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Vagabond is homeless again... in a much better way

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posted on Sep, 29 2014 @ 09:43 PM
Today has taken a brutal turn on me. It started well enough. I agreed to go back to Wal-Mart where my friends from yesterday were still waiting on their tire repair having arrived too late last night. It made them no difference as they sleep in their car a lot(a blazer just like mine actually). I took them to labor ready to sort out a late pay issue to make their tire purchase easier but labor ready was closed until noon, so I took them back and they got a refund on their new tent to buy a cheap tire, which they had to pound on and mount themselves because it's not quite right for their vehicle and Wal-Mart won't be liable.

Then I went to get my job. They insisted on ten years employment history - surprising in construction where that can easily be 20-40 jobs. I have no idea where I was before 2005, and actually 2007 is a blur too. So I left and picked up what I call the box of souls from my brothers garage - it contains the legal equivalent of my soul - car title, thirty-someodd W-2s, pay stubs, a thumb drive with what little of my writing survives offline (and probably some prawns), birth cert, diploma, General discharge under other than honorable conditions, pictures of the girl I broke up with on the day of our wedding rehearsal when I was 18, rings from that occasion, a caricature of me drawn at the National Date Festival by a quirky conspiracy theorist when I was in college, letters I received in bootcamp, graduation cards I received - most of the evidence that I've ever done anything besides sit around intoxicated watching TV ended up spread out on my passenger seat. It all fits in a 14" cube. On the way I bought ten dollars gas and a monster energy- a guilty pleasure to keep me perky through what I knew this would become. I kept the receipt. It felt important. The penalty for forgetting to pay for your gas is steep (as a Californian in stunned you can pump before you pay at all- that would be impossible on the theft um I mean left coast).

As I started pouring over my life I decided to check my bank balance. I thought i might buy the same work history report employers get online. But i was almost broke, and I shouldn't be. My ap showed 100 dollars charged at the gas station I had just left. Also my friends called at this time needing to borrow a tool.

I dropped off the tool, went to the gas station, went up the chain of command and found out the hundred dollars was a hold that would come back to me in a day or two - in a place where I could have gas for nothing more than my license plate number up front, prepaying at the pump necessitates a security deposit. Well fine, I'm sure shell oil needs a loan from me or they wouldn't have asked... or taken it without asking as the case may be. I shrugged that off and went back for my tool. It was getting close to noon and I was getting close to nowhere but I felt good to be of some use to someone worse off than me.

My friends were fixed up with their back pay and their tire and a moneygram from relatives. They offered to buy me lunch for all I'd done and insisted when I hesitated. So I followed them towards a buffet. They ran out of gas. We handled that. We got them to a gas station. I needed gas again too. The ATM was broken and they didn't accept prepayment anyway so I checked the would be no hold and got mine. They didn't want to sell my friends gas because they don't accept prepayment and my friends had no front license plate. So my friends bought something and got cash back and then bought gas.

Finally we had a huge meal. I made a point to get plenty of meat and veggies until I couldn't eat anymore thinking to skip dinner and save a buck since I had a free buffet.

At this point I felt great. I'd seen it all though and been rewarded. I drove back to camp with lines from Jeremiah Johnson ringing in my head- first the scene where he unburries Del Gue and helps him get his horse back, then Del riding into the sunset "There ain't no laws for the brave ones, and there ain't no asylums for the crazy ones, and there ain't no church except this right here, and there ain't no preachers but the birds! By god im a mountain man and I'll live until an arrow or bullet finds me!" And of course it's flat and a capital city and all but it seemed appropriate enough.

I had a nap then woke to find my friends back in camp. We talked a while and I scavenged us more fire wood from the RV spots in the thicket near the river, where everyone gathers more than they need and leaves a pile after the weekend. And about an hour before sunset excused myself to finally sort out my job history.

