William is Asian, Hong Kong being his place of birth, although upon the completion of our first piece of conversation, it seems he’s a bit of a Heinz 57. Born in China, moved to South America then to Europe then to Hong Kong and eventually ending up in Washington State, here in the good old US of A. William is by trade a geologist, someone who knows the lay of the land, how it’s constructed, how it was formed and really in all honesty he should know how to navigate this land he so loves. Well, he does know his stuff. After conversing for some 30 mins, even though he was over an hour late for our meeting, he proved conclusively to me that the glaciers came and created the North West of the United States, 15,000 years ago, then melted, even though they were over 3000 feet thick at that time, taking 2000 years to dissipate and retreat to the Arctic, where they now lie in wait for the guaranteed melt that is coming. He also insisted that once all our ice pack melts, our oceans will rise 267 feet, killing or making homeless, 2 to 3 billion humans. As I sat listening to this gibberish, all that concerned me was the manner in which he took his glasses off, then without notice brought all his documentation within 2 inches of his eyes and began to read silently as if praying. He was then suddenly awoken from this study only to begin spouting more useless statistics about our planet.
The reason William had shown up in the first place was to inspect a piece of land that a friend of mine was having issues with. It had willingly subsided 4 feet in the past three weeks, and William had been summoned to make sure that this unwanted hole was nothing more than an eyesore and not something that warranted more concern than a few buckets of sand, some top soil and seed to make it all better. However, the realtor who’d ordered William to appear, became concerned just about an hour earlier when William had called to say he was stuck in a field. “Stuck in a field?” she’s shouted as she’d released her grip on a cell phone that I believed was about to be thrown across my friends lawn, while rolling her eyes as if to say, “what an idiot!” Yes, he’d confirmed that he’d taken the wrong road and was now firmly entrenched in a field, some 5 miles from the correct address, unable to move his car, getting wetter and wetter by the minute in the pouring rain and pleading, yes pleading for someone to come and get him. Lisa obliged, traipsing over hills and dales to collect William and bring him to the meeting. After an hour with us, William, now suitably refreshed, decided to start calling local towing companies to see if anyone on this Island, yes Island (I forgot to mention I was on a remote Island) would come and assist. 20 calls later, without losing his sense of humor, at last, someone kindly obliged. I asked him as he was leaving, “William, you’re a geologist, how can a geologist not know that you can get stuck in mud when it’s pouring rain and there’s no gravel or road surface for the car tires to grip?” He took his glasses off slowly and looked at me. He said, with a grand smile cut across his aging features, “Alan, you should never let a geologist drive your car” “Why’s that?” I asked, “because they always get hammered and stoned!”
Lisa drove him back and three hours later he got out the field and made it back to town. William was knowledgable, though very strange. Lisa was pissed, she’d lost a whole day, and my buddy, the guy with the land subsidence issue? Well, he’s still got his hole in the garden but he now knows that glaciers were there 15,000 years ago, that the ice wall was 3000ft thick and that eventually his place on this island will be 40 feet underwater, though he’ll be long gone by then as will William!