Well, I’m trying to write more frequently, so I can keep the missives shorter. I’ve had several hints that shorter might be desirable.
Last time I promised a hard sell on buying the book ($14.95 + shipping) or trying the comb-bound for free and a pledge of honest intentions.
Okay, that was it. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the web site http://www.to-mars.org where I expect an order form up and working soon, or call me at 530.208.8238 (cingular for those who share it).
BTW, one reader tells me that he doesn’t get through to that address and has to omit the www part. I’ve never heard of that before, but *I* seen to get the site under either address. What’s with that? (Trying to motivate some stranger out there to let me know that it’s not just the e-mail versions of this journal that are getting read, as this BTW is only on the blog. Please comment)
Yesterday as I was writing in my personal journal, sitting on a city street before getting my day started, a passing car suddenly started a racket. I thought it had dropped its tailpipe and was dragging the muffler, but then, WHAMMM, something hit the side of the van, and the car came to a halt about even with the back of my vehicle.
Turns out the unfortunate driver had lost a wheel, which had recently been changed by a friend, and which even more recently hit the side of my van. It left only a rubber mark–no dint or anything. Tire wound up about a block and a half away on the other side of a busy intersection. The stop sign, for which most drivers slow to about ten mph, probably saved someone’s life. How odd it must have seemed to be approaching a four way stop when suddenly a wheel and tire go bouncing through in front of you without so much as a pause.
That put me to thinking, yet again, about how tenuous life is. Had the tire just hit a stick in the road and been sent bouncing on a slightly different course, it might have been me that would have been killed. As it was I had no adrenaline rush, no earth-shattering, life changing, re-evaluation of where I was going or what I’d been doing.
Don Juan (Carlos Castaneda) said it well–hell, lots of people have said it–death is always at your shoulder. If we could see it, everyone of us would be accompanied by that figure in black hood all of our days, every second. I wonder if we’d even notice these apparitions, save for those odd, horrific times when one just steps in and pulls its charge off the planet.
But, Christ, you can’t live your life thinking the next moment is going to be your last. The odds are definitely immensely in favor of that moment after next actually coming. And probably for many succeeding moments. So why dwell on this kind of talk?
Well, it can be helpful in values clarification, I think. After all, the odds are at least as great that there won’t be nearly so many moments coming down the pike as you’d like. Use the ones you’ve got now well, while you’re still getting them.
Okay, enough of being George. Here’s an answer to a question some of you have wondered about. What’s it like? This living on the street in your van in a big city a thousand–no, three thousand–miles from home?
First of all, no, I’m not in the same place every night. Duuhhhh! They pay people to deal with people like me, you know. And they work all night. Not same place, not even in the same neighborhood. At least not on successive nights.
The real problem, though, is the watchful protectors of their space–the residents. Narcs in every window, or walking the street accompanied by their attack Pekinese late at night. Armed with cell phones with a direct line to local security, if not the cops.
It doesn’t take you long to learn that you don’t eat where you’re going to sleep. It’s even smart to get out of the van when you first stop, take a walk, and don’t turn any lights on inside when you return. Be ready for bed when you roll in.
Dressing where you slept, though, that’s cool. Everyone’s always glad to see you getting ready to leave.
I did spend two nights in one neighborhood in Queens, though. It’s called “Utopia.” Nice enough neighborhood, where I stayed, but still I think the name a bit overstated. Kind of reminds me of our habit of naming streets in Tahoe after Indian tribes. Or having the grizzly bear as the state mammal.
If it’s gone, and we feel kind of bad about that, let’s name a street, or a river, or–oh happy day–a state symbol after it. It’s the memory that counts, anyway. Right?
Utopia, being on Long Island and probably dating back to before the bridges, may have seemed like exactly that when it was named. But even Utopia had a grime reaper at its side.
Love to all. Missing Tahoe right now like you can’t believe.
Next time: Why A-wordholes are the real terrorists.