The Wanderlust Misfit

Don't Run From Anything, Run Towards Everything

Archive for the tag “revolution”

The Truth About The American Government

As you all have probably surmised, I’m quite the ‘anti-establishment’ sort. I’ve been frustrated, pissed-off, incredulous, and stunned by some of the things our government here in America has been doing. The corruption is palpable, the disregard for our Constitution blatant, and the arrogant contrivances of the people in power holds the fetid taste of bile.
I can no longer stand-by, indeed, this country can no longer stand-by, any longer: We’ve been apathetic for too long and the consequences have been horrendous. We are tail-spinning into a despotic plutocracy and if we do not reveal the information of corruption and deceit, if we do not successfully and with all haste prove to those who cannot fathom the depths of which our system has suffered putrefaction, we will no longer remain, in any semblance, a free society.
The time is now to get our act together, to unite beneath and rise above oppression.
Information is our key.

A new section of this blog will be dedicated to news articles, essays and documentaries pertinent to the crisis at hand. This is an attempt to awaken those who refuse, out of fear for what must happen, to accept the state of our Union. For all of you who already understand, this will be an information dump, a cache from which to arm yourselves with the necessary munitions of facts, arguments and rationalizations with which we must wage this war against the forces of disinformation and deceit.
Please post arguments, evidence and any thoughts you may have, and feel free to add links. All conversation is greatly welcomed.
So,
Go! Talk to your friends, your family, co-workers and classmates; the spread of truth through honest conversation is the greatest tactic we have at our disposal.
Go! Awaken the masses.
And,
— Viva la Revolucion.

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Viva!

For all the disenfranchised, discontented youth who have the roiling urge to rip the heads off the standard-bearers of the status-quo and to shove a revolution down their throats. This decade’s for you.

Storm Dread

‘Aren’t you scared? About what you’re about to do?’

‘I’m nervous as hell, but, I wouldn’t say I’m scared. I’m nervous as hell but I know once I get going I’ll be fine about it.’

The morning was early, cloudy and gray and cold, the kind of cold that can go through your clothes and make your bones stiff. I was sitting in the front seat next to Beverly who I had asked to drive me far enough out of Columbus, Ohio. Beverly was broad shouldered, had a smooth face and blonde hair and I could tell she was very tired, the way her eyes were puffy.

‘I’m trying to think of a good place to drop you off, but.’

‘It doesn’t really matter. I’ll catch a ride where ever. Here, this next exit has a gas station. That’ll work.’

The car slowed down coming around the off-ramp, stopped at the sign, sped back up going across the overpass and pulled into the gas station on the other side. A man was walking out with a coffee, steam rising from the cup in the gray morning.

We were twenty miles south of Columbus, along Route 71.

‘Thanks again for driving me. I really appreciate it.’

‘My pleasure.’

‘Guess this is goodbye then.’ We both leaned in for a hug. ‘Be good, best of luck in school, and I’ll see you again in a couple of months.’

‘Are you coming back to Columbus?’

‘Yeah. February or March, probably.’

‘Alrighty, then. Well, be safe out there Allen.’

‘I shall.’ I lugged my knapsack out of the backseat and put it on my shoulder. ‘Thanks again Beverly!’

‘Bye Allen!’

I shut the door and watched the little red car pull out of the gas station, into the road and back on the highway. People were hurrying in and out of the gas station store, yawning as they filled their gas tanks and no one seemed to notice me. There was a dilapidated motel across the street with an overgrown parking lot, broken windows and a falling roof. The wind picked up and I shivered, walked around to the side of the gas station and found the dumpster. There was a piece of cardboard on top of everything. I dug out my permanent marker and scrawled ‘CINCI’ as neat and as bold as I could. Then I went back across the overpass to the southbound on-ramp.

Traffic was slow but I didn’t worry about it – it was cold and very windy and I looked young, clean shaven with thin glasses and I was not a big person: pity always plays a factor and I’d get picked up in no time, no time at all. I placed my knapsack against the guardrail and stood in the cold, dry dust on the side of the onramp near the top where it met with the road. Behind me was a dry, overgrown field that ran downhill until it met with the woods that followed along the highway. Down the street were a few small warehouses and a junk-yard but that was it, the rest was dry woods and dust. I stood there and sometimes sat on the guardrail when there wasn’t any traffic, standing up to hold up my sign and jut my thumb whenever I saw a car slowing down to turn onto the on-ramp.

