Monday, October 22, 2007

Very Little is Romantic About Sleeping on Wet Pavement

So fricking much has happened... I've written so much and done so much... how do I begin to share it with you? A longer, or several much longer, works than blogs are starting to develop out of this trip. What you see here are tidbits and highlights.

We'll begin with what slipped through the cracks last time.

This is Barlow eating a Po Boy

This is another view of the tall mountains.

Driving 285 from New Mexico to Salida was awesome.... because of so much of this:

Empty, semi-functional, agro-industrial grain elevator looking stuff in the desert.

For those of you who wondered what the hell is meant by a "laughing fish", here's two pictures of them:

Sometimes I do miss these guys

That's waiter poker with sugar packet chips on a slow day in DC for you. But at the same time.... I'm not sure if I can ever go back to that.

When you live in a hole it is all you know. You don't know if it's a nice hole or not, because you know nothing else. So you decide its nice. And you go on living. Even if you are being abused.

Now I know there is a lot more.

I know people in Denver are friendly in the most non-superficial, genuinely interested sort of way. When the Swedish sailor told me that, "With good music and a drink in your hand you'll be welcome everywhere," I wasn't sure if he was right or not. Well, in Denver he's right. With the car it's great cause you can go wherever. You can meet people and talk to them and they will talk to you and maybe offer you a couch to sleep on. If not it doesn't matter though cause you can sleep in a car and I've worked that out to be very comfortable.

The whole point about living in/out of a car is that you absolutely must keep everything very well compartmentalized. That makes it easy to move stuff around so in 2 minutes you go from having everything well packed and stowed so stuff doesn't move around too much when you drive on a rough road; to having a mattress and blankets and a nice place to sleep for yourself. You need to be able to do this quick and not be sketchy about it because at some places living in a car is illegal, or at least frowned upon.

I've also gained new insights into The Futility of Posture. To illustrate this we'll take gutter punks and Republicans. The fact is this: Unlike salmon, those with the most on their shoulders don't wear any stripes, while those with the most hollow and empty experiance are the flashiest of all. It's only decently well off well raised kids from nice suburban neighborhoods who decide it's cool to look really dirty and live in the gutter, in dangerous places, and have ripped up, torn clothes and generally and hygenically look like they don't care about themselves. Likewise, it's only people who've been born into money, or had an easy time, who are the strongest adhearants of the "anyone can work hard and get ahead and those who are poor are so because of their own fault" mythologies. In the former case it is because the "rebelling" youth is still primarily oriented on his own community. He's trying to defy and "show off" to his own comfortable, hygenic, secure millieu. That's why he is embarressed and invents lies about his past when confronted for questioning by actual homeless people who never had the choice. In the latter case, the Republican attempts to camaflague their guilt as well as the exploitative nature of those relationships from whence their income is derived.

I cannot respect such people, though I may still be polite. "We should all live in poverty and misery while working for the rich. We should all eat rice and chicken wings while we sell surf and turf with filet mingons." What kind of crap is that? You know how fucking amazing and full of potential technology is? You know how rich our society is and how much surplus is there? "You people", I say, "Want us to all to push the rock up the mountain until we die and it rolls back down?" You want us to eat raw meat when we've known about fire for thousands of years? You think we should all have to hunt our own animals to make our own clothes?

Then why the hell can't we get childcare together, or healthcare together? Or abolish hunger? Educate people? Absolute basics...

Such ideologies, completely devoid of respect, do not deserve it.

Such "ideologues", who on every oppertunity seek to verbally flatter the idea of the poor, say they have nothing against them, and respect poor people working hard with what they have, are in fact the ruddest people when in actual contact with the poor. The gawk at them, view them as exhibits, drive through their neighborhoods like it were a safari, and go into their stores only to make fun of the quality, and of the prices.

When you have little, and when life is a struggle, and your own condition is humble, you see those who edure these cirucmstances quite differently. If you actually do come from rags and go to riches, this will stay with you, which is why the offspring of such success stories are always so much more strongly attached to the idea, than are those who actually lived it, and among whom there is always to be found more room for doubt.

