Saturday, April 11, 2020

I can't believe it! I WANT to WORK!

For the past 12 seasons, I've been the entertainer for Parade Rest Guest Ranch near West Yellowstone, MT, normally from about the middle of June until around the first week of September.  This involved entertaining at cookouts two days a week.  For the last few years, I've also been the dinner cook two-four days a week at the Ranch.

On the days I wasn't either scheduled to entertain or cook, I'd go hiking in the mountains, camping and generally just enjoying the Yellowstone area.  Sometimes that meant sitting in a chaise in the mountains somewhere, reading a book in the sunshine.  Just sitting on a rock, far back in the mountains, while I listen to the breeze sighing in the pines, basically doing and thinking nothing...that's about the closest I get, anymore, to feeling peace and even a little happiness. 

If I felt like it, I would go to the West Park Mall, in town, set up a stool and a tip jar and just play and sing, sometimes for hours.  I didn't make a great amount in tips and CD sales, but it was enough to handle most of my summer expenses.  I'd also schedule a few bar gigs and other events on Saturdays during the summer to make a little extra.

I've made a concerted effort, over the past few years, to cut my expenses and debts as close to the bone as possible so if I saved $4000 over and above my expenses/bills during this three month effort, I was happy.  

This year, of course, this is all probably shot in the ass.

"They" have closed The Park and are "advising" against travelling to resort areas.  We all know that They have locked down our country, purportedly because of this virus.  

If the past two weeks are any example, I will spend my summer working around the yard, cleaning house, reading and watching movies/TV on my computer.  In remuneration for my staying at home, essentially doing nothing, They have promised to not only pay me unemployment but (I'll believe it when I deposit it) the Feds are supposed to "grant" me $600 a week, over the state unemployment amount!  So, if They actually come through, I'll get a little over $4000 for six weeks (Hopefully, that's all!) of unemployment.

So, what am I complaining about, you ask?  I mean, if They actually pay this much, I'm going to make MUCH more during my house arrest than I would have while waiting tables for these six weeks and I'll have a lot of stuff done around my house, will have read most of the books I have pending and will have watched many hours of TV.  Oh, and I'll have gained about 100 pounds, but let's not think about that!

My complaint is that They will have shown themselves and us that They are in control.  Will we need "Papers", showing that we are immune to and/or not carrying Covid19?  Will we have to show a reason to travel away from our homes?  Will all the motel/hotel registries be sent to the local police each night so They can cross reference and make sure everyone is complying with "restrictions"?  You laugh.  We in the U.S. have rarely experienced such things but, in many other countries, these restrictions and rules have been in effect for a long time.

Will They have finally managed to get Their gun control more in place?  Will our medical care be handed out to us by our Benevolent Government?  How about recreation?  They can close OUR parks, restrict our use of the rivers and "Federal Lands" now.  We have surrendered many of our freedoms over these past few weeks.  Gradually, yes.  Certainly, the argument can be made that these draconian measures have protected much of our country from what we are seeing in New York and New Jersey.  But, are They going to relinquish Their hold on us, our freedoms, our incomes, our whole way of life?  Now that They HAVE control, will They give it back?

I don't really like being back in food service work.  It's not where I planned to be, back where I was at 16.  In fact, it's not uncommon for me to shed a tear and sob a little before I take a deep breath and walk out the door, headed for work.  But I WORK for my living.  I have value and I feel valuable because I'm producing something of value.

If given the choice, I'd much rather do a physically demanding, sometimes unpleasant and even somewhat menial "job" than have Them support me in sloth and meaningless inactivity.

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