Twenty minutes.

I was holding my sign and I thumbed at a car as it rolled into the on-ramp and sped past. The southbound off-ramp was across the street and there was a gleaming white pick-up truck at the stop sign.  The truck across the street beeped once and the driver flicked his hand towards himself. I slung my knapsack over my shoulder and hurried over to the passenger side. The window was down.

‘I gotta drop this trailer off down the street,’ said the driver. ‘Then I’m heading down to Cinci. I have to come back this way though, probably about thirty, forty-five minutes. You can come with me to drop it off if you’d like. Or wait here, whatever you’d like – I’ll be coming back this way, like I said.’

‘Okay, cool,’ I said enthusiastically. ‘Yeah uh, I’ll wait here I guess, see if anyone else stops. You going all the way to Cincinnati?’

‘Yeah – well, like fifteen miles north of it.’ There were cars pulling up behind him.

‘Okay, awesome. Yeah, I’ll wait here. Thanks a lot, man!’ I backed away from the truck and he drove off. He was towing a trailer with a pop-up camper on it. I went back to the on-ramp to wait.

I was wearing a tan Carrhart coat and I waited as long as I could before zipping it up – with such a large coat people like to think you’re hiding something. But the wind was so cold, icy in my chest and I’d begun to shiver. Gray clouds moved swiftly over the sky, looking soon to storm. I’d hug myself to stay warm and when there wasn’t any cars I’d sit down on the guardrail and watch the big farm equipment that bumped slowly down the road.

An hour passed before the man in the pick-up returned. He came to a stop on the side of the on-ramp and I ran over, tossed my knapsack in the bed on top of old tool boxes and spare parts and climbed in the front. The floor was littered with old fast-food bags that my feet made crinkle because there was no place else to put them. The driver, very somberly, glanced over, placed his hands back on top of the steering wheel, and slowly gave the truck gas as he pulled back onto the on-ramp, onto the highway.

‘Thanks again for the ride. I really appreciate it.’

‘Sure thing.’

‘Boy, it sure is cold out there.’ I don’t like silent rides and the driver said nothing. ‘I’m Allen.’

‘Frank.’ He shook my hand with a cold, loose grip – as if his hand were limp.

‘So what did you have to drop the camper off for?’

‘Repairs.’ He glanced over and he had big, heavy eyes like a Basset Hound and a rotten nose. There were a few powdery threads hair beneath a blue hat that said Navy and had military insignia pins on the brim. Reluctantly, as if for my own sake, he added, ‘I usually fix them myself, but, no time.’

‘You have more than one?’

‘Why are you hitchhiking?’

I looked over at Frank and he was staring out the windshield. ‘I have some friends in Los Angeles that I’m going to visit. I figured it was either I go now or wait till Spring.’

‘Is that it?’ I didn’t understand the question.

‘Well, I want to go South to get out of the cold, so I figure I’ll get down to Nashville and take Route 40 all the way west from there.’ It was very gray outside and I could hear the wind as it whipped around outside the window.

‘Trying to get away from this storm?’

‘Yeah – I kept thinking it was going to rain when I was back there waiting.’

Frank swallowed and his knuckles curled back and forth on the steering wheel. ‘See all this corn out here? And the signs posted along the road?’ He paused for a moment. ‘The signs say what kind of corn it is. They’re all different. But none of them will grow in the wild anymore, they can’t, because we’ve modified them so much. Take a handful of their seeds and spread them around and they’re useless. I’ve stocked up on natural seeds. Pounds of them.’

‘You grow corn?’

‘No, I don’t have to yet. I do live on a farm though, two hundred acres in the middle of nowhere. I’ve always been more comfortable in the woods, forests. Safer. Away from everyone.’

‘You live by yourself?’

