Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Long Talk with George

I had a long talk with George this morning. He urged me to stay in my home until and if they evict me. I have decided to stay put for the time being. I will just wait and see what happens. I have very strong urgings to set out on my own though.

I did sleep in my tent last night. It was a wonderful experience. I slept so well and fitfully. I awoke at my usual 4 a.m. and sat at the threshold of my tent door. Thousands of stars greeted me as I smoked a cigarette and took in the view. In the far off distance my much anticipated whip-o-will called. It is such a lonely and wistful sound. I then curled up on top of my sleeping bag and finished the book I was reading with my flashlight until dawn arrived.

The sun began to rise and I boiled some water and cooked some oatmeal. I then packed up my tent and other belongings into my car and headed home. I was glad to see Sherman this morning as I needed a friend to talk to. He assured me that my father would have to go through quite an effort to oust me from this house. We will just play the wait and see game for the time being. Come what may, I will survive no matter what though.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Daring One Returns

The scuttlebutt down at the grocery store this morning was that HIV/AIDs Guy is back on the scene after a lengthy incarceration. I always find it uniquely comical in how this one guy can send all the other groupies fleeing for cover. He is like a pretense to the police showing up. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the good pleasure of seeing him today (sarcasm). That guy is a low life.

Sherman did something very uncharacteristic of himself this morning. He already owes me twenty dollars. He always pays me back before asking for more. This morning he asked to borrow twenty more! I am broke and couldn’t give it to him.

“You gotta slow down man,” I told him regarding his drinking. “You stay fucked up all the time these days.”

“I be havin’ issues,” Sherman said as he took another drink of cheap wine.

“What kind of issues do you have?” I asked incredulously. “You get to do what you want when you want to. You can drink when you want. You mother pays the bills and doesn’t give you shit. Hell, I am the one with issues!”

“Yo dad given’ yo ass shit again?” Sherman asked.

“Don’t get me started,” I replied. “The son of bitch told me he is no longer going to let me have my social security money cause he caught me drinking the other day.”

“How in da fuck old are you again?” Sherman asked.

“Thirty four fucking years old!” I exclaimed.

“Dat be da shit, man,” Sherman replied. “Dat do be da shit. What are ya gonna do?”

“I am going to live in my tent and get him off as my representative payee,” I boasted. “That son of bitch isn’t going to run my life.”

“I hear ya brotha,” Sherman said. “But don’t go be livin’ homeless again. Get yo ass a place to stay.”

“I WANT to live in my tent!” I exclaimed. “I WANT to be free again! I don’t want to be a slave to a home!”

“Man, you and you crazy white-ass survivalist mother fuckers,” Sherman said with a laugh. “Next you gonna be eatin’ rabbits yo ass caught.”

I laughed heartily at Sherman’s last statement.

“Hand me that bottle, man,” I said to Sherman.

Sherman handed me the bottle and I took a hefty drink of Wild Irish Rose. I cringed as that coarse drink slid down my throat and burned.

“God, I don’t see how you drink this shit,” I said still cringing.

Sherman laughed and grabbed the bottle back from to take another drink as well.

“Can I come see yo ass at your homeless compound?” Sherman asked.

“As long as you bring the beer,” I replied with a grin.

“I hear ya brother,” Sherman said. “Ole Sherman will look out for ya.”

I patted Sherman on the shoulder and then climbed out of the car to head home. I had just gotten out of the parking lot around the corner when the effects of that stiff drink of cheap wine hit me. Damn, I was feeling good and had a smile on my face as I walked on up the road to home. My belly was full of Dutch courage and I had to fight the urge to go over and give my father my two cents on his recent attempts to control my life.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rendezvous with Sherman

I saw Sherman this morning for a very short time. He came over early this morning wanting to know if he could borrow twenty dollars for gas. I gave it to him as he always pays me back. He needed the money to fuel his car for his fly-by-night taxi service. Without gas, he couldn’t make any extra money today.

