My brother recounted a wonderful thing that, due to time zones, he sent last night but I didn’t read until this morning. He goes down to the beach every evening to splash and play. (Nick and I are seared with jealousy, hearing this.) Last night he went down, and heard a girl say his name. He was surprised because he doesn’t really know any girls in Hawaii yet, but then realized this was Cate, another tenant of his same temporary landlord, Paul. Nick and I stayed with Paul when we were there in March, and we love him. They had met, briefly, and she’s a political centrist — a magnificent conversational find, these days.
So, they splashed around together and got knocked back and forth by the waves a bit — the beach is called “Magic Sands”, but Nick and I privately dubbed it “Tourist Carnage” because it gets pretty randy. At one point they realized an enormous sea turtle was at their feet, and then it surfaced its ancient turtle-y head. Its body was about the size of a two-top at a bar, amazingly. It hung out and then swam away.
They walked back to the rental enclave where they both stay, and Paul was hosting a weekly meeting where he and some other community members talk about all kinds of exciting, fringe-y stuff. I can’t wait to go to one of these meetings. Anyway, at the point Cate and Abe walked past, everyone in the meeting was holding hands and invoking love and light.
That just warmed my heart. I don’t remember my brother ever reporting an evening that full of quiet magic, from his Seattle years. The most magical thing about Seattle is the restaurant my brother created there from scratch, Kati Vegan Thai. I know that’s a biased take, but I’m not wrong.
And then he had some other wonderful news: my dad reports his eyes feeling better and possibly even seeing better, in Hawaii, after only a week and a half so far. This was an outcome Nick and I had casually prophesied on his behalf weeks ago. We don’t know much about ocular functions and dysfunctions; we just know the southwestern sun is a merciless laser; a directed energy weapon in its own right. It must be better in Hawaii because it simply could not be worse, was our thinking.
So my dad debunked this theory within 15 minutes of arriving in Hawaii, seeming determined not to like anything, and Nick and I were like “okay nvm”, but now, all that being water under the bridge — looks like being a mile and a half further from the sun, and buffered by ambient humidity all around, is a good thing for eyes after all.
I was looking at land parcels yesterday on Zillow while Nick was off playing volleyball. It’s so interesting to have this boyfriend with urgent athleticism needs. Like, we have to stop doing really important things because it’s time to work out, or for him to go play volleyball at the sand courts. This is no issue for me; the one thing I like more than doing important things is to stop doing important things. There is so much lovely land for sale, and it was fun to look at the pictures. I have this sense of being willing to commit to Hawaii, to invest in projects in Hawaii, that is in itself maybe the most magical thing of all. I mean, let’s back up and take inventory: I grew up on the Navajo Reservation, where white people and their kids are only suffered through circumstances of employment or intermarriage. So regardless of how young I was when we got there, I knew I’d be leaving, based on the color of my skin. So then Flagstaff, for the better part of twenty years. I floated in and out of resonance with investing here. My brother and I did buy a house, which turned out to be a good thing, especially once it sells here soon. I got married and divorced here, in my thirties. I helped my ex-husband start a business with money I’d recently inherited, and then felt pretty fucked over early on the process, both by him and the other business partner. I distanced myself from all of it and finally asked for a divorce about three years later. Didn’t pursue any money — not even my original money back, let alone the equity accumulated. That business continued to thrive for nine, ten years, or to this day, or to when he sold it recently I think. I guess I was supposed to try and get my money back out of it but I never did. I don’t want to fight over money with someone who demonstrates they care more about money than me every single day.
So I was borderline about committing/investing in Flagstaff even before that, and after? I felt burned, and broke. I went to North Dakota, I went to Tucson, I came back because of my dad’s eyes. The last, last, last thing I wanted was to get more dug in, here — I mean we already had a house, successfully occupied by our dad, and I already had trucking work, and it damn sure didn’t originate here. This is the worst situation on earth for commercial driving — ice, mountains, elk, repeat. I mean, I’ve done it — used to work for a Flagstaff based dedicated regional, or as I describe it, TRYING to be dedicated (that’s a funny joke if you know the immense challenges of family start ups and freight), but definitely regional. That’s how I know it’s brutal.