‘No. No one can make it by themselves.’ It was very gray outside now and very dark, as if near night or in a heavy storm in the late afternoon.

‘It won’t rain just yet,’ said Frank. He clenched his jaw and stared out the windshield as if he were empty inside. ‘You see these tractor-trailers? People are buying them and burying them ten, twenty feet underground. They’ll use commercial air-conditioning vents to get into them and they’ll fill a few feet all around the trailer with concrete. I know a guy who buried several and connected them all.’ Frank leaned forward in his seat until his chest was at the steering wheel and then sat back again, knuckles curling the steering wheel. ‘I have large freezers buried in my yard. Filled them all with canned food and dried goods. I’m very good with electronics and I’ve put together a CB radio and have solar panels on the roof. The farm’s completely self-sustaining and my brother and I are working on a water purification system for the well.’ Frank turned his wide, heavy eyes at me and my chest blackened, I don’t know why.

‘Do you know where you’re going to be?’ he asked.

‘When?’ I saw Frank’s heart beating quick and hollow and I could no longer see where we were going, without headlights driving deep into black swirls.

‘It has to happen soon and thank God I know how to live off the land, what plants are edible and what plants have medicinal uses. We have back-hoes and the right farm equipment and a small oil well way in the back – we’re surrounded by forests, have our own fields and a fleet of pick-up trucks, the old sorts without all the new electronics in case of EMP’s or electrical storms and we have lots of ATV’s. We have a chicken coop we just finished, cows that we breed and pigs and we can make our own bread provide all our own food.’ Frank was speaking swiftly, his head turning and swerving and tilting as he spoke and as he spoke, his wet lips loose smacking up and down, I could see in his mouth a black nothingness and out of this came the word DREAD and it was dripping with his black saliva. This affected me deeply.

‘We’re completely self-sufficient and have several dogs and motion-activated cameras surrounding the property which is on a hill partially surrounded by a ridge and my brother’s wife is a field nurse, I’m trained in electronics, two of my brothers are in construction though really we’re all very handy and my son’s a wonderful mechanic. The bunker is protected against radiation and has enough food for thirty people for three years but there’s only twelve of us so we can wait out the worst and we’re completing irrigation ditches lots of feed for the animals and we know how to hunt and have dogs lots of guns and munitions and we all know how to fight – my brothers and I and our sons all served. No one will be able to fuck with us.’

‘Wow. I don’t know how to do any of that.’

Hitchhiking Lives!!

I made it!

After a week of rambling across the North American continent, I made it. It took me just over one week and it was one of the most exciting, desperate, heart pounding, soul freeing experiences I’ve ever had. I survived on peanut butter sandwiches and Pop-tarts and apples and oranges, slept in the woods and open fields and almost froze my ass off in the Arizona desert and I woke up on separate occasions covered in slugs and ants. But you know what, I met the coolest bastards and sang at the top of my lungs with rambling saints and rode with addicts and truckers and now it’s time to soak up the sun and liquor and good times on the gold coast.

I was picked up often by older folks who had gone hitchhiking themselves — albeit twenty, thirty years ago. They’d tell me how easy it used to be to catch rides, that they never had to wait — out of one car and right into the next. Their rides would even buy them dinner! These were the aging Hippies, the older folk who came of age when the youth roiled and searched. I thought I made pretty good timing myself, only taking eight days including the day I spent visiting a friend in Oklahoma. It was funny though, how some drivers would be surprised how fast I was getting around while others were surprised how long it was taking me. My average wait time? 30-45 minutes. There were a couple instances where I had to wait well over three hours, and other times when I caught a ride in under 10 minutes.

