I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
Well, it's not exactly like All Hell Has Broken Loose, but considering that a week ago I was enjoying the sweltering heat of of the sunny Southwest, coming into the office this morning was a bit of a challenge for a number of reasons.
First of all, I've never been a "morning person", one of those disgustingly cheerful types who springs out of bed at the break of dawn with all the drive and energy of an amphetamine-fueled super-Samaratin, ready to battle the forces of gloom with a mouthful of perfect white teeth, and that annoying twinkle in the eye that just screams, "C'mon! Things could be worse! It could be raining!" Especially when it IS raining. No, I'm more of a "late morning, early afternoon" person, or more accurately a "night" person; I'd much rather stay up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. and arise at a civilized 10:00 or 11:00. But of course, one can only do that if one is either independently wealthy, on vacation or working the swing shift. Well, the vacation was quite nice in terms of sleeping in, but that's over and done with now, and it's back to crawling out of the berth at 6:45.
And to make things just a bit more interesting, the company where I work my "day job" decided to lock out 130 union production and lab personnel last week, after they rejected the company's latest contract offer. Fortunately, the union hasn't set up any pickets, but for the time being we have to park at an off-site location to be bussed in to the office -- it's sort of like being in high school again (hence, another example of "life in Hell"), including company-catered box lunches and closed-campus policy. Expressing the mood of many, some anonymous wag put up a makeshift sign next to one of the busses in the parking lot, "The Shawshank Express" it declares.
And of course, it looks like summer is now officially over, thanks to the impending seasonal west-to-east shift of the Jet Stream as it moves off the cooling north Pacific and onto the comparatively warmer North American landmass, dragging a procession of low-pressure ridges behind it like a long stream of soggy parade floats. It's tough going from Phoenix/Las Vegas where the daytime highs hover well above 100, to overnight lows in Seattle that are roughly 50 degrees cooler. It was inevitable of course, nothing this good can last forever, and there's still always the possibility of seeing the last-gasp, Indian Summer conditions of mid-October that are one of this regions best-kept secrets. But, you know in your bones, your stiff, cold, achey bones that winter is just around the corner. Your bones are telling you to by-Gawd get your lazy, vacation dulled butt in gear, put the shorts and tank tops into storage, pull out the sweaters, and give the outer wear a good spray with the Camp Dry, because the Alaska Express is on its way, and now its just a matter of time.
So, the air is getting cooler, the storm clouds are gathering, night is falling earlier, green is turning to gold and azure, the geese are flocking, the tourists flying south, the snowbirds are heading for the desert, and the sun is saying "sayonara Seattle, it's been fun. See you next year. We'll do coffee."
Meanwhile, in a room in a mansion overlooking the City of The Angels, a man on the low side of 60 thinks his final thoughts, the lyrics to a song he once wrote:
From the President of the United States
To the lowliest rock and roll star
The doctor is in and he'll see you now
He don't care who you are
Some get the awful, awful diseases
Some get the knife, some get the gun
Some get to die in their sleep
At the age of a hundred and one
Maybe you'll go to heaven
See Uncle Al and Uncle Lou
Maybe you'll be reincarnated
Maybe that stuff's true
If you were good
Maybe you'll come back as someone nice
And if you were bad
Maybe you'll have to pay the price
Life'll kill ya
That's what I said
Life'll kill ya
Then you'll be dead
Life'll find ya
Wherever you go
Requiescat in pace
That's all she wrote
And then he closed his eyes and went to sleep. He won't be hearing the alarm clock in the morning or the train whistle in the night. He won't see the sun looking angry through the trees. And although I'm not a God-fearing man, I still hope Heaven helps him, because that's what Heaven is supposed to do for those who leave.
Hey, Warren you're ride's here. You're on your way.
on 4:20 PM