Thursday, April 15, 2021

Part is parts

I’ve been getting a little antsy at Lou’s place, so I took a field trip to Texas. Barely. Anthony TX is smack on the state line, between El Paso and Las Cruces. 

There’s an automotive salvage yard there that, according to its online listings, has four Chevrolet Express vans and one GMC Savana. Hmmm, I wondered if they had a replacement for the handle on the side door. Or a passenger side visor. Or a headliner that was in better shape than mine. Or a steering wheel with less sun rot.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. The vans had been picked clean. What was left was damaged. 

And I learned you can tell almost immediately whether the vans had V8 or V6 engines. Only the V6s were still in place. Hot rodders love L-series V8s.

There was a restricted access area filled with fairly complete looking vehicles, including a Savana. I suspect these cars were waiting for the salvage company to snatch all the best parts. Like door handles, visors, headliners, steering wheels and V8s. Oh well.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The bed drug

 I usually climb out of bed when the sun climbs over the horizon. Or, at least, that’s what I usually tell myself I’m going to do. Well, no, it’s what I rarely do. Because that early morning period is when I experience some of my most delicious sleep.

It’s one thing to sleep so deeply I’m unconscious, so deeply I cease to be aware I even exist. That’s great sleep. But I really love being just over the edge of sleep, awake just enough to know I’m in a comfortable bed, at just the right temperature, with no reason I need to get up, and then sinking down… down…… down………… into some weird dream……….. then drifting slowly up to semiconsciousness so I can be grateful I can stay in bed and sink down… down…… down………… 

Yes, I know, I’ve written about this before. That’s how much I love morning sleep.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Greetings from the family

It happens many times. Someone announces their plans to drive away from normal life and live in a vehicle—on purpose—and their families throw a fit. Usually out of concern for the nomad’s wellbeing, but often because they find the action somehow… offensive, a threat to the proper order of things, a rejection of all they hold dear. The announcement can create a familial rift, or widen one that’s already there.

I’m lucky. My family has been supportive. If there are any who feel otherwise they’ve kept it to themselves. We’re a polite clan. 

I’m the youngest sibling, the baby, and my path has always been at least a little different. So they’ve had decades to adjust to my oddness. “You sold your house so you can wander around in a van? (inert one-point-three seconds of thought) Yeah, that fits your profile.”

So, this post was inspired by the birthday greetings two of my sisters sent me. Linda wrote:

I hope all you roads are clear, your skies are wide, and you have all you need for the year ahead to enjoy good health, peace of mind, and many new adventures!

And Karen posted:

I saw this on my trike ride and thought of you.  Wishing you many more years of “life is good!”

Thank you, dear sisters.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

The latest dirt

Lou rapped on the Rolling Steel Tent’s partially opened door. “I need help carrying a tub of dirt.”

“Okay.”

Earlier he had acquired some strawberries and chives at the nursery in town. He was ready to put his greenhouse back in operation.

As we walked to the patio I thought about a broader, more universal meaning of, “I need help carrying a tub of dirt.”

We all have burdens. And sometimes those burdens don’t seem to amount to anything more than a pile of dirt—particularly to outside observers. But it’s our dirt, we need to carry it, and sometimes it’s more than we can handle alone.

There were actually two tubs of dirt. We carried the smaller one to the greenhouse first. Gotta warm up one’s muscles before tackling the bigger job. The second tub was, oof, much heavier.

“This was collected from my composting toilet.”

We were literally dealing with his shit. 

But it was shit that would be put to a good purpose. It’s shit that will enable growth. And strawberries.

"And you could have it all / My empire of dirt" — Trent Reznor

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Homage to a chair

It’s common while I’m in the van for Lou to sit outside in my chair. Sometimes he’ll just sit in it to take in the sun and scenery. And he likes to sit in it when he plays guitar.

“This is the most comfortable chair,” he proclaimed the other day. I agree.

Most nomads have some type of fabric-and-aluminum folding chair. My molded-plastic-and-steel chair is the oddball around the campfire. It’s as out of place as wingtips. 

But it’s comfortable. Its shape is anatomically correct. The perforated seat and back act like springs. 

“The front edge of your chair doesn’t dig into the back of my thighs like mine does,” Lou explained. I briefly had a camp chair that did that, plus the top of the backrest dug into my spine. What’s more, my chair doesn’t make me feel like I’m sitting in a hole.

My chair is also rugged. No fabric to be destroyed by sun rot, no seams to come unstitched. If the pivot points ever wear out, I can replace them with bolts. 

It’s heavier than nearly every other camp chair, but the weight and perforations mean it won’t blow away in desert winds. It did tip over once, but it didn’t end up a quarter mile away. Impaled on a cactus. With a bent strut.

So hurray for my chair! Long live my chair!