Thanksgiving 2016, Starbucks, a Room, a Story

Its come to me a few times that this blog is really about stories and considerations of things which have been news, views, or subterfuge in my life. After all, we only have a single point of reference we really know and that’s what we experience. We cannot put ourselves in another’s body and experience their stuff. That’s a good thing I think. For all the altruistic and worldly thoughts we have on this day, giving thoughts to dispersed family and friends, wandering in and out of reality in a room just big enough for a single person; I’ve realized. Realized that life for me is personal sized. There is enough room just for me in it. My friend Free now has a friend that shares the moments. There with him to take the thing he built and enjoy it. I have not built anything and I have nothing to share so this Thanksgiving is much the same as the ones since about 2011 after I returned from all those trips to Japan, Singapore, and India. A strange mix of holidays and less joy at them. Perhaps to enjoy these holidays in the fashion before where family gathered and enjoyed the food, you need to have that less than desired family. That extension which I have left behind. Now its Starbucks.

Starbucks in the morning on Google Wifi, on a iPad Pro 9.7 inch. Writing this blog post at this time, at this place. The classic coffee cake still is hot and the Latte steams still and the people are absorbed in phones and news and personal reflections. Starbucks has been and will be a place to escape to for me. A place to have people around but not engaged with them. Does that seem strange? I guess I need every so often to see people I don’t know and secretly watch them engaged in their phone and tablet behaviors without having some kind of interaction. Starbucks does that for me. I can leave my room in Newark California and engage yet not. That gets me to the succession of rooms I have been either happy or less than happy to live in.

At the current state, the living conditions are good. The house is clean and everything works. I’ve upgraded to a larger upstairs room that can hold more stuff. I got rid of the Japanese futon and got a Tuft and Needle bed which really suits me for sleeping now. I spend more time in that bed than sitting at the desk in the chair I put together. Prior to this room, I lived in a small room in the same house. That was also okay. It taught me a thing or two about what it takes to live and how I could live just about anywhere in the same space. A single person does not need boatloads of space to really live and even excel. There is a sublime difference between living and excelling. I’ve crossed that Rubicon. The Rubicon is a story for me. A story I’ll share about a time long ago. Maybe you stop reading now and decide I am an ambling blogger with no real purpose. That’s okay. You are still reading. So now the story.

Back in other days, I stumbled the deserts, the foothills, the buttes, the mountains of the southwest, west, northwest as an archeologist. Not an Indiana Jones archeologist searching vainly for the golden monkey head. A desert and arid ecosystems guy primarily interested in small team hunter-gatherer use of environments, how these groups traversed, used, and exploited through trade, social systems, group interaction, and tools. The archeological record as an instructor used to tell me is incomplete. One cannot excavate ideas but the material remains let scientists build hypotheses and then test them. If you perchance find a pacific seashell bead in the middle of a Mojave desert archeological site, question is how did it get there? But bigger questions too. What does it mean for group interaction, trade, technological reach? A little bead carrying so much story! We can build the back story though. So once as I ambled across the deserts, my friend and mentor RWR invited me to travel along to the annual Society of California Archeologists annual meetings. We drove and drank and ate together because that’s what you do. We got to the hotel and had to leave to buy more beer because the beer in the bar was way too expensive for a bunch of archeologists. There was a sign that said beverages not allowed in the bar from outside. That sign turned up missing or not considered as Mark brought in bottles and bottles of beer to the bar. Suddenly, archeologists were not paying dollars and dollars for beers but Mark was providing more and more as he went back to his car. The hotel staff was dumbfounded. The mortuary science fellows sharing the convention were astounded. We were all drunk. We sat at the bar with the pirated beer and one of the mortuary guys asked what we did. The archeologist we were with intoned with false sobriety,

You put them in the ground and we dig them up

Then our meetings started and we heard the crossing the rubicon reference. The person giving the big speech carefully told we should be prepared to cross that rubicon with science. RWR and I were mystified. We did not know what a rubicon was or that we should cross it. We left for the bar where Mark was still handing out the beer. Finally the hotel staff got wise and told us we had to leave. But we were residents there we told them. Go to your rooms they told us. So we left for the rooms. Mark fell asleep in his car. I woke up on the floor at 3am. 

It was all good. I had crossed the Rubicon and ended up on the floor.

Author: Michael Perry

I've been blogging for over 20 years and now am living in Southeast Asia. The blog is about my slow vagabonding wherever I want to go. My home base is in Cambodia but I'm rarely there.