"The world does not reward honesty and independence, it rewards obedience and service. It’s a world of concentrated power, and those who have power are not going to reward people who question that power."-Chomsky

"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management." -J.H. Kunstler

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."-Dylan

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

10/29 Santa Fe: September- October


Over the rest of September and most of October, I’ve grown a full head of
hair, and gained about 10 pounds. I feel fat and un-sexy. Maybe I’ll go on a shoe- shopping spree and watch the Sex & the City marathon on Lifetime…

The financial sector’s “meltdown” hit, and, like the rest of you, I was watching the developments expecting the “Great Depression 2k8”. Amidst the talk of the “bailout”, stock market crashes, and the social/ political drama, I had a birthday on 9/19. Birthdays are not fun for Todd. They have not been for a long time, but this one was particularly shitty. The domestic idleness had already begun to drive me nuts. The thoughts of simply hibernating, accomplishing nothing, weighed heavily on my mind. A cycle repeatedly perpetuating itself. Thank God, I only turned 29 again!

The following week things improved however, when I finally found some temporary work helping a Craigslister, Jack, move.
It was good to get out of the house and Jack made things quite interesting. He is about 60, and an Original Hippie. He was beyond “involved” in the 60’s, and never lost his ideals. However, he HAD come to the realization that his idealism was not going to feed him. Sometime, he has gotten to the point where he’s now the guy who is “running and running to catch up with the sun”; trying to make up for what he perceives as lost time… making money. He has gotten involved in antique dealing, and is some sort of a writer. What he writes? I have no idea. He is also involved in a few lawsuits. Oh, and he hung out with Jimi Hendrix back in the day...

Jack is one of the most secretive, borderline paranoid people you will ever met. He is pure Santa Fe. I literally spent 5- hours straight emptying his hoarded water. Hoarded because he was afraid “they” were going to “shut off the water”, or that the southwest’s concern about water was going to lead to “Water Wars”. Over the next couple of weeks, we got along quite well, but there were moments where there was palpable tension. Jack is very particular about how he wants things done, and my patience is not what it used to be. Actually, it is the same. I have simply lost my filter somewhere!

While eccentric, Jack is a genius. It was uncanny the way he would predict the next day’s events in the early days of the meltdown. His advice was, and continues to be: buy gold, hoard cash, and prepare. I came to enjoy the job, and made enough to replace the shoes I returned to REI upon my return in August, AND put a substantial amount back for the next phase.

The regular work with Jack ended in the first week of October, and the next few weeks have become progressively more and more frustrating. I continued to become more disillusioned with the government’s response to this manufactured financial “crisis”, but it helped me to solidify my sociopolitical stance. I will not burden you now, but I probably will sometime this week. Suffice it to say for now that it was repugnant to see both of these “leaders” supporting a taxpayer-funded bailout of these “institutions”. It went to further cement my belief that the two major “parties” are indeed factions of the same.

I had hoped to find something to quickly replace Jack’s income, but Santa Fe is not exactly a thriving, diverse, economy! I finally found a data entry gig this week that I can do from home…as often and as much as I choose to. My kinda job!

That’s the cliff notes version of the last five-weeks or so. Most of the drama was in my own little mind; I am quite a nuisance to myself when I have too much time to kill!

Chris and I have had a few conversations, although they have tapered off a bit over the last three weeks. When the meltdown hit, we concluded that traveling to Latin America might be anticlimactic; that the excitement may indeed lie right here in the US! The more I thought about it however, the less appealing that became. 

Latin America has been bubbling quietly beneath my surface for a long time, and the original perspective would be invaluable. Using this summer’s experience as a template, the opportunity to talk with people who have actually lived with the effects of US foreign and economic policy would be priceless. I would like to see the “real” (Ha! Hear that Frau Palin?) Latin America rather than just hearing agenda-fed bullshit. I began learning Spanish in early September, and the progress has been good, although I have not put as much into it as I would like. 

Chris and I have had a couple of discussions about how we would do this, and it is shaping up to possibly be quite the dramatic western hemispherical jaunt! On the list of possibilities: New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Seattle, Portland, Utah, Arizona, California--then Mexico. Also, this end of the trip could include more characters. My old roommate, Joe, has expressed an interest in joining, as has Ambar from San Diego. 

Ambar’s a trip! She spent the summer WWOOFING in Italy, and holds dual- residency in the US & Mexico. I have heard from an Italian, living in NYC right now, who defines himself as a “gypsy” and would perhaps like to tag along.

Yet, with all these ideas, there is still nothing concrete. I need to get some equipment in case things fall through with Chris. I cannot see carrying the full tent again, so that means that I will need to get either a bivy, or even a Hennesy Hammock. I returned Chris’ water filter, so I need to get one and, of course, there is always the backpack. Mr. Coleman External Frame is right there… but he is looking small! I should have NEVER returned the one I had.

Despite the lack of activity on this blog, I’ve done quite a bit of “political writing.” The election is now less than a week away, and it has been interesting to see how the summer’s events have influenced my outlook. The reinforced idea being that there is nothing that replaces real
experience and that getting your information on Sarah’s “real America” from pundits is absurd. 

I am quite convinced that the majority of Americans are disgusted with politics and politicians in general; that if “throw all their asses out” was on the ballot we would have a 95% turnout, and a landslide of a different variety than the one currently forecast! I have only had that instinct reinforced over the weeks, and I am coming to realize two distinctions that are more significant:

On the individual scale: Patriot v. Partisan.

On the collective scale: Country v. Its Government.

While you chew on that, be prepared for a flurry of election-induced posts. To spare most of you, I am going to clear the email list of most of the names.  

Think of it as Todd “purging the rolls” to get you in the mood for the election!  

If you want me to leave you on the list, let me know. You can also subscribe through Feedburner on the actual page, and I’ve added an election poll… go vote!