My mother and I are really very different, and, as I learned over a long hard winter of living together, different in ways that drive the other a little nuts sometimes. I have no problem leaving my pyjamas on the floor, I’ve never really understood the point of making my bed when I’m just going to crawl back into it later and wreck it in my thrashy sleep, and I generally have no idea of where my cell phone or keys are, but goddamn it, my spices are always alphabetized. How can you live in a house where the spices aren’t alphabetized? How do you even know what you have? It boggles the mind. No wonder the woman has four bottles of chili flakes.
Likewise, I could sense her agitation as my leaving date loomed as I was doing nothing to prepare. She was online everyday reading about Ketchikan, checking the weather reports, looking at maps of it and trying to figure out where the company I work for is and maybe where I live. Everytime she tried to tell me some new fact about my soon-to-be temporary new home I put my hands over my ears and went “LALALALALALA!” She’d wait til I was done and then say “Okay one more, and then I’ll stop. Did you know Ketchikan…” “LALALALALALALA!”
Mom’s a planner.
I prefer to not have preconceived notions. I was going somewhere, and I would be employed and have adventures and that was enough.
When I arrived I knew precisely two things about Ketchikan: it rains a lot and there’s a lot of salmon.
I was picked up at the airport bang smack ontime by the housing coordinator, and we took a ferry to Ketchikan, where she gave me a very brief tour of downtown where I saw lots of quaint old businesses like video rental stores- for real!- and then took me to my new home, where I was rather non-plussed to find I’d be living in a house with seven other women. Now, I swore to myself when I had my place in Istanbul that I’d never have another roommate, and I felt I had made concessions in just sharing a corporate apartment with another lady, and now there were seven other ladies to contend with? Hmmm.
It has worked out better than could possibly be expected, though. The house has two levels that are more or less self-sufficient, two full kitchens, three full bathrooms and a powder room, and a glorious backyard.
We each have a cell-like but functional room with a small bed, a desk, a chest of drawers, and a mini-fridge.
We range in age from 23 to 68. Our peripatetic natures tie us together, and we get along well, but the three thirty-five year olds, me and ST and AC, have banded together and are often to be seen as a unit, smoking cigarettes in the backyard, or pooling resources to make dinner, or cackling over rot-gut (and rot-brain) whiskey. We also have among us a former zoo vet-tech who worked with big cats, a lady who sails tall ships normally, a lady who survived Bob Jones university, a forensic scientist, and a girl who until yesterday had never been on a plane and had never traveled further west than Alabama.
So here we are.
I am the only one in the house who can cook. I do not mind at all.
My time has been filled with training- long, long hours of it, followed by hours spent gossiping and story-telling in the back yard. (I hope you don’t mind if I don’t tell you who I’m working for or even what I’m doing, specifically. Protecting the innocent people who hired me and all that.) Sometimes, though, I go for walks.
I’m about to go to bed, because I have to report for work at 6:45 tomorrow. Here are some pictures, though, from the last 13 days of my life: