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January 19, 2018: Splitting Hairs

This is a most apt title for this dispatch. Read on. On Tuesday, when I drove to class, the road conditions were worse than bad. Here, things looked good. It wasn’t snowing or raining, temperatures were in the 30s. So I set out. Murphy Road was a little icy, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.

I got to the Glenn Highway – the road was icy and there was some glare. I averted my eyes when the oncoming cars approached. I turned onto Palmer Fish hook Road. It started to rain. The road was icy. I started to get scared. Cars that were lined up behind me passed and their tires threw a rain snow slush mix onto my windshield. I could not see anything and

when I turned onto Trunk Road I went too wide and ran into the snow berm. A car driver behind me honked their horn. I stopped the car and rolled down the window so I could see where I was. A dozen cars passed by. I pulled back onto Trunk Road, a major thoroughfare, and with my head out the window, drove at 10 mph down the road. The rain spattered my glasses. I removed them. I somehow made the turn into the Mat-Su College road. And I somehow made it to the far lot. I then just sat there, shaking, for what seemed like a long, long time. The thought, that I could have been killed has come back to me now, repeatedly, many times.

I decided that driving when it’s dark is out for me, no matter what the road conditions are. Getting a new vehicle is not a possibility right now.

On Wednesday I was supposed to go to a rehearsal for Untold Stories, an event in which seven readers each tell a story in seven minutes. I did not go because Tuesday’s event was fresh in my mind. I let the event organizer know this via email.

Today I went to get a haircut, and Betty, who is a co-organizer of this event immediately began reading me the riot act for missing the rehearsal. Then she said that she was behind on her appointments so I’d have to wait 15 minutes. I went out of the shop, waited in the front area. I was sorely tempted to just leave but my inner voice said stick it out. I am now glad I did this – I mean, its hard having a conflict with someone who is cutting your hair. They can either 1. Do a terrible job or 2. Stab you with their scissors. I told Betty (again, I had previously done this via email) why I wasn’t there on Wednesday. The problem partially solved itself when she told me that there most likely will be a Saturday rehearsal for those who won’t make one of the other of the Wednesday rehearsals.

I knew it was useless to tell her my other reason for not attending. I have noticed that I and others, in telling stories, make them more polished. But there then comes a point when it’s all polish and no story. I tried recently, at a public gathering, to tell the story I previously told at Untold Stories, about living off the Grid. It was a bust. Too much polish. And I noticed the same when I gave an assist at the recent Alaska Prairie Home Companion. It was like someone had wrung out the story-telling sponge.

I wanted to tell Betty this but knew that she would not hear me. Plus, she did have scissors. But I have a plan, and it’s a good one. I will go to the Saturday rehearsal and I will tell a story. It will be the story about my bicycling the Continental Divide trail. This story is simple, straightforward. This is not the story that I’m going to tell on January 28, the night of Untold Stories. I will then tell the Untold Story of how Pete and I met. This story is going to challenge me as a story teller because it has a major digression at its core.

I feel good about this. Let them all think what they want to think about the importance of rehearsals. We don’t have to split hairs about this. I will wow them. Oh, and by the way – Betty did a great job on my hair.

Next: 20. 1/20/18: The Horsey Life: Riding the White Highway with Tyra

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