Sunday, July 17, 2011

Making peace with being stuck

Good afternoon dear reader(s)!

Today I am typing this blog-type-thing live from a computer in sunny and not-too-hot Sparks, NV.  Even though I live in Reno, I am at my dad's house which is in Sparks.  I hate it here.  It is suburbia on steroids (or more likely, given the area, meth, but the bad drug specific doesn't really mater).  I hate it more than I hate Reno, which is pretty difficult, given how much I hate Reno.  For those of you who don't know the level of my hatred for Reno, I need to ask how you stumbled upon my blog-type-thing for the first time, because it is a recurring theme in my post-type-things.  (Recurring=obsessively bitching about it.)  Anyway, (too may people on these interwebs say anywho, so I have stricken it from my vocabulary for now.  I may bring it back once the hype dies down.)  Anyway, despite my hatred for Reno, and Sparks, and the area, I have started to notice that my seething hatred for it has seemed to be seething a little less lately.  To the point of seething-lite.  I have been looking into why this may be and have determined there can be only one answer.  Money. 

What does money have to do with it?  (Originally a song by Tina until Ike knocked some sense into her, FYI.)  Well, I'm glad I asked myself.  You see, with money, it is possible to buy things such as alcohol and other things that help you to not notice your surroundings.  Now that I have a job that comes closer to paying my bills, I have noticed that I can afford more alcohol so as not to notice that my job is keeping me in Reno.  It is a vicious circle.  Earn enough money to leave, but have a good enough job that you don't hate that pays enough to live to cause you to stay.  This is the hell that currently is my life.  The good news, is that my job will eventually supply me with vacation time and enough money to possibly actually take a trip out of town from time to time.  Which leads me to the trip taken yesterday.

Okay, to be fair, going to the lake is not really a trip out of town.  I mean, not really.  It is more like a trip in town but to a far less disgusting part of town.  Similar to coming from Sun Valley and going to Plumas.  But at least I was able to have enough gas, and a new serpentine belt to be able to get even to the lake. 

"Which lake are you talking about, oh mighty Josh?"  Well, voice in my head, you must not know very much about Reno.  Because even though there is more than one lake within 4 hours of Reno, there is only one "the lake".  I may have talked about this before in a post-type-thing, but since you obviously didn't read it, (and most likely aren't reading this), I will elaborate.  In Reno, when you go to "the lake", you are going to Tahoe.  When you go to Pyramid lake, you go to "Pyramid".  When you go to Frenchman's (which I think might technically be a reservoir), you go to "Frenchman's."  This formula also works with places like "Boca" and Lahontan".  Why does Tahoe get the distinction as being "the lake"?  Well, because Tahoe is not ugly.  In fact, the only thing that Reno can truly brag about is being within a half-hour of what is quite possibly the most beautiful lake in the country.  (There are many beautiful lakes, but Tahoe really is amazing.)  Here is a picture taken from my phone as I was hoping to find signal in order to call 911 as I was stuck on the side of a cliff yesterday.  Story to follow.
  "Wait a second, did you just say you were trying to call 911 because you were stuck on the side of a cliff?"  Yes, I did say that.  I am lying, but I did say that.  I was stuck on the side of a cliff, but at no point did I decide to try and call 911.  That would have been giving up, and I am a man.

So now I am sure you want to hear the story of how I got stuck (for a while) on the side of a cliff.  (Or more likely you don't care, but just expect me to go into the story since it is a natural segue.  Okay.  Fine.  Because Tahoe is "the lake", and because it is the only placed within a hundred miles where non-meth dependent life flourishes, and because it was a sunny Saturday, everybody and their brother decided to go to the lake.  Our original destination of Sand Harbor was not an option because the lot was full, and parking within any distance I would want to walk along the side of the road was also full.  So we decided instead to park further up the road and hike down to Hidden Beach.  Now for those of you who don't know about Hidden Beach, this is the small beach that has no parking lot, where you must park along the road and hike down to.  It is also clothing optional, but that is neither here nor there because at this point I didn't really care if I had to see some saggy nakedness to enjoy the lake.  The problem however, is we miscalculated our destination, and instead ended up hiking (more climbing really) down a very steep (sometimes shear) cliff only to be greeted at the bottom with nothing but ant infested granite boulders that were still about 20 feet from the surface of the water below.  The 20 foot jump in would have been fun were there also not boulders in the water itself.  So after about 20 minutes laying out on the boulders until realizing that we could no longer fight off the giant attack ants, we decided to leave our spot and attempt to find a beach that was less busy. 