I was cooking breakfast when he showed up. I had made a pan of homemade biscuits and fried some sausage. Sherman sat with me at the kitchen table eating sausage biscuits w/mustard as we talked.

“You been down to see Ferret lately,” He asked me. “No one has seen him.”

“No,” I said. “I have been too preoccupied with other things. I will try and get down there today though.”

“Big S said he be done gotten arrested for public drunkenness,” Sherman replied.

“Big S is not a good source of information,” I told Sherman. “Remember when he and Ferret were spreading the rumor that I was gay?”

Sherman laughed.

“If yo ass don’t be getting’ laid soon I is gonna think yo ass is gay as well,” Sherman replied with a grin. “We gotta get yo ass some pussy.”

I laughed as well. Sherman means well.

Sherman then said he must get to work and start earning some money. I put two more sausage biscuits into a zip-lock bag and gave them to him for the road. Sherman gave me some cigars in exchange. I watched as good ole Sherman pulled out of the driveway and headed out to do what Sherman does everyday as I had my morning cigarette and coffee outside on the porch. Here’s to hoping he will pay me that twenty dollars back quickly as it is nearing the end of the month and I am growing broke.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Dog that went Bark in the Night

I pitched my tent in the backyard and tried to sleep in it last night. Rosie fucking barked all night long at various animals coming through the yard.

“Rosie, get your ass in this tent and go to sleep!” I would holler as I stuck my head out of the tent occasionally.

My presence would just nag her on and cause her to bark more furiously. Finally, I gave up on sleeping outside last night and came in around 2 a.m. in the morning and crawled into my bed. Rosie followed me in and immediately crawled into her chair and went to sleep. *sigh*

I didn’t have to work this morning. Hallelujah! I am unsure how long I am going to be able to keep this job. They are putting a lot of pressure on me to work many more hours. It has been a tug of war and a battle of the wills. I don’t want to work more hours than I already am. I told my supervisor if he didn’t stop pressuring me last week that I was going to find another job. He said he was going to have to find someone who could work more as they need the extra help. I told him fine.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Saturday Morning Wanderings

I spent another morning with Dumpster Diving Dan feeding the seagulls. I need to get some pictures of this uploaded to the blog if I can just ever remember to take my camera down there with me. I would say there were a good fifty to sixty birds out there today. Dan always feeds them in the same place at the same time so they know when and where to come. Austere asked about seagulls by the river. I live a day’s drive from the Gulf of Mexico. The seagulls follow the river up from the Gulf in search of food. Thanks for the comments Austere!

“How long have you been dumpster diving?” I asked him as we both stood there and threw out stale bread to the gulls.

“Oh, for a long time now,” He replied. “It has been years.”

“What is the best dumpster?” I then asked.

Dan donned a Cheshire cat grin. “That would be giving up my secrets.”

“Don’t use the dumpsters behind the Kroger though,” He said. “They will call the police.”

I then peddled on over across the river to the grocery store. Big S was sitting out front as usual accompanied by Droopy. They were having an animated discussion about this year’s college football prospects.

“Seen Sherman?” I asked them interrupting.

“He be by here earlier,” Big S said. “He said he needed to talk to you.”

I walked on down to the pay phone to call Sherman on his new cell phone. The phone rang a few times and then Sherman answered.

“Hey man, what’s up?” I said. “Big S said you were looking for me.”

“Where you be at?” Sherman asked.

“Over by the grocery store,” I replied.

“I’ll be over there in a minute,” He said.

“Hey man, what did you need?” I asked trying to get him to the point.

“We be playin’ poker at Pookie’s house tonight,” He said. “You want to come?”

“You know I don’t do the Pookie Poker thing,” I replied.

“I be buyin’ da beer,” Sherman said almost pleading with me.

“Sorry man, you know I don’t trust that bitch,” I replied. “There are some shady people hanging out over there.”

“Why yo ass gotta be dissin my woman?” Sherman said with a laugh.

“You know how I feel about that group of people,” I said. “Come by the house after the poker game and we will drink a few.”

“Alright, my brotha, alright,” Sherman said and then hung up the phone.

