Pulling out of Escondida was exciting and nerve racking. The anxiety hadn’t subsided a bit even though the bus was rolling down the road. Final good-byes were quick though, since we had been a month making them. The excitement for what new adventures lay ahead was running high though. And after 100 miles. some of the anxiety started to slip away.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, the landscape and scenery in New Mexico are pretty breath-taking. Unfortunately, we were unable to get any pictures along the way. We hadn’t charged the cell phone (no cell phone service were we were headed) and the batteries in the camera were shot and we didn’t know it.
We headed South down I-25 to a dot on the map known as San Antonio. Their claim to fame is a small diner with “the worlds greatest burger”. We didn’t stop for one of those things though, but it was full of people. Cars, trucks, and RV’s lined both sides of the one road running through the village. Just down the road from there are two “ghost towns” that only exist as memories today, Tokay and Carthage. But also in that area are the remains of two Native American pueblos, Qualacu Pueblo and San Pascual Pueblo. When Don Juan de Oñate came through the area in 1598 the local natives provided him with life saving supplies and assistance and he re-named the pueblo (as only the righteous superiority of the Catholic Church would allow him to do) Socorro. Translated it is “succor”, which is assistance in a time of distress. In other words, without the assistance of the native people, Don Juan de Oñate and his group would of died. It also became the site of a concentration camp for the native people.
All through the United States these concentration camps existed, many of them are the modern day “reservations”. All part of the “final solution” to the Indian Problem. From the 1500′s through the 1800′s, 150 MILLION natives were killed off. The treatment of and containment of the native peoples became the models for Nazi treatment of the Jewish people and South African Apartheid. Not that US school children are taught this. In the public school system they are taught about “manifest destiny”, about European diseases wiping out tribes, and maybe a paragraph or two on the “Trail of Tears”. The native people are presented as blood thirsty savages, the equivalent of modern day terrorists, who had to be “tamed” and “civilized”. But the largest genocide in the history of mankind happened here in the US, and continues today. Today kids are bombarded with the evils of Nazi Germany and Apartheid, and rightly so, but the evils of European expansion into North America are glossed over, painted over, and repackaged for easier digestion. Today it is nothing to hear people say stupid shit like “they should have fought harder”, or to try and dismiss the past and present conditions on reservations with things like, “they get free college”, “their housing is paid for”, “look at their casinos”, and “they are just a bunch of drunks”. I double-dog-dare one of these assholes to show up where a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp is speaking to show up and tell them to quit whining about it. Remind them they got “free housing”.
We traveled from this area and headed for Lincoln, New Mexico, made famous by Willam H. Bonney, better known as “Billy the Kid”. Here is another piece of American History Revisionism. It is presented as a war between cattle barons, when the truth is it was a war between rich land owners who had the backing of the state and the politicians they held in their pocket, and their compatriots who had a monopoly on trade and information. But the story is always deeper than history tells us. John Chisum was a rich cattleman and backed the McSween faction of the war, the faction Billy the Kid belonged too. It wasn’t out of a sense of high regard for the poor folks that wanted to have the freedom to trade where they wanted, or who wanted to break the stranglehold on information for the area, but because he wanted to make money. While the McSween faction might have had ambitions to break the stranglehold, Chisum just wanted to make some more money. When the tides turned and he was able to freely get his share of the pie, he dropped the poor folks like a hot potato. This is when the Lincoln County Wars actually hit full swing.
As we made our way through these historical areas, the transmission on the bus started acting up. The bus would slow to a crawl going up the hills and the engine would rev on the way down. By the time we made Lincoln, the transmission was on it’s last leg. We stopped and tried to figure out what was going on, but lacking x-ray vision we couldn’t tell what was up. We hoped back on the bus after a bit of sight-seeing and headed down the mountain towards Roswell. And it is a good thing it was mainly downhill, because top speed was 20 miles an hour. A drive that usually takes about an hour ended up taking several hours. We had to stop and let the transmission cool down just so we could get a little further down the road.
We finally limped into Roswell in the wee-hours of the morning. We pulled into a spot that was supposed to have a mechanic on duty, but he was off hunting and wouldn’t be back until the end of the weekend at the earliest. We braved a trip further into town and found a Wal-Mart parking lot. By the time we hit the parking lot, we were rolling only on momentum, the transmission was shot and the bus wasn’t going another inch.
Next week I will tell you the story of living in a Wal-Mart parking lot and the people we met there in similar situations as us.