I’ve been told I have an addictive personality. Well, guess what, world! I’ve found my new high! because I know of nothing so freeing and spirit-lifting as hitchhiking, as living by your wits and sleeping under the stars, rising with the sun and spending an entire week outdoors breathing fresh air and truck fumes. It’s dirty, it’s tiring, lonely and sweaty and grimy and you’re a vagabond and a wanderer but there is nothing as exciting as seeing someone pull over, throwing your bag over your shoulder and sprinting over, clueless as to who the hell you’re about to spend the next two hours (or two days) talking to. And once you’re sitting there, sitting comfortably in a seat and talking with your driver, you look out the window at the passing scenery and a giant smile burns onto your face from the fire in your heart as you realize, I’m making it! I’m crossing a frigging continent! And this is what I’ve learned: that most people are good, with honest intentions. Of course there’s a lot of scumbags out there who look to take advantage, to rob and panhandle, but the vast majority of rides are people looking to pass forward some good. I got picked up often up by guys who’ve hitchhiked themselves and were trying to pass forward the favor. I got picked up by people on long, lonely drives, looking for friendly conversation and was even offered rides by folks on their way to work.

The looks on people’s faces when you tell them you’ve hitchhiked. They’re surprised, in awe, amazed that such modes of travel \still  exist and work and these big excited smiles stretch across their faces. Other people call you an idiot and will promptly tell you how many people get butchered on the road. Oh well, (for them).

I’ve had some people, usually young people around my age, say they’re envious about the lifestyle, that they wish they could get up and just go like that. I’ll ask them why they can’t, and this is usually the response: I’ve got work, I’ve got school, responsibilities, man. Bullshit! haha. Listen, if you want to do something you have to just get up and do it. You can’t wait around. You can’t plan. Draw a line on a map and stick that thumb out! (But, do a bit of research first. And okay, some planning.)

Anyway, I’ve decided that the reason behind my wandering stems from a feeling of being un-free. I felt a cog in the machinations of someone else, a marionette dancing to someone else’s strings and I was sickened by it, inflicted with malaise and apathy, listlessly going through the motions and listlessly following the necessary steps I’d been drilled into understanding were the only way to success and happiness: Graduate high school, graduate college, get a nine-to-five and car payments and a home mortgage, get married and pay taxes and have kids. Bullshit! There has to be something else and I grew despondent, wanted to rip my skin off for a desperate attempt to find something, something else! Anything! I was sick of consumerism and the disgustingly palpable corruption in Washington and the endless wars and I couldn’t deal with it any longer. So I decided to throw myself out there. Decided to explore the fringes of society. I decided to hitchhike.

People are sick of doing what they’re told, sick of sitting around and sick of not moving — there is a growing sense of despondency among the masses, I keep hearing about it and I know you do too; that feeling of dread that something terrible is going to happen and that we’re helpless to avert the coming disaster. People are sick of the rich getting richer, the middle-class shrinking and again, the corruption. Something has to give, and time and again comes the phrase, “We need a revolution.” People are tired of feeling like mindless gears in a machine they can’t control and the freedom that is no longer felt is in dire need of expression. Allow for a history lesson: The Beatniks in the 1940’s and ’50’s lived with the dread of knowing that at any moment, a nuclear bomb could fall and vaporize everything they ever new. They felt they didn’t have control, and a search for higher meaning, for freedom and control of the self began: the Beatniks began to wander. The Beat movement morphed into the Hippie movement — more people searching, grasping for a higher purpose outside of bland consumerism and war and political corruption. The Hippies traveled. They hitchhiked. The Beat and Hippie movements were both born of discontent, of youthful angst, of a feeling of dread and a desperate sense to once again feel ‘in control’ of their worlds.

But then it was silent. For forty years it was silent.

Now, in 2012, what do we have? We have incorrigible corruption in government, with no politicians willing to take a stand. We have an ultra-rich class that continues to grow richer while the middle-class continues to shrink. The Beats had the Cold War. The Hippies had Vietnam. We have the perpetual ‘War on Terrorism’ and the ever-present threat of indiscriminate bombing feeding fear and the need for spying on the public, indefinite detention, the TSA, the endless bombings of foreign villages.

People are sick of it. People are getting anxious. The youth are filled with ill-content and the desperate need to once again feel free is ripping out the hearts of young people around the country. People hear about hitchhiking and a big grins matches the excitement in their hearts.

People are beginning to search again, the road again filling with wanderers and the discontent youth.

So hear this, America: Hitchhiking is not dead! It might be a rusted shell of what it once was, but it sure as hell isn’t dead!!

Hitchhiking is making its return and the youth are beginning to search once more!!

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