The Curb Job Express
October 8, 2004
Elevation: 1,041 feet
The Curb Job Express started from my boss at Alpine Internet Solutions. We were all working our butts off and Diamond Jim knew we need to get some time outside. I knew that Diamond Jim had owned a white water rafting company in his mysterious past. So when he asked us if we all wanted go rafting on the Deschutes for the weekend The Asbestos Kid, Dane-O, myself and a few other co-workers (who politely begged out at the first hint of rain on a weatherman's lips) sallied forth and invaded the Deschutes. We planned it about a month ahead of time and the weekend couldn't have come much sooner. Nine volunteered to go and only four stepped forth.
Now, understand that before you read further that we are all stinky butted men who revel in their own grande mal shitheadedness. If you have sensibilities towards what "responsible men" or even what "good people" are, you should find another story to read. This isn't going to be about that. This is going to be about trying to drown each other and set each other on fire and stabbing one another with impliments of cucina cucina.
The original plan was us leaving friday after work. By the time the week had ended we showed up friday morning for a brief, almost ceremonial trip to the office before piling a few dozen water-proof bags into the back of a raft and heading off to the river. Jim had told us to bring our clothes and toilet requisites and he would provide the rest. And bring he did, in a most kingly manner with great fanfare and circumstance.
The weather report was:
Friday --> Rain
Saturday --> Rain, Cold
Sunday --> Clear, Crisp
The die-hards didn't care, we were in it for the beer and potential disaster; the impending drama of not-so-close to death experiences and the quarter truths we could tell afterwards. If nothing else, we knew we were going to remember it. We knew we were on the Curb Job Express.
Prior to the trip, Diamond Jim had sent out an e-mail with an XLS spreadsheet. The sheet was a packing description on a granular level. Each day had it's own physical clothing, broken down by activity, upper body, lower body and glove/hat accessories. There was a packing work-flow diagram and an illustrated clothing folding training session. I would come to appreciate this anality throughout the rest of the trip. And if you believe there ain't such a word as anality, then you haven't met Diamond Jim.
After we got into Diamond Jim's car, I made a comment to him about how detailed his list was. He reached onto the floor-board and pulled a clipboard with a wad of paper clipped in. The clip board was clearly labeled "Rafting Trip List," had a pen on a string and I could see the paper was checklists from previous trips. He is unbelievably organized. I would see more and more of this, labels, color codes, bundling devices and grouped items by name, type and expiration. Diamond Jim had it all.
We drove to Madras and headed into a mini-mart to get a raft permit and a beer. This was about 10:00 AM. All good, responsible men make sure they drink before 10:00 AM, it reduces the shakes. The mini-mart was bragging a reader board:
Shift Manager Wanted
Top Pay Given
Fried Chicken and Jo-Jo's
I hadn't realized that top pay for a job involved deep fried poultry and potato wedges dipped in dried italian spices and then deep fried. But, I guess mini-marts don't give out stock options or OSO programs. And judging by the smiles the cashiers give you, a dental plan either. Everyone has their price. Jo-Jo's = $$$. Fried Chicken = $$$. Alpine hadn't ever give me Fried Chicken and Jo-Jo's. Ever. I was so jealous.
Diamond Jim choose the ever classy 24 ounce can of Coors while I grabbed a Pacifico. We got some small food things and found out we couldn't get our rafting permit here and had to drive back through town to get our stuff. We hopped into another mini-mart, got our permit and headed down the road. Immediately turning off onto a dirt road, we cracked the beers and cheered for a good weekend. The weather looked pretty good, it was warm and sunny. Things looked and felt good.
Diamond Jim stopped and took pictures of various homes and homesteads for his brother who was prospecting some new land. Dane-O got into a deep conversation about his dream of purchasing 118 acres of land in the middle of nowhere. Most people might think this is an agreeable goal; land, isolation, relaxation. Dane-O wanted to buy it so he could get drunk on PBR on his back porch with a shotgun and then hop into his rather large pick-up and drive around on his 118 acres screaming and raging drunk. We all agreed this was a worthy dream and cracked another beer in celebration.