"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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

10/12-10/31/09: Filling Tanks and Adjusting Sails

Early-mid October saw a bizarre repeat of what happened after I returned home in '08, and almost to the day. Once the house-sitting was done, I almost immediately went into a funk; just as last year I had done the same after finishing my initial work with Jack. I didn't realize it until reading back through my journal and seeing that if I were to write that night I would scribble nearly the exact same words...exactly a year later! I've come to greatly enjoy these moments when I sincerely have no choice other than to laugh at myself. They seem to be on the rise!

As the intense, unpleasant scrutiny of myself, and others, continued. I began questioning people's ability and/or willingness to see things as they really are, and a tendency to apply their own "personal narratives" to the experiences in their lives, rather than letting truth be the compass: "See things as they are, not as you would like them to be" is such a simple concept, yet at the same time I know first-hand how difficult it is to adhere to; how easy it is to hide in and project our own interpretation from our own mind. Some believe it's impossible altogether to witness things accurately, saying, "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." (Anais Nin or the Talmud)

Many hippies have gleefully hoisted this distorted white flag and embraced the idea of relativism with the ridiculous declaration: "It's MY reality!" Rather than looking further inward to identify and purge their prejudices and what's skewing their perception of reality, they've taken the route of the helpless alcoholic who's decided that, since he's been told he's "diseased," he has no choice other than to drink every day. Hey! Rationalizing the absconding of responsibility works in "his reality," right?

In retrospect, this escapism was the first progressive red flag that has since been elevated to a genuine, open disdain for escapist rhetoric and how agenda always, eventually, hitches its wagon to an ideological/idealistic horse. Somehow, people have convinced these people that self-lobotomization is the answer; that whatever they choose to "believe" is in fact their reality; encouraging a legitimization of self-delusion by teaching egoistic, protective escapism rather than an unattached commitment to truth. It lends a false, transparent credibility to placing point-of-view above truth.

I have a quiet, short-fused, internally turbulent reaction to these hippies, although we often share paths! With that being said, ultimately the mirror had to be turned, and it was. I spent a good part of October and early November harshly questioning rather I inadvertently had skewed my perception of these experiences, and the ideas I pursued as a result. I ultimately found myself hyper-sensitive to hints that Chris or I were deluded. The answers I came up with, for myself at least, were quite quick, obvious and, for once, simple. But, they needed to be asked for my own sake.

**Rant Alert**
Through this patience-testing process, I kept hearing Andre's, "Words are important!" and subsequently noticed an increase in my intolerance for "mystic bullshit." Fancy rhetoric attempting to espouse or defend a "spiritual" idea, but failing miserably once the sentences are parsed; when the bullshit's shoveled to the side, there's often nothing left! It's a vacuum wrapped in verbosity!

It's like trying to debate that the sky is pink instead of blue. Relativists will say, "Sometimes it is! And, what if I'm colorblind? That's MY reality! Who are YOU to say?" My answer? Your internal defect, and unwillingness to acknowledge, address and compensate for it, does NOT change the language we've all agreed upon; the proper description of the general color of the sky is: FUCKING BLUE!

This is that asinine Every Kid Gets a Trophy at work, only now it's Every Kid Gets a Reality. "No Moonbeam, you're not "wrong!" You're NEVER wrong, and you NEVER lose... if you TRY! If you think the sky is fuchsia, it's fuchsia! That's your reality!"

I can't adequately express how that mentality pisses me off. But, let me to try to convey it to Moonbeam. "Hey Moonbeam, sometimes you ARE wrong, sometimes you REALLY DO LOSE; some people REALLY are flawed. See, this is the harsh law of Nature and it even applies to you, you spoiled pretentious fuck! As you can see on display all around you every day, we are neither created, nor treated, equally, and though it's plainly neither pleasant nor fair, no amount of politically correct voodoo-linguistics will change the REALITY of NATURE'S LAW. Progressives are the people who universally tout a special "love & appreciation" for nature, so for them to ignore Her most basic law? Well, the hypocrisies are astounding! Now, precious Moonbeam- tell your parents I said to smoke a joint then feel free to fuck off and quit wasting my time. Maybe I'll see you at Burning Man."

