Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Koh Samui, Koh Phan Gan, And The As Yet To Be Seen Soccer Ball--

Posted by PicasaWe just wrapped up a "tweener" job that we've been on and off of for quite some time today.

It started out as a "garage" and then a garage with a small studio apartment, and then a covered deck was added and then could we do the skin as well? The skin turned out to be elaborate cedar shingles, and our other customer, who is expecting us to have her two story done by Christmas, is just down the street from my house tap tap tapping her toes while we try and wrap up everything else we had going this summer and get our thoughts collected once again.

We have a crew of about seven folks. Out of those seven, two are going to Thailand shortly. I guess that's why I have Thailand on my mind. If I could sing like Ray Charles, I'd have a song cooked up in short order. But I can't. So you are in luck...

Such is the life out here in rural Oregon, especially as it nears the Takilma valley, that losing one of your employees to "Harvest" and another to a South East Asian art buying trip is the norm. We have a young Carpenter/laborer, who has been showing up to work late on a daily basis, because he has been "up all night" guarding his marijuana plants from being ripped off. Apparently, there are three people in his household who have "medical" marijuana permits, which allows this young man the legal ability to grow large and well cared for plants, right in plain view. What this means is that he can grow and dry thousands of dollars worth of marijuana legally, and then sell it illegally and head to Thailand for a two month vacation, leaving still more money and herb at home to take care of the three "needy" people.

Sure it's a scam. He's beating the system. But in this neck of the woods, beating the system is seen as a sport and the "system" is quite often seen as an "enemy" worthy of manipulation and getting one over on. Men in uniform are seen by many as alien creatures who are out to "get you" and societal rules are seen as too restrictive and ill-concieved. So our young laborer is netting a whopping chunk of easy money hiding behind the good intentions of a set of laws designed to give people relief from pain and suffering, (and not promote ill-gotten trips to Thailand.)

But on the other hand, this poor young man hasn't slept well in a month, as people roam the nights looking for his type of situation to rip off in the stealth of darkness.

I guess you could say he has paid for his earnings in worry and sleep deprivation.

I guess you could say, he "has earned it".

That's a matter for the courts to decide. Me, I'm just interested in the fact that he is going to Thailand shortly, and will be meeting an old high school buddy there who inherited a large chunk of change and decided that traveling around in cheap countries was the ideal way to keep your inheritance intact and live off your interest.

Hell, I would if it were me...

I asked him what his plans were. Turns out, he is flying in to Bangkok, then taking a short flight down to the airport built in 1989 on Koh Samui and is going to hang out there until they figure some stuff out.

Koh Samui? I spent about 1/100th of my entire life on Koh Samui. Back in the day...

The other guy going is my friend Wizard. OK, his name is Steve, but he has been known as Wizard ever since he got himself kicked out of the Navy down near Stockton way back in the early seventies. Steve was a "wizard" with a guiter and the name has stuck. Sometimes he shows up to work with a beret on that looks like a hackeysack. Those are the days I call him hackeysack head. Sometimes I tire of the long name, and I just call him Wizsack. Those are the days he refuses to tell me stories.

Wizard can really play the guitar. No foolin'. He's a wizard at it. And he can usually tell a good tale and is quite liberal with the jokes he has learned. If it weren't for Wizard, our jobsites would be droll places, with my lips flapping most of the day trying to keep the harder working carpenters entertained and the atmosphere convivial.

Wizard gives me breaks and keeps the party hopping. Wizard is like a second act and an intermission, and an aside and a beer break all in one.

Wizard is the guy that makes me not look quite so bad. For Wizard likes to banter and thwack, just like me. We are the bantering thwackers, Wizard and I. Gather 'round...

We''ll cut wood, bang on boards, and tell you an old saw whether you want to hear it or not.

We''ll tell you tales until you are blue in the face. I'm not kidding. We have that effect on people.

Wizard and his wife have a side business selling mushrooms. Funny enough, they are the legal kind. They sell Shiitake mushrooms to all sorts of vendors. Wizard takes off some Thursdays early, so he can drive the hour into Medford to meet his mushrooms coming off a plane.

Imagine that.

His wife also sells Asian art and clothing. This means that she goes on buying trips throughout SE Asia, India, and Nepal. You could say she has a pretty cool gig going if you are into that sort of thing. Do a little bit of traveling. A little buying. A little R and R on a beach somewhere eating banana pancakes...

Wizard decided that his wife might need a little help this trip and is going for three weeks. I told him he should go for six. He said, "But what about the mushrooms?"

"Oh. The mushrooms."

We mustn't forget the mushrooms.

Wizard is not going with our other fella. He is meeting his wife and a friend at a different date. But he is also flying into Bangkok and then hopping on a plane to Koh Samui.

Koh Samui. Imagine that.

Which brings me back to what I originally wanted to say. I am going to continue writing out my Koh Samui tales on the post below. If I were to be hit on the head tomorrow, I might forget I had a really great time in my yesterdays. Call this an insurance policy on my part. Call it an extravagance and an indulgence and an egocentric exercise in self elevation.

If you can call it all that, you are well suited for writing movie reviews in your local paper, so give it a try. Me, I'm gonna go write about Koh Samui and Gottenburg Sweden, and the prettiest girl I have ever seen in person in my entire life...

And yes, I will eventually get to the part with the soccer ball...

Today, Wizard asked me if I knew "Wilson" and the Tom Hanks movie where "Wilson" was the name of a soccer ball on an island. I said no, but I know about islands and soccer balls. The combination almost killed me.

And I'll tell you how, eventually.

I swear.

I hope you'll still scroll down and join me...

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