“It comes back to me with a vengeful clarity that makes me wonder once again if my head is entirely healthy.”
Perhaps one of my favorite quotes, not because he was insane or anything, but he was speaking of the circumstances in which he found himself thrown into. This particular occasion in was 1972 and he was covering the campaign (which my fascination with Nixon made the HST book On the Campaign Trail one of my favorite reads). Throwing himself in the epicenter of a presidential campaign, but believing he could actually keep up with the minutia that encompasses it was not a decision a sane person makes. Later on his frantic journalism style and sheer madness towards the campaign led to this excuse being made for him:
“What the hell are you guys worried about. He’s up there cranking out a page every three minutes … What? … No, it won’t make much sense, but I guarantee you we’ll have plenty of words.”
None of this really clicked with me until I was driving at top speed through the warehouse district of Portland last night at 1:30 AM chatting with a friend from South Carolina. I had gotten into a car that I can’t afford, leaving an apartment that I can’t afford, living in a state that has come to hate me, driving aimlessly because I couldn’t sleep. There was a certain part of me that wanted to cling to my sheets and beg the sandman to whisk me away, but that’s not me. That’s not a Nikki sort of approach to a simple situation.
My friend had been up, I had been up, and what the hell, why not call someone at 1 AM South Carolina time just to shoot the breeze. Seems logical, right? I’ll fess up, he’s been a pretty strong voice against my pilgrimage from sea to shining sea. I’d like to say he was the last person I actually “knew” in South Carolina before I left and he begged me not to go, almost like a premonition overcame him and suddenly encompassed him and his job became to try to save me from the impending doom that awaited on the interstates. He knew me, but didn’t know me well, but knew me good enough that me hopping in that red ragged Civic was more of a flee than a flight.
I’ll paraphrase what he said last night cause he was half drunk and I was driving, “Of course you’re out driving in the middle of the night through the warehouse district, of course you didn’t listen to me when you left, that’s who you are. You do what you want.”
Ouch, Nate, ouch.
But it was true on so many levels that it turned my little evening cruise into somewhat of a philosophical journey that led into a longer night of sleeplessness and mindlessly tuning to Netflix to numb my bleeding spirit. The cat sat there looking at me wondering what the hell I was doing and I was sort of in the same boat as the cat. With a can of beer on the nightstand and a laptop going I realized – this is the world of Nikki Weed and most people can’t cope. Not only does the sheer grandeur of the adventures boggle some peoples minds, the lack of purpose gets them just as much. Reading that article by HST reminded me that even him, with less than a quarter of his wits about him found his way out of situations.
I guess that’s sort of what I was bred to do, but damn it gets tiring. I used to wrap my brain around philosophy and long talks with intellectuals about the impact of global warming, now I drive around having adventures. What happened? Where did the straight and narrow get bent? Looking back at life experiences I realized that we all do it, we all take those tiny moments and make an adventure out of life, maybe you don’t realize you’re doing it, but looking at something out of a different frame of reference turns even the most menial task into something that could potentially make a great story. Isn’t that what life is about, making great stories to tell your grandchildren?
“Few are made for independence, it is a privilege of the strong, and he who attempts it having the completest right to it without being compelled to, thereby proves that he is strong but also daring to the point of recklessness.”
Independence sucks but at the same time it allows you to go on late night tromps through seedy parts of town without having to tell anyone where you’re going. It also allows you to eat french fries for breakfast (guilty right now) and have a stack of beer cans on your nightstand. It takes a very strong will to pioneer through life seemingly alone with only the support of a few friends and a whole lot of naysayers. There comes a point that being independent and co-dependent on independence collide that there is where you get the point of recklessness that pushed many a man over the edge.
I’d like to firmly state I believe I was born this way, and before we go down the abyss of homosexuality and race (being born into a certain skin). I think back to my daring childhood days of riding down the stairs in a sleeping bag, of going in the spooky basement, and making snow dogs as opposed to snow men. I look to my teenage years and struggled through them because there was a part of me that felt the need to conform, however in my heart I felt those that were so conformist to trends and style were the mentally ill ones. It didn’t mean I didn’t want what they had, but I had to be strong and be, well, me. I didn’t win any popularity contests, that’s for damn sure.
While in college I hopped a plane to go to Mexico without telling anyone to go visit my fiancee/boyfriend that was running drugs in Morelia. I didn’t know it at the time, let’s just say I learned the hard way. I woke up without clothes once in bed with a doberman. These are things that normal people don’t do, these are things that only someone that has a sense of adventure and creativity has about them. I look back on every single one of those moments that nobody in their right mind would ever think about doing, I don’t regret a thing.
If there’s one thing that an existentialist lifestyle has taught me is that it’s okay to pick up guys randomly at the gas station, just don’t give them your actual number. It’s okay to eat a grape from the produce section, knowing that you don’t even like grapes just to feel the thrill of grabbing something that isn’t yours and never be able to return it – well – I suppose you could. Personal favorite for me is actually tipping the gas station attendants out here. I’m broke as a freaking joke, but seeing them get confused and happy at the same time is quite a trip for me.
“It’s called a comfort zone. You need to get over that shit and get on with your life.”
Ron Weed (My dad in response to a breakup I was going through when I was about 20)
….and that advise has followed me ever since. Perhaps it was a trauma of having the first fella I actually loved dump me like a big truck full of gravel, but to this day the concept of comfort coincides with independence, and that leads to my recklessness. All three of those things are making me tired, not in the sense that I can sleep at night, but in the fact that I stay away trying to figure out how to extricate that adventure aspect, how can I lay low for a while and stay out of trouble. I’m not saying that the Washington County jail wasn’t a lovely place to spend an evening, but I’m over it.
“Be that word our sign of parting”
On that note, I’ve got to go, I’ve got an adventure to go on (because I haven’t found the cure for the common adventure yet).
“It is a seedy place, but a powerful sense of drama seems to hover on it., a feeling that almost anything can happen in a place like this.”
Hunter S. Thompson
My interpretation of that:
Mt. Hood, Oregon
In the midst of majestic mountains, amazing valleys and this jutting rock formation of what is called Mt. Hood, I find myself dabbling along through this chapter in life. It’s a surreal sort of phenomenon that can’t really be explained unless you actually experience it. I’m not only talking about the existence of this amazing mountain, but the experience of transplanting yourself far away. I look at that mountain knowing that it’ll never move, it’ll stay stagnant forever. Looking upon that mountain on a daily basis reminds me that I’m the furthest thing from a mountain ever created.