If you came from comfort you'll never know this. You will never know what it means to really respect someone. You are blind to the beauty and the dignity of sacrifice, and honesty when present will bounce off your ears.

Those who actually are homeless, and aren't so far gone with mental disabilities or drug habits, are actually very very concerned with hygine and apperance. This is because it is a humilitating condition to be homeless. Even if you have money, and are technically a "traveler", you are still homeless, and there are things you cannot do and places you cannot stay. They are things you must hide and words you must avoid. There are behavoirs you must learn in order to protect yourself. You may be working and homeless, but still you're chased and you're looked down on if the secret comes out. Like a closeted homosexual. You quitely and effectively brush your teeth, wear deoderant, and keep your clothes clean. You park or you sleep out of sight. No one must know. If they know you can't hang out in the diner or the coffee shop all night. You must pretend to be reading or studying.... even if you are in the meantime reading and studying and I am actually "working on this laptop", that is not my purpose. My purpose is to hide. I am hiding from that cheap motel with the urine-flavored disinfectant. I am hiding from the snow and from the temperature. I am hiding from my friends and from my crushes, because of the pain and the embarrassment which comes out with the truth.

I have also learned that the best writing comes through pad and pen. Or with typewriters. Computers with your hands faciliate the spread of intellectual diarreah. Everything comes out and is cheap. When it takes more energy, and limited quantities of ink and paper, you think more before you write. Your words have more value.

In life there was the bar at 2pm, and the Junkie I drove home in exchange for xanax and pepper steak. Xanax has the side effect of short term memory loss. I was not perpared for how extreme or disorienting this is. I have no idea how I was able to drive and survive on this stuff. I also had no idea what was going on in the morning when I was suddenly woken up and taken somewhere and I just went along, dilligently but confused, becuase I couldn't remember that day's plan and I was embarressed to ask for it. I didn't know if I was being kicked out or having a request fullfilled. Furthermore there were the bizarre stains of dairy and grain on the front of my shirt and on my pants. Multiple wrappers of ice cream sandwhiches on the passanger seat and floor of my car brought forth dim memories of gas station cravings, and oh my god, "How long have I been looking like shit? Has anyone noticed?"

There were elk in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park

They had come down into the village and occupied a baseball diamond. They have horns and it would be dangerous for someone to mess with them. So they got to keep the diamond.

I have no map with highway names but I believe it was 36 that took me back from Estes Park to Boulder. That was beautiful... With the rockies the peaks are awesome, but its really the foothills, with their cayons, their rock, their gentle slopes ending in steep cliffs, which for their beauty and accessibility, can do pretty well to steal the show.

To the mexican resturant that exists in every city, with the hip guy and the teacher bartending there as the second job. Where people are friendly and you're talked to. Boulder is the easiest city to be homeless in that I've met. When you're in a car homeless, food is one of your biggest expenses. You can limit this by cooking out with stuff from a grocery store over a fire or on a camping stove in a national forrest. But you can't stay in the forrest, because you get lonely and miss people, so you must return to the cities, to the bar, to the dancing and of course the sex-potential.However, in most cities, the time it takes to drive to a forrest where you can cook out is quite long and at that point the cost in time and in gas begins to cut into what you save from food cost. In Boulder though the canyon roads with their pull offs and trails are right there. Also in Boulder it's probably hip in a fuzzy, over the top hippie sort of way to be "transient", and people are less likely to look at you weird for crawling into a car and lying down late at night.

Denver though wins out... through the quality of people. Boulder is too isolated, too into and of and for itself. Too fuzzy... too granola. Denver poses more big city challanges; like a slightly longer commute to a park or forrest where you can cook; but it has better views and better people. The people are still friendly as hell but they're more genuine in a way. There's more big city problems that can't be hidden, or forgotten. Homelessness, heroin, and poverty are present. In Boulder they don't exist or they are disguised.

Fishing in the Platte River above Denver was incredible.

