Friday, December 03, 2010

The year I dropped out

"Security Staph" at 2003 Oregon Country Fair
Universe decreed, in summer of 2003 that I was to take a hiatus from the world of software development for an indeterminate period.  Victim of both down-sizing and out-sourcing.  War in Iraq was just underway even though Junior, jackass that he is, had already declared "Mission Accomplished" at his dress-up party on the USS Abraham Lincoln.

It was an angry time.  And, in the spirit of the age, I was beside myself with hot, red fury.  I held in contempt the uninformed citizenry that had (for the most part) stood by and allowed Junior and Cheney to carry out their short-sighted (and ill-fated) plans for hegemony in the Middle East.  I was disgusted at the antics and scheming in my former workplace.  I was enraged with and disappointed by myself for a whole lot of reasons.  But mostly I hated the Bush administration and its principal constituency, Big Oil.

Conferring with perpetual candidate for Multnomah County Sheriff Andre Danielson on the way to the Dead show in George, WA
I was financially secure (at the time) and so, used the opportunity of my lack of employment to take a meander on the side roads of life for a while.  I dropped out; I quit contributing. Rather than paying income taxes, I collected unemployment insurance.  Rather than pay fuel taxes, I walked or rode public transportation. 

Three-and-a-half years of living in the inner city had very much fitted me to urban lifestyle.  I enrolled in some classes at Portland State University, studying Spanish and writing, did a little traveling and spent a lot of time playing guitar.   

2003:  Ken Kesey's "Further" bus outside the Bagdad
Gas prices were soaring in those days, and although there is no evading completely the blood-tithe extracted by corporate pirates, I triumphed with every green penny I denied them.  It is different now.  Times are tough and everyone is afraid.  But 2003 was a good year.  It was a good year, indeed.


Dan Binmore said...

The best times of my life have been when I've been unemployed. I've met people who say they wouldn't be happy not working, that they wouldn't know what to do with themselves. Not a single one of them was an interesting person.

Stewart King said...

Gives me some hope that my future will be better than my present. Unemployment has always seemed like disaster for me.