What a kick in the balls. I dont remember exactly where I lived or what I did in my off hours or what hard knocks I took when - it all blends together. Context and excuses simply are no longer available for the facts on paper of my life between 2004-2007. All I really know is that I've been hired and fired the same day at least three times, most of my jobs didn't last two months, I've been unemployed almost as much as I've worked, I've blown two good trades, a military hitch, and a chance at college, and for all that has always made me a good person and all the horrible outside problems that interfered with my life at some point amid those failures and all that I've grown in recent years which is proven in how I've lived and worked since I came here, on paper there is only one conclusion- from 21-24 I was a chronic fvckup with a lot going for him and then it looks suspiciously like i gave up and made myself content to be a big fish in little ponds and coast a while between ponds too. I can't think of too many times I've swung from so high a mood to so low of one in such a short time with nothing actually happening.

I completed my job history and then listed to some soul asylum and let myself be sad until I decided I needed a short drive and a coke- in better days I would have driven 2 hours to an out of town McDonald's then turned around and come back, progressing though an eclectic mix of lesser known cds by one hit wonder bands of the 90s but my cds were stolen sometime back in the same period I've been lamenting because I had neglected to replace a broken lock knob and didn't have power door locks- and as much as I'd like it a 4 hour drive would just about break the bank right now. I settled for 6 miles in town. Something about the glare of the lights on my construction-scuffed glasses and the chill in the air and the music put me back in time. I just knew this was exactly what I felt back then when I was in the middle of blowing it- a piece of my soul I've hidden behind smoke and refused to admit was still there for at least 7 years. And I have no idea what it will have to say to me or if it matters, but I have some very taxing reflection to undertake. And I guess this is just my way of organizing my thoughts and facts to get started.

posted on Oct, 4 2014 @ 09:11 PM
a reply to: The Vagabond

At one point in my life I was a straight edge, and I judgemental one at that. I used to watch the benign shenanigans of others and say "the rules only apply to me, because I'm the only one dumb enough to follow them. And so it turned out with my recent funk. When I returned with my full job history (or as much of it as evidence remains for in the box of souls, which I know isn't everything) I asked for additional pages for the application and was told they don't actually need that, even though the application demanda it expressly and rather sternly. No confirmation of anything on the application, no drug test, no process of any kind. A quick glance at my skills and desired wage, verbal confirmation that I can show up on time with tools, and an agreement on wages. I was assigned a position within 20 minutes. I make twice as much now, and I could have had it from the moment I arrived here two months ago if I hadn't assumed the rules would be followed and that I'd have to comply before applying. I'm even working indoors, installing drywall.

This has prompted additional research into the real state of the rules in better jobs, and that seems to indicate that once I have a couple paychecks saved to make matters earlier on myself I can move a little further North and make even more money in the oil fields, which I had assumed would not be an option for at least several months if ever. I will follow the rules there, simply because it may improve my odds of going further in oil (it sure would be nice to go overseas and make big money tax free while traveling beyond the US and eventually return to California to work offshore and pursue stand up comedy on my off weeks). But I needn't delay my entry to the industry until I've got all my issues completely cleared up.

As for that deep reflection from the other night - nothing particularly profound came of it except that I haven't lived as much as I could have, and I feel like I'm correcting that already. I suppose I could stand to grow a little more of a social life still, and I haven't figured out exactly what I want that to be like or what to do about making it happen since what I want from most of the people I've met is to be left alone unless something I can make a difference in is going on.

Tonight I'm taking down the sound and light equipment after a godsmack concert so maybe something or somebody interesting will cross my path in the course of that, but we will see.

posted on Oct, 8 2014 @ 10:12 PM
Things continue to change. On Monday the company pulled their drywallers off the job I'd just been hired to and subcontracted it out. The drywall job was one hell of a mess for reasons that I can't entirely comprehend since I don't know much about how it's supposed to be done, other than differently from the way my crew was doing it (and presumably not on broken ladders that aren't quite tall enough to reach everything). They fired one new guy and moved me to a concrete crew the next morning. When they told me we were off the job and I should go to the office in the morning at start time I assumed that meant I was fired too but they hadn't gotten my paycheck ready in time to tell me so legally, but it turns out my new crew just meets at the office in the mornings, that's all.

