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The Tau of Homelessness


Imaginary talking monkey
Staff member
Premium Member
(at the end of July of this year, dieing of boredom in the little economically depressed (unemployment was up to over 20% at one point) mountain town that I'd spent most of the last 9 years living in, I decided to pack up my bicycle and bike trailer, pick a direction, and spend the rest of the summer having fun and seeing what the road and serendipity had in store for me. Things have been going so well on this trip that I decided to extend it indefinitely, or at least until I found a town that felt like the right place to start the next chapter of my life. Below is a recent excerpt from my journal. I'm starting with this entry mostly because I have really lousy handwriting and this is one of the few that I already had typed out and can actually read in full. More to come after I have time to decipher my own baffling scrawl :p.)

Pt. I: The Mildly Amusing Misadventures of a Modern Day Nomad.

(Oct. 8th, 2010)

I lost my shoes last night. :p

Since I got to Santa Barbara I've been riding along the coast every night and camping in a eucalyptus grove on the edge of the sand dunes by the beach. Very nice (even has a shower right there).

On the way there and back every day I noticed a big glade further inland just beyond a small stretch of marshland. In the middle of all this is a patch of very inviting high ground with a few palm trees and a lot of nice, soft pampas grass. It was low tide so it looked like walking out to this little sort-of island might be doable.

So, I picked up my bike, put it on my shoulder and started wading through the pampas grass until I got to (what looked like) a long stretch of relatively high and solid ground that seemed to lead right where I was going.

Half way there the bank under my right foot gave way and I found myself stuck half way up my right thigh in the nastiest, clingiest muck (calling this stuff "mud" would be an insult to mud everywhere) on the face of the planet.

So, I took a moment, filled my pipe, and considered my options: I could take my other foot off the bank, try to find something solid to put it on, and see if I could use the leverage to get my right leg free. No good. Most likely I would just wind up with both legs stuck (at which point, I would be all out of legs).

I could stand there until morning and try to wave down some helpful jogger or bicyclist down on the bike path after the sun came up. No good: aside from the fact that sunrise was several hours away, I realized: from what I've been able to gather about most of the joggers and cyclists in this town, if I did manage to wave one down it would be much more likely that they would get on their cell phone to call the police or the Environmental Protection Agency to report that some long-haired lunatic was out in the marsh assaulting some endangered species of pampas grass or some rare and precious indigenous species of nasty, clingy muck.

What I finally did was throw my bike up on the bank, took my backpack off and genitally placed that on the bank (my laptops in there), turned until I could lay partially on the side of the bank myself, grabbed my right leg under the knee with both hands, and started pulling.

After much yanking, twisting, a little praying and a lot of swearing, and with a huge, wet, sucking "whoooosh" sound (which sounded like nothing so much as the marsh giving me a well deserved raspberry) up came my nasty-muck covered leg---minus my right shoe. After a token effort at trying to feel around in the muck for it, I decided to go ahead and leave it there as a donation to future archeologists.

Fortunatelly, I brought a pair of Tiva sandels with me on this trip (which, now that I think about it, I should have been wearing instead of my shoes anyway).