Sunday, January 03, 2016

Chapter 3 - More Than Survival

Not very long after Lydia died so did Lucifer.  Which was completely bogus - that meant that since Adrian doesn't like my cat, I'm the only one left for him to talk to - and we never really got along very well.  But we were on an island in the middle of nowhere, so like, what choice did we have?

At least Lydia had stuck around long enough to teach me the ropes.  I can grow food, fish - really the only reason I've got to stick with Adrian is because Puddy isn't exactly human company.  So I was all psyching myself up to put up with him bossing me around like he owned the place now that Lydia was gone.

But he didn't.  Instead the next morning he got up early and was working in the garden without waking me up or anything.

And when I did wake up he told me to sit down and eat some breakfast, and let him do the work.  See, he'd remembered it was my birthday and he wanted me to be able to relax.  Though just when I started to, I noticed the universe had handed me a better present.

This dude's name is Clyde.  And he is the man.  I mean, the dude was my bro the moment he showed up.  And he said that he'd just left his apartment to go for a walk, you know, to clear his head.  But he wasn't really paying attention to where he was going and suddenly found himself here.  Adrian insisted that he had to be on a boat or something but then Clyde insisted that you couldn't pay him enough to cross over an ocean by any means.  And I was just like:  I told you I just walked here!
(Clyde Strong: Couch Potato, Green Thumb, Hydrophobic, Party Animal, Rebellious)

Of course I wasn't gonna let Adrian inflict himself upon him, so I decided to teach him how to live here myself.  But the dude was a natural, so it was easy.  In fact, it didn't take him very long to learn everything I knew and then he just kept going - suddenly he was teaching me.  But I was cool with that - like I said, he's my bro.

Of course, the best part of my birthday was the simple fact that I got older.  Which means that I'm an adult now.  Which means that Adrian can't just boss me around.
(Gained the trait: Grumpy)

In fact later that evening Clyde and I got to talking about how we're all grown men here - if the two of us disagree with him - well, then it's two against one, isn't it?  That's pretty sweet!

Though there was really only one thing we wanted from him, and surprisingly Adrian agreed to it immediately.  See, Clyde's got this thing about water - he doesn't like it.  At least not pools of water, and so the bathtub for him is kinda - well, he doesn't like it.  He's strictly a shower dude.  Of course, none of us know very much about plumbing, but we put our heads together and came up with something for him.

See, there's this waterfall on the island, right?  So we figured out how to build a little hut next to the cliff and take advantage of the falling water to turn it into a shower.  It's kind of high up and it's kind of far from camp, but Clyde's not afraid of heights so it works out great.  And way more private than Lydia's bathtub.

We got it done just in time for autumn and the first frost to hit, which is good because I don't like working, and especially not in the cold.  Of course that really slowed things down in the garden, which is good because it's a lot of backbreaking work.

Fishing is a completely different story - it's a good time.  Since there wasn't much to do in the garden, I taught Clyde how to fish.  He wasn't as quick to learn it as he was to learn gardening, but he soon got the basics and was catching alley catfish.

Adrian even joined us later.  Well, sort of.  He was within shouting distance.

I guess he was kind of the odd man out after Clyde showed up.  The dude's quite a bit older than the two of us - in fact, he had a birthday that autumn and reached middle age.

And he started this weird hobby of collecting meteorites.  I don't know how he finds them all, but he goes all the way around the island everyday looking for things - Lydia taught him all the best places to look.  Whatever makes the man happy, I guess.

Winter came, though there wasn't any snow right off.  Didn't really matter much either way, though - the garden is huge and we've got plenty of food.  In fact, I think we could feed twice the people we had.

Which is good, because when the snow came so did Rachel.
(Rachel Payton: Disciplined, Dislikes Children, Good, Insane, Workaholic)

Rachel is a bit...  Well, she's a very nice old lady, but she's... kind of crazy, actually.

None of us were at camp when she showed up, but Clyde saw her first - because she found a rod and started fishing next to him.  We of course asked her how she got here, but no matter how many times we asked her she never gave us a coherent story.

Of course, the little tent that had belonged to Lydia wasn't enough for three people, let alone four, so Adrian insisted that we needed to make something bigger.  So we greatly expanded the outhouse - which was a real pain to do in winter - but when we were done we had a shelter big enough for everyone to sleep in.

The new bunk room is small, but it works okay.  The old people (Adrian and Rachel) get the bottom bunks so that they don't have to mess with the ladders, while Clyde and I are on top.

Speaking of the old people, Adrian started spending every spare moment with Rachel.  Which was great, because he stopped being an awkward third wheel every time I did something with Clyde and shielded both of us from Rachel's crazy.

Not that her crazy is always a bad thing.  I mean, going out in the snow in a swimsuit is crazy.  But she set up this post thing - some kind of a martial arts thing - and started fighting it.  Which I thought was completely nuts at first.

But then I saw Clyde using it and he told me that it's actually really fun, and builds up your strength too.  So I tried it, and also Adrian so everyone in the camp was doing it.  We all got in really good shape!

The days of winter passed, and before I knew it Clyde had reached middle age.  I was tempted to hassle him about it, but he actually took his birthday kind of hard - started talking about all the things he'd wanted to do with his life instead of being stuck on an island.  So I stopped myself, which was probably a good thing because I'm only a little younger than him so it would be my turn soon.  He may wish things had turned out different, but I'm glad that if I had to be stuck on this island that I've got him with me.

