Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Satisfying the bureaucracy

I can't believe we only got a four on our safety review.
Don't sweat it. We had a good summer.
We did. But we should have gotten a perfect score.
Hey, I'm happy no one got hurt. It was a good summer. Higher power only cares about the paperwork.
We will have to do better on the paperwork next year.
We will, but that's not what's important. The safety score is irrelevant when it comes to actually being safe. We could have had a crap year with people getting mangled, losing limbs, amputations, fatalities, the works and higher power would still give a perfect safety score if we had all the paperwork.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Dogs Darwin

By the time I had screamed out "Holy fuckin' shit!" the dog had already been crushed under my wheels with a gut churning double bump. I eased my foot off the brake pedal and looked into the rearview but the animal was already lost in the darkness. I didn't bother to stop.

"Stupid fucking dog" I said out loud to myself. I gripped the steering wheel and gritted my teeth in anger. It pissed me off more than anything else. I know animals don't know better than to stand out on the highway on dark rainy nights, but Christ it is hard to feel sorry for some damn dumb dog that walks out onto the highway on a dark rainy night. It is extra hard to feel sorry for the dog owner that can't keep their pet under control. It's a survival of the fittest sort of world and dogs on the highway at night just get darwined. That's all there is to it. It wasn't smart enough to survive.

By the time my wits were about me enough to think about clearing the carcass off the road so other motorists wouldn't have to deal with it, it was a half mile behind me. Perhaps I should have at least checked to be sure that it was dead. Perhaps it was a cynical bastard move on my part but I didn't do anything about it. I drove home. For the rest of the night I kept hearing an ex-girlfriends voice in my head. 'Animals deserve respect just like people do.' How the hell do you respect an animal that just shows up in your headlights on a rainy night and you can't swerve or break or even yell "Fuck" before it thumps under your wheels. How do you respect something so stupid that it can't get out of the way of something bigger and heavier barreling down at 40 miles per hour?

In the daylight the next morning I could see that my front bumper took some damage. A fog light got smashed in. Dog hair on the license plate. It made me sick. It made me angry. I was mad at all the stupid dogs in the world and all the stupid dog owners in Montana. I was mad at myself because I didn't do anything about it. I didn't know how to respect a dead dog.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Feng Shui

Sorry, this computer is running slow right now. It always works fast when I am in the back but up here it slows down on me for some reason.
I know how that goes. It's probably the Feng Shui. You need some potted plants around here.
[pause] [blank look] I have no idea what you just said.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


As I jogged past the brush it was the bicycle that first caught my eye. Laying down by the trail. And the backpack. Probably kid's playing after school. As I jogged past I saw out of the corner of my eye. A young woman, naked except for the long blond hair covering her face and the white brassier unclasped in the front. She was straddling her mostly clothed boyfriend lying back in the grass. It was a quick glimpse.

The voyeur in me wanted to turn back and gawk. I didn't. I ran on and gave them their privacy. They may or may not have seen me but I wanted to preserve for them the illusion that I didn't see them. That they got away with it.

Young people get hassled over so many things. Sneaking off for sex is a lot better than sneaking off for cigarettes, booze, or drugs. So long as they are smart enough to use protection that is. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt because it was so refreshing to be reminded of young lust.

At that age sex is exciting and mysterious. It is the big taboo it that everyone thinks about and everyone except you is supposedly doing. Everything about sex is new and interesting. How to find it, the feelings of it, the intricate workings of bra clasps. Young experimenting has a thrill that adult games in our thirties lack.

My jog left me feeling energized, pumped up for the day. I couldn't tell if it was the exercise or the erotic peek at young lust that raised my spirits.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I left my wallet in El Segundo

The whole day was building up to a cheeseburger and a beer. It was to be my celebration dinner for a job well done. Running errands through the afternoon, some exercise, a shower, cleaning up. Get dressed, grab keys, phone and… and… where the fuck is my wallet?

All the usual suspects are checked several times. My pockets, desk, kitchen, my pockets, bedroom, bathroom, car and my pockets. The ugly sinking feeling of having lost something valuable grows with each check and re-check.

The mental gymnastics are the most painful. Lets see, I had it out the other day when I checked that business card. No wait. I had to pull a buck out to buy a coke yesterday. That's it. Last place I used it. But what was in it? Drivers license, credit card, receipts, 30 or 40 bucks. Forget the money, I'll miss the phone numbers and business cards I kept there. And damn. Lost the costco card.

I abandoned plans for the cheeseburger, instead I scooted back to the office and retraced all my steps from the previous day. Looking under furniture and pacing through the garage. It's gone. One more thing to try. I stop as the gasit mart where I last remember using it. No luck. The helpful clerk girl digs around under the counter a little but no lost and found wallets.

It's gone.

Driving back home, very conscious that I have no drivers license on me, I am feeling grumpy and hungry from the missed cheeseburger. I figure I can still stop at the store and get myself something nice for my celebration dinner. It's only the wallet that is lost, not the entire day. I think chilidogs sound good. And how about a bottle of wine to go with that? Yeah. I am celebrating end of summer after all.

The checkout girl ten years younger than me asked for my ID to buy the wine. I don't blame the supermarket for adding insult to injury. I blame the universe.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


At the tone please leave a message.
Hey, I'm done! All the staff is out safe, the supplies are picked up, the garbage dumped, the tearful farewells have been said and everyone is where they belong for the night. I just parked the van, I'm done. I just had to call and tell you because -- it feels so good.

And then I stood there alone. The conclusion to the summer was a frenzy of people. I watched everyone hug, smile and cry as they parted and went their ways. People were shuttled, gear was hauled and dropped off. Now, finally, I was done. All people and things in my care were where they belonged. I clicked off the phone. The day was warm but I felt the chill of loneliness and I let it sink to my spine as I stood quiet and tired at works end.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


I was thinking about your comment the other week, you know when the newspaper reported all that housing being planned for Hungry Horse.
You know, you said that was all going to be low income housing.
Oh yeah, right.
I've been thinking about that, I think that is so true.
Yeah, rich people don't want to live in Hungry Horse, but all the waitresses and service people that can't afford Whitefish have to go somewhere.
It's true. Whitefish is getting crazy. All these outsiders moving in. Where do they get jobs?
I hear that it's mostly retirement money. Rich people settling here that don't need jobs. But they are still going to need Waitresses and clerks and lawnmowers and service people.
And they are so rude. D_ says that she wants to change her address so that no one will think she is one of those Whitefish women.
Yeah, I've heard her say that. Whitefish is getting a reputation.
I gotta tell you this Whitefish story
We were in the Whitefish supermarket the other week at the checkout and this one lady came up and asked "Which one is the Ironhorse line?" Can you believe it? Thinking they are so special that they get their own supermarket checkout line.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Hikers overheard

How can you do it? Standing around in shorts and a tee shirt like that?
You must not be from around here.
I'm from Florida.
That explains the winter coat.


Girl Hiker:
So do you have your Tylenol and Bayer for the end of the day.
First Guy Hiker:
Oh yeah. We have our painkillers.
Other Guy Hiker:
My wife is a nurse, I get an IV drip.
The wife:
Not until I'm done with it.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


You know about that fire near our place right?
Yeah. I've been following dads Emails.
Well I just wanted to let you know that we have been put on alert. It crossed the creek so that puts it on the same ridge as us. The warnings say it is supposed to flair up and be really spectacular tonight but they don't know what direction it may move, so we are on alert.
Yeah, well, we'll be watching it.
And water your lawn.
Did that already. It's the roof we worry about.
Oh yeah. That.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy Labor Day

Have a good Labor Day.
Yup. I'll be laboring.