Tumbleweed – that’s me. There are undertones and funny stories of me falling down and being a real live “tumbleweed”, however, for the majority of my life I’ve felt that I’ve just been tumbling through situations. Never do I feel like there is a really nailed down agenda and I always have to go with the flow. Think of the tumbleweed adventuring across an interstate. The tumbleweed in responding to an outside stimulus and reacting towards it. Although tumbleweeds don’t have the ability to choose where they’re going to be uprooted and hurdled towards the opposing lane of traffic, they still would rather stay put. They don’t have emotions and they sure as hell can’t argue with the wind.
Mt. Hood, however, doesn’t care what the hell the wind says. I look upon that big ass mountain daily on my commute to work and admire the fact that it’s there in the first place. The panorama surrounding what I call “the hood” is amazing. You have rolling mountains and then this big ass mountain, jutting out like it’s the king of the world. The Hood will surprise the hell out of you on certain days, being ominous over the valley almost as if it’s reigning over. The Hood will also give you a sense of grounding, realizing there is this imposing presence of something over encompassing. The Hood doesn’t care, it’s always going to be there. It doesn’t care about the weather, and it sure as hell doesn’t care about politics. It’s The Hood, it is stationary.
Which brings be back to the mentality of moving on. As was quoted earlier – Hunter touched on a sensitive spot of mine while driving by The Hood the just today. There is a sense of drama out here because of a few reasons
-I know practically nobody out here and those that I do I haven’t spoken with since a sensitive time of teenage years
-I find myself never meeting a stranger, and since being out here I haven’t met one yet. In the grand picture, you have to realize that it’s just a way to deal with reality. You can cover yourself in a cloak of fear of other OR you can embrace them for who they are.
-The Hood has been towering over the valley forever, it’s kind of it’s thing. The Hood isn’t going to change for anyone else, lest there be an epic natural disaster and it blows it’s lid (such as Mt. St. Helens did). The Hood has drama, it can be eroded by a simple trickle of water and be carved away, but it doesn’t crumble at the thought.
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced”
The assimilation that I have with The Hood is that of experience. I wake in the mornings and peer over mountains that have been whittled away at the tops. They pale in comparison to The Hood, although they’re in the same range. They cower under the peaks of a superior mountain, and I feel bad for them. They let nature get them, they got suppressed but some unforeseen reason. There’s probably a geological explanation as to why they pale in comparison to The Hood, but in the long run, they just suck. They’re puny, they’re runts.
In my world, I see myself as The Hood every day. There are so many problems to be experience, so many challenges to face, obstacles to hop over. You can wake in the morning and loathe the fact that you have to deal with them, or, you look at them and realize that you will have to conquer them one way or another. It’s a learning moment, or at least, to make the most of a challenging situation it’s necessary to view it as such. You can go through life and think that living is hard, there are so many obstacles to overcome (I digress for a moment and profess that there are some people that don’t understand certain struggles, however, the struggles that the look towards as petty they suffer others that they suppress). Those that know what it’s like to be without grocery money suffer differently from those that lack the ability to show true love.
It’s a real thing, and a well-rounded individual realizes this. Life is hard, you deal with things, however if you let it dominate you, you lose. External stimuli that you have no control over does nothing to our actual living beings. We can be living in a world of hurt, such as break up or bad weather. If we allow ourselves to become victim to the external stimuli to the world around us and others decisions or the ebb and flow of weather, we become vulnerable. You become an emotional tumbleweed, letting yourself get tossed to and fro at the whims of external stimuli. The Hood didn’t allow that.
“Yet there’s no one to beat you, no one to defeat you, except yourself feeling bad”
If feeling bad about myself was a profession I’d be a millionaire – however I never fell into that hole. I look upon those that have eloquently spoken themselves out of trouble, faced down fearful situation with not a bad of an eye, and those that just fake it until they make it. I don’t think I’d be here, I don’t think I’d be chasing the dream (perhaps no the American dream as Hunter S. Thompson spoke of) but I’m out here in the face of all torment and tribulation. The Hood took it on, I’ll do so also.
In the meantime, I’ll keep on going. I’m not going to allow the world to get me down, I’m more of The Hood than I am a whittled down mountain in the background.
“Scenery is fine, but human nature is finer.”
Never once have I bought into the Romanticism philosophy, nor have I ever really took any time to research into it and see what it’s all about. I’m not saying I’ve never wrote a love poem before, however, they’ve all been sort of cheesy – you know, the rhyming type that Dr. Suess would probably do a better job at doing by adding a green egg or meat product. Romanticism isn’t my thing, however, this morning I feel a sort of draw towards that sort of carnal romance. The romance of living, as opposed to the suffering of living. There isn’t really an option, you know, between living and not living, so it just makes sense to make the most of it and fall madly in love with it.
It was brought to my attention yesterday, unbeknownst to me, that moving all the way across country is a big feat to conquer. I haven’t really thought about it, I just sort of did it, which is the way I’ve been rolling my entire life. The problem with that is that I just roll, I never really carve a track for my ball of life to roll down. I survive, yes. I keep myself fed and a roof over my head, yes. Is it where I want to be?
No, but yes.
Physically, this might be the most beautiful place, to me, on the planet. Of course, emphasis is based on the fact that to me it’s the most beautiful place in the world. Human nature craves different things, and in nature you’re going to find a more suitable climate for your being. There’s a reason that people gravitate towards the equator, and there’s also a reason people gravitate towards the Pacific Northwest. For me, I’ve found that since the first time I saw this part of the country while rolling in Morris, there was some sort of magical, ethereal, fairy tale like ambiance about it. Perhaps it was the fact there was a green sheen of moss on everything that made it look like a Disney movie. It could have been the fact that there were nurseries brim full of unique cultivars of plants on every street corner. There was also that cool pioneer vibe that you get, the sort that you only feel in newly explored areas.
