Absent much of the past couple years, I too late realized I’d never taken full advantage of employment opportunities while in Mendocino County.
The mistake was trying to fit my squaresville employment existence into the round hole of an “alternative lifestyle” population. So many of my neighbors not only didn’t work, but didn’t know how to work. Or care to learn.
I should have joined them. Instead, my jobs always began at, say, 8 a.m., toiling for bosses expecting me to wear shoes and not smoke dope during the morning break, and also to return to work after the morning break. Those dead-end jobs demanded I show up again the following morning and do it again, five days a week!
On top of that employees were expected to accomplish something of value while on the job, be it stock store shelves, rotate a few tires, break rocks in the hot sun, wash dishes or shingle a roof. But looking about I saw swarms of fellow Mendo-ites who never pounded a nail, punched a time card or owned a pair of shoes. Yet they did quite nicely.
An entire sub-strata had found a way to survive and thrive without ever hearing an alarm clock or the rantings of a boss. The word “commute” was foreign. Our free-spirited sorts danced barefoot to the beat of a different bongo drum by morphing themselves into astrologers, chakra analysts, oracles, visionaries, tarot card professionals and other lesser divinities.
It’s not like they had to attend night classes to begin advertising themselves as spiritualists, clairvoyants or dog whisperers. And today, much too late, I mutter: “I could have done that!” All I would had to have done was follow the oft-repeated wisdom of the Anderson Valley Advertiser regarding reinventing oneself every morning, and providing the world a new history, a new past, a new name.
Thus, into a land of palm readers, goo-goo voodoo, sorcerers and crystal ball gazers, I am now an Augur.
What better vocation for a lazy old guy, and where but Mendocino County to offload my teachings? I was once mystified at the people who believed woo-woo nonsense in an age of airplanes, the internet and Xtra Spicy Doritos. Now I see opportunity.
If alchemists, scientologists, financial advisors and TV evangelists are free to prowl the land, why not an Augur? Mendocino County remains plump and receptive to any earnest proponent’s illogical quackery.
Enter Me. Draped in ermine robes and sporting fancy headgear, an Augur should find lush harvesting in a land where an Albion thrives and a Greenfield Ranch persists.
Already a steady parade of aura gazers, herbal pharmacists, soothsayers and healers of every sort imaginable, and a few that are not, prey on credulous half-wits longing to make sense of their confused lives.
Entrails, contrails, fox tails and tall tales should be irresistible to those eager to consult an Earth Mama spiritual advisor, but not a clergyman. In this context an accomplished Augur, appeaser of obscure gods and also a Board Certified tea leaf analyst, would be hard-pressed to keep the barefoot flocks from his door.
Will agents of good fortune grant a hopeful customer lottery winnings? A consultation with an Augur specializing in goat entrail interpretations shall reveal all. One dollar, please.
Will planetary movements bode ill and fill a life with woe? Let’s dunk a young maiden strapped to a chair into the Eel River for the answer. This may take a while.
But if she remains silent when she surfaces, your troubles have only begun.
East Perkins is hurtin’
I only served 40 years in Ukiah so don’t take my word, but has East Perkins ever looked more forlorn, more deserted and abandoned than here in 2023? Can it be that the cleanest, most inviting buildings are gas stations?
The ex-Savings Bank satellite office at the corner of Pear Tree Plaza looks (especially backside) like a bombed victim of the Watts riots. Across the street, a series of shops rotates among manicurists, travel agents, massage parlors, recruiting centers, now a DMV storefront, tomorrow a realty agent, next month a tattoo parlor, next year a vape shop. Or three.
Further west, the old Lido Club / Sunset Grille is boarded up, a BBQ restaurant is gone and forgotten. The biggest furniture store Ukiah ever had, Curry’s, will wait a long, long time to find a new tenant, unless some government offices are needed for their ever-expanding mutations.
The very last stamped tin building in town has the city’s architecture protection team eager to bulldoze it so something bland and anonymous can be thrown up. Insurance office maybe? CBD outlet?
Bisecting the whole dismal mess is the Homeless Hobo Highway, awaiting many millions more dollars in funding because everyone is very excited about seeing it extended to Calgary.
Of course criminals need somewhere to go. The county jail can’t hold them all.
(Happy is Tom Hine to be back in time for the Iditarod regional competitions held this week in Redwood Valley. He has no pup in the race, but TWK is backing a Huskydoodle named Doritodog. (Special thanks to Kraft Foods Inc., for generous sponsorship endorsements.))
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