Looking for a candy land of construction cones to squash? Just take a drive up 60th Street. It’s like a buffet, in orange plastic.
The oft-forgotten corollary to the American Dream: Once you have all that shit, you might suddenly want nothing more than to chuck it. Or perhaps *that’s* the Canadian Dream.
P.S. Tumblr used to have a thing where you had to have a few Ask interactions before the reply button on posts was activated. So, I’m testing that out. Three messages in one morning outta do it.
Found it! It’s in a strange place…like you,Christian. : )
Glad you’re looking at this as a great adventure rather than an easy way to get out of packing everything up and putting into the hands of a truck driver you may never see again because he took your stuff to give to his mom, the hoarder.
When I heard about this goofball scheme, I was jealous of you, happy for you, and excited (I’m mean, imagine how much fun it is going to be watching you trying to get that behemoth across the midwest). Then I read your “American Dream?” post. Damn. Now I’m proud of you.
Nonetheless, I’m telling everyone I know who lives or might be traveling in the vicinity of your route to keep their heads up. I don’t trust you behind the wheel of that thing. Did you even consider a motorcycle with sidecar? It worked for Mike and Zonk. Might have been a bit rough for the cat, though ….
Only a short note tonight because we’re loading the bamboo-and-styrofoam raft and just about to push off into the Strait of Florida. A few dear friends (the kind we speak to using short words) have asked why they cannot leave comments on my blog. YOU CAN!!! I’ve renamed the comments tool to COMMENTS GO HERE!!! to assist these dear, dear friends. The box is in blue (gray to my colorblind sons) at the upper right of the blog, right under the picture of the as-yet-nameless motorhome. Just click on the box to comment freely and often. That also means you, my dear, dear, dear friends who kindly brought the matter up.
We picked up our motorhome today and wrestled it back to Wisconsin from Chicago, which has several nicknames—including the lesser-known one of The City of the Big Shoulders. I don’t know what this refers to, but it sure isn’t talking about Interstates 294 or 94, the shoulders for which are primarily a mixture of large and small orange constructions cones. I bounced three of the large ones off my right fender and I simply squashed flat as hell enough of the small ones to stop counting at 8. I felt no guilt or shame. After paying $15 in tolls for a 40-mile stretch of highway, you’re entitled to recoup a certain portion of its value.
Speaking of names, I’ve been occasionally referring to the RV as Endurance, after one of Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic-bound ships, mostly to make comparisons between big adventures (his) and little adventures (mine). But unlike a certain percentage of my fellow fellows, I’ve made a rule of never naming my vehicles, my vices, or my penis. But I may change my mind on this one, if I can come up with something suitable. Crusher? Too literal. Golden Hind, after Drake’s circumnavigating galleon? Vaguely Midnight Cowboy. Big Rolling Turd? Already taken (seriously).
This is the second time in the last week I’ve been faced with choosing a name—I’m still trying to work out my CB-radio handle. Which reminds me, I need to buy a CB radio since the previous owner took it with him. Everyone says you really need a CB, and by everyone, I mean anyone who has already dropped 150 clams on what is essentially a walkie-talkie and feels compelled to justify it.
Given that this is a journey of self and societal exploration, it seems a good time to think about names. They’re such powerful things. It’s a very old and commonly held belief that knowing the name of something (or someone) gives you power over it. You see this in Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Islamic traditions, just to name a few and, actually, the belief that there is power in names and naming predates all those religions and perhaps even religion itself.
While I’m at it, I might even come up with a middle name for myself. I don’t have one and it’s always bothered me. I’ve asked my parents why I don’t have a middle name and they always say it’s because they couldn’t agree on one. But my parents couldn’t agree on much bigger things, such as whether the toilet paper goes over or under, which of their children is the most talented and charming, or which freaking country to live in. And they’ve always managed to figure it out. I’m pretty sure they just forgot and then said the hell with it when they found out they’d have to file a legal name change to fix the oversight.
It’s a pain in the ass on many official forms because all governments are incapable of leaving a predetermined space blank. So I’ve had to use various acronyms to address my deficiency. There’s ONO for One Name Only, NMN for No Middle Name, NMI for No Middle Initial, and PNB for Pitiful Nameless Bastard.
It’d be quite a journey if I came out on the other side with the meaning of life, a middle name, and newly christened johnson. A man can dream…
My family and I are selling, donating, or giving away everything larger than our cat so that we can fit any remaining possessions, ourselves, our dog, and aforementioned cat into a motorhome. Then we are pointing its bow east from Milwaukee and trundling along at 8 miles per gallon in a leisurely search for a coastal town in Nova Scotia that just calls out Home.
When I tell people what we’re doing, there are generally two reactions: 1. The less-often one is an immediate step backward in case what I have is transmissible. 2. The more-often one is, “Man, you’re living the American Dream.”
I understand the first one; obviously we must be nuttier than a Jif factory to go off wandering without a plan, a firm destination, and, worse yet, leave behind every American’s God-Given Right to Collect Stuff.
It’s the second reaction that really has me befuddled. We’re moving to Canada. How is that, in any way, part of the American Dream? Aside from brief periods during the Revolutionary and Vietnam wars, all the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free have kept their hopes and aspirations south of the 49th parallel. For good reason: This is the Land of the Free, of Opportunity, of Milk and Honey. Not Canada, which is more like the Land of the Proper Use of Turn Signals.
(Lest my comments offend any Canadians, who often suffer unnecessarily from little-brother syndrome, allow me a little diversion here to point out that I absolutely love Canada. Adore it. Am amazed by it, from Toronto to Trudeau to Toonies. I came of age there. I’m moving back there. But there is no equivalent Canadian Dream, and never has been. I believe this is because Canada was not born from revolution so much as resignation. When it decided to become its own nation in 1867, there were no flotillas of British man-of-wars off Halifax, no armies of Redcoats marching on Ottawa—just a distracted nod and vague wishes of “good luck with the winters” from Queen Victoria, who was busy designing houses with no closet space and garish wallpaper.)
Okay, back to the point: HOW have we in the United States come to a place where so many believe that living the American Dream involves ditching the American Dream? It seems the ideals of working hard and saving diligently so prosperity and success will be yours have been replaced by chucking it all, climbing aboard a 35-foot Winnebago, and flipping off the upwardly mobile in the rearview camera.
I shall ponder these things and more after I first learn correct CB-radio etiquette and lingo and choose myself a proper handle (suggestions welcome, except from immediate family and others with a bastardly streak).
Hope you come along for the ride.