Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I won't deny taking the road less traveled

One of the things people that have read this blog have probably come to the conclusion of is that I have made most of my life on the road less traveled.

I won’t deny it.

I’ve done any number of things that most people haven’t and approached things the way I have seen them.

While I have had a lot of the same problems most people have had, there are a few things that seem to happen to a person that takes the road less traveled.

Most people seem to be content to go along pretty much with the status quo and not really question anybody or any thing unless it really starts directly affecting them.

One of the things I face periodically is that the world I live in is vastly different than most of the rest of it.

Few people I know have lived in a tipi in the Rockies for 14 months and hitchhiked to Alaska and worked in the Alaska fisheries. Few people have worked on the water as a career, either.

A lot of people watch the Discovery channel and watch a series like “The Deadliest Catch” and think they have an inkling of what the fishery or the lifestyle is all about.

With the exception of other people in the same boots I have been wearing there are not too many people that can relate to an old salt. Most of the Discovery Channel watchers fail to see that the show shows only the part of the entire fishing game that the Discovery Channel wants their viewers to see. There’s a lot more to the game than meets the eye.

I won’t get into the dark side of the fishing game here. Let’s let that side of the game rest.

A lot of guys in my shoes can put on a pretty good shore side face, and I suppose sometimes I can, but there are times I feel alienated by people that have no clue.

Several years ago I raised holy hell with a local TV station because I got tired of their star weatherman assuring the sheeple watching his weather program that ‘the storm has blown itself safely out to sea.

As someone that has weathered the so-called Perfect Storm and ran for cover into Portland, Maine and stayed there weathered in for about a week I can say that storms do not blow safely out to sea.

At any given time there is somebody out there trying to make a living and when you consider that about 90% plus of the world’s goods travel at least partly by water it affects us all.

I guess I raised enough Cain over the issue because the weatherman stopped using the word ‘safely’ when a storm headed out to sea, but is sure added to a feeling of alienation.

Still, damned few people realize that so much travels by water and that people have to run the vessels that take these things there.

I met an old guy a while back that worked in the steel mills in Pittsburgh years back and he groused about how the steel industry died off years ago. When he asked me what I did, his reply was, “That just affects the coast.”

I asked him what they did with the steel he made and he said that they just stacked it outside to he hauled off.

Little did he know that the steel mills were build along the shores of the Three Rivers so they could be shipped downriver and to ports either in this country or over seas. I didn’t bother to try and set him straight because like a lot of people, he simply was not going to believe it.

He is not alone.

I confess that over the past several years that I tend to have an attitude toward a lot of people that have not taken time to look around and explore a little bit about the world around them and at least try and figure out that there are people behind the scenes that make things as we know them possible.

Then again, maybe something is wrong with me because when I go to a restaurant I look around and try and figure out what is going on in the kitchen or when I go into a building I try figure out how it was built.

There’s not a whole lot I tend to take for granted.

Over the years I went for quite a number of years keeping some of stories of life to myself because there were a lot of people that thought that living a life the way I have is impossible.

I have been called a bald faced liar when I have explained to someone how the fisheries worked when I lived there, so I kept quiet for a number of years about it.

I’ve had quite a number of other adventures in my life, too and this blog is one of the few places I have shared some of them because I grew tired of the questioning.

I attribute a lot of the adventures I have had in life to simply being willing to follow childhood dreams and work at making them happen.

As an older man that is looking ahead to his so-called ‘Golden Years’ I see that the time I have left is limited and that there very well may be unfulfilled dreams.

I’ve always dreamed about starting in Quito, Ecuador in a dugout canoe and starting down the Amazon River to see the plants and animals there before they are gone.

Back in ’89 I was hired to put together an expedition, but it fell apart instantly when the people sponsoring it got a dose of reality when they saw that there was not going to be a Howard Johnson’s Motor Inn to pull into every night.

I guess I’ll never get to see that one.

The other thing I’d love to do is get a couple weeks with the troops in Afghanistan to meet them in their working environment and interview some of the first term soldiers, reservists and National Guardsmen and write a few feature stories on them. There people are our friends and neighbors and deserve to have their stories told.

This one is still in the realm of possibility and I’m going to look into it a little more carefully and see what I can see, but at my age I am going to have to work pretty fast as time tends to fly by pretty fast.

Anyway, I will admit to taking the road less traveled and although the path has not been worn smooth by everyone else’s footsteps and it’s been pretty rough in parts, it has been pretty satisfying.

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