Monday, January 19, 2015

RVs, Tarps, and Us: Entering California and Slab City to Sleep (Day 15)

The goal today was no more than to get into California, which was accomplished with little fanfare. This area is rife with huge RVs. Snowbirds from everywhere converge near the border. Rich people have RVs and poor people have packs, or sometimes just a sandy blanket. Anybody who is mobile and dissatisfied with a temperature anywhere else is drawn here.

As always, I feel like I'm filling out a bizarre, rare, and overlooked middle ground. RVs don't hide, and real bums don't bother, but the vandwellers and car-sleepers excel at invisibility. RV people talk about tanks and house batteries, vandwellers share strategies of stealth, and the homeless wanderers generally stick to loose change and Steel Reserve.

I have an affinity for a certain style of bumming around, but I'm not willing to assume the duties of a sunburnt corpse. I enjoy a crafty low-level affordable comfort. I like to walk the thin line of feeling like I'm getting away with something. For the sake of America's GDP, plenty of people would appreciate it if I was willing to pay a little bit more for everything. To anybody who is an active cog in the system of lousy expenses: two middle fingers. If I'm not fancy enough, then you're asking too much. There are certain rules and norms that I take great pleasure in pissing all over. I wish I had more piss and a louder guffaw, because I could spread my opinions much further still.

We stopped to recharge in El Centro, where I could take a closer look at the totem pole and see where we fit on it. We plugged in everything we own at a Starbucks and proceeded to put up our feet and type on tiny screens. We gave our tiny dog some free water, and out of pride and fanciness, she refused to lay down on pavement. She's too good. She will choose a purse, or request a seat at the table.

Across the parking lot was a guy who looked like he dipped his head in the fryer. He held a Steel Reserve at his side, and he was an absolute presence. I had to make an effort not to write a whole book about him.

Littered everywhere are huge RVs, and this is a circumstance where beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I want nothing to do with something that can't sneak around. Sure, the kitchen and bathroom might be nice, but most folks driving their kitchen around also seem satisfied to pay a hotel rate to park it.

Who the fuck are we? I like who we are. We're rattling around in a $600 car. We have a camp stove, and we purchase coffee in exchange for services. Our home on the road is sturdier than a tarp without the responsibilities of steering a boat around on pavement. Maybe everyone is just comfortable with what they can afford. I'd like to believe that I have logical values, but give me more money, and I'm afraid of what I might buy. This is why I'm trying to hide money from myself inside of a Roth IRA. That way, if I buy something stupid, at least I'm not a total dummy.

Slab City

According to our custom, we arrived in Slab City just as it was getting hard to see. Without the benefit of proper sunlight, we took a bad spot near where dogs bark and people drive, and we set up the tent in headlights. Still, the night sky was beautiful, there was no thought of snow, and we slumbered comfortably.

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