a reply to: zazzafrazz
If I might bard it up just a bit our story begins in sunny Southern California- a little too sunny actually in my home in the mystic Mojave- it's one
thing to sweat all day in 110 degrees because it's a living. It's quite another to do it because you're ashamed of your broke and intoxicated ass and
don't want to be seen on the couch even when there's nothing to do. That's the lot of quite a few people I know, including myself, in a county that
has consistently had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country since the recession began so many years ago...
It's strange to think that these desperate of calling bare subsistence a break when you can find it have now lasted 6 years- fully 20% of my life to
date, wasted in the hope that I could hold on until things got back to how they once were. And don't let me paint myself as "that guy"- I was an
operating engineer- I made 30/hr right out of highschool and in 2003 I put that on hold to be a Marine and never financially recovered from that
ego-driven misadventure. College came to nothing, so I took every job I could take- the ones that no other white man has ever done that close to the
border and the ones that offer commission and then don't pay up a dime. Make no mistake about my excuses, I was ashamed despite them.
At any rate, my starting situation when I left California a few weeks ago was this: I've had 30 jobs in 12 years, ranging in duration from one day and
fired to one day because it was temporary to 3 years of treading water as a full time guard who couldn't afford his own apartment and learning to love
it. If I'd knocked somebody up I could have gotten section 8 housing assistance and watched a child grow up with nothing, but on my own all section 8
did was ensure that no landlord in my little desert valley would part with their property for what the average person makes down there. After my
exchange of professional criticisms with a cop which began when i scared him by trying to show him the location of the alarm he had spent 20 minutes
driving past without locating, that 3 years of stability counted for nothing and my other 29 jobs made me all but unemployable. And for over a year I
had been a burden to family. Every move I made to try and find a way through only burned gas that I couldn't pay for myself. Luckily I'd paid my dues
when others were down and out, mostly due to a now past meth addiction that caught several of my clan, though not myself, and had a good stock of
karma to burn in the eyes of everyone except myself.
Perhaps I am going over-bard. When my brother, who worked a year in the North Dakota boom only to need gas money to come back home for the winter due
to high cost of living invited me out, it didn't sound like the sure thing he made it out to be. A fast talking Californian whose legal status depends
somewhat on what state he is in with a bad job history in the mid west? Could I even get there unarrested? I experience what I call "LA Guilt" every
time I get North or East of Bakersfield, unless of course I'm going to Vegas (which, thanks to my reputation as a road man amongst friends and family,
happens from time to time on the dime of happier and more successful people). But I was ashamed not to try.
I sorted the things that matter from the things I might never see again and loaded up my blazer- 150k miles, no shocks, chronic exhaust and motor
mount problems (almost certainly related)- not your ideal lifeline 1600 miles from home, but I've done with worse. My first car was a camaro that had
to be jump-started with a miniature golf club because it kept blowing ignition circuits, even when I installed a separate circuit with a push button
and reduced the key to just a steering column lock- if teenage Vago can steal his own car on a daily basis and keep it running when it's older than he
is, certainly I could make this work more easily than I could not even try.
It cost almost $400 to get to North Dakota. I was so uncomfortable that I couldn't sleep a wink- I stopped a few times and tried but it was a bad
joke, especially after I'd lost my key at a truck stop in Utah and nearly found myself stranded until I could pay through the nose to have the
ignition changed. Instead I grid searched and found the key though, and that experience left me wide awake to drive all night and all day again. It
was a beautiful trip, with the exception of Wyoming. Garfield fans are already aware that Wyoming is an Indian word meaning "there isn't really a
Pack light. Most of the things you think are important are not. Bringing an ice chest and a footlocker that was intended to keep my
clothes orderly cost me sleeping space in the back of the SUV. I have been eating out of cans and both of those cumbersome boxes are now in my
brother's garage, my clothes in manageable bags that are easily moved and stacked in the truck. The vain effort to reconfigure my load for space at
the Utah truck stop is how I lost my key.
When I arrived I had an important advantage- access to the indoors- but this may actually have been a slight detriment in some ways as well, since
desperation can be a powerful ally. My brother had rented a room with a truck driver, and it was agreed that for the 3.5 days a week when the room
mate is not present to be disturbed that my brother would go have sex with lawyer and I would have use of his bedroom. This relative comfort, and the
discovery that though I broke no laws in CA, the lingering effects of certain legal hobbies could necessitate professional rehabilitation at my own
expense before I could ever work construction in this state, convinced me to burn the first weekend improving my health. This cost money and was not
Some things just don't belong in some states. If you can put them behind you at home, do so before leaving. If you cannot, a place
where there is no safe access to such things may be the ticket. For the first time since 2010 I honestly do not miss my unspecified health problem.
I've also found that I can now remember my dreams and wake up much faster. I credit proper hydration and a toxin removing cider vinegar supplement for
restoring my health a week ahead of normal expectations.
edit on Fri 22 Aug 2014 by The Vagabond because: (no reason given)