find summer work at a ranch in Wyoming, found it and then it was given away. So the opportunity to get out of Texas once again arose and I snatched it. In two weeks of securing a job, I got here.
So, what is it that I do? I sell useless things to tourists. I bought one of our khaki button-up's and un-stitched the "Alaska" lettering on it. The best item we sell at the gift shop would definitely have to be the fat red suspenders (a pair of which I now own) with "Alaska" written in big black letters on each strap. If you listen to the radio stations up here, every other commercial praises the state. Every coffee shop, one on every corner in the bigger cities, is named after Alaska. Alaska Motor Works. Alaskan Native Art. Alaskan Brewing Company. The list goes on, and attaches to every industry thinkable.
Last week I went on A Big Adventure. I hitch hiked from Denali down to Anchorage to see Raina Rose play at Taproot. Within five minutes I was picked up by a nice fella named Jeff who is a contract delivery guy for UPS, and took me all the way down to an exit away form where I needed to be bless his heart. Next I got picked up by Rodger who tried to take me to Calvin's trailer off of Rabbit Creek but it was too dark and way too foggy up on the mountain side. Being a gentleman, Rodger took me to a bar/motel by the name of Al's, bought me a beer, and slapped a hundred dollar bill on the table. "Anna, this is for your nights stay. If you need anything tomorrow, you know where I work and here's my number". WOW! What? I tried to give it back but he insisted and then left.
I am constantly thankful for human kindness. He didn't have to do that but that doesn't mean that I am not thankful for him. I used the rest of the money the next morning to buy a rain coat at Walmart and it continued to rain for the majority of the day. Rodger helped me in more ways than one.
Wandering around the city for hours and hours, getting on the wrong bus route and seeing even more of the city than I bargained for, I got to talk to a lot of the homeless people in Anchorage, and learned a lot of random facts. Like the streets are lettered and numbered, but the letters skip from "i" to "k" and "j" is left out because the city planners secretary was Swedish... where the letter has no real sound. Why the oil prices are so high and last winter how it forced a huge amount of people in outlaying areas to move into town because they could not pay the gas bill... and then had nowhere to go from there. Or how that affected the "no tax" that has recently been instated in Anchorage. PS there is no sales tax here in Denali and I heard not in Fairbanks either.
Oh yeah, the show Thursday night ROCKED! I made friends with the bartender, John, who let me put my large bag in the back room, and when someone yoinked the rest of my pitcher, hooked me up with a glass of the Duchess De Bourgogne. YUM! I slept at Calvin's with his cousin Brad and two other friends that night but on the way home we stopped at the grocery store and bought pies. I'm going to miss those guys, perfect examples of everything there should be in a real man. The time I spent in Anchorage when I first arrived in Anchorage, they included me in everything and made sure I felt comfortable. Took me to granny's house for dinner, and helped her find a friends keys by taking apart the living room, vacuuming it, and putting it back together... let me tell you, that was adorable.
Okay, enough for now, pictures to follow when I get them uploaded.