Monday, October 10, 2011

Leaves of Change

Returning to a semblance of normalcy in the land of 40 houses/40 lawnmowers is a process of decompression that is never easy. I live in a van, see, and it is actually easier to continue living in the van and picking apples and fighting my demons in coarse anonymity than wearing plaid bell bottom pants and motoring around town on my 1974 Vespa Ciao looking for respectable work. Hell, I was more motivated to write blog posts when I was in the middle of Nova Scotia and Internet access was 100 km away than when the computer is 5ft from my face and I have nothing to say. I cleaned up my act and the parade is over. Even clowns have to take their makeup off and then they blend in.

What now? I want to finish my rug hooking project that has me wondering how I'm going to define the outlines of those stars with 1/8 inch strips of wool.

The crow hardly looks like a crow and most people will think those yellow and red leaves are animals. And you can't see the moon and the crow feet because the wool I used is off white and blends in too well with the burlap. Let's hope it pops out a bit better when I put in the violet background. This reminds me of the mosaic tile project when I realized that you can only define sharp outlines with tiny pieces and tiny pieces means you will be on your swollen knees in pain for hours upon hours. I need to reevaluate my plan to get rich off rug hooking.

What have I done so far?
Consolidated my dirty laundry.
Way too much teen lesbian porn
Found my plaid pants and Beatle Boots.
Looked for my other shoes and failed to find them.
had a crappy meatball sub
spent several hours putting that van photo collage at the top of my blog
learned the memorial bridge is closed
missed the cheese festival
felt sorry for the jewelry artists at the Strawberry Banke market
Wrote a list of Van-related projects:

"Fuel Pump.
2ft fuel hose
pcv and grommet
flush radiator
alt. gauge?
door gaskets
return broken multimeter
oil filler cap
spark plugs
etc."

the list is as long as my arm and doesn't even include the major project of fixing the broken transmission. I have strong suspicions that the van only has two gears and that only happens when the transmission band breaks. The band can be replaced without removing the transmission but I need a flat piece of ground without cars racing by my crippled toes to do the work and I need all the materials laid out next to me and also some snacks and music or else this will never get done. And I need to have another vehicle standing by to drive me to the hardware store when I strip some essential screw. This is a big project but I know that once it is complete and the rims are painted and I've buffed out some rust then the van will be in the best shape ever. That's all that motivates me.

I found my tennis racquet and played a game or two today in the Columbus day sun with a buddy who worked at the crimp factory with me and has a lead on a good paying gig in Lawrence at a solar panel plant. IS that what I want? My bank account has the louder voice in this conversation. I don't have a place to live and my memory of sleeping in my van in Portsmouth last winter is not pleasant. I need a job and a room for my instruments and I want to play piano at the Clipper home every night. Van life doesn't allow for that and a van with two speeds and leaking fuel pump really doesn't allow for that.

"Time to Prioritize" was a motivational sign in a math class I had in High School.

My buddy from West Roxbury came up with his whiny dog and we had a hot dog at Gillies and managed not to get into a fight.

"The problem is that when we were twenty-four years old we thought time was cheap." I said with a nauseating arrogance. "I figured I was either immortal or would die before it mattered what I did. The possibility of growing as old and decrepit as my father never occurred to me."

"Time is cheap," he said and validated this by saying when he is with his 2'9'' son that nothing else matters.
I had no response because the closest I've been to having a kid was working as a kindergarten teacher.

We discussed the various approaches to child rearing that our parents had:
Me: Hopeless. No plan. Last people on earth who should've had kids.
Him: They had plans. They had dreams but life got in the way. Take some of the blame.
Me: Bullshit.

It was a mature conversation as the arrogance that dictated our youth was deadened by disease and experience.
"There are no shortcuts," we both said at one time or another and sounded shockingly like our idiot fathers.

I try to break down life to its basic level, a summation you could put on a motivational poster.

"You develop skills and apply them." 

"Maybe you start a business related to your skills and then develop new ones."

"Life is a series of trade-offs, pain management and compromise."

"Hopefully you can contain your psychopathic tendencies" 

"Trust one or two people and forgive the heartless insults slung in your direction."


I don't want to be flippant because that would immediately call for the revocation of my philosopher's license. As soon as life becomes routine then I'm in effect living off the interest of my memories and the false promises of the senile future. I couldn't do that if I tried.

"Successful people spend their youth preparing to be an adult," I say to my inner child. "Failures spend their adulthood acting like children."

"You get good at what you do and what you do is what will kill you," I say in mysterious response.
"You sound like a 10 year old boy," said a comrade in Mexico. "Can you at least grow up and be 11?"

I have some other trite saying that are my attempt to sum up my ambivalence. (I admit had to spell check that word)
I don't want all the answers; I only want enough answers so I can ask a different question.

"All these lawns should be small farms," I muttered as we overlooked the neighborhood. "It's insane to buy cucumbers."
"We'll get there," said Roxbury.
"But the problem is that we were already there, in 1820. And now we have this. We're going in the wrong direction."
He shrugged. "Oggy, don't worry. We'll get back there."

And lately I've been thinking of the old Gandhi line: Be the change you want to see in the world.
Because I think that's the only goal line there is in this ridiculous game.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.