Maybe not recent history, but the Oregon Trail is sort of a big deal…
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
My enthusiasm gets me in trouble on a daily basis. There’s a tingly feeling that I get when I brush my teeth for more than the recommended electric toothbrush timer designates as a suitable time frame for cleansing my teeth every morning. I get really excited when I vacuum the same spot three times trying to get every nasty bit of crap out of the carpet of my new apartment (that doesn’t look like it has seen new carpet in decades, but that’s okay). I especially get a feeling of accomplishment when I take the time to manicure every leaf on my patio garden to achieve this magazine ready terrace of horticultural wonderland.
The problem with enthusiasm is that you can get wrapped up in your passion, lust, and task and lose sight of the small things. I can focus all of my efforts on making sure I brush my teeth longer than the toothbrush manufacturers standards, however, it does no good unless there is actually some toothpaste on the damn brush. Of course, it’s better than not brushing at all, but it’s just not the same. That time wasted doing extra brushing could have been spent flossing, however, I chose not to because flossing makes me gag. This coming from the over decade suffering bulimic, go figure, I don’t like to gag. Also, if you were to couple in some simple practices like not eating food that sticks to my teeth all day (gummy bears, guilty) and avoiding acidic drinks (guilty also on many fronts), my teeth would be in good condition. Do I do those things? No. Do I think I’ll change? No. Am I going to keep brushing longer than the allotted time? Yes, because I’m enthusiastic about brushing.
Same thing about the vacuuming aspect. Little known N. Weed fact, she loves to vacuum because it’s sort of like mowing grass but inside. Odd, I’m aware, but when I can’t actually mow grass I need to channel the need to make neat rows on the ground someplace else. I suppose it was one of my first real jobs, cutting grass for a living, that instilled the fact that the ground/floor should have neat parallel lines to create a pleasing aesthetic. Inside or out, it doesn’t matter. My mom would have “carpet lines” in our house every day when I’d get home from school, it was a comforting thing. I liked to have alternating lines in my fescue when I had a big yard on a golf course. Now I focus on perfecting the art of making vacuum lines on my old, stained carpet. Does it make the carpet look any less ragged? No. Does it make me feel better? Yes. I could spend the time that it takes me to go over the same spot three times and rent a carpet shampooer, however, I chose not to because I’m too enthusiastic about my vacuuming to see the bigger issue – the carpet is just old.
Let’s talk about that plant thing. Not to bleed into the previous analogy of the grass – plants and grass are two different things in my book. Plants bring a different kind of joy, grass is just, well, carpet outside. (I don’t care if it’s sod that is void of weeds or a weedy patch of Bermuda, if it’s outside and in mass, it’s just grass) My little balcony overlooking the warehouse district of Wood Village, the railroad tracks, the interstate, and the Arco is like my little slice of heaven. I’ve crammed that little 4′ x 12′ area with so many plants in random containers it looks like I’m an eccentric old lady that collects cats – but has a cat allergy so collects plants instead. I have plants that only I would like, ones that others would think weeds if they were growing in their own yard, but I like. I have a different relationship with plants, and I push the boundaries a bit sometimes. Just ask my dad, I left him with 42 African Violets to care for back in South Carolina when I skipped town.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”
My enthusiasm got me to South Carolina, only because I was chasing love – or avoiding conflict. I had a new love interest in the South and one that was dwindling in the north. My enthusiasm got me into a ghetto college chasing the dreams of someone else, but also made me realize how much I’d miss plants if I didn’t work with them on a daily basis. It’s different if you sit in front of a computer looking at lists of pharmaceuticals every day or sit in front of a computer and look at lists of plants every day. I get melancholy thinking of cancer drugs, I get excited thinking about the newest variety of threadleaf Coreposis that a customer wants. That’s enthusiasm, that’s what drove me here.
I don’t feel like I’ve failed because I’ve always had enthusiasm, that’s something that isn’t handed out lightly. For the failures that walk the planet, or at least the perceived failures, chances are that they didn’t really “fail” they just put their ambition and enthusiasm in the wrong direction. There have been headlines here about people protesting and rioting in Portland in which it became out of control. Yes, they’re enthusiastic, but on the wrong topics. I parallel that mentality with my pilgrimage cross country. These protesters turned rioters were passionate about a cause and took it to the n’th degree. I, too, was passionate about things, perhaps it was my detachment of a profession with actual plants (as opposed to a big box store where plants aren’t really plants and are expected to just be thrown away), perhaps it was my enthusiasm of being different, perhaps it was the fact that I was ready to ween myself off all that was familiar and make a grand voyage west like those that took the Oregon Trail did.
(side note: for some reason the Oregon Trail was really glorified when I was in Elementary school, it was almost like that proposed that everyone that went to Oregon went to the big rock candy mountain. It actually instilled thoughts into more than one of us…)
“You scream to the conductor
But he’s been deaf for twenty years
Hear the other people laughin’
As he grinds through every gear”
Widespread Panic (Climb to Safety, a personal favorite)
You’re your own conductor, grab the balls of your enthusiasm and chase what is important. At the same time be cautious, you can get caught in a gully of false ambition! You might be at Taco Bell and realize that Taco Time is really where it’s at. You may be at Lowe’s, but you realize that Home Depot has what you need. Chasing your needs is much greater than the wants. I wanted green spaces and trees. I wanted to be surrounded by plants – tons of plants – on a daily basis. My enthusiasm about that led me here. I finally get to play with plants without actually physically moving plants from point A to B physically – which is what I’ve done for over a decade and a half. I get to do it remotely. Plants move, I tell them where to go, it’s sheer bliss.
In all actuality it’s a dream job. I move plants, I don’t have to touch them. I don’t have to take them off a truck, put them on a table, load them into someones car, talk to them about when they kill it. It’s a dream, for someone enthusiastic about plants. I wouldn’t have found it had I not been enthusiastic, passionate, confident, secure about what I love. It takes a moment of self realization to make changes in life. Sure, I went through all the courses to work in a pharmacy, but I actually took the time to realize it wasn’t for me. My enthusiasm for that never existed.
At the same time, paying attention to the smaller parts of the world pays dividends in the long run. The carpet aspect, yes, it’s a pain in the ass. The tooth brushing bit, yes, I have to get over getting gagged by an object in my mouth other than a toothbrush or finger (my own). The carpet, well, I don’t own this joint. I scoot money over to someone else that has taken over for someone else It’s her lease, not mine, therefore it’s her carpet, not mine. The plants, well, I forget what’s supposed to be yellow and what’s just saturated in water.
