It’s my last day washing dishes in Ashland Oregon.
It’s a slow night. If I speed up, I’ll just be standing around. I don’t want to say goodbye to anyone. Nobody cares. Seriously – I state this as a simple fact with no further implications. I like the people here, but I don’t actually know them. It’s just a job. I’m just ghosting through.
I’m excited to be leaving Ashland. As I’ve said, I think this is a special place, but I have met nobody and it’s starting to get authentically lonely. I only have myself to blame for not meeting anyone. I have discovered that I am not adept at being very social these days. I remember being much more social in high school. I seem to remember having a lot of friends then. This makes me consider that maybe my personality has changed, and I’ve become hopelessly aloof. I consider this, and I dismiss it. Other factors help to create this illusion. For most of high school I was part of a Christian group which was basically a huge cult-like gang of friends. A harsh characterization, saturated with undismissable accuracy. I was also a drummer in a band, and I was friends with other people in bands. Many of these are the same close friends I have today. The same friends who are almost all located in Philadelphia, 3000 miles from where I’m at. In high school I was also in a kind of “fuck shit up” phase where I got a lot of leverage out of being a little bit ballsy with my actions. What I’m attempting to say is that everything’s cool. I’m aloof and “a little bit off” by one person’s words, but I’m happy and I’m growing from every new experience. I’m no longer in fuck-shit-up mode, but I could benefit from employing my former ballsiness to let people know that I do, in fact, exist.
I usually know the exact right thing to say, but fail to move my jaw. I hide behind air, and my awkward little smile gains me nothing.
Ashland. As I walked out the front door of the restaurant, into the unseasonably warm night air, I felt the cozy job-free lightness. Blessed be. This is good. Here, I gained something.
If you haven’t been following closely: I live in a van, and I love freedom. Walking up Main Street toward where I parked my van across town, I found a large takeout container of chili. It came from some restaurant, and somebody put it on the edge of the trash instead of throwing it away. This is the action of a good person, and I appreciate this type of subtle benevolence on all levels. To clarify: I don’t eat nasty shit, but if there’s some good clean organized food, I’m not going to act stupid and pretend that it grosses me out. I keep an eye out. I look for takeout containers, but I don’t do much digging around.
I jammed the chili container into my cupholder, and hit the road. (More accurately, I talked to my friend in Brazil for 41 minutes first.) I was more than happy to leave familiar territory and begin a new adventure. Around 11pm, I stopped at a KOA off of I-5 and took a very refreshing hot shower. KOA: free secret nightime showers. Take note.
I continued north, pulled off into a rest stop, and filled my van with smoke. It wasn’t very safe from a legal standpoint, but I did manage to get pretty stoned. I certainly enjoy smoking at night and before movies. This was both. I had a rented film from a Redbox location, and I watched it on my laptop.
I’m girly. The movie was what people refer to as a ‘chick flick.’ I didn’t choose it because of that, I chose it because I’ve got slack criteria when picking a DVD from a vending machine. I tend to get emotional during corny dramatic films. Most men won’t admit to this, I don’t think. That can be confusing. Am I extra-feminine, or are other males putting up a strong front and obscuring what is normal? Both. Probably both. In spite of how I act most of the time, I see myself as having more than the average amount of feminine qualities. That’s how I see it. I doubt that’s how others see me, but I’m honestly not sure about that.
I view existence and the ability to think in an abstract way. You can see things the way they are, or you can look at them the way that they can be. The dull-normal Norman Rockwell version is plain for everyone to see from birth. But I never really felt anything from what he painted. What does that guy stand for, anyway? If you look at the possibilities closely, while ignoring the boring foregone realities, you can imagine a wild picture. A wild and possible picture. For now, I want it that way. In a certain controlled way, this turns life and the earth into a pinball game. I’m a silver ball ricocheting around in colorful screaming nonsensical scenery. The worst thing I could do is put in my quarters, and stand idle as I watch every opportunity roll right across the flippers.