OH YEAH!!!…..We are also trying to raise some money to pay for the transmission repair. If you have a couple of bucks you can help chip in, please do. Here is a link…
There is a Chip-In to get him up and running please help spread this around and donate what you can.
After sitting around for a month, working on the bus, the day is fast approaching when we will be leaving Escondida Lake and making our way to Texas. Having made a couple of trips into town with the wiring redone, and those not being 100% successful anxiety is running high. We still need to buy a few parts before we can hit the road and as always the money situation is tight. But I knew from the outset that it was going to be a “leap of faith” when we decided to hit the road. And even though the original plan wasn’t to hit the road until November anyway, I can’t help but feeling like I am running behind schedule. Probably because I am. Not the schedule of where to be at a certain time, because that doesn’t really exist except in my own mind. I want to be able to make it to the XL protests before the corporate assholes get everyone cuffed and hauled off, but as with all actions taken by the government on behalf of corporations, that could come at any second and I have no control over it. But I am behind schedule in getting everything in and on the bus ready to begin the journey. Back when I was younger and the only considerations I had were my own hedonistic desires, it was nothing to hop in a car or truck that I had traded for a couple of joints and hit the road with whatever cash I had in my pocket. I was always optimistic that the outcome would be fine. Today, older and with a family to consider, pessimistic thoughts cloud my mind. Not to mention I am out of smoke. That always takes me to dark places in my mind.
I have spent the last month worried about what is to come and thinking about all the places and people who I have crossed paths with. From the unschooling and homeschooling folks from my youth, to the people I have met in the last year here in this part of New Mexico.
I have spent most of my life in New Mexico and no matter where I am in the state, the people are pretty similar. From the very conservative areas along the Texas border to the hippie communes up North, the people are still all fairly down to earth. That might sound like a good thing, but in reality it isn’t really all that great. For the majority “political activism” means you vote for which ever of the two party system best represents your own beliefs. There are some notable differences though. Taos, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque actually do have some politically active groups, and a friend of mine in Las Vegas has helped to agitate there. But for the most part it is just the same ol’ same ol’. New Mexico is the fifth largest state in the US and down around 36th or 37th for population. Of the little over two million people that live in the state, nearly half of that can be found in the Albuquerque area. So, political activism in one of the other cities often consists of one person, with no one else to talk to.
Like most kids growing up in the state politics was less important than religion and not “pissing off the neighbors”. Also like most of the kids in the state, the first thing I wanted to do when I was old enough was get the hell out of here. And like another big portion of the kids growing up here, drugs were the only past time. My first attempt to leave here and head for greener pastures was because the DEA moved into the state and my lifestyle was very counter to their goals. I hopped on a little 550cc motorcycle and along with my high school sweetheart headed for the “great state” of California with little more than the clothes on our back. There was little concern for consequences or what “might” go wrong. That was back when I was ten foot tall and bullet proof. Today, not so much.
Anyway, here is good-bye New Mexico, hello Texas. I know everything will work out, just like to stress on it. Maybe that is part of the deal, learning to get rid of that stress. Seems like modern civilization requires stress to ever get anything done. Stress about your job, your bills, your rent. If not for that stress, what motivation would there be to get anything done? Fuck stress.
There are three types of people in the campground. The first group are the “locals”. These are folks that live full-time here. I have mentioned two of these people in an earlier piece, Al and Daryl. Al is a retired county worker. Daryl is a disabled vet. Through various misfortunes they both ended up with nothing and finally were able to buy an RV to move into. Their transportation and home all rolled into one. There is another family here that also fall into that category, but I think they are still in shock from whatever misfortune put them there. Of course, that is only conjecture since they keep to themselves.
The second category is the “weekenders”. They pull their rigs in for the weekend, usually attracted to one of the areas many attractions. The Very Large Array (VLA) is near here. One of the states premiere four-wheel drive parks is right here.Fishing and hunting are big here and tis’ the season. Lots of them come here with RV’s that cost more than most people’s house and they bring with them an arsenal of expensive toys. The RV’s and trailer’s look more like Transformers than camping equipment, with things popping out the sides and the roofs elevating.
And than there are the “nomads”. People who are on the road full-time and might stop somewhere for a day, a week, maybe even a
month or so. This is the category we live in. Of course, like all groups of people, there are some nuances and in the nomad group, they come in all shapes and sizes. From the big rigs all the way down to the tents and everything in between.
