The last couple of weeks have been busy ones. Apologies to the legions of fans following this blog.
This week, I’m pretty sure I came in close to sixty hours, clocked…plus some time off the clock. The plant manager who hired me took off to Europe to see his wife for the first time in three years. I’m “filling in” for him temporarily, though the main job seems to be keeping the flow moving and making sure he doesn’t come back to a smoking crater in ten days.
A bit ago, I touched on the “Why Sarasota?” thing. The answer was simple. I ran out of money in Tampa, and Sarasota was the next stop on the line. I did know an old friend who lived a bit north of here, but I was looking for a fresh start. A lot of this blog was about proving a simple point.
No matter who you are…no matter where you are, you can survive. You just have to want it bad enough.
I don’t mean “want” in the way most adults (and children) use the word. I mean WANT. If getting a job means getting up at 3AM after sleeping on the floor of the Salvation Army, you do it. If it means working a fourteen or fifteen hour day, you do it. Work on Sunday? DO IT.
That, my friends, it the definition of want.
We can all piss and moan about the lack of jobs, or affordable housing, or Obamacare, or what the fuck ever. The jobs are there. The housing is there. I think of it this way. A diabetic might WANT an automated insulin pump system…but NEEDS a bottle of insulin and a needle.
A lot of the good things that happened to me on this trip was the result of some fine friends back home who wired me some quick cash. Another was a staggering amount of luck, both good and bad.
I still haven’t found what I was looking for here in Sarasota. I’ll lay over here for a bit, stash away some cash, and keep getting ready for the next leg. It might be a week down the road, or a year. Part of the problem is a simple one.
If you don’t really know what it is you’re looking for, you never really know if you find it.
When personal icon/hero Hunter S. Thompson wrote “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas” he claimed to be in a search for the American Dream. What really happened was simpler. He was a storyteller, and his friend Ruben Salazar was deep in the shit. He had to get his friend out of town for a couple of days before he woke up with his throat cut. They took off on a tear ass journey to Vegas, and with some side work HST justified book expenses. Salazar became the character of the Samoan Attorney, and the rest wrote itself.
That search for the American Dream. We’ve all wanted to go out tear-assing across the country looking for the undefined and the undefinable. On that journey, Thompson discovered a country ripped to shreds by opinions of war, double dipped in a drug war, in the midst of an economic meltdown. We were in that no-mans-land between the sentiment of the sixties and the raging ruthless crush for cash that would define the 1980′s.
Yup. The times certainly have changed. I guess nobody else sees any parallels.
One thing about journalism and its current state struck me hard on this trip. A couple of weeks ago, there was the story of the possible national truckers strike, threatening to shut down the DC beltway.
NYT, WaPo, HuffingOnPaint, every national media outlet ran pretty much the same story. Nobody knew if it was real or bullshit. We would just have to wait to find out. Every story looked and sounded the same, like the reporter had made the required three calls, asked the required questions,filed the required number of column inches, then left the office for the day for the required shots at the home bar before the requirement of doing the old lady.
Blind luck put me at the Flying J Truckstop in Ruther Glen, Va…just six miles from the “rally point” for the protesters. If they were going to DC, there was a 90 percent likelihood that they would stop there to fuel up first before going to the rally.
How hard would it have been for AP or Thompson/Reuters to pick up the notes from somebody already there, or at the very least chase a local reporter out there and give him a national story credit? It was so impossible, nobody bothered.
A friend has the Sustainable Journalism Alliance website. I can see why he is worried about the state of journalism. We’ve grown too complacent. Even if the smell of blood in the water draws every shark within twenty miles, some sharks do have to keep moving and keep hunting, and chomp down on anything they come across just to see if there is any meat to it.
Thus endeth the lesson.