**End Rant** brought to you by Starbucks, proudly serving douchebags (and the rest of you) since 1971!

Once that process was undertaken, the funk lifted. I originally had come to the conclusion that the return home was likely a mistake; that I should have continued on toward California on foot before returning home. After purchasing ANOTHER phone to replace the one damaged sleeping outside at Wendie's, I had barely broke-even after the bus ticket, and was now forced to go into fund-raising mode to get back out there this winter.

I decided on a whim to re-list the injured Saturn on Craigslist, at a reduced price, to see if anyone with extra cash or mechanical aptitude would be interested in buying and fixing it themselves. I was quite surprised when the phone started to ring, and in a matter of a few days had sold it to a guy in Albuquerque.

To clarify, I was VERY up-front about the mechanical issues, which oddly had seemed to vanish when I started and drove it for the first time in six-months. I even offered to let him leave it in the parking lot until he could have it looked at, but he refused choosing instead to drive it 60-miles home.

I sold the car on the 17th. On the 20th I received a call letting me know that the entire transmission casing had dropped while he was out "driving it around". He wasn't upset, but did share that he estimated it would cost over $2,000 to have the tranny replaced. I reminded him that he knew the car was broken when he bought it, and that I HAD offered to let it sit here until it was able to be fixed, and he'd refused. I believe he was meekly fishing for a refund after realizing he had probably fucked himself by treating it as a fully-functioning vehicle without first having it looked at!

That...was not happening.

That...was why he got the car so cheap in the first place.

I...was even more thrilled to be rid of that car.

With the Saturn sold, I learned the same day that I was in-line for another week's house-sitting. Katie had to return to California, and was happy with the way things had gone in September. With that, I had just quadrupled my money in about in hour. This was quite a good Saturday, and the decision to return home suddenly looked quite astute. Laina and I drove to Albuquerque's REI then next day where I finally got the backpack I coveted. It was costly, but a good investment. Thanks to Lynette and Dave, I would never have to buy boots again, and now with this Osprey (Kermit?), I would never have to buy another backpack...or I could return it for a cheaper one if I was in a real fix. Call me the money masseuse.

The second week at Katie's was better than the first in most ways. The dogs remembered and welcomed me with open paws and I managed to get a good amount of writing done, most of it this time in my written journal, coming to a few hard-fought conclusions. After this summer, things had begun to feel less like recess; it appeared to me that my metaphorical "play time" had ended and things were likely to change.

In fact, it seemed they already were. Leslie and I had been in regular contact since I had returned, and we began to bounce around more ideas for the end of November, when she took her winter break at DePaul. I also chatted regularly with Chris, who was on his way from Seattle to Massachusetts to see his dad and setting Halloween-goal to get there hitching...via San Francisco. Following this was his bizarre trip to England to see another ex-girlfriend, and from there it was anyone's guess for both of us.

We lightly discussed Mexico and South America again, and then, to my surprise, Florida. The idea of taking Dave's suggestion temporarily took root, with the two of us concocting a grandiose plan to go to the Atlantic Coast of Florida and trying to find a "live-aboard" situation where we could work in exchange for becoming certified as scuba divers. Then, we could presumably march into Mexico like Cortes and find work as diving instructors! It's not as far-fetched as it may seem; apparently Dave had actually done the live-aboard part.

I ran the idea past Leslie, and for a few days, visions of the three of us invading Florida danced through my head... until I realized that it felt ALOT like the kayak idea. And, that I had really hated Florida when I lived there! Why was I returning again? To maybe learn scuba diving? Couldn't I get certified easier in, say...Albuquerque? Why, yes I could! No, I was looking for adventure to compensate for a lack of inspiration; a destination. Abort!

Leslie and Chris independently came to the same general conclusion for different reasons, and the conversation shifted from traveling to Florida to me possibly just traveling to Chicago for a visit, then perhaps the southwest if Leslie still wanted to come out n' play. Arizona & California's deserts appeal much more to me in the winter than Florida, believe it or not. Nothing was decided, however, and as Halloween came and went, I was no closer to knowing what the rest of the winter held than when I arrived. I just knew I was in the right place at the right time. Sometimes, that's all someone can ask.