During the week the locals and the nomads have the run of an otherwise empty campground. Visiting with the neighbors, sharing meals, and stories around the campfires is a pretty common occurrence You get to hear their stories, where they came from and how they got here. You hear about family in far away places. About jobs and the years spent struggling just to make ends meet. You get to hear about the triumphs and the disappointments of life. You form a community. Lawn chairs are moved from one site to the other and back again. Everyone that is staying for a while camps far enough away from all the others that are staying for a while so as to afford each other a certain degree of privacy and personal space. It’s not a rule, it’s just how we do it. And every Friday, you watch the weekenders pull in.
It is fun to watch them roll in. They start filling up the spaces in between the more permanent camps first. Probably for the same reasons, to give everyone a certain amount of privacy. But when the spaces start filling up is when the real fun begins. Especially if a group shows up with multiple parties and rigs. They roam around the campground looking for any spots they can find that aren’t right next to the more permanent residents. It is kind of understandable that they would do that. We have dogs. We have kids. They want privacy and quiet, although their camps usually end up being anything but quiet. Weekend warriors partying it up, jamming their stereos, drinking till all hours of the morning, and cranking up all their toys for journeys to their local destinations.
The extent they are willing to go to in order to “get their way” is pretty interesting though. It isn’t uncommon for them to ask the park manager to get one of the locals to move so they can all be next to each other. They actually want people to move their entire lives so that they can play. And when that doesn’t work, they don’t hesitate to be a nuisance for the entire length of their stays. They don’t think anything of asking for people to be moved. Of walking through the middle of other peoples camps. Of driving too fast through the lot in their expensive little toys. Of cranking out music until the wee hours. This is their escape from their everyday lives of doing whatever it takes to be able to afford all those toys. They have earned it by gawd and they demand it, and if their demands aren’t met, they take it anyway.
Who knows what these folks do during the week, but come the weekend the name of
the game is “privileged”. Not just expected, but demanded. They want the locals segregated to a portion of the campground away from them. They want kids and dogs quiet so they can pretend like they don’t exist. They want, they want, they want. When they walk by one of the more permanent camps, they act like it isn’t there, but when they drive by they shoot daggers from their eyes.
I grew up in campgrounds, traveling with my family while my dad looked for work, staying in one place for a month, two months, six
months. And even back then I could sense the divide. I knew that all of us weren’t in the same game. Today it is more apparent to me, hell, it is right up in my face.
Anyone that has spent any time doing nothing knows that doing nothing is boring as hell. I prefer a non-hierarchical society or community that is based on the idea of, “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” People so in-trenched in the idea of capitalism, sometimes even those people who don’t particularly care for capitalism, often offer the argument that in a communist society “people just won’t work”. Those people have never sat on their ass with absolutely nothing to do. Not to mention, they don’t fully understand what that saying actually means. But I digress…
The air-lines and wiring that had burnt were all repaired. As far as I could tell, being that I am not much of a mechanic, everything was good to go. The bus was running good, there was no smoke coming from anywhere, and the brakes were fully functional again. And we were still out of funds. And the title loan on the car had come due. And…And…And…
Well, really, “and” nothing. We knew we weren’t taking the car with us on the road, towing a vehicle is just out of the question for us right now anyway. Even if it was something we wanted to do, which we really didn’t, the extra cost made it out of the question anyway. And money is already an issue, one that I don’t see getting any better. Watching the car go was a trip though. It was the last connection to anything outside of the bus. From this point forward, our entire lives were contained in one old sixty passenger school bus. The entire logistics of life have changed. And still we sit.
When you are sitting around the RV park, with time on your hands, you find stuff to do. The kids scour the park and lake for trash. The bus is clean. The dogs have plenty of exercise. And there are only 20 more hours in the day left to fill. There is no television reception, so sitting around rotting our brains is out of the question. Lots of reading gets done. Doing “school-work” with the kids is full-time, but not time consuming and always a blast. You can also find out that, despite how it might feel, we aren’t the only people to take to a life on the road.
With time to spare you rediscover a long lost tradition, probably the most important tradition for humanity, talking to your neighbors. Our neighbors here in the park are transient, like us. Sure you get the people who pull in for the night, or for the day, or for the weekend, but you also have the other people that live full-time on the road. Most of them skip around between parks and campsites, staying till the scenary gets stale, and some of them are parked for the long haul. There is a guy named Al here that worked here at the campground for many, many years. He pulled his RV into the camp a few years ago when his health failed and he was forced to retire. He spends his time now fussing over details about the place with Gilbert, the guy who is in charge of the place now.
