Last week I found myself in the back seat of my car in some parking lot near a bookstore I had gone to—to pick up my textbooks. It was late afternoon. I had just woken up from a power nap, was eating a cucumber feta cheese salad that tasted 3 times more fermented than it did the day before. I kept on eating it, even though it tasted terrible, because the thought of finding something else to eat was too burdensome. (I didn’t get sick from it either.) As I ate, I remembered the last time I had been reduced to a similar situation—eating, sleeping out of my rusty, red, Ford Ranger, while driving to places where I’m a stranger in order to find solitude. That was 4 years ago.
Getting in my car and driving to an unknown place to eat, sleep and reflect has since been my way of finding solitude. I’m running out of places to hide at work. At one job I used to crawl under my desk to find a moment of solitude. Think about it—it’s strange enough to hide under your desk but even stranger still for someone to get on their haunches to converse with a voice coming from under a desk. That idea backfired on me at a temp job I had, when the IT guy discovered me, as he came crawling under the desk I was under, to lay some cable.
Last week I was working constantly to meet deadlines on a project and keeping up with my day job and community service work. There was no time for anything besides eating, sleeping, calming my head and brief contact with friends—so that I still have them when the project is over. Thus, to preserve energy and time, I returned to habits I learned on my trip to the Mojave, 4 years ago. I have learned to sleep anywhere and often challenged myself grab some zzz’s in all sorts of awkward spaces. I eat anything (culturally different or of undesired, fermented or discarded status. And I look for opportunities for solitude and overcoming the fear of being a stranger in an unfamiliar place, doing something just a bit abnormal.
So, if there are those of you who haven’t heard from me in a while—now you know what I’ve been up to.