Sunday, March 13, 2011

Texas to Tennessee

        I headed back to Austin after the conference. Jeff is working on a house in a wealthy suburb, so the scenery gets bland.
        We took a trip to Fiesta, a Hispanic grocery chain with American foodstuffs as well. I was practicing my Spanish again by trying to name things and defining the lyrics in the songs I was hearing. It makes me want to visit Latin America all the more.

        The next day, staring at the clear, blue sky, I noticed bright dots of light bouncing back and forth and bursting from one another. It made me think, am I seeing the very essence of this space, possibly elementary particles? Luckily, after contacting a friend about it, I was directed to a link which explained that it is actually a phenomenon in the eye. Click here to check it out. It also allowed me to understand the “floaters” that I notice every now and then. Perhaps you have to. They sometimes appear as transparent bubbles or strings that move along with the movement of your eye.

        I decided to take a walk with Mambo. What a lovely day that would be wasted staying stagnant. I used the GPS to locate a body of water nearby. I saw that there were two ponds a half hour away, so I walked through suburbia to the end where a country road appeared, where I could picture a traveler sticking his thumb out. I walked through the tall grass toward one pond, and it turned out there was a dirt path that went along the water. It had been created by tire tracks. Once I got on the path, I saw an orange cat walking along it in front of me. I gave my best meow to have it notice me with the intention that I could befriend it, but it became scared and ran away. There were plenty of ducks in the ponds, as well as turtles, lots of turtles, hanging out on the shore. When the heard me, they all headed into the water, so all I would only see their heads above the water.
        Further along the path, I was eventually brought to the paved path of the golf course that entangled the gated community. I'm not a golfer, but it's nice to see the culture with the colored polos and all. At one point, I saw a man, in his early 20s, that was playing catch with his pup. It then ran up to me with its tennis ball. It pleased my ego to think that perhaps the guy had a trick up his sleeve to send his dog over to ladies, but of course only an idea. I gave it a pet and threw the ball for it, then asked the man in which direction I could find the creek. I headed down that way and saw a shallow end of it. I looked in a different direction and saw some vehicle tracks into a grassy area with piles of sticks and logs. I figured that was where the workers would bring all the “rubbish” from the golf course. The grass was tall and fluffy, so I
looked for a nice place to rest. Finally, there was a spot that called my name. I laid down and allowed Mambo to move freely. I figured she'd like the natural habitat where she might've been without Petco. Or perhaps she wouldn't have even existed without Petco. Regardless, she enjoyed the exploration. I wasn't afraid of her running away because I knew that if she did, it was her choice to freedom. But I learned that she liked me because she stuck around. Maybe she only likes me because I feed her, but I don't mind whatever reason it is. I started hearing birds and the wind was picking up, so I assumed that signaled movement. I climbed up the hill into a more forest-like area and then ended up on the paved path once again. I passed over the creek again and sat down to stick my feet in. Mambo climbed down my shirt and became comfy in my bosom as she kept her face sticking out of my cleavage. It was a cute sight.
        I walked more and knew I no longer had my sense of direction since the path winded. I knew I eventually had to get back to the big bridge/road that passes over the creek at some point, but I no longer knew which way that was. Oh well. Luckily, I knew Kelly was a phone call away with the GPS no more than twenty feet away.
        One foot in front of the other, I had a feeling I was going in the wrong direction, but there were cliffs on my left with cacti growing right out of the rock, so I didn't mind walking more for the scenic views. Eventually, I needed to stop because I smelled dog poo. Had I stepped in something? I walked to the side of the golf course next to the creek to make it seem like I was just taking a break to ponder the poetry of life, but really I was trying to figure out where this smell was coming from. Not the shoes. Not the shirt. Mambo? Nope, she just smelled like rat. But the smell was so potent. I felt around my neck. Yuck! How the heck did poo get on my necklace and chin? Mambo! I tried wiping it off discretely and then along came an old man on his golf cart.
        “Are you enjoying the beauty of nature?” he said.
        “Oh yeah...this creek is beautiful...hey, do you know where I can find River Plantation Rd?”
        He told me it was a ways, about a mile, and like I thought, in the other direction. He offered me a ride, but I didn't feel like making the stops at the holes, so I thanked him and headed backwards. There was drinking water along the way to wash my necklace, neck, and hands off with, and by the time I was done, the man was back. He must've finished up the last hole. We talked again, and this time I took the ride. I thought it can't be so bad to watch some golf, and it'd be nice to give and have some company. So, I properly introduced myself, and as a Southern gentleman, he took off his hat as he introduced himself also.
        “Phil Shaw. Nice to meet you.”
        I watched him play, but he was embarrassed that he wasn't doing well.
        “I'm much better than this, but I'm not used to having pretty, young ladies watch me.”
        How sweet. It's nice to be charmed, knowing that there weren't any ulterior motives.
Phil told me about his granddaughters and even great granddaughters, the old dam that used to exist on the creek, and the Boy Scouts that built a dock for swimming around it. We also talked about the flora around the course and how beautiful it is when it's in bloom. I love the warmth down here, but without leaves on a lot of the trees, it leaves an empty spot in my heart.
        Phil drove me to the road and walked me on a shortcut through the lawn of his famous magician friend. It seemed Phil knew everyone. He had been living there for 33 years. We said goodbye, his hat off again. We shook hands, but it turned into a firm, caring grasp and him commenting that I was a lovely young woman. I thanked him for his kindness and we parted.
        Back at the bus, guacamole and chips were served. We've been having a lot of that lately, and I love it. Kelly's a good cook.

