I’ll back up. Many years ago, before the current millennium, I was a wage slave like most people – getting degrees, attempting professional careers, but it didn’t work out very well for me; apparently I don’t play well with others, especially when the others are nincompoops. I need to hew my own path. So I dropped out and became a writer.
Now trying to live on the west coast on one person’s full-time income isn’t easy, and being an artist essentially means the cash isn’t happening. Still, I lived a wonderful and simple life on our sailboat Fainleog and I was very happy even without a lot of options. But life changes as it does: we moved ashore I got back into what I call turd polishing – restoring old yet desirable vehicles, like VW campervans. Mostly as a kind of a hobby, but occasionally making a few bucks. Just recently I made a colossal windfall on one, and with that capital I’ve decided to give up turd polishing – I’m getting too old and it’s just too wearying to spend week after week restoring vehicles.
So I’m switching to trailers. Vintage trailers, and after these turds are polished, I’m keeping them and renting them out, especially to tourists. I recently discovered that there is a massive flow of cash through this town and I’d like to capture a bit of it. Just recently I started renting out Peanut on AirBnB, and was shocked at how quickly she booked up, even though she was only allowed to be used at the dock.
Of course this eventually led me into conflict with the marina (nothing in the contract says I can’t, by the way, but that’s beside the point I guess) who gave me a cease and desist order, but not before I made a crazy amount of money for very little effort, and met lots of really nice people as well.
This got me thinking of renting other assets and since I had been following the vintage trailer craze for a while, I decided to begin collecting vintage trailers. We now have, a 1960 Shasta Airflyte, a 1973 Trillium, a 1968 Esta Villa, and a 1964 Lil’ Loafer. I’ve been going great guns this last week and the Trillium is almost ready to go; it was a really, really bad turd when I bought it, but these things are all very expensive when restored and I acquired them all quite (relatively) inexpensively and all needing various degrees of restoration. Competition for these is remarkably fierce and I had to be the first person to call at 8 AM or else they were gone.
My Jetta pulling the Esta Villa
The whole point of all this capitalism is I want to stop doing this work and get back to writing. Of course I could do that without the cash, as I did before, But I don’t enjoy being financially dependent and I like being able to help out my adult kids when they’re in a bind. So I’ll see how well I get along with 4 restored vintage trailers, and maybe add more as time goes along. Or maybe it’ll crash and burn; it doesn’t matter as these trailers are worth a lot of money once restored so I’ll make a tidy profit either way.
But the thing is, even though I know it’s all nonsense, nonsense is much of what we have to get by on; a great deal of what we do in life doesn’t pass deep scrutiny, but that doesn’t necessarily make it invalid. I’ve gone down the road of trying to make money in the past, but those days were about having to, about needing to prove something, about following what I thought was the correct path. This time it’s different. This time I don’t really care all that much, I’m simply curious to see what will happen.
That doesn’t mean I’m not working my ass off, because I am. Every evening I haul my ass home so tired I’m seeing double (I told you I was too old for this) But I’ve never really tried to make a serious business fly, because I’ve never had the access to capital, which can be so critical to making a venture succeed.
Trillium interior after 2 weeks of hard work. It was a total basket case when I bought it.
Shasta interior. It needs a new roof.
Esta villa interior
This is what the loafer will eventually look like, but it needs a complete restoration.
I said earlier that I don’t care; what I mean is I don’t have a personal emotional investment in this succeeding; it will or it won’t. I guess I’d prefer it does for the cash flow issue I spoke about, but if it doesn’t I’ll just liquidate and see what else pops up. Or not.
Thing is, nothing we do is permanent or even really matters. Even the rich and powerful barely make a lasting impression once they’re gone. Look at the complete shitshow the Harper years were and 9 months later he is forgotten and his legacy pretty much dismantled or in the process of being dismantled. And he was Canada’s most authoritarian PM. We do stuff because we need to, but it doesn’t mean much in the long run.
I feel relieved that I’ve reached this point in my life where I can acknowledge this. For the last few years I’ve struggled with my demise, and how to create a meaningful life. As someone who’s spent a huge part of his years thinking of and planning for the future, abandoning the idea of an everpresent future and the search for existential meaning was quite difficult. Yet here I am, now in a position where I understand at a deep level that it doesn’t matter and to live simply for the moment and the day.
My advocacy has a done a lot for the global poor over the last several years, yet I have no idea what that really means. But I suspect it has greater value than my labouring for cash, which has pulled me out of my advocacy. That does bother me somewhat; I just don’t have the time or energy for it. But I feel a need to do this exploring and see what comes out of it, see if I can fly solo successfully. If so, I should take a minimal amount of my time, freeing me to re-engage with the world again in a more meaningful way.