Spaghettification: On coming home, after a long time away.

Driving along the gray asphalt “Scenic Byway” that is Langley Loop: wind, rain, and the vestigial radio waves of talking heads hit my windshield as I make my way to drop off my next resume.

Plop, splash. Plop, splash. Plop, splash.

The rain is heavy today.

My wiper blade knocks aside all externalities and brings me back to reality. I’m in the driver’s seat, trying desperately to come up with a metaphor that isn’t cliche whilst maintaining the attention of the reader. The gray of the asphalt and the skies above me are as gray as the love in my soul and the shady dealings of the government that I occasionally work for.

I grew up on this island. Every time I come back from the jungles that are my life in mainland America, I find something new. Little changes here and there. Nothing too drastic as to cause a tidal shift of the status quo, but the evidence is everywhere: this island is changing.
Smiley and West is playing on the radio, tuning out the sound of the Pacific Northwest air hitting my windshield, as I drive on toward Langley.

“America is evolving…This is a different America…” The voices are saying. I have an inkling of hope in my heart that I am going to accomplish all the things that my teachers promised me back in middle school. But then I come back into the reality of my world: in this nation, promises are about as good as the bills that they are printed on.

Damn, I need a job. Maybe if I had a job I wouldn’t be such a nervous wreck all the time. I don’t have any money, and the bills are starting to pile up even before I’ve used the services. Medical, dental, food, gas, phone, electricity, memberships, plane tickets. The list of things that I was warned about in high school to save up for, but never bothered to pay attention to. I had that Superman attitude, and look where it’s landed me. Broke, no job, owing my university, topped off with a medical profile so that I can’t lift anything more than a coffee cup without putting further risk to my health – let alone show up for drill and make the military liable for my ass. It’s a quick fix, but who has the money to pay for medical insurance these days? I hope the Obamacare website gets its glitches sorted out – i’ve used the thing three times already and I still haven’t gotten remotely close to applying for coverage.

The “Lost Generation.” That’s what they call us. We are a generation of men and women raised on movies like Fight Club and Swordfish, where the good guy doesn’t always win in the end, and he who controls the economy becomes the master of politics and government. We are a generation of individuals who gained our freethinking baptisms after Joe Wilson told us that we had been spoon-fed misinformation by the Bush administration at the start of the long, bloody war in Iraq a decade ago.

To me, it felt like a supreme slap in the face – a wakeup call, to always research something before I commit myself to it. From this life that I have lived, I have learned that nothing in this world is what it seems at face value.

Here I am then, standing in the entryway of the Star Store, wondering if they’ll even read my resume, or just toss it into the round file for later amusement as a backdrop for their favorite game: pin-the-tail on the resume.

My references: the Mayor, two ex Mayors, half the School Board, ex City Council members, a plethora of former multi-national corporate has-beens, a former President of the Boy Scouts of America, the regional director of the Daughters of the American Revolution, politicians, Generals, Admirals, and a few professors. They say it’s all about who you know that can land you a job, right?

I can basically put anyone I want on this resume, but I doubt very much that even if I write Gary Locke’s name and email in-between the monotonous college ruled lines of this resume, I will get a call within a week.

I heard a stomach-churning statistic a few weeks ago: something about how a startling percentage of resumes get tossed out simply because of the font. The font. It’s not a very positive sign to any future employer to know that I haven’t had a day-to-day job for more then four consecutive months at any time in my life. I pray to God that they don’t ask me about my grades.

‘Well, here goes nothing,’ I think, as I step onto the brilliantly patterned tile floor that covers the surface of the store. The light of the store is surprisingly welcome to my insomniac eyes as I stand attentively, waiting for the manager. After a few tense moments of conversation, I am back out in the atmos, with a delirious look of confusion on my face.

‘Now what?’

For a few moments, I live up to my predestination to wander aimlessly the ends of the Earth combing the skies and the seas to find wherever it is that I fit in, and whatever it is that I will enjoy occupying my time with for the rest of my mortal life. And then I hear music playing. Rythmic thumping emanating from a passing vehicle pulls me out of my trance.

I look down both ends of the alleyway that I’m standing in, hoping for some revelation of at least a minor proportion. Nothing happens. I walk on.

I am truly one of the Lost.

————

The sweet aroma of barbecued ribs wafts on the wind as I step out of Good Cheer Thrift store and begin walking past Joe’s Island Music back toward the Star Store. I get asked five times a day where I got my jacket, my vest, my cardigan, my tie, my shirt, my shoes. Nine times out of ten the answer is always the same: the thrift store.

I’ve been shopping my way up in the world long before Ben H. and Ryan L. (the duo behind the hit band Macklemore), came out with his song called Thrift Shop. In recent years, I have managed to come into fruition in understanding how a jacket is really supposed to fit, where the end of a necktie should sit, what different colors represent, and more.

Richard P. Davis, the Financial Advisor at Edward Jones Investments in Freeland, says that one of the most important things to remember when existing as a member of society is to never, ever spend more than your income. It’s the first sound financial advice anyone’s given me since I left this Island three years ago to go through Boot Camp. If I had had this man’s help when I graduated from the US Army Combat Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in 2012, then I wouldn’t have spent nearly as much as I did over the last two years.

————

It’s 4:30pm. It’s funny how this time of year it’s called “evening,” when the last time I was here it was just “afternoon.” The fog is visceral and surreal. Streaks of stratocumulus are impaled upon by the pink awe of the raw power that is the sunset in a Pacific Northwest winter.

I get in my car. Turn on the radio.

“In Seattle, it’s going to be cloudy…” and some story about China and another one on Florida’s citrus industry.

I feel the onslaught of sleep needing to come on.

I end my night enjoying a Dairy Queen Blizzard whilst listening to a segment about what happens when you get closer to the event horizon of a black hole. They call it the “point of no return.” They’re using an analogy to compare it with Niagra falls and a canoe.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve stepped beyond the point of no return in the black hole that is my life. Especially when I feel my body being torn apart limb from limb. “Spaghettification.” That’s the technical term.

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