        I've become very interested in the link between shamanism and autism. In certain cultures, a shaman is one who has gone through some sort of neuropsychological “disorder,” like schizophrenia or autism. It makes sense because the social aspect of life distracts from the other potentials of the mind. I was introduced to WrongPlanet.net, where I began to read forums about shamanism and the other worlds created in the minds of autistics. That, then, introduced me to The Horse Boy, a beautiful documentary about the journey a western couple takes to Mongolia with their autistic son in order to meet shamans for a healing process. Since Kelly noticed I was interested in this, she rented Temple Grandin, a film depicting Temple Grandin's life. Temple is currently a spokesperson for the autistic community and has also developed humane systems of animal slaughter. (However, Kelly disagrees that it is humane to slaughter in the first place.) I highly recommend both movies. I am always intrigued to see different perspectives, and it excites me to see others doing the same.
        Xoey often uses the word “crazy.” At first, she would use it in an insulting fashion when I did something she didn't like. This really disturbed me, but I learned to ignore it, and then to take pride in the term. When she walked into the bus toward the end of Temple Grandin and saw Temple acting in a strange fashion, she asked, “Is she crazy?” (It seemed to me that she was using this term in a derogatory manner again.) I replied, “She's autistic.” At the end of the movie, Xoey was able to see the interesting features of high-functioning autism, so I asked her, “Do you still think she's crazy?” She said, “Well, yeah, she is crazy, but it doesn't have to be a bad thing.” I was silent, but satisfied. I'm glad to hear that she recognizes that.
        I find a comforting beauty in “weirdness.” I'm glad that it seems I'm getting weirder everyday. Who wants to be normal when there's so much more to explore than these socially-shared hallucinations? I'm not one for comfort, safety, and the mundane. I like newness and things that rustle up my feathers. Thanks world for becoming more and more tolerant of diversity! I hope it continues because I'm not just tolerant; I'm in love.

        We went to the LBJ Museum today. I never knew much about him or his presidency. I was surprised to find out that he seemed a bit dopey. There were exhibits specifically about his sense of humor, but I didn't get it, probably because I couldn't stick around long enough to hear the punchline. He just talked too slow for me.
        I learned plenty about Lady Bird and how much she liked wildflowers, so much so that she wanted to beautify our highways with taxpayer dollars. What a cause.
        My favorite floor was the one devoted to the time period – the 60s. My dad grew up in that era. He was 13 when Kennedy was shot. The only time I almost saw him cry was when he talked about that event. Along this floor were also the pictures and video exhibits devoted to the civil rights movement. I don't know about you, but when I see Martin Luther King Jr., I get inspired. I watched a video about the missile crisis in Cuba on a television from the 60s, so it was fun to feel like I traveled back in time.
        That reminds me. I've been doing a lot of reading about time. I want to understand it for what it really is. It's just another perception, another illusion in this game, but is there a way we can understand it through physics, or will I only truly understand it once I experience the absence of it, or perhaps and altered state of it? Allegedly, there is technology exists that can slow time down or speed it up for an observer, other than the technology of the mind.


        After two weeks of work, the unschool bus has finally left Onion Creek. I had some good times exploring the few wooded areas around the creek, laying my head in the grass, staring at the birds flying and playing in the sky, but I'm surely ready to head out.
        I saw a jackrabbit for the first time. It hopped along a lawn, and although I had never seen such an animal before, the word “jackrabbit” popped in my head. Then, I whipped out my computer to check on Google images if I was right, and what do yah know, I aced that test.
We stopped at a truck stop for bed. I had a phone call to make, so I headed over to the pond and trees that was outside of the lot. I become so giddy talking to Eliott. I told him how it's not even fair how awesome my life is right now. All I had to do was say how I really felt, and the world's arms wrapped around me.
        Eliott doesn't know this, but I should be arriving at his house in a few days. He knows I'm going to surprise him, but just not when, and it's very, very hard for me not to just yell out on the phone, “I'm going to see you at the end of the week!” when we're all gushy, regurgitating puppy dog loveliness.
See, this leg of the trip for the unschool bus is almost over. The Halldorsons are heading back to New Hampshire for a couple of months to do some work and see friends, and I'm getting dropped off in Jersey. I've decided that I'm not going to come back on the bus. I want to get a job, save up, and buy my own van for travel. I'm not sure where I'll do that yet, but I do imagine having a wonderful time at Eliott's and asking him to come see the world with me (I hope he's not reading this!). Of course, nothing is set in stone, but this is what my mind tends to fantasize about.
        In the morning, we headed to Dallas. I've had my headphones plugged into my ears listening to Pretty Lights albums, while staring out at the road. I had a lot of sightseeing as Jeff was trying to find a toy store. It looks like Dallas means business, literally. All the buildings seem to be devoted to the lifestyle that comes along with a suit. We only stuck around for about an hour and got back on the road.
I fell asleep before we even stopped. When I woke up in the morning, it turned out that we were at a welcome center in Oklahoma. That morning would be the famous Rhett + Link's arrival. They are YouTube stars that are going around the country with the “Box of America,” asking for gifts from everyone who wants to meet them, then sticking them in the box in order to have a drawing for a winner at the end of the trip. They are filming the whole adventure and heading to LA to possibly start a TV show. Wolfgang is a big fan of theirs, so we figured we'd take a slight detour to see them. We got them a small replica of our bus, and Kelly painted it to look almost exactly the same. When they saw our bus, they were excited to come in for a tour.
        After they left, we had cake for breakfast. It had been Jeff and Kelly's anniversary only days ago, and luckily they found a vegan carrot cake in Whole Foods. Yummy!
        Later on, we stopped at an Antique Center/Native American Museum. So much stuff! There were a sick pair of old roller skates, but unfortunately just a wee bit too small for me. I also checked out the jewelry and knives. I happened to leave my knife at the tree I was sitting under at the Dallas truck stop; it must've fell out of my pocket when I had been laying down on my side. I'll have to find a good replacement.
        Afternoon into night, there was a huge rainstorm, with lightning too! Nothing could make a long drive more exciting. I haven't experienced such a storm in a while. Coming from Buffalo down to Louisiana, I went directly from snow to shine, so I'm glad it can be mixed up a bit on my travels back northeast. Of course, I have more rain come Spring.

        What's the best way to wake up in the morning? Going to the bathroom in a truck stop in the middle-of-nowhere Missouri. Why? Because it has songs from the 50s blasting on the speakers in the ladies room! When I heard, “Let the Little Girl Dance,” I just couldn't refuse. That's definitely going on my iTunes. During this restroom excursion I also thought to myself, “No matter how dirty the toilets are, there always seems to be at least one (usually the last one you find) that's completely acceptable for use.”
        However, later that morning, driving through Kentucky, we got a bit unlucky. I happened to be on the phone with my dad talking about when I'd be back in the northeast when the bus blew up! Okay, it didn't blow up. I probably wouldn't be writing this if it had, but underneath the hood started smoking. I chuckled a bit because, although I had been so excited, my estimated time of arrival had been changed. We pulled over and Jeff ran outside to lift the hood. He called Good Sam's to rectify the problem. He had been told, when he originally purchased the policy, that Good Sam's would not only take care of the tow but also the transportation of the family and pets to the shop where the bus would be brought as well as any hotel fee incurred during the mechanical work. However, it seemed like he had been duped. They would take care of the tow, but that's it. We all spent some time brainstorming ideas so we wouldn't have to pay an insanely expensive cab fare or hitchhike. We didn't have an official solution and the tow man arrived. Lucky for us, he had room in his truck that fit us all perfectly! Good leads to bad, but bad leads to good. Kelly and I were excited for the ride since we had never been in a tow before. Our unfortunate event led to fortune, plus, if I calculated correctly, the bus saved twenty bucks in gas. I really enjoy looking on the bright side of things.
        Since then, I've been having a lot of access to the internet. Both in the shop and at the hotel, I've had free wifi, plus the hotel provides a complementary breakfast. With my connection to the web, I've been answering Facebook and email messages and also doing a lot of research into law. I just watched a video called, Theft By Deception, which is on Google video for free, so I do recommend it if you are concerned about tax law. Through understanding the law and all of the definitions provided in it, it turns out it is not lawful to tax most domestic income. I also have been interested in operating a vehicle without a license. I had it suspended less than a year ago (by choice) and once I get my van, I don't think I will register my vehicle or try to get back my license. It's all a contract that I don't want to sign, and as long as I don't hurt anyone, it is lawful to drive without signing that contract. And even if I did present my case to a judge who didn't understand common law vs. commerce law and then I ended up in jail, I wouldn't mind. I think it would be beneficial for me to be in an environment where most stimulation is deprived so that I can start having wake-induced lucid dreams and/or out of body experiences.

        So...much...driving. I listened to some podcasts along the way until my computer died (Gnostic Media and Peace Revolution). I have some books, but I really didn't feel like whipping them out. Finally the sun came out, so the drive to and from Knoxville was extraordinarily beautiful. There's just been so much rain in this week that fields were flooded all over, the sky consisted only of gray clouds, and the cold only became colder. Now, the terrain is shining gold and the sky is blue with just a few puffs of white cloud every now and then. The Great Smoky Mountains are shaped much differently than other mountains I have seen. Now, I'll be in Jersey soon, and my mind keeps thinking too much about the new chapter that is about to unfold.
        Surprise again! It turns out Eliott's is out of the way of the Halldorson's way up to New Hampshire. They want to avoid expensive tolls and Connecticut altogether. It looks like I'll actually be going to my dad's instead, and after the weekend, perhaps, finally, I'll be getting down to Jersey. It's a good thing I have this time, though, so I can unload some stuff to lighten my pack, get Mambo a carrying case instead of using her cage, and see old friends and family again.

9 comments:

  1. I applaud your decision to avoid licensing and registration when you get your van, you're much braver than I am. I'm sort of opting out of that system by giving up driving. My license expires early next year and I'll skip the whole renewal process. I'll use the time until then to establish relationships with places that still require photo ID so that they know me and won't ask for it later on. I would imagine it would help to be in an area with activists in the voluntaryist movement such as NH because activist Lauren Canario gets arrested for the same thing but has others to rally behind her.

    I'm not sure if this hobby might fall into the unschooling category but with that GPS in hand have you considered Geocaching? My friends on another blog site has sparked my interest in it.

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  2. Here's a "Giant Jackrabbit" for you:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSGgrBeGKo0#at=540

    On another note, lots of heavy news is happening in the world now: Wisconsin tyranny, 8.9 Earthquake and tsumani (tens of thousands of people missing), looming financial scandals. Dark clouds, basically...

    ReplyDelete
  3. William Stillman's book, "Autism and the God Connection" is another example of autistic shamanic consciousness- here are some links to his ideas:
    http://autism.about.com/od/inspirationideas/a/StillmanQA.htm
    http://www.beyondtheordinary.net/williamstillman.shtml
    http://www.williamstillman.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. Time...is existent in a sense that we can measure a distance of duration between one point and another...however time can be bent with speed...as an object approaches the speed of light, time slows. Say a person is standing on earth and another person is orbiting at the speed of light both for a whole year or even ten years...the person on earth ages for the duration, and the person in orbit doesn't age...that's the accepted theory anyway.
    Psychadelics might be an interesting experiment for time and potentially an out of body experience...under the influence perception is turned upside down and inside out...your life unfolds in your thoughts and understanding people becomes simple...don't try it for the high...try it for the enlightenment that comes out of it...you are probably one of the few people in society who actually has the mature mindset to harness the beauty of thought from psychoactive substances...but that's all I have to say about it

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  5. Erica, you are truly finding out things that 99.99% of the population knows nothing about.

    Somehow you've realized you're sovereign. I applaud your choice to not contract with the state to drive travel.

    Keep publishing. Remember this, I don't know who said it:

    "Those that matter don't mind. Those that mind don't matter"

    I've been a debt/tax slave for too long to get out of it, however, unlike most others, I applaud and wish you success in dodging the crookedness of this land. The insurgent government ( http://www.pacinlaw.org/error/ ) has a grip on society that I don't know if we can ever shake off. But, it starts with people like you. Keep up the good work. Ignore your detractors. Good luck. Be safe. God bless.

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  6. In regards to understanding time through the nature of your own experience I would highly recommend Eckhart Tolle. He is a wonderful teacher. There are plenty of videos on youtube, and two of his most well know books are The Power of Now and A New Earth.

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  7. YES! I've lain on the grass and watched those white dots zip around, too. Thank you for the link!!!

    Also, the next time you come through Kentucky and want some quiet - we live on thirty acres which is nestled inside three hundred acres belonging to a Zen Monastery. We've a little guest hut on the property, too. Any interests in permaculture?

    Namaste ∞

    ReplyDelete
  8. We took a trip to Fiesta, a Hispanic grocery store chain with American foodstuffs as well. i experienced been practicing my Spanish once more by wanting to determine problems and defining the lyrics using the audio tracks.

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