I’ve done it before; this time I swear it’s different. Making a living, that is. I suspect this too will pass, but meanwhile I’m busting my ass trying to be a capitalist.
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.
Thunderbutt in the weeds
Another new direction. Perhaps. I’ve recently assisted a new friend with a bus project, a converted school bus that someone has more or less abandoned and gave to her for free. This friend lives an alternative lifestyle, and gets by with her writing and house-sitting. A rather precarious existence due to the inevitable gaps that appear between house-sitting gigs, and the offer of a home (plus a place she can park it) seemed a boon almost too good to be true.
Which of course it was. I cautioned her that gift RVs are usually a source of massive expense and enormous amount of work, especially the self propelled type like a bus or motorhome. I’ve polished more than one of these turds myself, and know how quickly they deteriorate when not being used, how expensive parts can be, and how much very hard work it is repairing medium-duty trucks due to the size and weight of components. Finding a gem in the weeds like Thunderbutt is exhilarating, and yet requires one to step back and consider very carefully what they are getting into.
I spend a lot of time mucking around inside old pieces of shit. Mostly because I hate old pieces of shit being abandoned and because I can see so much promise in junk other people expect to have hauled off to the wrecker.
It’s not that I resurrect old junk for the sake of it, but because I want to restore things that have intrinsic value, and allow people to experience the joy of them long after they are usually tossed aside. I guess part of it is simply the doomed errand of trying to stave off time, trying to delay the inevitable corruption and dissolution that comes with existence. As long as I’m still around, I can delay the inevitable, at least for a little while. Maybe the old pieces of shit are a metaphor for the self.