Seward, Alaska - So Much Awkward, So Little Time

At the Pit Bar
With the speed and reach of an STD in Cancun during Spring break, news of my blog's existence has spread through Seward. Unlike an STD though, this is good as well as bad. The advantage is that my audience has grown. The disadvantage is that I find myself slightly censored by my awareness that whatever I write is being read by people with whom I live and work everyday.

However, the truth needs to be told and if you amuse me and/or act like an idiot, I remain dedicated to writing about it as honestly as possible. If you are offended, you should first look inwards.

Concerning amusement, it's time I wrote about one of the strangest and most entertaining characters I've met up here. In my very first post from Seward, I mentioned that I'd been dropped at the wrong residence by one of our drivers, Buddy*. As it turns out, that incident was a prophetic indication of the general confusion that embodies this man. Buddy is in his early sixties (my best guess) and wears his white hair in a stylish ponytail (I use the term 'stylish' loosely). And I'm not sure when things went awry for Buddy's relationship with cohesion and logic, but things definitely went awry at some point.

When boarding the shuttle bus for home, if I see Buddy in the driver's seat, I know to prepare for the most erratic, nonsensical, meandering conversation I'll hear for a while, during which I will not be able to get a word in, and which will be curiously bookended by the same sentence, almost word for word. Sample below:

Me/Any employee boards the bus
Buddy: "You know I have a daughter that's older than you. She studied psychology. She lives in Seattle. She's out there in Seattle. She loves it. You know they keep asking for rides from the small warehouse. They shouldn't do that. They call up and ask for a ride and then want to be dropped downtown. And they should walk. I walk 3 miles a day, you know. And I'm 30 years older than them. Did you try that Thai place yet? Those spring rolls? They're good."
Me: "No, I-"
Buddy: "You should try it. Did you get the coupon book? Get the coupon book. It's good deals in there. I'm doing that Subway marathon too. Are you doing it? I signed up. Those spring rolls are good. And that Cristos too. Did you eat there? You should."
We reach our destination.
Me: "Alright. Thanks, Buddy."
Buddy: "You should sign up for that marathon. They can't keep asking for rides from the warehouse. I have a daughter that's older than you, you know. She lives in Seattle."

I should mention that Buddy does not require you to be boarding his shuttle in order to engage you in unsolicited chatter. He need only spot you from afar, where you are perhaps trying to rest quietly on the bench and enjoy the sunshine, and he will speed the shuttle through the gravel parking lot, kicking up shitloads of dust into your mouth and eyeballs and then open the bus doors, lean back in his seat and yell a conversation at you. You are not required to offer much in return, aside from regular agreements and clear acknowledgements that you are listening (he gets quite aggressive about that part).

The only explanation I've encountered that could potentially shed some light onto what the hell is going on in Buddy's mind, was the day he walked into the office and announced, once again and without any appropriate introduction or segue, that he walks 3 miles everyday, but followed it up with, "I never used to walk. I used to be fat. That was because of the alcohol. I was an alcoholic then, did you know that? But I gave it up, you know. And now I walk everyday. Did you try the spring rolls yet? I walk 3 miles everyday."

I haven't tried the spring rolls yet, but that monologue was probably the most sense Buddy ever made.

As for assholish behaviour, this week's highlight was when a young fisherman walked up to our office entrance and stood on the threshold. He had just returned from a fishing trip and his overalls and xtratufs (boots) were covered in fish guts. Moreover, he was holding a massive dead fish in each hand. One step further and he would have been inside the pleasant, clean-carpeted, front desk area where we were all the picture of neat professionalism.

So he stood there, with the two moist, dead fish dragging on the ground and proceeded to ask me if I wanted to join him for a dinner of grilled salmon. "It's fresh," he claimed. No shit? 
"It saddens me to decline," I replied. "But unfortunately I'm going to be working late."
"Because some asshole is dripping fish blood all over our entrance and I'm going to be cleaning it up for the next 30 minutes."

Romance remains, as ever, heavily in the air up here.


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