The wind blew from the southwest with great strength all day.
“Folks, I know it’s only the third day, but we’re going to make it a rest day and wait out the storm. No worries though, we’ve budgeted for four rest days over the two weeks, so this fits in the schedule just fine. Make yourselves at home. We’ll make sure there is plenty of food.”
JF is a very good cook. Today’s lunch included spicy deer steak and mashed potatoes all cooked on site with his portable camp kitchen. Cooking three fine meals a day for fourteen days for nine very hungry people is a feat to be lauded.
“You know, I always thought that food in Canada was like food in the United States; bland or bad for your health, or both. But I am eating better here than I do at home. Hopefully you can keep this level the whole trip.” I joked with him.
“Oh, as you might have guessed, I’m from the part of Canada with the French connection, so we take great pride in what we put in our bellies. The food definitely makes or breaks a trip. If the food is bad, that is what people will remember. By the way, the onions are separate from the mash potatoes; someone mentioned before the trip that they didn’t like onions.”
“Oh, that was me… thanks! I’m the guy who wrote, “the more boring the better,” To this day my mother complains I’m a picky eater. The onions have to be cut small so I won’t see them, and the tomato sauce has to be creamy with no skinny chunks. And no pickles in the salad.”
“You’ll be pleasantly surprised. A few years ago, on the trip around the Great Bear Forest up north we had a guy who liked his onions cut small too.”
“What have you been eating on your trip?” Asked Justine.
“Well, I’m kind of Spartan when it comes to food and kayaking. I don’t like to cook. In the morning I have a can of fish, salmon or tuna, and a can of pasta. I like Chef Boyardee. During the day I only eat cereal bars. And in the evening, I have the same thing as in the morning; tuna, pasta, and maybe some Nutella.”
“Oh, good god. You don’t get tired of that? Canned pasta is awful.”
“Haha. I don’t disagree with you. I took a liking to it on my trip around Florida. I thought it was delicious after I had eaten nothing but sardines for the previous five days. Then about a month after I got back home, I bought three cans in the supermarket to eat for lunch. But somehow the same ravioli was bland and boring as if I had a different tongue.”
“Hunger will do that to you. You won’t have to worry about that while you’re with us.”
Being landbound by the weather, and our mobility on land limited by the rain, we had the whole day to get to know each other.
One of our mates, John, was a high-school teacher in the Seattle Public School system.
“So yes, I teach high-school civics,” he said.
“Used to be a criminal defense attorney before I decided there was more to life than money and sixty-hour work weeks. That was much to the chagrin of my wife. She thought she was dating a lawyer, but she married a high-school teacher.” He laughed.
“What’s the craziest case you’ve had to defend?” I asked
“Oh, I’ve had a few interesting clients, but the one I most often talk about when that question comes up, was a guy I represented, who had robbed thirty-three banks in one year in the Seattle area. That was his full-time job, and he was very good at it. Well, until he made a mistake and got caught. After thirty-two successful bank heists, he got a little cocky, and took on too much risk and started robbing the same bank more than once. I think I did a pretty good job for him. I got most of the charges dismissed. The cops extracted a confession from him during a seven-hour interrogation, by threatening to go after his mother. Confession under duress is a big no-no, that’s an easy one to get thrown out. The best friend of a criminal defense attorney is a cop who sucks at his job.”
“That must be useful when you teach your students about civil rights.”
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“Indeed, it is. I teach in a poor neighborhood, so the kids and their families there have all kinds of problems. I tell them that If the cops want to talk to you, and you know you’re not a choir boy, it’s never a good sign. Invoke the fifth amendment, and then be quiet. Your mouth is your worst enemy. And it’s very important that you orally invoke the fifth. Otherwise, your silence might not count, and the cops can use your silence as evidence of guilt. That’s from the Salinas v Texas case.”
“And how’s teaching high school like?”
“Tough but rewarding. Tough because you don’t have the resources. Like every state, the school district budget comes from property taxes. If you’re from a poor neighborhood, the properties are worth less, the district collects less money, so the schools have less money, and lack enough of everything. Heck, in some of the really poor neighborhoods, the schools you have to ration writing paper. And in contrast if you’re from a rich neighborhood, then it's the opposite. They have resources my students wouldn’t even think to ask. . The rewarding part comes from me feeling like I am making a difference, even if it is small. There are a few kids I teach, for which I’m not just a teacher, I'm kind of a dad figure too, and that’s rewarding to me.”
“Seems like we are creating a sort of aristocracy and peasantry through the school system.”
“Yes, the irony isn’t lost on anyone who knows anything about the Veil of Ignorance.”
“What’s the Veil of Ignorance?”
“Oh, it’s a thought experiment, made by a philosopher called John Rawls to make you think about the society you live in. It asks you this; if you could shape the society you will be born into, but could not choose what position in that society you would be born in, how would you shape that society? And how close is the society that you live in now to that? If a person really thinks through the exercise honestly, then something clicks in their head, and they can see the world through someone else’s perspective.”
Sea Kayak Vancouver Island Circumnavigation