Saturday, January 5, 2013

Purposeful wandering...

Life takes us in different directions. Each path is made of the choices we make, moment to moment. I witnessed a woman this morning in her early 20's, fully dressed, backpack on her back and a gallon water jug in her left hand. She walked passed me as I sat curled up in a blanket with coffee, staring off at the horizon where the sun had made itself known. We allowed our focus to turn to each other and in that moment life stood still. I became curious. Who is she? Where is she going? What led her to this moment in the desert, miles from civilization, just walking?

Afterwards, I chatted at the Oasis Club, a private members only club, where membership per month is $20, or $5 for a weeks' worth of conversation and coffee. I chose to abstain from coffee and do conversation, my forte.  I was the youngest amongst the group where ten of us talked about life. Even though I was an outsider, the new blood I brought brewed excitement. The conversation took on a where are you from, what is life for you like outside of the Slab and so forth. During this, a police officer drove by quite quickly which sparked up frustration. “I don't see why they don't stop in and talk to us. We're just people. It's as if they like to throw their power around and use it as intimidation.” And then the group proposed a mandatory police walking around communities idea, which caught a lot of agreement. One gentleman said that our proposal was already in action in some jurisdictions, which everyone was pleased with.

The most noteworthy piece of information I took away from yesterday was when I asked what ingredients made a “Slab society member”. Up until this conversation I had proposed smoking weed as the only criteria. The response I got was surprising and in earnest:  “We're real here. Nobody is better or higher than anyone else,” said a long bearded, beer bellied, Harley biker looking type. He had stayed out of the conversation until this moment. “We don't care who you are, how much money you have, or any of that bullshit. We're just real.  People here look each other in the eye.” Everyone seemed satisfied with that response, and nodded in agreement; the movie director, the full time Slab resident, the newbie retired woman, and the closest to death man I have ever seen.