The climb down was tough, the climb back up was retarded.  More accurately, I was retarded for climbing down without thinking of how I was going to climb back up with my crappy flip-flops and a beach bag in hand.  After a good half hour, a few near falls, a mild heart attack, bumps and scrapes, throwing the bag to Hannah once she reached a plateau, and her throwing it back so she could start the next climb once I reached a plateau about 4 or 5 times, and sweating so bad that I was literally drowning from it, we finally made it back to the vehicle.  We pulled back out onto the roadway, dodged some cyclists, pedestrians, idiot park-jobs and drove about 10 minutes in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go so we could turn around. 

Eventually we were able to turn around however, and we decided to head to King's Beach in CA with the hope we could park and actually enjoy the beach.  When we got to  King's Beach, we spent another 30-40 minutes driving around, looking for parking, until we finally found a spot that was only about a 15 minute walk away.  We finally found some beach!  We were bruised, scratched, exhausted, but we finally were relaxing on the extremely packed beach.  For about 2 hours.  Then it was time to go.  2 hours.  Am I bitter about all the work we did for a small 2 hours?  I should be, but around here 2 hours to spend lying on a beach looking at a very beautiful lake is worth all of the work.  This isn't the Pacific Northwest, where beautiful scenery exists within 15 minutes of wherever you are.  That 2 hours this weekend may be the difference between being able to stay sane here for another month, and shooting a man in Reno, just to watch him die. 

And so I realize, that if I can leave here enough, and since I like my job, and it pays okay, and if I get to take a multiple day vacation within a few months, I may be able to make it here a little longer.  I just hope I don't become one of them.  (Yes, I know I was born here, but I feel as long as I continue to resist, I will not be one of the Reno people.)  (Also the fact that I am not interested in doing meth probably helps with that.)

One other thing that seemed to make the last week okay:  I got a grill.  I have a cheap charcoal grill that works just fine and the other day I made kabobs.  I went to WinCo where I usually do not go because of the section of town I happened to be in, and there it was, staring at me in all of its yellow glory.  I haven't had one since Summer, 2008.  I found a big, perfect looking Walla Walla Sweet Onion!  Maybe I can make it here for a while after all. 

In case you have never had a Walla Walla Sweet, let me say that you have never had an onion.  Oh sure, you can find jumbo yellow onions all the time.  Some are even sweet.  They look pretty similar.  But make no mistake, there is nothing as good as a Walla Walla Sweet.  In Seattle, you would wait for them to appear in your local grocery store, shipped over from the East side of the state (hence the Walla Walla) every Summer.  You could also get them for a couple months as Kidd Valley Onion Rings.  (Kidd Valley = so-so burgers with amazing onion rings, specifically when they had the Walla Walla Sweets).  It is almost as exciting as waiting for Copper River Salmon to hit the stores.  I didn't have any during my last Summer in Seattle, but now I have found them at WinCo.  And it was good.  And the clouds parted, and Josh looked down upon the land and decided to spare it.  For now.  My kabobs were excellent.  Here is a picture of the world's greatest onion.  Admire it, for it has changed my wrath into forgiveness, no sheep sacrifice necessary. 
So until next time, dear reader(s), give praise to the Walla Walla Sweet, the lake, and alcohol.  You may not have known it, but they have spared Reno from the fire and brimstone I most certainly would have rained down upon it without their calming influence. 

Take care of yourselves, and each other. 

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