Archive for runaway

Life Is A Carnival

Dan,

It’s been four short years since I moved to the city I now happily call home, and I find it a struggle to recall how it felt to not live in this place. The years here haven’t always felt smooth but being a resident of Seattle has almost always felt “right” to me, as if I found the magical place where I belong. But no place is perfect, no matter how besotted you are with it.

In the last four years I have had one moment of doubt regarding my choice to pack up my life and drive to Washington. So here’s the story of how on day three of living here I nearly came crawling back to Montana.

I moved to Seattle with no job, no home and very few acquaintances. I left my family and the comfort of a place I had known for twenty-three years in the hopes that this city would become my new home. Three days into this adventure I came outside to find the windows of my car shattered and part of the car’s steering taken apart (not to mention a fair amount of blood on the interior).

At the time that I came across my vehicle I was on my way to meet my friend Megan, we had solidified our friendship less than 24 hours prior but she handled the situation like a champ. As we waited for the police to come file a report she helped me remove the belongings that remained in my vehicle and take them into my friend’s apartment. We then made phone calls to find a mechanic open on a Sunday and when my car was safely towed away she drove me to a job interview I had scheduled for later that day.

After the interview, she dropped me off downtown where I was staying, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I felt like a part of me had been violated, knowing that a stranger had sifted through my photos and books (which was pretty much all I had in the car).

I came into my friend’s apartment and found it empty so I sat on his couch, looked out the window and wondered what the hell I was thinking when I made the decision to leave my home. I called my mother and cried, I told her I missed her and felt so alone and didn’t know if I made the right choice. I wanted some encouraging sign but I felt as if the city itself was rejecting me.

After I got off the phone, my friend walked in and took in the whole scene of me sitting in a dark living room and crying. Uncharacteristically, he hugged me and told me that it was just a bad day and offered to make popcorn and put on a movie for us. As soon as he went into the kitchen, my phone rang with a job offer and moments later Megan texted me with words of encouragement and it felt as if the puzzle pieces were coming into place.

My life didn’t come into immediate focus that night but as I sat on the couch next to an old friend, watching the ferries glide across the dark water, and texting my new friend, I felt like I could handle it. I had a support unit, a job and a roof over my head. And for the first time I really saw that there was potential of something great in this city, something I couldn’t yet verbalize but now recognize as finding your place.

Navigating choppy water,

Adair

 

 

He Was A Friend of Mine

Adair,

I have often lamented about being “a man out of time.” My heroic notions of the age before mass communication is something of a useless, private retreat. I’ve longed to be a young man at the dawn of the American Revolution, my life and honor put in service of founding a new nation and striving to cement its ideals. At times, I’ve wished I could have been a statesmen in Athens, experimenting with the creation of democracy and the ideas of how a government would work and what it would do. And still, at times I’ve wanted to be a Viking. No higher noble reason behind it. I just want to sail and plunder.

Almost all of my fear of missing out is directed at my place in history. Did I miss the time that would have best suited my temperament and ideals? Am I not a person for this age? Am I flattering myself or covering up for my own ineptitudes by pining for a time long gone? I’m not sure, but my romanticized fascination with the past is something to occupy my time with if nothing else.

When I’m longing for the days of yore, I often think about who I would most want to meet. If I could relocate through time and space to the period of my choosing, what person would I most want to be around? Who are the characters of the past that I would most want to be near?

The list of figures from the pages of world history who I would like to have a beer with is long. A few presidents, some philosophers, and at least one inventor. But of all the people I missed by virtue of being born in the late, great twentieth century, I wish I could have known Aristotle.

Logic, ethics, science, rhetoric, psychology, medicine, theater, art, government, and poetry all owe no small part of their refinement and presence in our lives to Aristotle. To call him the father of western civilization would not be hard to justify, and to try and accurately detail his place in human history in the pages of this blog would be insulting to him and foolhardy on my part.

I don’t wish I could have known Aristotle so I could ask him questions, or to try and solve the world’s problems by running them past him for review and insight. I wouldn’t want to pick his brain or try and challenge his wit. The only thing I would want out of my time would be to watch him work. If I could hear him dictate, watch him observing nature, or just be around as he contemplates, that would be enough. To be in the presence of that level of intellect and intuition would be like standing in the heart of a star. That level of creation through inquiry and understanding is what made him one of the greatest minds that ever lived. And much like watching Van Gogh paint, Cy Young pitch, or Laurence Olivier act, to be around Aristotle while he worked to better his understanding would be, in my mind, a glimpse of God working in man.