Both of my younger brothers are concrete carpenters and it's gone well for them. So far i love it too-. The days go by much faster, some of it is a good workout and the crew seems to like me. Today I missed a jump onto our form wall and came down on it chest first. It feels like just a deep bruise but tearing down and moving those panels tomorrow should be interesting to say the least. Even though I like my new gig and wouldn't mind getting good at it I probably won't stay long. It'll be nice to get a few checks and move on to the oil patch with new warm clothes and a few other things I've needed and haven't seen fit to spend money on yet. Unfortunately chasing the oil pretty much sinks the idea of getting an apartment- rent up there is the highest in the country. So it'll be a rugged winter if I go that route, but if I can pull it off I'll come out on the other side with a pile of cash and bragging rights.

I've seen quite a few out of towners give up and leave at this point- my national guard buddy, Calvin the bellowing brain-injury victim, the cute new girl from the employment agency, possibly even my car trouble friends- they've been scarce since they called me to borrow food money and turned down food when that was all I could offer, but last I heard they'd found regular jobs so maybe they'll turn up. There are only four of us left in the tent camp, and I wouldn't be surprised to be the last man standing if I'm still there in a month. There must have been 12-16 when I arrived. I'm sure at least some of them found housing by now though.

I have to admit I've had a few dark days where I wanted very badly to just start the drive home- which was out of the question because I will be damned if I borrow money just to be a failure at this. Back in the South West my father's health is deteriorating to the point where he can't be alone. In December he will be moving in with my mother, his ex, who is a nurse for care. And at that same time they will both be moving to Humboldt County, one of my favorite places on Earth- her from Los Angeles and him from Laughlin. I sure would like to help with the move, see them both, and pick up some of Humboldt's famous produce- if I'd had one or two thousand saved up on Monday when we were taken off the drywall job and all expecting to be fired I might have headed that way right after work. But that urge has passed for now, and I suspect the lure of that oil money will be enough to keep me here through the winter and beyond.

posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:21 PM
a reply to: The Vagabond

And indeed it was an interesting day. The bosses noticed me having a hard time lifting and sent me to the clinic to get my chest checked out. That was a nerve racking two hour ordeal- I've feared the prospect of drug tests for so long that being clean doesn't entirely calm my nerves, and besides that I just don't like having my bosses' attention over any kind of problem.

The clinic says indeed it is just a chest wall contusion, but I'm starting to worry because the pain is getting considerably worse. If it's a cracked rib that they missed I'll probably be out of this job with little if any recourse or fallback position fairly soon, but I'm hoping I can tough it out tomorrow and that by monday I'll be feeling a lot better. I guess we will see.

It just so happens that I was recently given a CDL test manual and there is some possibility a free test could be arranged for me, so I guess I'll get cracking on that so that if I do end up with work restrictions for a few weeks I can still go to the oil patch and make decent money until I'm back to 100%.

posted on Oct, 12 2014 @ 03:32 PM
a reply to: The Vagabond

I was reading your post the other day vagabond and hope you are not injured as bad as you think as the construction game is a hard one carrying any injury , i have had broken toes and ribs and still had to go to work in construction business .

Found this little piece about the homeless people in America living out of vans etc 214.000 people homeless in the richest country on earth and there is probably 1+ million empty homes about .

I hope life treats you good bud and you get a break

ps i kept a spare key behind mt number plate on my van if ever i needed it

it could be worse vagabond this mans family have 500 million and he is going through the bins
edit on 12/10/2014 by douglas5 because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 12 2014 @ 10:00 PM
a reply to: douglas5

I've got it better than the streisand kid if that's really how it is. My family hasn't got 100k, much less millions, but they've got my back. I simply don't want to cost them another dime as long as i live. I've had their back they've had mine, I'm just ready to call it even and not take any more- I'm 31 god damned years old- i'm not supposed to be asking my parents or brothers for anything.

