Glorious Fuck Ups and Cynical Affirmations of Shindagger
Friday July 29th, 2016

Falling

The Air Turns to Wind
We fall on a regular basis. Many times a week and often from great heights, we fall. At first it was shocking and painful. We greatly underestimated the feeling of our own weight approaching terminal velocity, stopping so suddenly on an unforgiving landing. Also, it happened so fast, and there was nothing we could do to stop it. We were still thinking “oh God, I’m falling” when we landed. Maybe we were injured. Maybe our feet were bruised for weeks, or our tailbones were nearly broken. Sprained ankle. Bloodied knees. But it’s part of what we do and how we identify, so we kept falling. We thought we were doing something else; called it something else, but the whole time since we started we’ve been falling.
To be sure, some of our bones had to take the brunt of the fall. So when we could, we favored our palms, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles, knees and asses. We focussed on the landing, and began anticipating when and where we might fall. Knowing the inevitability of it, and being prepared to fall again, we were less shocked when it began happening. We pushed away, and aimed for the best part of the landing. Sometimes, when we knew it wasn’t gonna work, we bailed early. We jumped.
As infants, until we learn to stand and walk we are falling. In fact, the act of walking can be viewed as repeatedly falling and landing. Your right foot has to be there to catch your weight after stepping off the left, and visa versa. Again and again all day long, every day you are falling, and miraculously, instinctively landing on your feet.
Today we are experts in landing. Having fallen a million times, we now crumple and roll, allowing the body to absorb the shock of the landing without causing injury. When the fall begins we remain calm and collected and quickly survey the landing. The unforgiving landing; be it full of roots or rocks. How will we fit into that space in such a small amount of time? Fear and panic are the enemy here. Hit the landing with too much tension and we will break. Something will give, and it won’t be the landing. So we relax and allow gravity to do it’s short work and into the landing we liquify. We fill that space with ourselves, overflowing where the landing is too shallow.
The act of falling is so fundamental to being human, that it’s used often in our language. The word fall has 11 different meanings ranging from dropping to a lower position to one of the four seasons, and as a verb it has many transitive uses. We fall behind, fall flat, fall from grace, fall into line, and fall short. We fall in love and have falling outs then perhaps, we fall apart.
Both Literally and Figuratively we are always falling. Our regular descent is one of the only constants. It should be our religion. Because our rise is not always achievable, there is comfort in the fall.
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.
July 29th, 2016
Falling
The Air Turns to Wind
April 7th, 2016
Overstaying Your Welcome
In vanning, the most important rule is the easiest to break
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