Foolishly in the past,

-Dan

Big Sur

Dan,

I’m the first to acknowledge that I am a vagabond, a runner, and a flight risk. Despite making a home in Seattle my impulse has always been to run, when life gets overwhelming my gut tells me to go. This inclination has taken me to Italy, New York, Texas, Oregon, Michigan, Helena and eventually it took me to Seattle where I surprised myself in settling down and growing some roots. When things become difficult, when relationships prove challenging; I want to run away.

I know this isn’t healthy, that happiness takes effort but some days my heart can’t take the trials. Yes I have responsibilities and relationships that I am proud of and strive for but I can’t deny that there are days I want to leave, days I must challenge myself to stay.

The impulse to flee is no longer my predominant response to struggle but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t in the back of my brain, hovering over me as I navigate choppy waters. As recently as last month I was daring myself to stay put, as everything felt like it was crumbling I was reminding my subconscious how happy I had the potential to be here. When the dust cleared and my pulse normalized I was content with my decision but during the storm every fiber of my being wanted to pack up and go.

So where would I go? Not Montana, long ago I realized I found no comfort in the state that housed me for two decades. New York would provide me anonymity that I often long to achieve but nowhere I would allow myself to relax and contemplate. Europe would feel too far and Oregon too close. But there is one place that resides permanently in my head as “safe” to run to.

I remember the winding roads, rocky cliffs, and elephant seal barks of my childhood. There were white-capped waves and meticulous rows of grapes as seen from the back of my grandmother’s car. Delicious food and pristine golf courses in a place where the only people who knew me are now long gone.

There is a peninsula in California south of Santa Cruz and above the Los Padres National Forest, filled with missions and wineries and sea otters. The Monterey Peninsula is the haven my brain goes to when the world feels like too much. The memories I have there are the simple and sweet stories of a young girl who was yet to experience true disappointment. This is the place I long for in my sad moments.

As an adult, I recognize that the Peninsula would not feel the same if I returned now. I’m not the same person and it is unable to provide the same comfort it once did. There is something idyllic though, returning to a place where expectations were simpler and goals more attainable, there are some days when that is what I need and that’s where I long to escape to.

For now the memories will have to do though, for I have plans to make and roots to grow.

Your grounded friend,

Adair

Nature Boy

Adair,

Freedom is a concept that I cherish. Both in the politically minded, constitutionally protected sort of way and in having the choice to do as you please. As far back as I can recall, the idea of being able to choose my own direction, decide my associations, and make my life my own has been a singular, driving force in my life.

I think this longing for freedom is what drew me to artistic expression. Writing provides a sort of freedom of ideas that makes my mind race and my breath grow short. Creating stories and worlds within words has in many ways been the most free and liberating facet of my life.

Even though I have a freedom of the mind, which “can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven,” doesn’t mean I don’t still feel trapped sometimes. Especially with living in New York, I can at times feel as if I’m in a cage of my own design and if I spend another minute bartending or on the train crawling along, I’ll loose my damn mind.

When I was younger, still living in Montana, I had the same impulses. I wanted to get out, get away, leave it all behind and just disappear into the woods. I wanted to be left alone, never to be bothered again with learning to regurgitate or putting in work on productions I didn’t like. And to this end, I started prepping.

Yes, I have a bug out bag.

At first it was just an emergency backpack. Everyone in Montana keeps a few things I their car for the emergencies that can come up on the road. But after a time, I needed a bigger backpack. My tools and gear became less emergency and more survival based. What would I need if I just walked away? What are the essentials for a life in solitude?

I never reached a point of being even close to properly prepared, either with my pack or in my mentality, but the pack was more of an odd sort of security blanket than an actionable plan for leaving it all behind.

The pack is still around. It sits in a closet in my parents home, still ready for my walkabout into the wilderness when the world gets to be too much. It’s almost like a shrine to the angry young man I have been. All of the knives, and boots, and water purification systems in the world couldn’t make me less frustrated by the times I live in. But having the option, or even just the idea of the option to walk away up into the mountains and live alone kept me sane sometimes. Which I know will sound hard to believe, since the idea of bugging out is so crazy to most people. But, it is the truth.

Now a days, I don’t fixate on escaping to the woods. I find that my life, and the people I live it with champion me in such a way that I don’t ache to break away anymore. The bag can stay in the closet, and I’m going to stay in the world of man.

The man with the bag,

-Dan