"Am I alone in here? Am I alone in here? Am I alone in here?" - Chevelle, One Lonely Visitor
We might not have made it out of New Mexico. Thus far, it has been the only state that we have driven straight through without stopping for any prolonged duration. At some point one of us said something about being close to Roswell - home of aliens and modern day folklore. We were only vaguely close.
It was around 1 in the morning when the car was suddenly overwhelmed with amazed passengers, bursting out with a healthy round of "what the fucks?!" I didn't see it at first, and had to move closer to the window if I wanted to: a bright, sliver-blue object that was falling quickly to earth. If it wasn't for its unusual brightless, I'd say it was a flare; and while it probably still was, it could have been - key word "could" - a meteor finding a nice desert mound to rest on. Or maybe it was aliens after all.
"UFO!" Of course: It is, technically, "unidentified." To us. But the sentiment is familiar enough: if it looks weird and its in the sky, it must be of extraterristrial origin. I'm a UFO skeptic, not believing or disbelieving without any solid proof, which I think, thus far, there is none. The car pulled off into a dark road off the I-10. Two other gentleman were parked there also, looking into the beautiful star-filled sky. No homesexuality was sensed. Not here. Not from them. We wondered if they also were witnesses to the strange light. They were. One of them told us that it was "the strangest thing he'd ever seen." It was certainly weird.
Then, for some reason still left unknown, Yum-Yum decided to set off - one! - of the fireworks we had bought outside Phoenix, which inevitably led to the entire bag being burnt up before getting the chance to use them at one of the Occupies. What the hell is the point of lighting off smoke bombs in the pitch darkness? When our brief offramp party was over we took back out on the Highway. Next stop: Breckenridge, Texas. If it were my trip, I would have planned the Lone Star State out a little better. Its my first time this far East - aside from a plane trip to New York City on the anniversery of the 9-11 Attacks - and I would have wanted to see the district of my presidential candidate, Congressman Ron Paul. Maybe we could have even tried to get on the Alex Jones Show. Since it really isnt my trip, I have few options - even in regards to our destination.
We ended up spending the New Years in El Paso, finding out quickly that it has a very dense homosexual population. "This New Year is going to be gay" Pirate mused as we walked into a gay bar. It was only a joke; none of us are homophobes. We spent the night at some girl's house, and had to bear the burden of homemade ether, a transvestite, the blinding morning sun, and questions about how attractive the transvestite was. It was uncomfortable to say the least. We left the next morning for Breckenridge, a good six hour trip across this massive state.
It was cold and obscure; some little hillbilly town about two hours from Dallas. We were only there for a night before heading for JFK's fateful destination, stopping there also for only a couple hours while waiting for money. Sixty dollars gets us food, beer, and enough gas to get us to Houston, where Pirate's family lives. Getting back onto the freeway was almost as fateful as John Kennedy's visit, as our driver for the moment, Pirate, almost drove into another guy's lane, setting off the man's car alarm at 60 miles an hour and making him slam the breaks before hitting the concrete divider. We pressed forward with little guilt, arriving late into SugarLand; a green suburb some 20 minutes from downtown Houston where his family stays.
His mom came in late and startled me awake. She introduced herself and told me that she wanted to wake up her son to say hello. Pirate lives the life of a nomad. He calls himself a juggalo. At 21, he's been traveling the road for two years. His family loves him, although they so rarely get his company. She looked happy to see him.
Usually, an upper-middle class has little attention for a group of half-ass revolutionaries, especially a ragtag group such as ours. They want to hear nothing about government evils or corporate corruption. Any such conversation typically conjures up unsettling thoughts, because it allows a great sense of helplessness, followed by apathy. "There's nothing you can do about it anyways" is the mentality. Anybody else not involved with this Movement would naturally grow tired of a bunch of nomadic hippies in their house. I realized this when I believed others did not. Despite it, they were more than willing to help out their son and his friends. Tolerance must have reached new, unknown levels.
His family weren't activists. They were a Godsend that allowed us to be. After more than a week of constant raids on the fridge, bumming all the cigarettes, and drinking enough beer to make a horse drunk - and me slightly buzzed - we finally realized that our welcome had been worn. "Its time for ya'll to go": exact words of his mom.
If it weren't for problems with my robot we would already have been out of there. My '87 Pathfinder started overheating when we got to Houston. Pirate's grandfather, Tom, is a retired mechanic, a marine, and one hell of a decent man. He paid for and helped us replace the fan clutch, which was thought to have been the source of our car problems. During the process he even took us to dinner and filled up our tank. He dubbed us "Grandsons Incorporated."