It will be interesting to see what state of inebriation Sherman will be in when he comes over this evening. I just hope he doesn’t show up on my doorstep three sheets to the wind at 2 a.m. in the morning like he has been known to do. I really need to reconsider the people in my social group. I do find Sherman and the gang to be so interesting and vibrant though, even if they are a bunch of misfits.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Flock of Seagulls

I went down by the river this morning and helped Dumpster Diving Dan feed his seagulls. It was a sight to behold. Hundreds of seagulls flocked around us. The noise they created was almost deafening. I keep wondering how long the local authorities are going to let this continue to happen. The number of seagulls continues to grow everyday.

I grow to admire Dan more everyday. He is such a good fellow and almost like a grandfather to me. I never knew either of my grandfathers. I told him to come by work on Monday and I would give him some potatoes and onions that will most likely be thrown out. He got very excited over the offer and thanked me profusely. I told him thanks for being such a good friend. He is almost like a mentor for me.

I then peddled across the river on my bike back to where I work. I was hoping to see Sherman and I did. I bought us both some beer and we sat in his car drinking them. Sherman had some prescription pills he was trying to sell me. I think they were Lortabs. Those things upset my stomach so I had to pass on them. Sherman said that Shifty would most likely buy them, but he wanted to give me first dibs. I then peddled the short distance home and sat down to write this. Hopefully, I will have more to write about this weekend. I am too lazy this morning to write out the dialogue of I and Sherman’s conversation. This will have to suffice for today.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Bastard that Be

I made my way down to Weasel’s campsite yesterday. He was drunk, belligerent, and obstinate. It seems his homelessness is taking a toll. I can’t blame him. My tour of homelessness was a drunken volley as well. I just wish there was something I could do to help him. Such an experience tends to put men on common ground. I left him hurling racial slurs my way and peddled on up to the grocery store. I sat for the longest time talking to Slop about much ado about nothing; such banal conversation.

I know this may sound odd, but I yearn to be homeless again. I am under a severe amount of social pressure from my family. I wish I could cast that all aside and go back to the anonymity and carelessness that living homeless affords. My socially affluent family would ostracize me once again and leave me alone. I get so tired of their putting on airs. It seems I must constantly jump hoops to be in their social good graces. I just want to be a drunken homeless bum.

Am I setting my sights too low? I don’t know anymore. I just want peace of mind for once in my godforsaken life. I know these writings must seem dire and fatalistic. I assure you that they are not. I just feel better talking about it and sharing it with others.

Thy Spirits have been Lifted

Ferret was in far better spirits today. You could almost say he was jovial. He had forgotten the racially charged drunken tirade of yesterday. We had a long talk about our respective homeless experiences over beer.

“How did a white boy from a middle class family become homeless?” He asked me.

“It’s a long story,” I replied not really wanting to go into the details of my failed and disastrous marriage.

“I was a drunk and still am,” I finally said tersely.

“You lived in the woods?” He then asked.

“For six months,” I replied. “I had plenty of camping gear.”

“Most mother fuckers don’t know what its like, you know?” He said.

“Yeah, I know,” I said as I took another drink from my beer and pondered over thoughts of my homeless days.

“I am probably going to be living in my car this summer,” I said. “I just can’t take all the shit my family throws at me. I sometimes think I was swapped at birth or something.”

“Yeah, my mother is a drunk bitch as well,” Ferret replied.

I picked up a rock and chucked it into the river. The resulting ripples quickly faded in the swirling water.

“Would you have thought you would be homeless at this point in your life?” I asked.

“Man, don’t get me started,” Ferret said “By now, I would be hooked up in a sweet and easy job with a wife and three kids on the way. Life’s somethin’ else, ain’t it? I sure wouldn’t be sitting out here in these woods drinking beer and sleeping in a goddamned tent.”

“You can look at it in a good way though,” I replied.

“What do you mean?” Ferret asked inquisitively.

