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January 17, 2017

Return to Riverside

On Sunday, I guilt Jennifer into coming up to say goodbye before she moves back into her dorm in Boulder.

It wasn't something she felt compelled to do - only because I guilted her into it.

We negotiate that we'll go to Sonic for lunch. She drives me to the Sonic in her BMW on the backroads, and gets confused and drives to the Safeway instead.

"Why are we here? I thought we were going to sonic."

Why aren't we at the Sonic? Why is she driving instead of me?

At the Sonic, we order lunch.

Suddenly, it dawns on me that this must be what it feels like when your kid comes and checks you out of the old folks home. I'm wondering where we're going. Now, I'm wondering if I'm not in an old folks home? How would you know for sure.

I don't want to be in a home. I'd rather be dead that be locked up like a rabbit in a hutch.

I decide to check all of the doors when I get home to make sure they're not locked from the outside.

Jennifer leaves in her BMW and drives away off to college. This is always the hardest part. I don't really want to be here anymore. This is too hard. I'm not strong enough for this. I don't really want to go on, this way.

I fall asleep with the cats and, in the morning, I'm awakened by someone opening my front door and coming up the stairs. Part of me wants to grab the M1911 US Army Colt .45 out of the night stand and meet them in the stairwell. But another part of me thinks, "It's probably someone you know that doesn't need to be shot," and the calmer persona prevails.

It's Jody, here to help me clean up the place. I always feel guilty lying in bed and watching her clean, s this time, I get up and try to clean up my bedroom as much as possible. Like...just trying to get rid of all of the clutter that I have no use for.

At some point, Jody leaves, and I'm alone again with the cats.

My phone rings and it's some woman trying to get me to pay my mortgage.

"I just want to pay it off. Why can't I just pay it off over the phone?"

"Sir. The most you could pay is $9,990.00."

"OK. Fine. Then that's how much I want to pay. $9,990.00."

After a while, she admits that she can actually only take payment of $9,984.63 for some reason.

"Fine. Then do that then."

I set my alarm clock for 5:30 a.m. and try to get my things ready to go bak on the road. If you commute between two different time zones, only the neurotic survive. Like, I've got to be able to hit the ground running in Ontario, and that means I have to have my CA keys, helmet, jacket, boots, gloves, riding pants, laptop, cell phone, chargers, ear plugs, head phones, macbook air, and all chargers. Like, you think maybe this is easy. It isn't.

In the morning, I'm going through all of my gear to make sure I'm not hosed when I land in CA and I realize that I'm missing my KTM motorcycle keys. I start to panic. A wave of fear washes over me. Fuck. Where are my fucking keys. See, this is what you have to do. A neurotiic maniacal attention to detail is the only way the timid survive commuting across timezones like a surfer on LSD.

I start the Jeep and back out of the driveway. Plates have been expired for over a year. The steering column collapsed, and with one headlight and a cat-scratching post to hold up the steering column, I drive off across the dark snow-covered streets to the airport and catch a flight into Ontario, CA.

At the gate, I explain to the lady, "I need a pre boarding pass."

Normally, they just ask you a couple of questions:
1. Do you need assistance boarding the plane?
2. Do you have a medical condition that requires you to sit in a certain seat.

But this time, I'm sort of out of practice, and I'm having a harder time convincing her than normal.

Do you need assistance boarding the plane?


Do you have a medical condition that requires you to sit in a certain seat.




No. I mean what is your issue. Is it a medical condition?


It's a lie, but not one that anyone feels comfortable delving into.

DO you have a boarding pass.

I show her my phone.

Now, she prints me a boarding pass and staples the Preboarding ticket to the back of it.

This is the genius in the who boarding process. This is what separates me from the dull,huddled masses. No one else catches on. Hell, I flew half a year before I figured it out. But, eventually, it dawned on me that the handicapped were boarding before me.

Now, I'm seated comfortably in 2F and some idiot comes walking onto the plane and proudly tells the flight attendant, "I'm the first of the regular boarding process," whatever the fuck that means. Like, he thinks he's leading the boarding process. Instead,he's so stupid that it doesn't dawn on him to look around and wonder how I got on before him. There's clearly nothing wrong with me, aside from a bad accent.

I sit on the North side of the plane, just for a different view, and promptly fall asleep as soon as we take off. When I wake up, we're descending over the Nevada/Kalifornia border.

Now, Big Bear Lake and Snow Mountain.

I was away from California for nearly 4 weeks (from Thr Dec 22nd - Tue Jan 17th). But I've been away from Riverside for even longer, because I was in Oakland the last time I was in CA. The last time I was in Ontario was Thursday Dec 15th. So, I've been gone from Ontario for over a month.

And now, I'm catching the shuttle to Long Term Parking and I'm hoping I see my bike.

A guy on the shuttle bus has a model of a cargo plane.

"Let me guess.....it's a C17 Globemaster III," I offer.


"How'd I do?"

"You did good."

"It just bothered me enough that I looked it up to see what it was."

"Hey man...that's freedom. It shouldn't bother you...."

"No. I don't mean the planes bothered me. I mean it bothered me that I didn't know what kind of plane it was and I was seeing it every day."

I'm searching the parking lot as we're driving slowly down the middle in the shuttle bus and lo and behold. There it is. My great orange pumpkin. Sitting there, plain as day. Been parked there for over a month in Long Term Parking. I jump out and run up to the bike. Hop on it and shove in the key Turn the key and it starts up, but kinda rough like.

i'm trying to remember if I ever fixed the clutch or not and how to tell if it has gas. All of this stuff I forgot because my memory sucks so bad. So bad. Now, I realize I don't have my gloves or boots. Not sure where they are. Hmmmm.

It's cool, and my hands are cold, as I'm running down through the LA basin going triple digits. My GPS isn't charged so I'm just sort of following Highway 60 and trying to follow the signs.

I get into work and the C-17's are just flying like mad today. They're constantly taking off and landing. I wonder if Trump didn't tell them to get ready for something. My boss has moved to the cube right behind me so he can watch what I'm doing. This isn't a good sign.

The place is packed with people. It seems like they are taking over, and pushing us out. More of them. Less of us. I wonder how much longer we'll be here. My contract is up in 6 months. In the afternoon, we have a status meeting and decide I have to come clean.

"Look....my contract is up in 6 months. Are y'all going to extend me?"

"Well, it isn't a problem. There is plenty of work. We would normally extend you, but you need to figure out how our customizations work in Commitment Accounting."

"Look. I'm going to be honest with you. I'm suffering from Alzheimer's. That's why I'm having issues."

Like..there. I said it. I don't care. It is what it is. If I'm fired, then OK. But, I can't keep pretending like I'm OK. I'm not. I'm far from OK.

But, the beauty about laying it all on the table is that...I'm being honest now. I've made clear what my problem is. If you want someone else in here, I'll understand. But I'm not pretending everything is OK any more. This is the problem. I've got a bad case of CRS disease. (Can't Remember Shit.)

But, from this admission, comes a new understanding.

"That's fine. It's not a problem. How about you start each one of our one-on-ones with "this is what I was asked to do last week" and "here is my progress on these items".

And, the beauty is that, in a ll of this, is a little bit of freedom.

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 17, 2017 at 10:17 PM


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