Reub's journey

12 April 2012

The surreal meeting

I don't know about you, but I get insecure when I have to fill out official-looking forms. Nervous.

Note to self: drinking coffee when you're already nervous is counter productive.
That's why I scheduled a meeting, a dreaded consultation held this morning with a bureaucrat who would comb through my forms for retirement. What better place to hold such a  rendezvous (really they shouldn't let me retire until I can spell rendezvous right the first time) than the local Oregon Fish and Wildlife building just north of town?

According to the plaque, his career as an antelope was ended near Riley, Oregon, in 1971.
The man was very nice and offered me, the retiring art teacher, a seat right under this antelope.

Just to the right of this bear.

And then we went through my forms. I just want to say that, despite all odds, I did a great job concentrating on the important stuff he was trying to tell me.

He wandered pleasantly off-subject (my forms, which were boring), chatting about the importance of art and music, the inequality of pay scales, the fact that he was a history major, his three kids, how he loves his job.

 And then he told me about the defining moment of his life: the crazy rush of an enormous grizzly bear towards him and his brother on a gravel bar beneath Mt Denali in Alaska, how afterwards he came straight home and asked his girlfriend to marry him and then got his pilot's license, how nothing else was ever important again.

All in all it was a successful retirement meeting. No, better than "successful"...surreal...and from an art teacher that's high praise.


  1. ha ha! i hope you took notes! i'd have had a very tough time concentrating with all of those distractions - visual and verbal. :)

  2. And he let you take his picture to boot! That sounds like the best meeting ever. Seriously, how can you top that meeting? Exciting premise, nice guy, Grizzly Bear/engagement story... I can't wait to retire.


  3. twg: I did take notes! He loaned me a pencil!

    Jessica: It's funny what I can get away with, being a klutzy old harmless-looking art teacher. People are very indulgent. Plus I think he may have thought I was just taking a photo of the deer head? I know I'm bad.

  4. Jealous, really. My retirement meeting was never so interesting! The lady was very nice, but she pretty much was too efficient for bear stories. Congrats on your pending retirement.

  5. Wow, that is an interesting meeting! I can't believe you took all of those pictures!

  6. I take heart from this account - I go on Tuesday next to get my paperwork filed. June 30th is coming up fast.When do you retire?

  7. Did you mention that your own walls were adorned with heads of bureaucrats who, unlike his animals, were no threat to the welfare of humanity?

  8. FABULOUS story, Kerry! Did he slaughter all those innocent animals, though? That part is kind of creepy to me. How in the world you were able to concentrate is beyond me.

    You live an interesting life, my friend.

  9. Wow.. what a strange situation. I would not have been able to keep from staring at those poor critters.

  10. Surreal is always fun, particularly for those of an artistic bent. :-)


  11. I don't think I could concentrate with all the dead things on the wall. I suspect I would need a venue change where the feng shui was better.

  12. Tabor: I had low expectations for this meeting, but it turned out much different than I thought.

    Crack You Whip: I know! I can't believe I took them either. I wish I'd had him take one of me.

    Pauline: We retire on the same day, you and I. Like being in the same graduating class. Like holding hands and jumping off the pier into the water together.

    Snow: Ha! Now that's a picture!

    Jo: No, they weren't his "trophies." He has to use this room every time he travels to this part of the state do help people like me. Somebody else killed these animals. He warned me about it before I stepped into the room; "Watch out for the bear." I thought he was kidding.

    Hilary: I really dislike taxidermy. This made for the strangest backdrop to a retirement conversation.

    Pearl: Yeah. I wonder if I was the 1st one to admire the surrealism & take pics? maybe.

    Laoch: It was pretty bad feng shui, this room full of staring dead animals, the uncomfortable chairs, the clock...

    You know, though, the man was really nice. I liked him.

  13. I hope he adheres to his pilot maps better when he is flying! :)

  14. I would have been very distracted by those surroundings.

    BTW, left you a response at Laoch's. Did you enjoy THG?

  15. AC: Good response. Not every book suits every person's likes, that's for sure. But after initial resistance I became a big fan of THG. A trilogy about war, politics, and pop culture with a strong-but reluctant-heroine, written for people who are at an age where they are forming crucial opinions. I'm not surprised that it has crossed over from "YA" fiction to "Adult;" it's serious stuff and I'm glad people are talking about it.

  16. MM: Ha! Good point. Maybe not somebody you would want in the cockpit?


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