And I'm glad that Adrian has Rachel to spend all his time with.

In fact, I don't think this place is half bad.  I mean, the sunrises are amazing.

So I wasn't bothered at all when my birthday came.  This isn't the life I expected to have and not what I would have chose, but it's not a bad life.

Still, there's the downside of time passing - Puddy managed to hunt her way through the entire winter only to pass on right when spring came.  That's the sad reality of pets, man - you'll probably outlive them.  But she was a good cat, so even though it really bummed everyone out for awhile to see her go, it was worth it after how happy she made me, you know?

Besides, I had plenty of other things to distract me - like being weirded out by Rachel.  I mean, am I seeing what I think I'm seeing.  I couldn't be sure, because when I did a double take she wasn't there the second time I looked.

Don't get me wrong though - Rachel is a very sweet lady.  In fact, nobody even had to ask her to help out in the garden when it started to warm up - she just did it.  Even though there was still snow on the ground so it was a bit early for that...

I guess that looking back I shouldn't have been surprised by what happened on Adrian's birthday.  I'd already gone to bed, but the dude has no boundaries about conversation topics, so he told me all about it the next day.

See, I noticed that he'd been spending a lot of time with Rachel, but what I didn't know is that she reminds the dude a lot of Lydia.  But he likes her even more than Lydia.  In fact, he loves her.  Even though he's willing to admit that she's crazy he loves her.

Of course I had to give him a hard time about kissing old ladies, but he insisted that this time was different - he's an old man.  He's still quite a bit younger than she is, but he said it doesn't matter to him if she passes on long before he does - he wants to be happy with her for as long as it lasts.

Oh, I forgot to mention - Adrian's birthday was on Love Day, so it was all disgustingly romantic.  He and Rachel decided that they were officially boyfriend and girlfriend.  Which is kind of weird to me - it's not like he's got competition and needs to stake a claim.

Still, it all got me to thinking.  I've got all of fifteen days before I need to worry about actually being old myself, but even though it doesn't bother me to think about spending the rest of my life on this island, what do I want to do before I go?  I'm not really sure, actually.

One thing is for sure - getting a girlfriend doesn't seem to be an option for me.  I mean, people showing up suddenly seems to be a thing that just happens on this island, but whatever causes it isn't bringing me a girlfriend.  Instead, it brought us Kyle.
(Kyle Grubbs:  Angler, Diva, Hopeless Romantic, Savvy Sculptor, Technophobe)

We gave him the traditional welcome - we put him right to work in the garden.  He didn't protest, but he also didn't seem to be happy about it.  But that's just tough - nobody likes working in the garden, but we all do it.  Well, except for Clyde - he loves working in the garden.

But he cheered up a lot because Rachel, of all people, took him under her wing.  After a hard day in the garden where he didn't seem to learn a thing, she offered to let him share her bed.  The look on his face before she clarified that she meant he could sleep in her bed because she's usually up all night anyway (the woman is nocturnal, I swear) was absolutely priceless.

And since the weather hadn't warmed up very much yet so the garden was slow, she took him out to teach him to fish the next day, taking him clear across the island to a spot near Lydia's grave.  He was catching little anchovies in no time.

After that he sat down with Adrian.  Now, Adrian isn't exactly in charge - we don't really need anyone to be because we all don't need anyone to supervise us to keep us all pulling our own weight or anything like that.  But he's still kind of the first one to go to about bigger decisions because he's been here the longest and, even though I still don't get along with him very well, I do respect his opinion and so does everyone else.

Anyway, it seems that Kyle sees himself as an artist - a sculptor, to be specific - and after pointing out that we don't really have any shortage of food, he asked if it would be okay for him to spend some of his time sculpting some things to improve the campsite.  After a long talk, he was partly successful - I think his comment that he might be able to add further improvements to Lydia's gravesite is what really won him over.  Adrian agreed that he could sculpt, but that he had to help out in the garden first, and that he should prove his skills with clay first before he could use any of our better wood.  He also stressed to Kyle that practicality is important - he has already uncovered hundreds of priceless artifacts from this islands previous visitors and inhabitants during his search for things that might help us, but all of them are useless to us.  What use do we have for gold coins on this island?  So Kyle could outdo Michelangelo and it would still be a waste if none of his work is more than decorative.

After all of that was agreed to, the good news was that Kyle was then much happier to work in the garden - in fact, he'd try to speed through the work so that he could have as much of the evening as possible to work on his own project.

Though his first effort was...  Let's just say I was not a fan.  Kyle is not the only one here with an eye for art, and I'm telling you that this first attempt was bogus.  And totally not practical - though Kyle said it could go decorate Lydia's gravesite.  I quickly vetoed that idea, though - Lydia deserves better than this.

But I didn't want to, you know, discourage him too much if he really wants to try, so I sat down with him and got to know him.  Apparently he was on a red-eye flight from the US to Australia, fell asleep, and then woke up here.  I told him these things happen.  I also told him a lot about Lydia so he'd know why I'm so picky about her grave.

I think that it might have intimidated him though.  Because his next creation was a trash can.  Eh, he'll get better.

In fact, the only real problem around here is all the old people PDA.  That's gross, dude.


The right way to bathe a cat is to hold it high above you head, like Rafiki presenting Simba.