My chest feels better- not 100% but not as bad as it was- i assume it wouldn't feel this much better this fast if it was really cracked. I'm gonna try to work tomorrow. It's not gonna be fun, but at least in theory if I can't do my normal load the worst they can do is move me to light duty (which would be embarrassing) but until I'm cleared a week from tomorrow they can't fire me, and milking it would be beneath me so I dont really have to feel bad about it.

The freakin Raiders just blew the spread and cost me what looked like a sure win of 250 for my 10 dollar bet. 4 games go my way and the sure thing is the one that bones me.

Also it turns out that my camp ground closes for the winter next weekend. I got a hotel tonight, tomorrow I live in a van down by the river. Soon I go to the oil patch and live in the man camps. I assume that's not nearly as homo as it sounds, otherwise I'll have another problem to worry about.

posted on Oct, 12 2014 @ 10:37 PM
a reply to: The Vagabond

i wish i was 31 again 47 going on 48 soon and i feel like 98 with all the crap i put my body through over the years .
i was doing some work on a church roof on friday and could hardly move on saturday at 31 i was skipping round like a kid thought nothing of walking the dog 30 miles a day and seeing to the g/f 6 times a day enjoy it while it lasts bud .

i have gone from $ 70.000 pa to 0 in the last 3 years my total from government has been £ 1000 $ 1600 in 3 years i used to pay $ 2000 a month in taxes , now i cannot get any help with sick money or even any medication from the doctors even with sciatica savings are gone and like you i would not ask my family for anything .

Most of them are millionaires on my fathers side big houses etc but are grade a pricks that would not piss on you if you were on fire .

I was reading a post elsewhere on the net from some guy who was buying meds on the street and paying $ 1 per mg so i gubbed $ 180 of pain pills yesterday f/k i would hate to be sick in America it is bad enough in Scotland .

Enjoy the hotel more than a few times i slept in my van while working away , waking in the morning freezing cold none of this lined roof luxury ,coughing and getting a shower with all the drops on the roof falling

one oil rig i was on had 8 guys for 1 toilet and 4 guys per room with inches between the bunks , so sleeping in a van even the jail was a luxury compared to that .

hope all goes well with the oil work but if you are toolpushing keep the oil away from you as i saw a lot of guys get ill after touching that stuff with bare hands or getting it on their skin there is something evil about that black stuff

posted on Oct, 13 2014 @ 10:06 PM
a reply to: douglas5

Thanks for the warning about the oil. I have been wondering if I might prefer camping over the mancamps but I'm not sure that's tolerated up there. I've been pretty lucky so far to be in a camp where nobody minds an out of town worker living cheap.

Tonight I'm at a free spot by a boat launch. I dont see anyone else and it's creepy and I'm a lot more likely to finally end up talking to a cop here. Never the less I'm sleeping with my k-bar knife in my sleeping bag- the cops will just have to see it from my side if they are the only ones who come knocking.
To make it a tad more interesting I'm listening to recordings of David Paulides on Coast to Coast AM talking about mysterious disappearances.

posted on Oct, 26 2014 @ 09:42 AM
It's been eleven weeks since I set out for the boom now. If I wanted I could move indoors this week finally but I've gotten reasonably used to living this way. Last night I caught cleaned cooked and ate a bass over a fire I started with fairly green scavenged firewood. that felt pretty good.

It hasn't gotten that cold yet anyway and isn't forecasted to very soon. They say we will have nightly freezes and several snow days in November so the next rush is to finally get snow tires or an all wheel drive vehicle. I'd prefer the latter but we will see. I love finally having enough money and I'm not in any hurry to cut it thin again. And I am confident I can continue to layer up and stay comfortable thru November.
I may keep my concrete job a few more weeks or I might trade up very soon. It's great exercise and the results are starting to show in the mirror, and I'm making pretty good money by my standards mostly because of overtime hours and lower state tax rate. But I could almost certainly find better pretty fast and if so I can make myself a bit more comfortable when I head to the oil patch. When I go there I will be about a hundred miles from my brothers place where I crash for part of the week and away from the familiarity of a decent sized city, so I would prefer to be well supplied and have plenty to live on starting out.

posted on Oct, 26 2014 @ 11:53 PM
a reply to: The Vagabond

With the way the price of oil is dropping Vagabond i would be sticking with the concrete job as long as you can i can see the # hit the fan soon and jobs will go to cut costs .