Here’s the thing…enthusiasm is amazing. Some people lack the courage the push the limits of what society think is acceptable, but there are pioneers such as I that say screw it. They taught us about the Oregon Trail dauntlessly elementary school, they wanted us to go.
“Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.”
Wrong, Siggy. Wrong.
In all past articles, I do believe I would find a quote, agree with it, then drive the point home. Recently, however, I’ve been in a bit of a contrary mood and there have been a few cavities of my philosophical soul that need some fillings. How many times do we hear something that strikes a chord with us, you know, flings it’s fingers on the right fret, and sticks with us like some sort of haunting sequel. You hear it over again – a deviation from the original – but a slight difference. Enough to make us perk up and take notice.
Flowers have been my life – and I reckon they always will be. “You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family,” sure! I’m fine with that, I’ve been able to select certain family AND friends that stay with me in my life, however, I’ve never had the luxury to exorcise botanical wonders out of my life. It started before I could read, planting sticks in the back yard proclaiming I was growing trees, I ran away from home at the age of seven to buy corn seeds to grow in the back yard, I did my own version of pack trials in my bedroom in high school. I don’t even want to delve into the sickness that adulthood brought me plant wise. Thousands of dollars later I have nothing but a few pots of flowers on a covered balcony – a far cry from my two acres of landscaped bliss in South Carolina.
The problem with the Fruedian statement that flowers have not emotion or conflict is the exact gripe of any gardener or flower fan in the world, or at least, those that are trying to grow them where they don’t belong. There is a large part of me that wants to agree with this bold statement of being a footloose and fancy free flower, just because you’re a flower. He hasn’t studied the flip side of the coin, you know, the flower that was put someplace it doesn’t belong.
We don’t have to be gardeners to know what happens when you put something where it doesn’t belong. Put some tin foil in the microwave and tell me what happens. It doesn’t mean that the tin foil is bad, and it doesn’t mean that the microwave itself is trying to do harm to the tin foil, however, they just don’t mesh. Same thing happens with cats and water. Chaos ensues and you’ve got yourself wondering if the water is really trying to hurt the cat or if there is some deep seated problem with the cat that tells them they don’t like water. I could throw out a few more analogies, but I think the point has been driven home, flowers are a creature of their habitat.
I long for the opportunity to have Freud go out and look at some landscapes that were poorly planned, with creatures struggling to survive because they were set out of their element because of someone elses oversight. He must have never really dealt with plants, living breathing creatures as they are. Life is so much more volatile when you’re completely at the mercy of your climate as opposed to just getting by. Like the person stranded on an island without water, the suffering of a flower without water is parallel. Things like this are overlooked by the casual observer, aka, any psychologist without any botanical background.
The flower struggles daily, grasping for sunlight, craving water, wanting air to grow into and soil to reach for. Flowers really don’t have it that easy, although they look like life is nothing but roses (pun intended). Much like people, some of them decide to thrive even when it’s the wrong circumstances. I know for a fact I’ve had some of them, and on the other hand I’ve struggled with those that should have thrived without my help at all. Looking towards the gardens of my past and those that I envision in the future, nothing is a promise. Even when you have the perfect conditions for a plant, such as a paeony, it don’t mean that it’s going to follow the rules. For the number of times that I’ve tried to grow paeonies, trust me, I know.
“I’ve told you the analogy of the gardener with the beautiful garden, right? You walk up and see a beautiful garden, full of flowers. Then upon further inspection you see that all the flowers are actually weeds. That gardener has taken all of his focus and put them on the weeds.”
-My amazing boss
Here’s the thing, I’m not trying to be a plant nerd. Actually, the opposite. The perpendicular tangent that I’m running is this – we’re both living things however, a plant has no thought, it just survives. Humans, however, breathes and eats just like a plant, but we think about things too much. Too much mental energy is spent trying to figure out where we’d be happiest or what would cause us to thrive. Plants, on the other hand, just go and do, especially the weeds. You’ll never meet a flower that hasn’t struggled to get to where he is.
So, next time you see a flower, don’t take him for granted. Thank him for the struggles that he went through to ge there. If you were to compare your own life to his, it’s probably a little less sad. An abandonded seed that floats into soil and has to raise itself on it’s own….
Okay, maybe that’s a step too far….
“What ever happened to Faye Wray?”
-Rocky Horror Picture Show
I have to say, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks, and although I feel bad about leaving “The Adventures” page full of crickets, it was sort of necessary. There was no way in hell I was going to find time to contribute to the contents of this site, there was just too much new going on. Travelling across country for vacation is one thing, but when you find yourself smack dab on the other coast with a new job and no lodging, you sort of prioritize. For me a roof over my head was more important than writing, and for that I apologize, but at the same time I don’t.
So, I bring to you a real story (not of the fictitious sense at all)
When I decided to pick up my anchor and move to uncharted territory, at least for the Weed clan, Oregon seemed like the scariest place in the world. At the same time it was the most amazing place in the world, almost like a Disneyland for plant nerds. When Brook and I traveled to the left coast a few months ago, travelling through Oregon put me on the edge of my seat (okay, the seat of Morris). Everywhere I looked there was nurseries and garden centers screaming at me “check me out” or “hey, I’ve got a pure white hosta” things that will drive a girl insane.
I had been scouting out jobs, not just in Oregon, but everywhere coast to coast after my discontinuation of employment with Lowe’s. Being a ridiculously firm believer that everything happens for a reason, I knew that it was time to broaden my horizons. The lush growing fields of Oregon resonated in my mind, and although I wanted to just go and do, there was a very strong moral compass that pointed me in the direction of family. There was also a very strong need to go where I felt I would be the happiest, not what was the most convenient. I’ve spent far too many hours toiling in mediocrity to be satisfied with my decisions in the past. I had an awesome marriage, but it ended. I had a great career lined up with Lowe’s, but that fell through. It was time to do something on my terms, on my timeline, without looking for a bunch of support at first to help me through the transition.
