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14 September, 2009


Last week featured the third trip to Eastern Washington in as many weeks. Daylight driving this time, big SUV instead of a Prius, thermous o coffee and Butch Helemano bouncing me up the Cascades in no time. Then on the other side marking my territory at various rest stops; I especially remember one just before descending into the Gorge: golden late sun, departing a stop with New Roman Times track 2 blaring, blazing down the on-ramp like a runway, lifting off and swooping down under the rays with the last of the java still warming my gullet, intent on slaying the miles between me and rest.
Such are the warrior dreams of the bored archaeocrat. Escape from the sunless cubicle farm, hours without phones and emails imposing, miles without stoplights--all of these things soothe the soul. But running away cannot be the only trick; the warrior who only retreats is no hero at all, just another big-whig Democratic strategist. Dancing on the site of a certain inter-agency tiff from which I'd emerged OK was no satisfaction, although I loitered on the ashes for a while and may have peed in the general vicinity. The meeting I went for was no place to play warrior, and I managed to shift into diplomatic mode for long enough to get through it.
The next day involved a run through reservations up toward the Canadian border. At one point we were looking across a valley at that vast socialist empire. I tell myself that but for the fact I was in a caravan of state workers, I'd've pulled off, hiked over, and played Illegal Alien for a while: undercut their working class by doing their shit jobs for an unlivable wage, stick it to their elite by doing the landscaping poorly, impoverish them Canucks by getting free health care, stuff like that.
Truth was, though, that even without the paranoia that some hidden border camera would catch me, my earlier run-in with good old American police had put a damper on things. I'd been cruising along this country road at speeds just short of flipping an SUV. Didn't see Johnny Law lurking, busy as I was snapping photos through bug-splattered windows of whatever seemed interesting: cool hills, picturesque barns, grazing camels. So suddenly there's a black muscle car with dark tinted windows on my tail, and after playing cat and mouse for a minute, he flashes hidden cop-lights and pulls me over. Being caffeine-deprived, I didn't get all nervous. Being white, I didn't get hassled or searched. The officer was very nice and maybe under-estimated my speed to a notch below Reckless Endagnerment, but I was in no mood to further test the good will of law enforcement, especially with the Mounties and their legendary, Bush-league lust for torture. Or for that matter, I had no intention of getting picked up by bureaucrats who would grant me asylum and room and board, robbing me of outlaw status and the chance to embarrass the regime.
And anyway, I could count coup already. I'd been reckless without getting cited for it; I'd been pulled over without the fuzz realizing I was a Coyote, smuggling half a dozen Gringos to their Canadian dreams. Not long after I saw Johnny Law peel off in another direction, I made my way the curve in the tracks where my charges could hop a train on the Overground Railroad toward the promised land.

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