TODAY: Portland – Marysville via Roslyn
Food – The Brick
For the first time since I was employed, I woke up to the sound of an alarm.
I had some breakfast, and talked with Shawna and Ella before I headed north over the Columbia River into Washington, putting a states-worth of buffer between myself and my previous life.
It’s still strange. A week ago I was in it. They were learning, I was teaching. Now, nothing. I’m seeing how the new healthcare system will impact my ability to get sub days. Awesome.
Anyway, my favorite TV show of all-time is Northern Exposure which is about Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow) a jewish doctor from New York who ends up in Cicely, Alaska (inspired by Talkeetna, Alaska, filmed in Roslyn, Washington) because the state of Alaska will pay off his medical school. The show isn’t spot on, but it’s accurate enough. Well, I should say was, because it concluded in 1995.
What I liked about it was it was smart without being predictable. Comedies today will inevitably have a smart-aleck, disrespectful kid whose vocabulary is beyond what I saw in my 10 years as a high school teacher, making fun of a lazy, apathetic, disengaged parent. And that’s the one of the ingredients for hilarity.
The characters in Northern Exposure were developed and dynamic. Their hypocrisy was exposed in thoughtful and comical ways and though you laughed, you saw there was a chance they’d change.
Narrating the character arcs was Chris Stevens (John Corbett) who had everything, yet nothing together as he quoted Whitman on the radio as the disc jockey of the tiny fictional berg in Alaska. I liked Chris (the West Virginia inmate turned amateur Alaskan philosopher) the most. He was honest and responded to questions with more questions. When he was close to finishing an artistic creation for show in one episode, he asked a trusted friend, “Do you believe it?” He asked if it worked. If it made sense. If it was honest.
He had a desire to communicate, yet knew he often fell short, and knew that in his discussions, he was, to a degree, really trying to work himself out.
You can watch a season again and again, because it’s not about an episode entertaining you, it’s about you getting the allusions, references, irony, subplot and laughing along the way. I have The Office on DVD. I’ve watched them. When I decided to move, I gave all the seasons away. I’ve watched Northern Exposure three times through, and watched specific seasons more than that. I have every episode protected under the two green tarps that are only just now becoming worn by the stress of 60 mph on a freeway.
Anyway, I took a three hour (round trip) detour today, over the Snoqualmie Pass to visit Roslyn, and walk the sidewalks as the characters did in their fictional lives. I stood in the street and took pictures and imaged Ed meeting up with Maurice, or Holling pouring beer at The Brick. Most of all I thought of Chris, and how he’d look out of the KBHR window as he cocked his head and asked a question to his listeners then played a track.
I sat in his chair today. The fictional Chris, the real John Corbett and the glue of my favorite show.
Needless to say, it was worth the drive and lunch at The Brick was all I could have hoped…knowing Shelly wouldn’t be there to serve me my ham n cheese.
TOMORROW – Marysville – Bellingham
End of road trip, beginning of 36 hour boat ride from Bellingham to Ketchikan, Alaska.