After being in Oregon a week, I’ve realized the cool thing about Oregon is that the entire state seems like people genuinely care about others. It’s a different sort of caring than transpires in anyplace else I’ve ever been, and at first I thought I was just seeing what I wanted to see. You can listen to the AM radio here and hear nothing but stories about people that need help, how you can help them, and a happy ending. It’s nothing like the news of people getting shot, people dying, or the doom and gloom that is modern day news media. You get a genuine sort of caring here, and although I’m far away from what I have considered home for a long time, it seems like I’m at home already. It’s a pretty neat feeling, scary, but neat. Of course, in the pit of my stomach I know that there is rape and pillaging going on, but they don’t seem to glorify it as much as other places. It might be a “swept under the rug” mentality, a parental feeling for all of residents of the state to protect their baby, however, in daily interactions I feel it’s real.
I used to religiously listen to Pandora on the way to work, but now, I find myself more entertained by the enlightening stories of the AM radio station. I used to be a music snob, sorting through stations upon stations that accumulated in my Pandora account. I used to go an entire commute without actually listening to an entire song, searching endlessly for the “perfect” song. Although I have an archive of my comically large USB plugged into the car of hand picked music, I still would struggle with finding the song I actually wanted to hear. It was like a rat race of music, change the station, change the song, get tired of that genre after twenty seconds, change station, change song, wonder why you like that genre in the first place. It was exhausting, but that was how I ran life for a long time, making things more difficult than they had to be.
With the introduction to AM radio, it seems like life has become exponentially simplified, except for the fact I care about issues other than “what’s going on in Nikki’s life”. It doesn’t make me want to be political, by any means, but it’s very enlightening to lift the curtain on life and open my windows to the view of other peoples issues other than my own. Forever I had dwelled on “poor Nikki” which actually, just fed the machine of self pity. Having lyrics that ooze out emotional sputum tainted me day with songs that cried of heartache and love. The aspect of my modern life really isn’t that complicated in comparison to the lives of some people, struggling not only to survive, but just to live free. Not “free” in the non-penal way, just free to do their own thing. Chase dreams, see mountains, eat ice cream without worrying about calories.
“But yet I am firmly persuaded that a great deal of consciousness, in fact, is a disease. I stick to that…Tell me this: why does it happen that at the very, yes, at the very moments when I am most capable of feeling every refinement of all that is “sublime and beautiful,” as they used to say at one time, it would , as though of design, happen to me not only to feel but to do such ugly things, such that…”
Notes From The Underground
Being totally aware of your surroundings if vital for survival, especially in cases of being in the wilderness and you have to be cautious of bears looking to eat you alive. In a modern culture of human nature and politics, you look towards your consciousness not in a way of self-preservation but self-promotion. All too many times we try to look through the lens of the superficial creature seeking out the best thing for ourselves instead of looking out for those that aren’t as lucky as our own beings. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the lives of luxury cars and capers, but there are some people out there that aren’t thinking of anything other than surviving. Surviving not in a way that most of us think of, like making sure there is enough craft beer in the fridge, but surviving by the means of living.
Sometimes, we get wrapped up in what is the then and there and forget to take a look at the here and now, and it can be as simple as the bird on the windowsill or the guy picking trash out of the dumpster behind your new apartment. It was a humbling experience, being warm and surrounded by the creature comforts of my kick ass apartment. I watched him from behind a sliding glass door, overlooking a balcony, which overlooks a semi-secure parking lot. Here I am looking out over a warm place to stay and a pretty new car in the foreground of my morning panorama. I’m safe, drinking water out of a faucet and using electricity, and there he is picking through the crap that I threw out yesterday.
How much of our lives are nothing but waste? Waste in a sense not only in physical items, but in terms of time and money? Could we not waste less time delving into the social lives of people that don’t really impact our own lives? Could we not waste less money on the things that aren’t going to last or that doesn’t have any pertinent nature in our lives? I look around me and I already see a pile of waste (not in a garbage sort of way), but wastes of time and effort. A television set that sits baiting me with brain dumbing programming, a refrigerator full of food that doesn’t really nourish, a car that is totally impractical. I don’t hesitate to say that it’s a ridiculously comfortable way of living, however, what’s it like to not be comfortable?
People suffer for their own reasons, in their own ways. I, however, have selected the ways in which I suffer. Apparently I chose having an eating disorder, being a recovered alcoholic, and a wanderlust philosophy junkie. I also like to drive fast around corners and eat pizza, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. None of those things endanger others lives, except maybe the driving fast bit. The issue here is, are we really better than those that dig out of our own trash? Are we not all crawling up a ladder of destitution only because we put ourselves in a lifestyle what wasn’t sustainable? I have no doubt in my mind that the thrill of the fella picking garbage from that container was more thrilled about getting a copper bottomed pot that would sell for good money at a scrap yard than I’ll ever be getting a cheeseburger at McDonald’s.
Be grateful, humble, and giving. There’s really no reason not to. What ever happened to the pure and gracious nature of human beings? What ever happened to “love thy neighbor”. All of a sudden culture as become a sort of rampage of “give me what I want” and “screw my neighbor, help me first”. What ever happened to borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbor as opposed to going out and buying an entire sack you probably don’t need?
“I invented adventures for myself and made up a life, so as to least to live in some way.”
“Well,I guess hard times flush the chumps.”
Ulysses Everett McGill
The time has come for me to put in my big girl panties and bite the bullet.My era of being a BMW enthusiast has come to a close, and although I will forever have a soft spot for those sexy machines, I’m going to have to let my E24 go.
This car isn’t just a symbol of everything a German automobile in america should be (classy, stylish, brawny) but a symbol of freedom. It is the car that allowed me to follow the American dream and take pilgrimage across uncharted lands. It is the car that taught me about roadside assistance, hidden tool boxes, and thieves. It also taught me that the generosity of people stems far beyond money, but in thought and encouragement.
The shark is ready to drive away to take someone else on a new adventure. I’m proud to offer him, along with all of his books, including original owners manuals, factory torque and maintenance booms, and a few extras. He’s concours ready (except maybe his paint)
*this may begin my period of mourning or rebirth, I’m not sure yet.
This is the ad posted on Greenville, SC craigslist.
For sale is my prized 1985 635 csi.
This car (exact car, not just the model but the car) was featured in Roundel, the BMW cca magazine in November of 2015. This shark is a high mileage but extremely well cared for rocket. Receipts for the past 30 years will accompany this car, including documentation of every single device done to the car since 1986. I’m relocating to Oregon and cannot bring it with me. He has been owned by car club members his whole life and is like to see him go to someone who knows and is familiar with the club.
