Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Life's not fair!"; 4-29-09

Let's face it, life just isn't fair.

Last night I was watching play-off basketball. Another nail biting close game; I was on the verge of losing another finger. The young up-starts vs. last year's champs (whom I loathe; my feelings for the "greenies" is equal to how I feel about the terrorists and those sickos who poison candy at Halloween).

Final seconds...game on the line...an easy score coming to tie the game for the up-starts...and then it comes...a cheap shot to the head! The greenies mugged the up-start on his way to the basket. Clearly that was a flagrant foul; the penalty for which would give the win to the upstarts. But no! The refs wimped out. In the face of a very hostile crowd they don't make the call. Greenies win. Make a dirty play and win the game? Life's not fair.

We see it everywhere. Life's not fair.

I wrote previously about traveling to another country to see the dentist when my neighbors get a dentist who comes to them...for free...and many don't even care to go. Life's not fair.

Two young women each have a baby. One labors, seemingly without end. Another drives up to the window and hollers at the speaker "I'll have an epideral with an easy delivery...and make it snappy; I'm in a hurry!" Is that fair?*

Where you live, I bet you have an unlimited choice of restaurants and coffee houses to choose from. Any time you and your sweetie want to spend some time enjoying a romantic dinner or linger over a cup of high-priced brew, you simply drive down to the corner. Starbucks awaits.

Here we must use our imagination, put a candle on the table and cook it ourselves. (I must say though, my brew's not too bad.) We live in a wilderness, and the new definition of "wilderness" is "a location exceeding 50 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart, or lacking cell phone service".**

Side note here; when I returned home last week, I really had a good laugh. Our plane flew from Fairbanks to our regional hub village (look up older post regarding "hub"). Three people who were on the plane with me got off and all immediately attempted to use their cell phones. Imagine the smirk on my face as they kept pushing buttons and scratching their heads in confusion; attempting to get a signal that was three hundred miles away.

Where you live, hundreds, thousands or perhaps millions of people dream of "getting away from it all" and long for a place that is Wal-Mart free, Starbucks free and cell phone free. The expense and difficulty for them to get there is roughly equal to me going grocery shopping. What can I say...life's not fair.

So get over it! The greenies will likely win this play-off series and move on. Both women had healthy babies (But I know which one is cuter!). You're stuck with Wal-Mart and cell phones. I'm stuck with canned food and migratory waterfowl. Life's not fair, but who ever said it was?

My advice is to make the most of what you got. I don't think the Lord is overly concerned with our circumstances; I think He's a lot more concerned with how we handle those circumstances.


* Attention family members! This was meant in fun.
** My defintion; not found in any dictionary I'm aware of.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

4-15-09

It's a little tricky blogging about northern life while I'm here in So.Cal. My computer is telling me it's minus six back home; I look out the window and here it's sunny and nice.

So I just thought I'd pass on a link to something I just read. I've never attempted a link before so let's hope I can pull it off.

Don't forget, today is tax day.

Nope. I can't get it done. Sorry.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

4-07-09; "In the land of Oz"

Today I am somewhere over the rainbow. Two days ago I spent a clockful of hours in planes and airports, traveling thousands of miles to get here...and here is nice.

I haven't seen any witches, fair or otherwise. No houses are falling out of the sky (though some look like they may have). There are a couple of little people (I can't remember what they were called in the movie; "Lilliputians" I believe go with Gulliver, the original "little people" belong in Ireland, the "Lollipop Guild" is the best I can come up with). Anyway, the two shorties here are loads of fun.

It's a weird thing to go from village Alaska to Mexico, by way of places like Anchorage, Seattle and San Diego. A rapid sucession of cultures, climates and clothing (to name only a few of the variables) streak by with little time for the viewer to make adjustments. For me it went something like this...

Leave home (several feet of snow on the ground, temps still below freezing, warm clothing required), fly to Fairbanks (where it is slightly warmer), then to Anchorage (where it is warmer but feels colder), then to Seattle (where lots of people are tanned and wearing shorts!), then to San Diego (sail boats and aircraft carriers in the harbor, warm temps, palm trees, here I expect shorts) and today I was in Mexico.

This is a great place for food, cheap gas, kidnappings and (one of my favorites) "Bonafont" con limon (flavored bottled water; really hard to find in rural Alaska).

Yesterday I went to the dentist (Dr. "Raoul")) to get a tooth fixed. That right there is really weird. People in my village have a dentist who comes to them, it costs them nothing, and even then many people don't care to go. I travel thousands of miles to another country, visit a dentist who speaks little english, and I'm thankful for the opportunity, happily paying him to fix my tooth. Go figure.

Today I was waiting in line to cross the border, in an old black car with no air conditioning (mercifully, it was not hot). As usual, numerous "vendors" approach the car, selling food, beverages, even crucifixes. One guy wanted to clean my windows, but there was no point, since the car was really dirty. Where would he stop?

A few things made a memorable impression. The first was a guy carrying a black trash bag over his shoulder (Santa Claus style) and giving me his sales pitch. My Spanish is very limited; all I could make out was "tacos". Hmmm, tacos in a trash bag?

"No gracias" was the appropriate reply.

Then there was the slow approach of a car with a loudspeaker mounted on the hood, procaiming something about "Tamales", interspersed with lively mariachi music. Now, I love tamales, and mariachi music is OK once in a while, but the tamale version of my childhood ice cream man is not my style.

"No gracias".

Then there was the smartest guy in the lot. He strategically located his cart close to some portable toilets and under a tree providing some scant shade, his large unbrella took care of the rest of the sun, and his folding chair leaned back comfortably against the wall that separates these two nations. He appeared perfectly content in life.

It reminded me of a passage, in Job (or is it Jonah?) about each man sitting in the shade of his own vine. He wasn't doing a booming business, but then who was? Had I felt compelled to shop, he would be my choice of vendors.

I smiled, took another sip from my chilled bottle of Bonafont (con limon) and creeped ahead in the slow line of cars waiting to make the transition from one world to another.