Hey, overhear

This is the only way I know to cope right now, but it might not work. In fact, it’s probably going to make it worse.
I took the early ferry to the Ketchikan airport in advance of our flight to Juneau for basketball, so I’m the only one in the gate area.
There are two TVs, but the timing is off so there’s an echo filling the otherwise empty room with election 2016 nonsense. It’s terrible. That’s double the “uh”s from politicians not speaking rehearsed words from a teleprompter. Since I’m keen to this, I can’t hear anything else.
It doesn’t even matter what’s being said, it’s nothing more than the rhetorical recipe regurgitated over and over.
“Words, words, anecdote, words, words, words, words, words, ambiguity, vagueness, tangent, future, America, words.”
Times two.
I try to distract myself with thoughts of the last time I was in Juneau. There was the time I was being housed out for cross country off Montana Creek road. My buddy Lars and I were heading to the mall to meet up with some people, and figured we could walk it. Terrible idea. It took a loooooong time. If someone had invented cell phones and I had the Google Map app, I could have checked how long it would take me to get my blue dot to the Nugget Mall.
But as soon as that memory ends, the painful pinging of the televisions is back.
“Moments from now, back to South Carolina, back to the campaign trail.”
Great.
The terminal is soon filled with conversation. It’s almost soothing. I have to pay attention if I want to hear the TV. I don’t, so that’s no longer a problem.
My seat on the plane is near two buddies from Klawock. We talk about steelhead in the Klawock River and what happened to Abe’s canoe that was chained to a tree on the Thorne River. I take a moment to think about what background noise we are providing, and hope it’s better than that of the presidential election. I decide it is, and guide the conversation to fly fishing in Montana during the summer. Abe goes there every summer and wants a fishing buddy. Sounds pretty great, but it’s hard to spend the winters in Alaska, then leave when it’s nice.
Corby and Abe talk king crab, then Corby gets a text from his dad, who is bringing over fresh winter king — but Corby will be in Anchorage all weekend.
By the time we push away from the gate in Petersburg, there’s a guy a few rows up who is talking to the lady directly in front of me.
“If I knew about Alaska twenty years ago, I would have become a resident,” he says.
I feel a little bad.
I don’t know what would be worse; an empty terminal with Pete and Repeat screaming politics from a flat screen, or three dudes talking about the life you would have chosen had you known how special this place is.
Probably the latter.

See column at:
http://www.capitalcityweekly.com/stories/022416/out_1266859336.shtml

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