“I look at most people’s lives and they are tedious and boring. They work everyday and are too tired to do anything else when they get home. Me and you have the freedom of time and most people don’t have that. We are far freer than the wage-slaves I see everyday. Try to look at it in a good way.” I replied.

“I ain’t never thought about it that way,” Ferret said as he laughed.

“Don’t say I said that though,” I replied with a smirk.

“Why?” He asked.

“Well, you start questioning the basics of everything we are taught to believe and adhere to and people get almost outraged,” I replied. “They can’t see that life could be different from what they are living. I look at my homeless days as a point of personal enlightenment. People feel threatened by that. You are expected to work dutifully, raise a family and other such bullshit.”

Ferret offered me a few more beers, but I had to pass on them. I have an appointment this afternoon and need to be sober for it. I told him I would head back down to the river this evening and the beer would be on me. I feel a good drunk coming on. These tend to tie in with my reflective moments and boy have I been reflective the past few days.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Cold Mornings Ahead

I was just looking at the National Weather Service’s forecasts. There are going to be some very cold mornings ahead; untypically cold for this time of the year. My thoughts go out to Ferret who is braving this weather in a small tent down by the river.

I, too, will soldier on in my sleeping outside experiment save good weather. I have the good fortune of a down filled winter weight sleeping bag. It will probably be too hot for the next few nights for that bag so I will fall back on my summer weight bag. It will certainly be interesting to see how I fare.

I did awake this morning at “The Magical Hour.” I wish I could more accurately describe the magical hour in words. It is as if the world comes alive for another day. It is hard to sleep longer for the calls of jays, mocking birds and cardinals. Their crass, but glorious calls will keep you awake. I sauntered on up into the house and got dressed for work after my morning coffee and a shower. One of these days, I am just going to disappear into the woods and emerge some forty years later to tell my tales. What grand stories I would have by then. Good day.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Thy Sleeping Bag for a Beer?

I took Ferret the sleeping bag yesterday afternoon. Shifty was hanging out with Ferret. I was trying to figure out what Shifty wanted from a homeless man. Shifty is a crackhead of the highest order and only hangs out with people he can get something from. He is a total user. I have seen him with more and more frequency as of late. I would hate for him to become a regular part of the gang.

“Did you get cold last night?” I asked Ferret handing him the sleeping bag.

“Shit man,” He said. “It was so cold I couldn’t sleep. I stayed up all night drinking beer.”

Ferret offered me some beers for the sleeping bag. I declined.

“You used to drink all the time,” He said.

“It fucks with my crazy meds,” I replied.

Ferret laughed.

“Shit, you ain’t crazy. Now that motherfucker is crazy,” He said pointing at Shifty.

“Watch his ass,” I said quietly to Ferret where Shifty couldn’t hear.

“Oh, he be leavin’ as soon as the beer is gone,” Ferret said with a grin.

Shifty didn’t like us talking about him. You could tell he disapproved of what we were doing.

“That sleeping bag should keep you warm down to forty degrees,” I said.

Ferret shook my hand and once again offered me some beer. I declined and then got back on my bike headed towards home. I ran into Droopy over by the bank. Droopy is perpetually walking somewhere and just never seems to arrive at his destination. I wish you all could see Droopy. He is the oddest looking black fellow. His face looks as if it were wax and started to melt and slide off his face; thus the name Droopy.

“Sherman be lookin’ for you!” Droopy hollered out as I rode past.

I smiled. It sure would have been good to see ole Sherman. I wondered what kind of antics he was up to. I rode on up to the grocery store, but Sherman was no where to be seen. I certainly didn’t want to hang around long enough as they might try to put me to work. I peddled on home.

________________________


We had a very dangerous line of thunderstorms pass overhead last night after dusk. It even started to hail at one point. All I could think of was Ferret down in that cheap Wal-Mart tent by the river. I do hope he stayed high and dry.

