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This could me my last night with electricity and running water. Soon, I’ll be homeless, jobless and free to roam on the great American highway.

Today I cleaned out my basement “bedroom.” I use the term loosely because it has more semblance to the concrete bear habitat at the Boise zoo. What started out as a sanctuary, turned into a prison. Many a gloomy day I spent down there, hiding from the world, fighting depression and anxiety.

It’s too easy to blame a place and its people as the cause of your unhappiness. After years of simply picking up and moving every time things got too thick, I was finally cornered in Idaho and forced to face the true source of my problems, which came from mostly from within.

Five years. The dreary weather and stress from school and work literally ate away my insides.

I got out alive, though not unchanged. I remain my own greatest enemy, but more adept at taming the beast. And when faced with such a daunting foe, the external enemies of the world seem rather trivial — which makes dealing with them so fucking fun.

I’ve stuck to my old mantra of not owning more possessions than I can fit into my car, which is getting ridiculous because I can hardly do so anymore and still have room to shift into reverse. The sentimental items I’ve gathered over the years (mostly books) press against the glass of the windows and cause the car to sag heavily on its rear tires.

The car is a 1995 Toyota Celica GT built by Japanese workers and engineered by the Shinto gods of speed. I’ve dubbed the craft “Astro-Shark.” I used to name my cars after women, but they wound up costing me a lot of money and betraying me anyway.

I’m hoping some time on the road will offer some insight into what’s really going on — both within and in the world at large. Only a ground-level assessment can offer clarity in a world gone mad. I figure if the mainstream news is actually representative of reality then we might as well end it all now.

Wish I was searching for the American dream, but that died sometime during the Nixon Administration. All I want is to understand this American nightmare that has quietly consumed us after the triumph of ignorance that was the last decade.

Our country is now inextricably bound to two precarious wars — part of a larger and vaguer war on terrorism. Half the world is gunning for us, the rest are shrewdly taking our jobs. Americans are terrified by the reality that our domestic product is no longer gross.

Graduates of today’s zombie factory face a choice between working a low-wage job or going off to fight in the military and return dead in a box, or alive but not the same. In our spare time, we plug into the PlayStation and pop anti-depressants to cope with being reduced to wasted potential.

Some seek empty solace in capitalistic servitude. The money we earn is sucked into the great money vacuum of debt or spent on shiny toys that will inevitably break anyway. Unlike our parents, we have little hope of health benefits, vacation or retirement.

I’d like to join the doomsayers in saying our society is on the brink of destruction, but we’re probably too stubborn to accept demise. Instead, we’ll  just stagnate like this forever.

I want answers. How the hell did it come to this and who thought it would be a good idea?

The great guiding question is no longer “why?” — But “what the fuck?”

reid elk river

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