30 August 2005

I Am Little More Than A Jodhpur-Clad Bourgeoisie Horsefucker

North Face fleece vest and convertible pants: $175.
Salomon trail running shoes: $140.
Ex Officio vented quick-dry high-performance cargo shirt: $95.
Coming face-to-face with what a prejudiced
bourgeoisie asshole I am: Priceless.
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Quick refresher. Two things about me:

  1. I am a terrible Buddhist. I totally suck at it. Therefore, I'm coming back as a flea bite.
  2. I am also a charlatan, a ruse of a man, a hypocrite; and now a peasant-baiting, tea-sipping, fox-hunting, jodhpur-wearing horsefucker. To wit:

Have you ever been to Forks, Washington? In a word, depressing. Hardcore poverty in the middle of a rain forest, so not only are these poor people broke as shit, they're growing algae on their backs to boot. Forks is a logging community that may have boomed at one time or other, but you'd be hard-pressed to find any vestiges of that now. How I wound up in Forks is a tune that goes a little something like this:

So you know me and hiking. I hike, like, all to hell. One place that I've wanted to hike all summer is the Olympic National Forest beaches. Olympic National Park has like a beejillion miles of beach that stretches from Cape Cornhatch (not its real name - I've forgotten what the "real" name is) on the Northwesternmost tip of Washington State, all the way south to This-Is-Where-Kurt-Cobain-Was-Born (again, not its "real" name, and yeah, probably not that far south). There are only a couple points of ingress in that whole stretch, and those are many, many miles apart. So suffice it to say, I was all over hiking the coast. So I calls me the Triple A, I does, and has 'em set me up with the closest hotel to the beach that had any "star" rating at all, and they sent me to the Forks Motel.

After a ferry ride and a couple hours of semi-circumnavigating Olympic National Park, we pulled in to Forks just as pestilentially-dark clouds rolled in and began to threaten rain. All of this served to make the town look slightly shit-holier than it probably is on a nice sunny day...which are probably few and far between on the wet side of the peninsula. Here's a thumbnail. Every single vehicle in the town - none of which is less than ten years old or fewer holes than a Gypsy Cab - has a lift kit and knobbies. There is no form of public entertainment, not even a movie theater. The liquor store prides itself on its display of high-power rifle ammunition. I presumed from all of this that the local pastimes must be four-bying and teen pregnancy. I could be right. And then there was our hotel room, which turned out to be an exploration of new horizons in mustiness. We got a couple of scented candles which did a pretty valiant job of holding the stank at bay, but even they eventually subsumed to the dankness.

Okay, so, now I'm both needing dinner and dreading what it might be, and The In Place which is right across the street from the motel (which I've now christened The Under Arms for all its olfactory offense) has been recommended by the staff as a safe place. And they're pretty sure it's been a year or two since anyone contracted ptomaine from the navy beans. I kid, of course. But we head on over, grab a seat, and are greeted by water glasses embossed with greasy handprints. Nice.

So let me cut to the chase. The food was all "home made" (viz., not canned off-premises in some factory). The potato salad was outstanding, the pie even moreso. The waitress, indeed, all of the townsfolk that we encountered were genuinely friendly to the point that my urban paranoia was raised to methamphetaminic levels. The people of Forks - at least, all the ones that I met - were not just cheery, but genuine and unpretentious despite being poor as hell and (gathering from their appearances) subsisting on an entirely iron-free diet. It's this sort of thing that leads to the ill-conceived notion that poverty is somehow ennobling. If that were true, the year or so that I spent living in my '74 Ford Maverick should make me a Poet King. However, I am not. I am a elitist, snobberiffic horsefucker and my prejudice against the logger families of Forks is almost criminal in its magnitude. There I sat, in logo-emblazoned gear from Salamon to The North Face, the purchase price of which could feed a logger family for a fortnight at least (hell, my freakin' briefs cost $40), and having the temerity to entertain condescending thoughts about the maitre d' because he's wearing heavy duty logging braces and a torn-to-shit flannel shirt that looks like somebody planted M-80s in the elbows. And this most telling feature - his suspenders were frayed at about the height of his solar plexus. How else do you wear out suspenders in the middle other than wrestling fir logs, fer crissakes? So in short, this guy does not one but two honest day's work per day, whereas I sit in a comfy office and write junk email - a task which would never promote the growth of a single callous on anyone, no matter how earnestly they pursued it.

So all of this served as a lesson to me that no matter how much I sit on my well-cushioned ass and practice chenrezig, I still get smacked upside the head with my own prejudice. It is a humbling thing to find out that no matter how much I try to reconstruct myself, I still keep running into who I am. I guess the metric of progress is that I really am shocked by how much of what I once found repellent in others I now find quite easily in myself.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.


Pendejo Baboso said...

Actually that shit does give you calluses brother; on your soul.

Lucky for you, you can see them; but yes, you probably are a lousy Budhist. It's why we come back as people. Way more suffering involved, and I, at least, deserve every minute of it.

You get a little antsy some time, cash in your underwear drawer and come see me. I don't think you ever have.

dannynutter said...

only a douche bag would spend less than $100 on man-panties. you should do what i do - dip your naughties in liquid gold. it burns initially, but when it dries, it's pretty dope. word to the wise - dunk flaccid.

Aaron said...

Hey! Whaddaya know! I also came across the fact that I'm a terrible Buddhist. Frankly, it's simple enough for anyone to see by just looking at my desk... hmm... let's see... $300 camera, $300 iPod, dual monitors, and a computer that has more lights than a rave. Of course, I'm just generally a douche for owning an iPod.