Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving In The Ballistic 'Hood

Every once in awhile it hits me; how much different my life is now as opposed to a few years ago.  A very few years, so few it might be legitimately called a couple of years ago.

I'm not sure what happened.  I'm not the same person, yet I am.  My bad habits, doubts and demons followed me, but I think they lost a lot of their strength along the way.  That's the genius in zigzagging from Memphis to Dallas to Taos, here and there in CO, AZ and who knows where on my way to the first scheduled big stop--San Diego.   Apparently it was also the last stop.   I did zig zag again from here to Utah, and Co and all manner of places on my way to predetermined stop #2, far northeast Montana.  Things you don't need get lost along the way.

That made the big Montana zigzag pretty much the direct route, once I made it over Beartooth pass.  Always with the bears.  They don't have many bears around Memphis or Miami.  Maybe that is why you don't see signs there telling YOU how to behave because BEARS are hooligans.   I couldn't believe all the rules, regulations, and suggestions out west in regard to being sure not to make bears mad.  Talk about your privileged class.  Bears have more rights than anyone.

So, there I was on my way home from a day of working on a wodden garage door that will soon be the envy of the neighborhood.  I stopped at my favorite gas station and ended up talking to a young panhandler for about an hour.  This is not leading to one of those "but for the grace of God there go I" backhanded gratitude things.   

He did not appear to be doing all that bad and he pulled in several dollars while I was there.  "Hey there, do you have a dollar or some change?".  That's it.  People just handed over folding money.   I didn't give him any.  My pockets were empty anyway.  Almost empty.

We talked about somewhat philosophical things during the coherent portions of our discussion.   What struck me most was how much his view was tainted by what he imagined others thought of him, and by his own prejudgement of what others think and do.  I don't think he's yet figured out that everyone is some version of human, or at least a life form,  and that few if any really find life effortless.   Unique to him, I'm sure, he wants to be a rap star.  I've never seen that syndrome before.  That was sarcastic in case you are unsure.   But he claims he wants to change the world.  I'm not quite sure in what way.  

Maybe he's the real hope and change guy, not necessarily in that order.  He's got the change thing down; not just the folding money.  I liked him even though I am pretty sure he was putting on an act.  I'll bet he saw the movie,"the Soloist".   He was doing an imitation of that guy part of the time, or else he was similarly afflicted.  

It is not unusual for me to strike up conversations with the fringe elements in public places.  I regularly make out of the way acquaintances.  

Our conversation did cause me to realize how little anger I carry, relatively speaking.   For many years the anger was free floating and usually unfocussed, or else aimed at myself. 

Now I am surrounded by people who are convinced that I have some redeeming value without insisting I become someone else to achieve that status in their eyes.  Their quality, to me, is not even up for discussion.  It is obvious.  I've landed among very kind interesting people.  It is amazing.  Not that no one was kind in the past. Like I said, I'm not quite the same.  

In those days, everyone seemed to be trying to make me be different than I chose to be.  It was bit disheartening at times.  Of course any grown up ought to be able to shrug it off and not be vulnerable to such things.  Lack of self acceptance and a few other issues were undoubtably at play.  I was ready for the sanitarium, but they don't exist like in the old movies. 

At times, I am almost ready for the sanitarium, still.  Now, though, I wouldn't go out of my way to check in.  Before, I would have waited in line or walked ten miles, at least, for such an opportunity.  I'm sure I'd change my mind at the door these days.

Improvement and maybe some wisdom based on experience is all I can ask.  And, coincidentally, that is all I get.  I'm pretty amazed that there are days like this one.   The real difference is that I am glad to be alive, and not just using the excuse that I don't want to leave a chaotic house for others to clean up as my reason for not checking out.   There is a difference in finding lifelines to justify endurance and being glad to be here.

I'm usually glad to be here, even though I have no clue what my future holds.  That is not true.  I kind of see two general possibilities.  Neither includes the overwhelming sadness I felt for so long.

Did I mention that the weather here is exactly the way you would imagine it in Heaven?   I don't believe anywhere on earth has a more desirable climate than coastal San Diego county.  Here on Ballistic Mountain we have a little more variance, and I like that.  Drive 30 or 40 miles, and it is always perfect.  Best of all things, as long as there is fuel in the car and it runs.  

The really amazing part is the nature of the friends here.  It is nice to know you'd lay down your life for people if the occasion ever called for it, and know it would be worth it.  

Life in the Ballistic hood is magic, even if it comes with the usual unpleasant hooplah a Ballistic mind can generate.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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