Glorious Fuck Ups and Cynical Affirmations of Shindagger
Thursday April 7th, 2016

Overstaying Your Welcome

In vanning, the most important rule is the easiest to break
It doesn't matter how busy you've been at work. It doesn't matter if you're going through the worst part of your not-so-young-anymore life. To the person giving enough to lend you support in your weird and alternative lifestyle, none of that matters once you've overstayed your welcome. Perhaps this is something you should have learned before dropping out of "normal society" and living on the road. Maybe people adjusted sufficiently to live in "normal society" are born with the ability to sense when they've crossed that invisible line of annoyance, but since you dropped out and started living on the road that ability has become one of the most important things. The most important thing.
In flagstaff, AZ you bounced around friend's driveways in your extremely obvious red 1965 canned-ham trailer. You came and went at all hours of the day and night and helped yourself to their internet, plumbing, trashcans, stoves and refrigerators. At first they were always excited to have you. You might have even brought some light into their otherwise dim lit nine-to-five existence, but after a few weeks, or even a few days in some cases, their gratitude and appreciation of you started to wane. Did you notice when that switch was thrown? Was it the third time you left the toilet seat up, or your filthy little dog that bites people who step on it, or a noticeable lag in their Netflix stream with you on their network? Sadly, you didn't notice until it was too late, and the only thing you could do to make it better was leave.
I'm gonna go out on a limb: Before you started living on the road you were a horrible roommate. This is a more than likely assumption, because the idea that you can just stop paying rent and bills and live this lifestyle is an extremely selfish one. You might not have even realized it, because you were so focussed on yourself and how unfair life was, but your roommates were often annoyed at you. You paid your bills late, or left dishes in the sink, or food in the fridge then you probably left for days, maybe weeks at a time. I don't know what it was exactly, but you did something disrespectful, and unless your roommates were confrontational enough to say something about it (most people aren't) you probably didn't even realize it. But now you are free of that social awkwardness and you live on the road in your van and you don't need anyone, right? wrong.
Look you can't do this alone. You can't. If you thought you could live in a ninety square foot space with an engine that requires maintenance and no toilet or shower without any support from friends or family then you were delusional. Things happen. Tires explode. Engines break down. You shit at least once a day, and you're not the cleanest person on the planet, so you still occasionally require a shower. Even if you're savvy and you got a membership to a local gym, or you take morning "McDukes" at McDonalds, or "Crapaccinos" at Starbucks, the generosity of others is not something you can always refuse.
In fact, sometimes the generosity of others will be your saving grace; rare moments of relief in an otherwise not-super-comfortable lifestyle. You will find yourself in awe of their dishwashers, leather couches, and giant flat screen TVs. Should you accept that generosity, and maybe you shouldn't, please remember it's the little things that matter. Unless you're a narcissist, you're not gonna move into someone's property and act like you own the place, but even when constantly vigilant and respectful of your hosts, your welcome is still easily overstayed. Your presence alone will be enough to strain the patience of even the most giving host, so one magazine you didn't put away, or one drinking glass left too long on the coffee table, or even putting a spatula away in the wrong place, is a HUGE deal.
Nothing is free, especially not generosity. Your hosts expect and deserve your respect and subservience and you should pay them with it at every opportunity. This is a life-lesson for any lifestyle, and many times it's learned by burning bridges: As a guest, the longer you stay the more you owe your host. It's not enough to make them "dinner," you should also do all the dishes and leave their kitchen cleaner than you found it. It's not enough to clean your pubes off their toilet—get in there and scrub that bowl with a toilet brush and a cleansing agent that leaves the water a weird fluorescent blue color for the next flush. Maybe you'll remember their lifestyle is ridiculously expensive. Rent and mortgages are just the tip of the iceberg. If you're staying more than a few days you might wanna consider paying them, or at least leaving a gift. Don't be one of those assholes that "moves into his van" then parks in his friends driveway and never leaves. You chose this uncomfortable lifestyle, and you deserve to be uncomfortable. In fact being uncomfortable is one of the most definitive things about this lifestyle. The majority of your nights should be spent in some DOT lot, or deep in a national forest somewhere, and the time you spend leaning on your friends and family should be minimal.
April 7th, 2016
Overstaying Your Welcome
In vanning, the most important rule is the easiest to break