Glad to see things go right for you

posted on Nov, 26 2014 @ 09:33 AM
a reply to: The Vagabond

good for you that you got a job.

I am so jealous. Your life is exciting... there are People in the world who have their backs chained to a wall... they have mortgages etc and your free of all that. What a great way to live. Remember that and it sounds as if you have some friends in your camp too. Your not lonely.

posted on Nov, 26 2014 @ 09:49 AM

originally posted by: Thurisaz
a reply to: The Vagabond

good for you that you got a job.

I am so jealous. Your life is exciting... there are People in the world who have their backs chained to a wall... they have mortgages etc and your free of all that. What a great way to live. Remember that and it sounds as if you have some friends in your camp too. Your not lonely.

The grass is greener and such. Living one way for long enough can make just about any change seem appealing.

posted on Nov, 26 2014 @ 09:54 AM
I am facing many of the same issues vagabond. Though, mine all stem from massive medical bills. I made a gamble with research a massive set of new technologies with what little savings I had left, but it was a losing situation.

Be very thankful that you are able to work! Money isn't the only problem that arises with a lack of meaningful activity.

My solution is the RV route, though even this is unlikely in my situation. Exceedingly cost effective and with some major perks. For under 10k(us$), one can get a very high quality "home." It's not likely things are going to work out for me personally, but in my opinion, it is the most cost effective way to achieve the highest quality of life.
edit on 26-11-2014 by Serdgiam because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 26 2014 @ 10:05 AM
a reply to: The Vagabond

It's great exercise and the results are starting to show in the mirror

You know, I love how you maintain your sense of self and even keeled emotions through your journey.

Others would hear my sobbing from all points in the US if it was me. I hope so much you all have a roof over your heads and food in your tummys this thanksgiving.

My prayers ( though useless and unheard as Im an atheist are with you all )

Much Love Zazz

posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 02:49 AM
Been a while since you checked in Vagabond hope everything is ok at your end

posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 05:14 PM
Thanks for asking Douglas. You were right about oil prices.

My last night camping in the boondocks I finally met the cops of ND. They're surprisingly likeable people.
The first time they came around I didn't realize it was the police right away- I woke up and heard somebody outside my truck so I played possum and waited to see if anybody was gonna get stabbed (I'd been warned that people do get stabbed, particularly near the reservations, so I always slept with my combat knife). I heard somebody say "if he's asleep we'll just catch him next time" and then looked up to see the police leaving without even contacting me. "Such wonderful policemen god hath never wrought in America".

They caught me being awake on another patrol at about midnight and informed me that it's not camping if you aren't in a tent (i usually set one up and don't use it, this time I didn't bother). I offered to set it up, but when they heard I was leaving town the next day they didn't make me go to the trouble. They just gave me back my knife and moved on.

I left my concrete job on November 1st, moved to the Montana border, and started hitting up every company in the Bakken for an entry level job in the oil fields. My brother thought it sounded so good that he followed me. Everyone told me they had recently adopted hiring freezes.

One day I managed to get told no 3 times in 10 minutes, so I handed off most of my food and camping gear to my brother and headed back to California with enough money to stay independent for a month- a very marginal return but a return none the less- so I had my adventure and paid my own way and was able to take a girl i met back home out for sushi before returning to an austere budget.

The plan was to return to Bismarck in April and take another construction job, but a few weeks after I left my brother told me that the man camps are ghost towns now and everyone has been laid off- he eventually found a job right as his savings and his truck were crapping out on him, and they immediately sent him to Tulsa, OK temporarily (but they aren't sure for how long). The trip finished off his vehicle, but he made it and is hanging in there. He plans to come back to California too in the summer.

In January I moved my parents out of the Southland and then in Feb I followed them up to Humboldt.