The car spent 31 years in California and has a but if fade to the roof, but nothing a good buffing won’t fix!
Updated sound system with Bluetooth interface including streaming and hardwired Bluetooth microphone.
Immaculate beige leather interior taken from an m6. NOT sport seats, but even better regular seats (the bolsters are actually uncomfortable the sport seats)
Remote entry and locks with switchblade key fob and alarm system (aftermarket, of course)
BBS honeycomb type lightweight wheels wrapped in michelin sports with less than 1500 miles on them
An extra set of three five spoke AR aluminum racing dynamic Abelthe ela with conti dws tires with less than 5000miles on them
M6 trunk lip spoiler with black accents to match the m6 front lip spoiler. Very tasteful mods, without being too far from the original body style.
Automatic transmission – which would make it excellent for a newbie
Extra odds and ends including a Haynes repair manual, owners manuals, and an entire box of miscellaneous stuff.
Almost complete trunk tool box.
If you know the club, you probably know me and this car.
“I think it’s a really human, natural behavior to take language and shape it for our own purposes. I think that’s how names evolve. We name things, we give things symbols, and over time we tend to naturally manipulate those symbols toward a certain outcome.”
-Carol J. Bruess (the next psychologist that everyone should visit)
Passing through western Missouri, we passed an overturned grain hauler with all of its precious cargo spewed across a ditch this morning, and it made me stop and think about the fragility of life. Fragile, just like that stupid leg lamp from the movie A Christmas Story, breakable under pressure. That overturned truck, even though it had the appearance of being tough and rugged, able to haul heavy loads and withstand high wind, is just as fragile as that lamp. The amounts of pressure may be different to push each object from comfort zone to total destruction varies, but the end result is the same, enough negative force with break the shit out of something.
Not only did that truck crash, it made a mess. From the looks of the truck he made an error in judgment and a tire went off and sunk into damp soil. The amount of give – the soil breaking under pressure – caused a mess. Soil, made up of tiny particles, tiny bits to create a whole, but one by one they collapse and give way to a force greater than itself. Truck versus soil…Tiny soil particles win, truck loses OR truck wins soil loses. It all depends on how you look at it. Determinism at its finest.
What took the trucks tire off the road in the first place – this is where physics take a back seat to psychology. The tires of the truck were capable, the truck was capable, but where was the driver? The truck is not at fault in this scenario, however looking at the situation from a truck passing by makes it easy to make accusations as to why the driver was at fault. It’s easier to find faults in machinery, loose lug nuts, improper brakes, flat tire, all easy to spot and identify visually, but the person, almost impossible.
Parallels could be made that the soil and the driver could be on the same analytical hemisphere. The soil looks wet, therefore it must be soft. The driver looks tired, so he must be a danger on the road. Perhaps the soil appears wet due to the composition of the soil being more clay than sand. Perhaps the driver looks tired because his genetics made him have a lower brow than most. Again, both conditions occur from a condition totally out if their control but have to deal with on a daily basis.
There is a story that is ruminating throughout the Internet and local Kansas City news about a young lady being found dead in a river in her car. Toni Anderson was pulled from a river in her car months after going missing. The Internet and television was filled with images of a young lady with a sort of pouty face. Again, the picture reminded me of me and I immediately empathized with her. I came across her story last night, where the media glorified the fact she worked at an adult club, they did not mention she was a student at Missouri state. Again, much like the Kelly story, the picture painted wanted to skew your mind into thinking perversion and foul play.
She lost to ice – much like the truck lost to soil. After a traffic stop late night, probably after work, she was turned around and ended up on an icy boat ramp. I can visualize her turning onto what looked like a side road to turn around, not lit up very well due to the lack of needing to illuminate a boat ramp at midnight. Upon turning onto the ramp, which just the nature of the word indicates a its got a pretty good grade to it. Unable to stop the slide down the ramp, the car propelled itself towards an icy River, but not iced up enough to offer any resistance to keep the car from rocketing into the water at around twenty miles an hour. In slow motion the car began to sink and in a panic to get out of the car, the combination of the shock of cold water and the terror of what was happening, the ice won (or more accurately the combination of ice and water won.
The ice won against the tires. We don’t know the condition of the tires, whether they were bald or even DWS, on black ice (or whatever color you want it to be) and eerily silent slide will make you from driver to passenger instantly. You could also say water lost against temperature and caused the ice in the first place. Gravity won against friction and the car slid at an uncontrollable rate.
In any circumstance, Toni was at the mercy of determinism. Although she might have driven onto that boat ramp, there was no way to stop what was about to ensue. It could have been anybody, a middle aged man whom drove into a boat ramp and went missing won’t make the news though, the news wants to see a pleasing face and a sad story. Indeed, a very sad story.
How can you determine what will cause a ripple effect in your world, both mentally and physically?
“everywhere man blames nature and fate yet his fate is mostly but the echo of his character and passion,his mistakes and his weaknesses.”
(there was about four more paragraphs of this, however, while writing on my phone, I deleted a shit load of it trying to format the text and picture correlation. This only a half an hour after Brook asking my why I don’t type on my laptop. I made a decision to type on my phone, I paid for it. I will be typing on my laptop next time)
“Life, as we find it, is too hard for us; it brings us too many pains, disappointments and impossible tasks. In order to bear it we cannot dispense with palliative measures… There are perhaps three such measures: powerful deflections, which cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensible to it.”
Life is sort of difficult when you’ve got an eating disorder. It’s even more difficult when you’ve got both an eating disorder AND a history of alcoholism. It’s damn near intolerable when you’ve got an eating disorder, a history of alcoholism (albeit I’ve been sober for almost two months now), AND body dysmorphic disorder. A person sometimes gets the need to want to create an escapist mentality – maybe even pretend to be something OR something else. Take for instance the hard-core-wife-of-a-preacher-religious-person, I’m sure there is a strain in her that pretends to be a naughty librarian once in a while (besides, where else do people like that’s offspring come from?). Or me, for example, sometimes I pretend to be who I was before I started being an adult – sort of like pretending to be a very large kid. Pretending to be something other than “you” sometimes makes life a little less harsh, but you always have to return to what is reality, and sometimes that transition makes life pretty shitty.
