Slack Tide: You know you live in Juneau when...

After the most glorious summer in recent memory, you find yourself happy to face the sideways “snain” of shoulder season, just so you can finally clean your house.


You serve every meal with bear claw salad tongs.

You wear shorts and flip-flops in winter; parkas and fleece hats in summer.

You consider a combination auto body shop/nail salon to be a perfectly normal business venture, say, along the lines of a sheet metal works/bridal boutique.

The second it stops raining, you start burning stuff.

You walk to work and still complain about downtown rush hour.

Your idea of a bird feeder is tossing fish scraps out on the deck.

You’ve got the chops to parallel-park an eighteen-wheeler, on the opposite side of the street, facing downhill at a 20 percent grade.

You shovel snow in full rain gear.

You attend weddings in full rain gear.

You’ve conceived a child in full rain gear.

You’re born in full rain gear.

Instead of chewing tobacco, you dip a big ol’ plug of homemade salmon jerky.

Your guiltiest secret pleasures include watching TV (even if it’s on a laptop computer, that still counts as TV), paying for firewood and Costco churros.

You’ve impulse-bought jewelry at Fred Meyer.

You know what “pel meni” is, and have a love/hate relationship with it, often depending on how much beer you’ve consumed.

You put up Tibetan prayer flags even though you are blatantly not Tibetan.

Whether you drive a Subaru, a rusty Toyota pickup, a Prius, a SmartCar, a Cooper Mini or an American “maxi” — your front fender’s dented and the windshield is cracked.

You’ve named at least one of your children after an indigenous tree species.

You’ve named your 16-ft cabin cruiser with a bad nautical or fishing pun like “Hot Ruddered Bum” or “Master Baiter.”

You brush your teeth with Devil’s Club.

You can, and do, check two items of luggage for free.

You’re so vitamin D deficient you’ve contemplated mainlining fish oil.

You know you’ve got a very real chance of dying if you fall in, yet — for fun mind you, and not necessarily with any meaningful survival skills — you hop in a little plastic boat and paddle around mere inches above the water’s surface, hoping to encounter killer whales.

You think four-dollar gasoline is a bargain.

You cannot resist a sale on ice cream.

You know of a housesitting gig somewhere.

You’ve touched a glacier.

You grow a giant patch of rhubarb in your garden even though you know you’ll never eat that much rhubarb.

You’ve been peer-pressured into raising chickens.

You’ve had a bear penetrate your first and possibly second (and third) attempts at bear-proofing something (say, a chicken coop, for instance).

You go skiing on the world’s fifth-largest ice field like it’s no big thing.

You take a stalwart political stance on an issue like ground-water fluoridation or whether or not to cover the town’s athletic fields with turf grass, then stand out in the elements all day waving a homemade sign about it.

You spend 40 hours and hundreds of dollars in boat fuel to catch one fish — and consider yourself lucky to bag that one.

You strap on crampons for your morning commute.

You chastise your friends and family in the Lower 48 for using umbrellas.

You’ve constructed a complex storage system for your mountain bike, even though you haven’t ridden it in years.

You’ve lied to dinner guests about the “organicness” of the food, just so they’ll shut up and eat it.

You know what quinoa is. All too well.

You’ve gotten home faster on a series of ferries than if you’d waited out the series of weathered-in flights upon which you’d first began your trip.

You claim to know the difference between blueberries and mountain huckleberries even though you don’t know. You’d have a better chance identifying salmon species, and even then, you’re only like 75 percent.

You consider 63 degrees “hot.”

You know someone who knows someone who once saw Brad Pitt/Johnny Depp/Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart at a bar or restaurant somewhere in town.

You’ve used one of those blue plastic dog poop baggies as insulation for a toddler’s boots, which turn out not to be as waterproof as the LL Bean catalogue would otherwise have you believe.

You pretend to like whiskey and try your hardest not to wince when you’re hanging out around the bonfire and the flask comes your way.

You start preparing for winter in July.

You start preparing for the Fourth of July in January.

You are proficient in the use of tarps.

You put your broken down junk at the foot of your driveway accompanied by a “free” sign.

You periodically contemplate learning to play banjo/mandolin/fiddle/ukulele; but really only contemplate it, the desire always spiking toward the middle of April.

You own neoprene lingerie.

At least one piece of your outerwear is patched with duct tape and your underwear would be too, if duct tape didn’t so readily stick to body hair.

You’ve become desensitized to scraping bear scat from your shoe treads.

You give a standing ovation to everything.

You absolutely couldn’t conceive of living anywhere else. Well, except maybe Hawaii for two weeks in February, but even then you’ll never quite shake feeling like you’re missing out on whatever’s going on here.

• Slack Tide runs the second and fourth Sundays of each month. For more Geoff Kirsch, visit


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback