Friday, May 27, 2011

Free Bird

I got Bartholomew when he was a brand new baby, fresh off the production line. He was cream color and basic stock. No tinting on the windows, no air conditioning, 4 speed, bench seat, not even a radio.
I loved him!
I got him as a birthday present to myself because I was mad at my boyfriend and it was one of those impulsive decisions that used nothing but emotion for analysis of appropriateness.
That was in the days when auto interest rates were in the sky. The salesman issued me a term for 19%! At the last minute, when I wouldn't budge for the extra "something or other" policy, he lowered the rate to 16% because to add the policy meant a spiff to him.
It was kind of a win/win. He got his spiff, I got the policy and didn't have to pay quite 2X the selling price of the truck over the life of the loan. I think I paid $10,000 all said and done for a truck that listed for $6000.
I can't stress how worth it it has been. That truck has been like a third arm. I simply don't know how I could ever have accomplished the things I wanted to, and did without him.
Sensible me though, I really wanted the short bed because it was so cute. Really. It was so much cuter and made much more of a "fashion statement". But no, I opted for the long bed. Again, I cannot stress how worth it that decision has been.

Pastor says that there is new evidence that memory is stored at an even smaller level than molecular. There is some new theory. Some kind of activity that embeds itself in inanimate objects and that literally, walls can talk. I suppose that means that beat up old trucks could tell their stories too, if we had the right kind of ears to hear.
I would like to hear what Bartholomew has to say about our nearly 30 years together, tromping around everywhere together, like gypsies. We have been through soooo much. So, so much. What a history.
It is my history. My life. My life as told from the perspective of a 1983 long bed, beat up old stock issue Toyota Pick-up Truck.

He is purple now and has a different camper shell on him than the one I first put on to make him useful, if not upscale enough, to behave as if I were a designer; going from house to house with a full bed of fabric and window covering books, praying the client wouldn't offer to help me to the car with my samples.
After Bartholomew and I got through with that gig, the camper shell housed all essential equipment for overnight trips wherever he and I might land.

One day someone decided they wanted to take him on a joy ride. After my work shift was complete I went to find him missing from his spot in the parking lot. I went frantic. I reported it to the police and was just blessed enough that 5 or so days later, he was abandoned on a side street somewhere in San Bernardino, CA and I was able to pay the impound lot for his return to me. The thieves had kept the camper shell and all the contents I had in the back for survival and left me with a collection of empty ice tea plastic bottles and two of their own blue towels. Pretty nice ones too. They took my towels and left me theirs. It made no sense.
I truly felt "violated". It was an awful feeling. But I was so grateful to have my friend back. What joy. What a miracle.
I have never left him without all the windows up and a club attached since then. Fortunately, when the theft occurred my mother was out of town on a trip and I was able to drive her little car around. All the little miracles. Day in and day out.

Recently my 2000 Dodge decided to end it's term as a means of viable transportation to me. The bearings went out in the engine. A mechanic offered to restore it for $3,000. It's too old to put that much in to, so I am back to Bartholomew again. My faithful friend.
He's plugging along, having a little trouble in idle. We're trying to work out the bugs. He's nothing to look at. Beat up terrible awful, as a matter of fact. But I feel like me again, sitting behind his big steering wheel. It's the me I know and like. The me that is full of hope and capability. Not leaning on luxury to soften my concept of reality. Bartholomew is real. Just essentials, an engine, transmission, 4 wheels.

I went to a meeting at City Hall recently. It was to discuss the upcoming vote to determine zoning on a parcel of land. A developer hopes to put in a solar plant for energy.
Throughout the whole meeting and presentation, I couldn't help getting a vibe. "What's in it for me?" The room was filled with mostly men. The men who asked questions were mostly local businessmen and most of the questions they asked seemed to me to relate to the profit structure of the investment.
The discussion was supposed to be a last ditch effort to give anyone who might oppose this installation and it's impact on the community one more chance to voice that opposition.
The presenter was knowledgeable about all things solar and was comparing the different types and their pros and cons. The big concern seemed to be the water use it would require to keep the data center cooled. Mega tons of water. Land owners concerned of their wells going dry.
Throughout the whole debate, I never once heard even a murmur that would indicate anyone other than me was thinking, "hmm, I wonder what we could do to not need so much energy..." Or "What can be done with those same funds, to make individual homes more energy efficient or take them off the grid all-together. How much of a data center and how much water would be needed for that?"
Well, I guess we could think about the jobs it might create. Hmmm...
How about this, if people didn't have so much in the way of needs to meet just to keep a home up and running, maybe they would have the time to be industrious and create a job for themselves...hmmmm...hmmm?
We seem to always look at everything from the model of consumption. More housing, more energy, more stuff...happier people?
Getting out from behind a "luxury" car (air-conditioning, auto windows, radio, CD player, plush seating, tons of room....) and into my beat up old purple truck with no amenities, I felt like a farmer again (not that I ever was one, wishful thinking). I felt like the 20 something girl I was when Bartholomew and I set out on our life of adventure.
I think we get too settled and too used to having way more than we really need. When you have a dependable car, you never have to depend on anyone. But there is a steep price to pay for that.
The price you pay for a less dependable car is the relationship you have to develop for help and support.
I think we all need to start thinking smaller, wanting less stuff, more relationships...good relationships and start looking for ways we can help each other live better, richer, fuller lives with less.
How about a house made out of pallets?

"Off Grid The term off-the-grid (OTG) or off-grid refers to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities. Off-the-grid homes are autonomous —they do not rely on municipal water supply, sewer, natural gas, electrical power grid or similar utility services. A true "off the grid" or "off-grid" house is able to operate completely independently of all traditional public utility services."

See what Sandy Foster has to say about being a free bird.  She had a dream...

Bartholomew when he was younger and visiting my mothers house.
And..Tiger Lilly , "I was lookin' back to see if you were lookin' back to see if I was lookin' back to see if you were lookin' back at me!"