There are certain things none of us can escape from such as heredity and taxes. Heredity always taps you on the shoulder and says “I own you” and taxes taps you and says “you owe me”. Being a traveler is no different, I’d like to be able to escape responsibilities such as laundry and making the bed, but that’s not going to happen, lest I run out of clothes and have a nasty bed to crawl into at night. The escapism part of me wants to pretend like the laundry bag is magic, alas it isn’t. I look towards objects to solve problems for me, to almost animate themselves and become something as real as myself, only better. I tend to turn objects into what I wish I was but never could be. It’s not as simple as just naming an object, it’s owning up to the object and deeming it yours then naming it.
I hereby declare you to be…well…Zips comes to mind. Take a simple thing, a stuffed bee – something that people would probably chalk up as a toy – and turn it into some rouge being that does nothing but party, travel, and sleep. What do I want to do, very much the same as Zips. He’s the edgy one that I’m not. Another example pops to mind, my friend has a moose called Diva. Same concept, different animal (literally). Diva, however, is almost the anti-Zips. She’s very sophisticated, cordial, and well versed in all things classy. Where Zips would be going to dive bars and eating chicken wings, Diva would be going to Michelin five star rated restaurants and going ballroom dancing. The thing that strikes the largest chord is that neither my friend nor I chose our “alter-egos” to be the same gender as ourselves. It’s an interesting trait, and it can all be explained by a little thing called anthropomorphism.
Break the word down and you get a simple explanation of what exactly this phenomenon is. The need to channel the man into other forms, or other forms into man, which otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Can you imagine a world where bees could go out to parties and moose could ballroom dance. How do we know they don’t have their own equivalents in their species. Maybe bees do go to parties, full of loose drones and hot honey. Moose could go down to the pond and what we see as them just rubbing antlers could be their form of dancing. I can’t seem to place a finger on what lures people to certain animals, insects, or other, but what does occur to me is that maybe more people are fighting invisible battles and want to project themselves into other forms more than we think. Maybe life really is that difficult for people other than myself.
Take for instance the soccer mom with the stick figure family on the back of her van, what inspires those people to adorn the outside glass of their vehicle for the entire world to see that she’s got three kids, a husband and a cat? In a way, it’s her way of projecting herself onto a car, showing the world what she wants them to see, but deep down inside she can’t put an acceptable sticker on the window to denote what she really is. There’s no acceptable way of showing a picture of a cheating husband, a son with Asperger’s, and a cat with hairballs. Nobody would want to see that, it’s just not pleasant. Another prime example would be the “country boy” with the big diesel truck with a lift kit. It is a blatant way of showing what they want the world to see – tough guy in a truck – when in all actuality, they’re an insecure mothers boy with a question as to if he should have come out of the closet when he was still young. There is a hint of anthropomorphism there, although it’s not directly assimilated to naming an object, there is still the action of projecting a character to an inanimate object. A lifeless object to project the lives we sort of have.
I’ve been particularly touched by the anthropomorphism bug lately on my travels with Morris the truck. Just like in cartoons, we often see cars (eh, I think the movie is called, ummm…Cars) with humanistic traits. These traits are similar to the cars with the stick figures on them, but the vehicle itself commands attention with its own attitude. Morris the truck, when we picked him up from Morris, Minnesota, had no personality of his own, he was just a truck. After about an hour with him as a work truck, he became Morris the friendly truck with his own voice and attitude. Of course, he was just a truck, but we projected emotions onto him in which would be different from what we were really feeling. We parked him far away from other cars today, and although we had both claimed to dislike other humans today, Morris the truck (in our eyes) was sad because he was parked far away from the other cars. Morris felt like an outcast and was disappointed that we didn’t let him go play with the other trucks. There was even envy at one point in time when he saw us driving another truck. The projected attitude of Morris was much like we would face in real life, but never really elaborate on.
Channeling inner thoughts and feeling through objects is really a great way of getting to know your ego and id (and I suppose the super-ego, although, I’m sort of on the fence about that one).
“contrary impulses exist side by side, without cancelling each other out. … There is nothing in the id that could be compared with negation … nothing in the id which corresponds to the idea of time.”
The young Nikki learned about the id and ego at the ripe age of 7th grade, in which I had to do an entire presentation on Siggy himself. That was a proud day in my education, the first time I got to use the word “penis” in public and not giggle. Speaking about the id – in which I misunderstood in all of my readings as I.D. – which still makes more sense to me. I had to explain what they were, which opened me up to my compulsion to learn as much as I could about psychology. I knew my brain was more complex that my peers, and I was incredibly curious as to why. Seldom, if ever, do I think people come into this sort of curiosity with their own brain at such a young age. I didn’t care if I was only in 7th grade, I wanted to get answers.
I’m still looking for these answers, and the incident of Morris in the parking lot reminded me that, you can’t overlook the working of your brain, you can only dig into the crevasses of dusty old books and try to find the reason you think the way you do. Of course, you must first deem that in which you read as quantifiable, then try to bleed it through into real life. Sometimes it’s easier than other, such as understanding the aedopus complex, others it’s a little more difficult, such as why you name your car, why you have a named moose, or why there are pictures of stick figures on the back pane of glass in your SUV.
“What is called genius is the abundance of life and health”
Henry David Thoreau
Devouring a piece of pie just minutes ago, I had to glance up from my absolutely animalistic massacre briefly to see a look of horror on my boyfriends face. I had zoned completely out, there was nobody else in the entire world except for that piece of pie and I. There wasn’t piped in music, there weren’t other diners enjoying the 55-and-over menu, there wasn’t even another warm body across from me in the booth. I lost control, that piece of pie was my entire world for a brief moment – until it was gone. The sweet carnal knowledge of its existence only remained with me because there were crumbs on my sleeve and the beau looking dissappointed that he didn’t get any.
I couldn’t stop, not even if I tried. Addiction. It’s the monkey on your back that tugs at your hair and picks your nose for you. Really, it’s the monkey on your back that bugs the shit out of you, but you keep him around because you have forgotten how to pull your own hair or pick your own nose. Your monkey, he doesn’t really know what you need, just what he thinks you need. That pie, that fucking pie, I was on a spreak of weeks without battling with a purge, but there it went, fucking pie. Just like that I was overwhelmed with fear, regret, shamefulness, and sense of embarrassment as if I had just soiled my britches while giving my inauguration speech to be elected to President of the free world. I might have well had an audience of a million, billion, the feeling of shame was the same, even with an audience of one.