I caught big brown trout here, and cooked them with the steak and cous cous. Though for some reason at this time my salt either got lost in the car or in the confusion when I packed up quick out of the snow storm; it still tasted great. Just 30 minutes later I was down from where I been; around 9,000 feet in this beautiful natural canyon with deer and great fresh trout fishing... and at a hip club 80s night with good drink prices and beautiful friendly people. I hung out with three industrial women who were nice and quite attractive and who took me to this noise night where i think someone was pretending to play a keyboard (I think) to a largely confused audiance. Then I met a French woman whose number I recieved but whom I neither had sex with nor was able to get a couch out of. But she bought me best Chinese food I've ever had, showed me around some hip areas, and provided me with a quite interesting series of social observation between herself and her friend.

Life was lived and words were written. At 4-5 am in an all night diner.

I know how beautiful life can be, and I know how to confront and deal with any problem cooly. I have only one fear, and one enemy, which is a certian type of beautiful women who with one look, or indiffernce alone, can drive me flying out of any bar and into the fog of night and madness. Yet her weakness is that she lives everywhere, on every continent, and eventually, will always come around.

It was the sweetest feeling, the most intenese feeling of being alive I have ever experainced.... to go from the bar, to go through the rain, to be drunk, to walk for miles in the wrong direction, to walk for more miles, to be alone and abandoned and sleep outside in the cold on a stoop, to come inside and drink strong cofffee for hours; to phyiscally shake and experiance profound human kindness and consideration. To engage with philosophy and for the words to come:

The emotion, experiance, and people I've met here, have been the most honest, serious, and intense of my life. I slept on the pavement in the cold and the rain, lost money on car trouble, and didn't know when I'd see a bed again. I've never been happier, and I've never truly appreciated what's important, until now. You don't need drugs, a career, a house, or an advertized product to decide things for you. Your life isn't "decided". You think it is decided. But that's all in your head. Life occurs. You don't need to be able to run a marathon. Just the courage, luck, and self confidence to take the first step.

This is not possible, or sustainable, for everyone currently (poverty, marriage, lack of childcare, atomization, prejudice, etc...). But I have been to the mountaintop. I have seen the promised land. He (god, manitou, spirit, intuition, chance, luck, whatever-you-want-to-call-it) let me up there and I didn't come down to take you with me. I came down to tell you that you have the power amongst yourselves to go anywhere you want. See the valleys, see the mountains, find your golden city and share a lifetime of honesty and respect. That is why care was invested in you, and that is what you will leave behind.

There are the quotes, the magazine clippings, and the many, many people. There's the story about the Communist with the most beautiful hair in the world who led the American delegation to China to fight against the Japanese invasion long before US intervention was official, who came back after 70 years to free me from prision-knife interrogation and helped us to defeat the racist vampire-cops and the safeway manager from the desert in the department store. There's the story about Ken the incredible, existential, human, whom I half expected to levitate or start glowing while we talked for hours at the Pep Boys. There's Nathaniel with the 24 hour film project, the woman who bought me a PBR whose daugher just gratuated from high school and who used to fly between SF and Boulder all the time for work. A bike courier, a bus ride, a goth industrial night (which was large, and though people were generally friendly, because they are goth they are more introverted than most Denver citizens). There was a porno and a laptop, and this kind of mock up of the Denver Arch de Triomphe, where I changed my socks out of the rain:

There are quotes from great thinkers and writers and a trip to guitar center. There's the Russian thinker, who said to us:

... in consequence again of those accursed laws of conciousness, anger in me is subject to chemical disintegration. You look into it, the object flies off into the air, your reasons evaporate, the criminal is not to be found, the wrong becomes not a wrong but a phantom, something like the toothache, for which no one is to blame and consequently there is only the same outlet again- that is, to beat the wall as hard as you can.

Think you can write a better description of the current state of American progressive reality?

Last but not least I became more learned about death and life and shortcommings.

What am I for halloween?

I am the drifter with a guitar.
I am the waiter-musician.
I've seen honesty and sacrifice for others.
I've united the people a few times.

I reached across time and space to meet seriousness dead on.
I shook hands with a man.
And I bought drinks for a lady.
I know my own shortcommings.
And I'm ok with it.

I'll stay awhile.
And never miss a funeral.
So that when I am old.
I will not be afraid.

Cheers from the road.

To be continued...

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