We rolled out of the driveway in Kennett Square and made a line toward I-95 south. We left on 4/8/16. Four times two is eight. Eight times two is sixteen. Every moment leading to this was a nap or a palpitation. Leaving the apartment we had for a year; outfitting the van; preparing to live on the road with two dogs for as long as possible.
The apartment was a mess of messes. Every time we returned home - even if we were gone for a moment - we came home with enough bullshit to anchor a boat. Plastic bag loops dug into our wrists and fingers as we filled our apartment with ever-increasing ballast. At the end of a year, we had to blast out all of this.
Trapped and suffocated; I can hardly remember how smiles rose to the surface. We had great times in that apartment, but oh! it's the difficulties that still leave a sting. On the positive, I married a human girl who speaks my language. We adopted Judy-dog, who is a far better dog than I will ever deserve. I learned how to set us up as booksellers on the internet. Gasps of crisp oxygen punctuated doubt, fear, and frustration. I'm afraid to feel my roots take hold in stationary soil. A fiancee; a dog; a year-long lease. I'm positive about this girl, but adopting the entire menu, oh! I have some recipes of my own! Trust me! Join me! Believe not my modesty; for I am a king.
... and now we've made our escape.
Life is not so easy. The way some people write, it sounds like it is. I’m jealous of those people until I remember there’s a good chance their knuckles meet drywall in secret; their curses turn the wallpaper blue; tears fall in private, wiped away with a tall shrug and a lilted head; ignored as an anomalous moment of weakness. Life is not easy in part because our emotions are tied to unavoidable biology; universal chemistry. The rich and famous fall victim like the rest of us, and today there is a pill for everybody. Certain doctors would prescribe a milligram of such-and-such even for simply feeling okay.
And so it was. I was introduced to and provided with amphetamines to help me run with the pack. When the sky turned gray, and my heart went blue, there was an easy solution for that too. A yellow pill. If both were failing, there was one more option, and it usually comes in a bottle or can.
It’s not as bad as it might sound. Pills work. They’re not a firm solution, but they are a forceful hammer-blow when the head of a nail sticks above the surface. The blue pills helped immensely when I was learning how to build a tiny house. They helped me find a way to make money. They filled me with the energy to digest a reality that I suspect the majority of people don’t much mind. People seem to go about their business more or less upright and rarely with their heads on fire. The blue ones help me to observe and copy this phenomenon. But I don’t want to live in Wonka World forever, so alas, today, I am very sleepy indeed.
Those yellow pills are a tiny little trick. Those only make you feel like yourself. Sheets of sleet could beat my bare feet, and I doubt I’d much mind. Those ones are offered for the mere suggestion of sadness, and they hardly cost a dime each. I thought these were a stand-in for the sun (being small and yellow, after all), but now I suspect some of this crying-while-happy might be their footprint.
This post is about Key West, and how I’m there right now. It’s about how beautiful this island is, how friendly folks are here, and how nothing has changed much. I thought I was away for awhile, but when I checked how long, I had to count again to make sure. It’s been six years. I haven’t been to Key West in six years.
I am sitting in the Truman Annex. I am sitting on a tiny couch built over the battery system for our van-house. Kristin is rearranging our ballast and the dogs are drooped over soft things, wearing content smiles. A tourist trolley is clanging past, and jealous lookers-on keep stealing a glance inside of our domicile. Last night we slept next to Sears. It is not the best spot, but in its favor, I felt most certain that our sleep would not be interrupted.
Sleeping in a van is beautiful. Believe nothing else. We have plenty of space. We have two open windows and two vents clustered about the bedzone. We have a few fans; two of them strong.
I’ve spent the five days since our departure vacillating between excitement and apprehension. Will we be organized, comfortable, and happy enough to spend a year or more living in this van? Will having two dogs turn vandwelling into a resentful chore? Are we going to ever start working again; can we be sure to have enough money? Can we start eating healthy and getting regular exercise? Can we live a happy life using simplicity like a card trick? I think we can. I need the answer to be yes.