There is also Daryl, a disabled veteran who until a few years ago was in the same shape as a lot of veterans, living on the streets and trying to fight to get benefits. After five years on the streets, bouncing between homeless shelters and VA hospitals, he finally got back benefits and ended up with enough money to buy an RV. He traveled after that, hitting the National Parks and other cheap and off-grid campsites, until the price of fuel and food combined to slow his travels to a crawl. And so he sits, waiting. I am not sure what he is waiting for, I am not sure he knows what he is waiting for.
The sitting is a killer though. It is nice to have some idle time, and hard as hell to fill it up and not go crazy. The whole idea behind the experience is to find places full of people actually doing something. To find places where the idea of from each/to each is actually in action. To find the “real left” on the move. But for now, we are sitting.
The work on the bus was going slow. The desire to hit the road was growing strong. So just like the typical voter, we suspended reason and took a leap. No, the plumbing wasn’t done. No, the electrical hadn’t been completely finished. But we could live with the small inconveniences those things presented and just work on things as we went. The first few stops on the trip were going to be parking outside different family members homes, so the few odds and ends that weren’t done would be no problem. Everything was going to work out fine and we were going to live happily ever after, roaming the roads, meeting new people, and hopefully networking with other like minded individuals and groups. And also, just maybe, Obamaney would be the President of the USA and world peace would reign supreme. Just suspend reason and everything will be just fine.
We hadn’t registered the bus yet either. For years I had gone with no drivers license, no insurance, no registered vehicles but hitting the road full time would be a pain in the ass if every time we got pulled over and asked for “our papers please” we didn’t have government permission to be on the roads, it would make for a hell of a problem. Experience has shown that it is always a very expensive problem too. I have had cars towed away by the police, not to mention being thrown in the back of cop cars for various stupid excuses that they like to throw in the mix when I interact with the cops. So I secured the stuff on the bus and hit the road, bound for the DMV.
The dread of dealing with government officials was the only thing on my mind as I started down the long dirt road that led to our house. That is until smoke started pouring out of the dash and the bus died. For a few seconds I just sit there as a wire from the ignition to the solenoid smoked and bubbled and fizzled into nothingness. Being the eternal pessimist I began to see all my plans go up in smoke. We were going to be stuck forever in the box, trying to scrape by and hoping to make it through another winter in the high deserts of New Mexico.
Once the immediate feeling of panic passed, I got down to the business of replacing the wire that had burnt. At least, replacing the obvious wire that had burnt. I did a quick trace of the ones around it and replaced or repaired them as I found them and when I thought they were all fixed up I fired up the bus and started down the road. There was a whistling sound coming from under the dash and it didn’t take me long to realize that one of the hoses running to the air brakes had been burnt through too. Now back to panic mode. If I missed that, what else did I miss? Just a couple more miles down the road the bus died again. No smoke this time, just no fire to the plugs. And this time, instead of breaking down on a nice wide open stretch of road where everyone could see me, I was broke down in a blind curve on a back road where everyone thinks the speed limit is 80 instead of 35.
When we first moved to this area we had big plans. We had ideas for a couple of small businesses that would allow us to spend time together and pay the bills. We left Albuquerque for this country setting, were we thought people would be easier to get along with and a person might be able to spread their wings a little bit without too much interference. A place were the friendly locals would welcome organic farming and massage therapy. We had talked with a landlord in town and he had a house we could move into on Monday, and so we left the big city on Friday with plans to camp for the weekend out in the National Forrest and move into our new house after a fun weekend in the mountains. The weekend was fun, but come Monday the landlord had already rented the house to someone else. So, homeless, we returned to our camping spot out in the woods to try and figure out what our next move would be. The place we were camping is a rugged place. There are no kind of amenities there, other than an outhouse type bathroom. Despite the misleading name of “Water Canyon” this is no water there, not even in the campsites. No running water of any kind. The nearest place to get water was 15 miles away and you better be prepared to pay out the nose for it. One day we asked someone who owns a hotel there if we could fill up an empty gallon jug with their water hose. You would think we had asked to eat their children, and they looked at us like that might have been our real intention. With a pound of disdain in her voice the lady told us that water was too expensive to spare any. Should have been a sign. And to top off all of that, you are only allowed to stay in those campsites for fourteen days. We knew we had to get out of the forest but we still needed somewhere stay. By this point the money we had set aside to get into a new house was near the zero mark. We packed up our camp and started into Socorro to see what we could find out.
