Saturday, March 23, 2019

In Closing

The adventure of a lifetime isn't supposed to mean a lifetime of one, never-ending adventure. There has to be a beginning, middle, and an end. Or else the adventure and the life merge into an indistinguishable blob that is neither life nor an adventure. 

The road takes a toll on one's heart and body. The soul may ripen with age, but the skin wrinkles, the hair turns white, the beard grizzles, the organs shrivel and decay. I remember being able to type accurately and furiously as the library was closing and the librarian was kicking me and the other homeless men into the streets of Santa Monica, typing with the words firing from my fingers, with the passion and the fearlessness of a man in search of a voice, a man who may have found the voice he was searching for, but was pushing the limits. Now I have to spell check the word 'Milk'.

Speaking of Beginnings, Middles, and Ends... I will recollect my three ghosts of travel, the moments, (one could call them eras since I'm talking about a decade of time). The beginning of the Man in The Van was not the first post, nor the tenth, because I think those were attempts to discover my blogging persona. The beginning was when I morphed into the honest, unaffected asshole one sees today. That was probably on the sands of Mexico, La Paz...summer of 2009. The van's timing cover gasket blew out and required a full dis-assembly of the front of the engine in the parking space I had just rented at a house. It was embarrassing that the second day I met that family I was neck deep in grease, but such is life. I had to fix that gasket twice because there are two layers of gaskets and the deepest one was the one that failed. (Hey, 10 years later it's never needed adjustment.) The Mexican journey was always one that could collapse at any second. I planned to spend one year in Mexico, travel towards Guatemala and abandon the van when it failed me. But I felt comfortable in La Paz up until the insane summer heat arrived and, from apathy and malaise, I did not get on the ferry to mainland Mexico. The heat drove me quite mad until I only dreamt of northern climate, the coolness of trees. Also, I had planned badly for the trip as my bank card expired and I didn't have access to any money. So I drove north without ever grasping how the persona of the blog had been adopted without my being aware. I wasn't acting anymore. Life in the van had become my life, it was not a phase anymore. I had faced mechanical challenges in desperate times in harsh conditions and I had been forced to embrace the challenge, and the process shed my previous persona that treated the van as a separate, 8 cylinder, character-rich conveyance. By the time I drove north from La Paz, the van was a part of me and that marked the beginning of the journey. Our fates had become inseparable.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.