Long, Strange Trip

I stood on a manicured lawn that sloped to an architecturally precise creek designed especially for Microsoft. I drank white wine, ate peanuts, and listened to Toad the Wet Sprocket on stage. A pair of osprey circled effortlessly overhead, rising on a column of heated air. No one seemed to notice. Clouds massed on the eastern horizon above the Cascades and I had one of those disconcerting moments when the commonplace becomes oddly unfamiliar like looking into a store front window and mistaking your own reflection for that of a stranger. How the hell did I get here?

I have those moments periodically—once on the deck of a Valiant 40 anchored at Hanalei Bay, drinking Tanqueray and tonic  just prior to my first Trans-Pacific delivery; another reading Carlos Castenada in a six-wheeled vehicle while on maneuvers with the Fourth Mechanized Division across the high plains of Colorado; and again while living on a beach in Baja California, watching the body of a sea lion slowly erode week after week. How the hell did I get here?

I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no possible way to predict where my life will lead me. (Half the time I’m not even sure where I’ve been.) I had no inkling that I would become a yacht captain or launch nuclear rockets from a truck bed or work for Microsoft. It’s just too weird to be credible.

The Grateful Dead always said it best.

Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me;
Other times, I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me …
What a long, strange trip it’s been.

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