On the edge of Socorro there is a little “town” called Escondida. And in Escondida there is a little pond that they call a lake. And on the edge of that “lake” there is a small campground. We pulled in there and met the lone worker at this county owned facility, Gilbert. He showed us to a camp spot and asked us if we needed anything and then helped us set up our tent. That tent, on the edge of that lake, became our home for the next two months as we started the process of saving up what little money we got in and working towards getting into a house before the cold desert winter hit. Incredibly it was one of the best times of our lives. It also planted the seed that maybe, just maybe, we could live on the road. And maybe, just maybe, we could do that in a bus.
Nearly two years later, I am sitting in a broke down bus, in a blind curve, across the field from Escondida Lake. And too the rescue comes Gilbert. He towed the bus to the campground, asked if we needed anything, and sat and reassured us that everything was going to work out.
So, here we sit. Right back were we started in this area, but a little better off then when we got here maybe. Still broke and broke down, but eventually getting there. Although, I still haven’t found the short in the electrical, we did get the brake lines fixed and can at least get the bus started, now we just have to get more money in the coffers to try and start out again.
I have always been in love with the desert. The solitude is actually awe inspiring when you are looking for it. You can leave the “city” and be out in the middle of nowhere in minutes. When artificial light is out of the picture, the moon is a great source of light.That is one of the things that people who go out into the desert notice. For most of the month, you can see good enough to get things done outside. Of course the most likely thing you get done is opening a beer, passing a bowl, and talking with friends.
On August 12 we were all excited about the Persied Meteor Shower. We had the bus sitting in the driveway and decided to head out to it and spend the night watching the show. Nothing had really been “converted” on the bus so spending the night on it consisted of taking out a couple of blankets and staring out the windows at the sky. We didn’t know it at the time, but that was the end of living in the house for us.
Living out in the middle of the desert it is hard not to become a sky gazer. Some people might get the impression that we spend a lot of time “staring at the sun”, and we have actually done our fair share of that. We had a front row seat to the eclipse earlier in the year. Saw the transition of Venus. And a couple of UFO’s. By the time Persied came along we were all pretty excited. The decision to move onto the bus had already been made, but we didn’t have a timetable for it. As with most other things it was going to be a “get around too it” kind of thing. That night the time came.
What hadn’t come yet was the money to get it done. And by the looks of things, it was never going to come. Every penny that came in went straight to the business of paying the bills and raising the kids. Three growing boys like to eat. All the time. So if we were going to get it done, and get on the road, we were going to have to be creative. Luckily living below the poverty level for most of our lives had prepared us for being creative at being poor. We started dragging home pallets. We took apart an old dog house. We took apart the raised beds in the gardens, which were also made from materials we had previously scavenged. One day we got lucky and found an old beat up RV from 1959 that one of the neighbors was using for a storage shed. They didn’t need the stuff in it, they just wanted the box. Apparently, things made in 1959 were pretty well built. Definitely not the cheap, throw away crap made for a disposable consumer society.
We did make some financial sacrifices out of the ordinary though. Our plan is to be able to camp without being hooked into the grid, as much as possible. That was our plan for when we lived in the box too. We wanted to go solar. To use a hand pump for water and make it be gravity fed. Permaculture was going to be our life. We wanted to build an Earthship. And everyday that we thought about it, the costs just keep going up and up and up. Solar power might be the cure for the destruction being wrought on the Earth by non-sustainable energy sources, but it sure as hell isn’t cheap. Permaculture probably can cure the need for feeding ourselves outside of the capitalist system, but it isn’t something you can do in a rented trailer house with a landlord that doesn’t want you to mess up their junk piles. And Earthships definitely can elevate us by becoming a living vessel that helps us meet our very basic needs, but the amount of work and time, not to mention owning the property to build one on, seem perpetually out of our reach. But we didn’t want to abandon our beliefs, so we “splurged” and went with a solar charging system for the bus. The materials in the bus are reclaimed/recycled. But it still wasn’t enough. We tried selling our car to raise some of the money, but after trying to get rid of it for a couple of months and not being able to get anything for it, we gave up trying to sell it. We did a title loan on it though. Not really going to miss it when it’s gone.
But even with all of that, I kept dragging my feet. Fear played a role, still plays a role. But I like to lie to myself and say that I am going to miss the wide open skies. That the reason I didn’t just jump into the great unknown was because I love to watch the falling stars. But there is an old saying. A saying I think would make the world a better place if only we could all adopt it. “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” Come hell or high water, we were going to make changes.
Previous Article – On The Bus: How Far Ken?