I wasn’t being judged, however. The pie was my idea, nobody forced it down my throat, nobody ordered it for me. I took a conscience effort to order it and then eat every bite. It’s an addiction, and before you start on with a “it’s just food” retort, fuck you. Keep it to yourself. And addiction is any adverse, uncontrollable reaction to anything that you lose control of, most notably things that can cause you or others harm. So a piece of pie might not kill me in my sleep, but it might as well, the torture it puts my mind through.
This all ties into a little story originating from Charleston, SC. A sad story of Kelly Kenney, a young lady whom I’m sure would have been my absolute best friend and worst enemy rolled into one. I never got to meet Kelly, much like my story of a few weeks ago on Julie Leger from Kentucky, but it’s different. Kelly is no longer with us, and I, more than perhaps any other person in the entire world, understands why.
TIMELINE (in a brief sort of way)
-girl has problems with addiction
-girl admits she has a problem and seeks help
-girl tries AA for support
-girl goes to tavern to only have “one” (and this, again, is a speculation, I wasn’t there physically, but mentally I have been)
-girl gets found passed away a few days later in the back seat of her car only because a total stranger recognizes her license plate from the news
-news reports of her passing and makes it seem suspicious
This is where I enter the story. Me, sitting in the truck bouncing through none other than Corbin, KY (where Julie Leger is from) was reading my afternoon news feed when this story slapped me in the face and warranted my attention. Something about the young lady in the picture made me think “whoa, she kind of looks like me” so I popped it open and read.
It wasn’t a physical characteristic that made us look the same, it was a look in the eyes. I know that look, her look, I’ve had that look.
“everyone is smiling with an invisible gun to their head. ”
Fear and happiness, pain and excitement, all the polar opposites of life all happening at once. The news had come forward to say she had addiction problems (me too) and bipolar disorder (manic depression for me, but they’ve been called the same thing a time or two) so yeah, we’re the same person. I wanted to reach into my tablet and hug that girl around her neck and tell her it was going to be okay, we’ll get through this together. Then I’d probably recommend grabbing a beer and trying to laugh it off, which would put us both back at the mercy of bipolarness. Throw a depressive a substance that will actually depress you more and you’ve just created the perfect storm. The problem with this is that within the brain of the addict and the depressive, the two tend to want to go together, explosively. Even the best support of AA friends can only help you so much, until you’re alone with your brain, then it gets real.
I had an experience recently, that I was going to keep to myself and maybe three others until going to my grave, which who knows when that will be, but after seeing Kelly’s story, I want to come forward and wave my hands in the air to say “hey, hey, we’ve got a problem here…people aren’t taking alcoholism and depression seriously enough.
The national rate for suicide is 11 people to every 100,000. How many of these are accidental suicide, though?
Before you say,” Nikki, you do know what suicide is, right? ”
Of course I do, I’m not dumb, but my encounter makes me wonder. I’m the depths of a good solid drunk coupled with depression, things happen that don’t become clear until months, sometimes years after they’ve actually happened. I had an experience where I had lost my job, lost my boyfriend, lost most of my family, all because I was an absolute basketcase. My life was in such turmoil I couldn’t see the light at the end of the philosophical tunnel, hell, I didnt even know how I got into that tunnel in the first place.
My tunnel was in the back seat of my car (keep in mind my car is a relatively small Coupe, in order to get in the back seat you have to contort and wiggle between the seats). I had driven to a gas station, town unknown, and sat in the back seat with a bottle of vodka. I had taken my antidepressants that day, which in all actuality probably caused more harm than good, and I drank because I was in such a dark state an anti-depressant couldn’t even start to fix my problems. I wad done, not with the intention of suicide, but just general lack of ability to see through the darkness. I turned my phone off and went off the radar for a while. The next two days were sort of a blur, a series of different gas station parking lots and sleeping in the back seat. I’d wake up long enough to choke down some more and then pass back out. I’d wake up, drive a few miles, go back to sleep.
It wasn’t until I got the message “call me now” that something clicked. I was probably an hour or two away from just drinking my life away – in the serious way. “Get rid of that fucking bottle.”
Right there, in a truck stop parking lot, I opened my car door and tossed a glass bottle of Svedka out onto the pavement, and then I cried.
It took about five days to get over the massive amounts that I had drank, even longer to get over the DT’s, which coupled with depression is something I can only applaud myself with super human strength for getting through. Kelly, found in her car, very well could have been me, however, I could very possibly still be in that car, having it get repoed from a gas station somewhere and only being found when the car goes to auction. It’s a very chilling thing to think about, but my depression, on that day I found myself in my back seat, turned into a ranging mix of addiction and alcoholism, addicted to feeling better but drinking things that made me feel worse. Thus is typically the life of the depressive drunk, a constant roller coaster of feeling sad, feeling worse, doing something that makes you feel worse, mix and repeat.
There are no conclusive reports as to how Kelly passed away, and I’m sure there is a whole group of people that would rather have another person to blame – a bad guy who knocked her in the head or something. My gut and heart tells me otherwise, and it makes me melancholy, but also makes me hyperaware of where I am right now and what I’m doing.
That pie, although it didn’t kill me, I fucking hate it, but not as much as I do about the fact that I lost control. I had to eat it. They say alcoholics have an allergy to alcohol, which makes it like poison to them. The allergy makes you lose rationality and reasonable portion size when it comes down to the drink. I’ve witnessed it first hand, not only in myself, but in others. It’s a sad spiral, and once you start spinning with the spiral it doesn’t stop until you’ve puked – like a sick carnival ride.
Awareness comes from all directions, and little old me, live from Elkhart, IN wants to tout the awareness flag high. Of you or someone you know has depression AND likes the drink use special attention! Never chalk it up to just being a little blue or just being a little drunk, if you couple the two, it’s a recipe for a perfect storm.
If the family or friends of Kelly Kenney read this, consider this a hug from afar from a daughter you never had, but would be happy to step in if you need it. I’m going to keep. Pushing on, in the name of Kelly.