For the last two months I have been doing odd jobs ranging from carpentry to light gardening in support of a uniquely Californian kind of agri-business which is legal but not exactly professional, and doing a lot of stand up comedy. I get more stage time in a month here than I did in my whole life up until now. I'm also hoping to start writing for the local humor mag, Savage Henry Independent Times. My goal is to do my first paid gigs this year, and set up several flexible part time incomes that will fit around a less lucrative beginning career in comedy.

So I'm treading water and slowly fixing up a few problems (my transmission started threatening me on the trip to Humboldt, my credit card was stolen at some point in January and that's just being resolved, and i had to replace a cell phone that wasn't due for an upgrade- but if I can fix the screen as I've been told is possible that could end up being a lucrative skill so it could be a blessing in disguise). The next things are to start tutoring on the side and set up a few ads on fiverr- I'm considering trying to sell my abridged versions of bible books as ebooks on there among other things.

I also had an invitation to go to Texas this summer for a few weeks, but its doubtful that will happen at this point. More likely I won't be traveling until I can get myself invited along on a road gig with some other comics.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 01:48 PM
a reply to: The Vagabond

Hi Vagabond:

You have really touched my soul with your saga. You are so smart and so comedy but also explore your writing talents. I would read anytime.

I don't know your religious inclinations (and it is none of my business, really) but I wish you the renewal of Easter today, and hope that you get not only what you need, but what you WANT.

Big hugs. You sound like one cool dude.


posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 04:03 PM
a reply to: Missmissie173

Thanks Missie.

My religious views are a convenient mix of speculative and fringe science, sociology shamanism, major religions, great artistic plots and morals (especially from The Big Lebowski) and comedic metaphors (Especially by George Carlin and Bill Hicks) that I superimpose over eachother into a semi-coherent mental model of the universe even though it never lines up quite the same way twice. I don't take it very seriously or use it for very much, except easing my mind when needed and considering other sides of decisions that have no clear right answer. The easiest way to put it is probably that I believe in as above so below and think you can map out a lot of existence by analyzing the similarities between things of vastly different scales- such as atoms, microbes, people, nations, and galaxies. So I'm cool with whatever kind of rebirth anybody wants to celebrate today... or really anything positive at all anybody wants to celebrate today.

The writing has been going poorly, except for that stripped down bible, which was hardly a work of skill- the bible just turns out to be a really really entertaining story if you aren't constantly running into lists of begats and spooky language that make you forget which characters you were just following and how they all relate- all I did was take out 80% of the words while eliminating as little of the actual narrative as I possibly could, resulting direct unmysterious sounding passages that tell the story while imparting virtually zero useful spiritual insight. such as
"Then noah took one of each clean animal he had saved from water, and set it on fire. When god smelled what noah was doing he liked it and said "it's not your fault that you were born evil so I will stop cursing you for it"

Maybe I'll start putting up links to youtube on some of my clean*(er) comedy, (after double-checking the rules on such things because plenty of people might be concerned that I and possibly many other people will go to hell for the things I say on stage).
So far a couple of my favorite jokes are these:

I tried to join the airforce once but there were a couple of problems- first the airforce found out that I'm dyslexic, then I found out the airforce motto isn't Iam High.

I think the problem with our government is that politicians have no idea what the word compromise means. Do you remember the first time you heard about a politician getting caught in a compromising position? I bet you didn't expect it to mean bending the other person over his office desk did you? What could these perverts be asking for if that's the compromise? But politicians think if a dick and an ahole get together behind closed doors and make a mess then it's a compromise, go figure.
edit on Sun 5 Apr 2015 by The Vagabond because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 04:49 PM
a reply to: The Vagabond

hey ! I was just skimming through your thread here , I just wanted to see how you are doing ?

Still in SoCal ? If so , I am also down here in the Costa Mesa area !

Let's do lunch some time !

Hope all is well kind sir !

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 04:51 PM
a reply to: Kapusta

Northern California now, Humboldt County. I was back in the Mojave for about 2 months at the beginning of the year. Thanks for the invite though.

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