When I was pretending to grow up, one of the biggest influences on me was my perception of Ken Kesey. I say my “perception” because of course I didn’t know the Kesey of reality, only the Kesey of my reality, filtered as it was through stories, articles and his own writings. And more importantly through my own imagination.
Kesey was a man out of time. By that I mean, well, he said it best, “I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie”. That was exactly how I was feeling. Well, not exactly, but the feeling that the society I lived in was not the society I belonged too. A feeling I have described as “missing the bus”, to which I was usually greeted with strange looks and that little smile you give when talking to a crazy person. The reason it was an inside joke is because the community I belonged too would have no reason to associate me with anything about Kesey, even if they might have had some peripheral knowledge of who he was. When someone asked where I was going and I said “Further”, they just ignored it.
I was already in my mid-twenties when I met someone that knew where I was coming from. He was a hippie back in the day, after involuntary servitude to the flag, of late transformed into your everyday worker under the rigors and demands of the capitalist system. His name was Mike and I could wax poetic on the many conversations we had, but those images are mine. My last image I will share. It was Mike, standing next to a bus, with the worlds biggest smile on his face. He was hitting the road.
Even though I was in my twenties at the time, I actually already had quite a bit of life experience of “life on the road”. Years worth of experience as a matter of fact. So much experience that it was hard wired into who I was, even before I was hard wired into who I was. At the end of my fifth grade my parents hit the road. Kids in tow.
I am still not 100% sure what sent my parents onto the road. Also in my fifth grade year I discovered marijuana, so there seem to be long stretches of my life where I wasn’t really sure what was going on around me. Actually, now that I try to think about it, I am not even sure it was my fifth grade year. But, for the sake of ever getting around to spitting out the story, lets call it fifth grade.
I have a pretty good idea today of some of the problems that might have made it an attractive alternative. The economy of what was once my hometown was crap. My dad was a carpenter and chasing work was a big thing for construction work at the time. We went from the deserts of New Mexico to the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. I still remember the cool breeze coming off the Gulf early in the morning as the sun rises. The smell of salt was heavy and the air was wet. It was amazing.
I could go on forever on all the places we “lived” over the next several years. I could tell stories of good times and bad times, fun times and scary times. What matters from those stories will surely be told again. But those stories, like those images of Mike, are all stored up in my head and sometimes I am jealous with them. Besides, this isn’t about those stories. This is about new stories. My new stories.
The other day a couple of years ago I finally realized that society at large had little use for me and that I felt pretty much the same way about it. I have blown a fortune trying to be part of society, all along knowing that there was nothing in the concept (as far as I understood and understand it) that appeals to me. There were things that had me tied to that concept, but the main chains holding me down were just in my own perceptions. I could easily say, “Well, the kids need stability. They need school and friends and blah blah blah.”, because it is easy to blame things on the kids. And just like for everything else in life, there just isn’t enough money. There is this really good job that makes it just possible to be high enough above the poverty level that you can’t catch a break, but not high enough above it to be able to afford luxuries like healthcare and food.
Work your fingers to the bone so you can send your boss on vacation. Give up part of it to send your politicians over to scout out countries to invade. Spend a few hours numbing your mind in front of the T.V., trying to convince yourself that your crap is as good as the crap in the commercials. Waiting for the late-night comics to come on and hopefully send you to bed with happy thoughts. Rinse and Repeat.
Despite having worked hard, and having made several attempts at living the dream, I was never quite able to “own” that little piece of heaven that would fulfill my soul and make me grow healthy roots into society. I was pretty much always a “renter”.
Most of the places I could manage to afford were not what most people would want to call home. Roach infestations. Faulty wiring. Nasty water. Bitchy neighbors. Slumlords. Mice. Anything needed repaired, better whip out the tools and get busy. And in my mind, I dreamed of getting out into the country and raising a garden and some animals and living off the land. But once again, money was an issue. The same problems with housing in the city was actually even worse in the country. Some rundown part of the country, probably next to the dump. Where nothing but stickers can grow. And still the tentacles of society start to strangle you.
And always, the road was calling me home.
So finally one day, I started getting rid of all my crap. I quit worrying about the kids having roots in “society”. I quit caring if the landlord was going to come fix the dripping water under the trailer house that was attracting local wildlife. I re-defined what “poor” means. I started to set my priorities straight. I really realized what “dropping out” could mean and why some, not that long ago, had considered it a revolutionary act.
And I bought a bus. I named it “How Far?”…
Next Article - On The Bus: Falling Stars