It was still raining this morning when I got up. I cheated and slept inside last night. I don’t know what I am going to do with my day today. I feel terribly listless and malcontent. It is an aggravating feeling.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

After the Storm

Boy, did we have a humdinger of a storm this afternoon. My electricity flashed on and off several times. One time, lightning struck so close to my house that the crack of thunder was immediate and so loud my ears began to ring. I reclined in my lazy boy, lighting my pipe, and listened to nature’s maelstrom outside my windows. Such storms always make me want to get drunk for some reason. The urge to go buy a case of beer during the downpour was almost overbearing, but I resisted. I have been dutifully following my doctor’s orders these days and have stayed abstinent.

Tonight, I am having a quiet evening in. It is far too late to be drinking coffee, but I needed the comfort it brings me. At least I don’t have to work tomorrow and can sleep in. I fear a late night tonight and just needed to get my thoughts down in words.

The rain is softly failing outside my windows and it is a most comforting sound. I also have a few Ray Charles MP3s playing in the background. That soulful sound is music to my ears. It is times such as these I wish I had a kindred spirit to share in such moments; a companion who could also relish these simple moments in life. My only company these days is an elderly dog who sleeps 24 hours a day. I have never seen a dog sleep so much. I guess she has lived a tough outdoor life and is enjoying being a house dog these days. She would normally have to weather a storm such as today outside.

Well, let me go fix another pot of coffee. I also feel the urge to smoke another pipe on my porch. That rained cooled after-storm air will feel so good upon my skin. I do believe nature is still putting on a night show of lightning off on the far distant horizon as well. Let me go have a look and see. Good night.

Transitions

I am coming to the realization of the amount of change and mental conditioning I must overcome to enjoy my newly aspired to lifestyle. I am finding myself more and more isolated these days and am having to rely upon myself more for things I used to look outwardly for.

One of the things I have struggled with the past few days during my solitude is the need to keep busy or to constantly occupy my mind. It is hard to just sit still, be quiet, and observe nature. I feel I must constantly have some kind of noise (like a radio) or a task going on (like a video game or book).

Case in point: this afternoon was a wonderfully stormy afternoon with heavy rain. I unplugged everything and turned it off due to the very dangerous lightning we were experiencing. I found myself in my quiet den with nothing other to do than just sit still and listen in the waning light of the afternoon. I kept wanting to reach for a book; anything to not have to deal with my thoughts and the silence. I will have to work on this.

I also spent a long time this morning looking for books or field guides on wild edible plants of the southeast. It was a frustrating search through countless and myriad “survivalist” advertisements and commercial web pages touting expensive books. Maybe my best bet is to hit the library at a local university. What should be common knowledge passed down by each generation has been lost and you now have to pay a premium to learn via special survival schools and survival gurus.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Lost in Thought

Thoughtful days such as today hold such great meaning to me. I picture myself as the stereotypical mad scientist concocting wild experiments in my thoughts. I get to believing that I can see the bigger picture that most people never see. I sit out in my backyard pulling lungfuls of pungent smoke from my pipe as I mull over ideas. The sights and sounds of nature bring me such joy and delight. I can truly see the forest for the trees.

My nightly outside sleeping experiment is going well. Sleeping on the ground has actually helped my aching back. You also develop this hard to describe third sense about when you should wake up if an animal or danger approaches. Possums seem to be the biggest backyard blundering culprits late at night that disturb my sleep. The occasional raccoon disturbs my sleep as well. These are fairly harmless critters, but can make for heart racing moments of fear during the dark of the night. The weather has also been just gorgeous for sleeping outside at with temperatures in the low sixties after midnight. It can feel rather chilly when I wake up in the mornings.

There is this certain time early in the morning that I call “The Magical Hour.” It is when the birds first awaken and start to call and the first dim light of dawn begins to glow. It is nature’s alarm clock and never fails to happen every morning. What a wonderful way to greet a new day as I open my eyes and yawn; often rolling over in my warm sleeping bag listening to nature’s orchestra before getting up to start my morning coffee.

I have had a severe case of wanderlust today. I dreamt of packing up my big Kelty backpack and setting out on a summer’s adventure. I often look down the road leading from my house longingly for what awaits over the hill. This will urge me to go over and over all my survival gear and do things such as cleaning my water filter. Everything is all packed up and ready to go at a moments notice if the urge to strike out ever overcame me; I so long for travel and adventure.