During the repair, we began talking "politics" - a slightly unfair label seeing as none of us deal in conventional politics, foregoing the subject in favor of "the deep politics," as Peter Dale Scott dubbed them. We speak not of bullshit "Left-Right" nonsense, but instead of real issues, like the NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act - a topical subject for us, which has been discussed at many, many checkout counters throughout the Land.
Yum-Yum brought up the upside-down flag, a symbol he has stitched onto his jacket. Tom served overseas during Vietnam and believed it to be immoral as well as being illegal in the state of Texas. "It means that our country is in distress" we tried to tell him. This created a sense of depression for his grandfather, a patriot who loved his country.
Thinking that our car was fixed, we went to the Occupation in Houston for the third time. The way my partners describe it is as follows: "A lot of talk but no action" (Yum-Yum); "They were inflitrated by the cops" (Pirate); "Boring" (Dizzy). If it was to be believed the Occupation here was a busy one. I would say it was a good enough effort - but only because this Occupation is growing crops. Although I never had a conversation long enough with anyone to find out what it was that they were growing, it was good to see that they had the right idea: self-reliance.
The System is based upon dependence; from what we eat to what we put in our bodies to heal ourselves. Homegrown fruits & vegetables is an obvious first choice in getting off the grid and strangling the Monster Bank. We heard from the same people that street actions were frequent. All of us, collectively, had our doubts.
A block away from Tranquility Park - where they're all set up - is a building for the Merrill Corporation. One side of this building seems to have been forgotten by civilization. Stairs take one from the street to the grassy lawn down below, which was kept alive thanks to some maintenence man who forgot that nobody but drunks and activists were using the area, and turned on the sprinklers anyways.
An Occupier named J.J. - street name "Metal" - greeted us the first night we got there, and insisted he take us to the wall which held signatures from different Occupiers around the country. "I got signatures from different people from all over" he said. It was an odd-looking hole in the building. A few beers were dispersed. Markers came out from one of the people in our group and we began scribbling our sentiments. Mine could have been put on a post card: "From LA, with Revolutionary Thoughts" signing it "Km Patten." I dislike my name almost as much as I dislike my circumcision. Dizzy wrote the appropriate and promisory "Occupy 4 Life."
A little white medicine bottle was pulled from an unknown pocket. If someone there had been addicted to heroin in this group - and there was plenty of indictation that some were - then it would have been the right medication. Synthetic heroin is only for hypocritical neo-con radio hosts. No lesser form of scum should ever fuck with it. At some point during all this mild madness Yum-Yum got lucky. Again. The bastard. And behind some concrete pillars, no less.
I remember the beer cans being tossed into another odd corner, already filled with many other bottles and food wrappers. However, no memorable convictions can be immediately recalled. People seem to just be here, and all of our visits seem to have been the same, with notable required items that were eventually received. You know: Beer, drugs, pussy; the things that make one popular in life. The Occupation was forgetable and regretable, if only because we didn't give them the opportunity to do anything meaningful with them. It could have been a more epic visit to Occupy Houston.
So there we were, on our third trip downtown, thinking that my robot was repaired and trying to score some marijuana. After taking care of that, we realized that the car was still overheating, at one point boiling water into the street. Pirate thought we should keep going. He's been most adament about getting to D.C. before the 17th. While my partners might all believe in the "Chaos Theory" - that anything that can happen will happen, just so long as you plan absolutely nothing - I think my uncle's wise words serve more useful. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
We headed back, despite telling Pirate's family that we were leaving. His mom told us that Grandpa Tom was pretty upset because of all the political talk. She told us several times not to discuss our beliefs. Again: We took advantage, and usually did anyways. "You all have your own priorities. Your own perspectives. But for (ahem) normal people, we dont want to hear it" she said.
Its difficult somewhat to relate to people on the other side of the sprectrum. The four of us - and many others - think of them just as "sheeple." Close-minded folk. Then again, if they weren't working and making money, we might not be here to protest what the rest of their money went towards. Empire. Irony is a funny thing to reflect upon while your buddies are passed out in your freezing car thats parked in some rest area just inside of a state that you've never been to before.
Pirate's cousin Megan gave me encouraging words. "I support that you guys are out there supporting, insuring our future. If you dont fight for something you want, then you're going to be written off." I want Freedom, and have little intention of being written off. We carry forth, despite our laziness, our addictions and our shortcomings.
"Am I alone in here? Am I alone in here? Am I alone in here?" - Chevelle, One Lonely Visitor