My biggest train of thought today is how to live without money or to live on as little as possible. I realize to ever be truly free then I will have to find a way how to do this. It can be done as I read excerpts from the journal of a man who walked the country with little money or camping gear today. He spent years just walking across America or canoeing down the Mississippi. His writings brought me great hope that I too can one day embark upon such a journey. Until then, that is what dreams are for. I shall go smoke another bowl from my pipe as I listen to nature’s orchestra while I ponder over these thoughts.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Ferret, what chu Sellin’?

My sleeping outside experiment fared far better last night. I was so tired I slept for most of the night and got up around 4 a.m. in the pre-dawn dark to start my morning coffee. The hardest part is initially going to sleep as your imagination will run wild.

Austere asked why am I doing this? First and foremost it is exciting, fun, and interesting for me. I like to explore alternative ways of living and doing things. I hate how isolated and shut off from nature I feel in my home during the summer. I am also extremely interested in the Native American’s ways of doing things. I have several more experiments planned for this summer to try such as trapping and snaring. I am lucky to live in a relatively rural and wooded location.

___________________________


I did go fishing very early this morning down at the river before they started generating electricity up at the dam. I caught two decent sized blue channel catfish with my bait of almost rancid chicken livers that I had defrosted in the fridge overnight. As I was driving home, I noticed Ferret heading at quite a quick pace up the highway carrying a box. I pulled over in a nearby parking lot to see if he needed a ride.

“Where ya headed man?” I asked as I rolled down my window.

“Pawn shop,” Ferret said and kept walking.

He was a man on a mission.

“Get in the car and I will give you a ride up there,” I replied.

Ferret put the box on the backseat and climbed into the passenger’s seat.

“What’s in the box?” I asked curiously.

“DVD player,” He replied giving up no further information.

Aparently, someone had “given” him a DVD player.

“I will sell it to you for $20 bucks,” Ferret said.

“Man, I have a nice Sony DVD player and I haven’t used it in years,” I replied. “I don’t watch movies or DVDs.”

I drove Ferret on up to the Pawn Shop. He got a grand total of $15 for a brand new DVD player. I told him he would have been better off making a sign and selling it on the street corner for around $50 bucks. He just wanted the quick cash to buy a case of $12.99 Natural Ice Beer down at Wal-Mart.

Well, I am going to go set up a picnic table outside and clean these catfish and get them in the freezer. Cleaning catfish is a bitch. I then may walk down to Fat Albert’s convenience store later and get a forty ounce of Colt 45 and join Ferret down by the river for bullshit and beer. I have a long Saturday with little planned to pass today. Good day.

Friday, May 5, 2006

Summer Experiments

I have several summer experiments I want to try this summer. One is getting accustomed to sleeping on the ground without my tent. This is far scarier than it may seem to be, but last night proved my case. There is just something so comforting and securing about having those tent walls separating you from nature’s creatures and insects.

I had laid my sleeping bag out upon the ground in the backyard and had soon fallen asleep. I must have slept several hours when a blood curdling animal cry woke me up. It was very close and the animal seemed in great distress as if its leg were trapped in a snare. I fumbled around for my flashlight and shone it down towards the bamboo thicket on my side yard. Two eerily glowing green eyes reflected back in the light. My heart began to race. The animal took across my yard just feet from where I was sleeping. I still have no idea what kind of animal it was.

Somehow, I must overcome this fear to sleep outside in the elements. My rational mind knows that no animal lives in our area that could really do me harm unless it were rabid. Still, my imagination ran wild last night after that occurrence of the various beastly things that could harm me while I am so vulnerable fast asleep. My sleep the rest of the night was broken and uneasy. I would awaken at the slightest noise.

Once again, I will give it another try tonight. I have tried to stay awake all day so I will be so tired that nothing will keep me awake tonight. Hopefully, tonight’s experiment will fare with better results.