So I was here, but only peripherally, and seasonally. That’s probably the most ironic part, really; I just can’t feel committed to a place that’s cold for nine months out of the year, but the workaround I orchestrated for myself ensured I was definitely out of town for the three good months. Kind of a problem. Previous to that, I had demonstrated to myself that, whether or not I have the theoretical capability to launch a successful, or at least reasonably evolving, music career somewhere else — and honestly I can’t answer that — I don’t have the capability to do it here. Bar gigs beget more bar gigs. It’s like the book of Genesis but with all the generations being simply more bar gigs. I just can’t. Other people have, it’s possible, but I didn’t pull it off.
Then I moved to Albuquerque with Nick, in pursuit of another job, and as great as that employer was — and there was wild, wild upward mobility, they really wanted to groom me forward into x y z there because I was perfect for it — we just couldn’t get excited about Albuquerque. We had a great place, but goddam the winter was cold and the summer was hot and the crime was rampant. It’s just a rough, tough place, where you can get shot in traffic, I tell you what. I don’t think there’s enough electronic security on earth for us to trust having some kind of commercial operation there. And then COVID acted like an enormous crow bar anyway, prying us out of there.
So it’s odd — that basic, human, adult impulse to put down roots and grow a life, a business or occupational venture that reflects my expansion, has been missing for me. And it shows, you know? I’m forty four and I’ve done a lot, but I haven’t “built” anything — not a family, not a business, not a community, not a music career or writing career to speak of, nothing. I have a great wardrobe, because that shit is portable, and makes me happy no matter what. I have great tattoos. I’ve really focused in on myself and either personal or portable investments, I suppose, because I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew I wasn’t staying. I’ve been a professional drifter, an occupational dabbler, frankly.
And all this, that I just outlined above, has never emerged clearly in my conscious mind until yesterday, looking at Hawaii land parcels on Zillow. Isn’t that odd? All maladaptations begin, at least, as simple adaptations. I’ve adapted, or maladapted, or whatever, to decades of living in places that fundamentally reject me just as much as I fundamentally reject them.
So yeah, I realized that what the Big Island really needs is a good honky tonk. I was initially sad to see there ain’t one, but then I thought: maybe I can bring Saturday night two stepping to the island myself, you know? And I thought: man, this would be the perfect, perfect place for Nick and I to launch a residential rehab of our own. Bring people to a place where you can’t help but get spiritually well, and use it as a monetization strategy for all our other interests moving forward — a lux hydroponic and/or traditional grow operation for fruits and vegetables, a bugaboo rescue ranch for animals in need of love, of all species, a little (or big) CDL training program to get people a good solid occupational credential, a clientele for strength training and all the spiritual/emotional stability that comes along with that — I mean, it’s like all our interests and passions and forms of personal excellence stand to perhaps not only advance but actually co-mingle, in Hawaii. I know these are some big ideas, and I’m being pretty flippant about them, but what I’m saying is, it’s so amazing to have a big idea and not feel immediately hemmed in and defeated by the simple fact of my aversion to the place I’m currently living, the place in which I’m having the idea.
It’s amazing to feel pulled forward into, at least, the fact of my own excited receptivity. What if we got some stuff going on in Hawaii and could no longer reliably get away for fire season, or to visit the continent at the drop of a hat? Oh fucking well. It’s like, who cares. But this thought would strike fear into my heart, elsewhere.
I’d really like to create a place where others can come and stay, for a short time or a long time. Not entirely free for them — like not to my own detriment — but where it’s easy, cheap, social. Yurts on ten acres or something, whatever. Our friends, our former clients and/or coworkers, our families and extended families, our connections large and small — my blog readers would be, like, MVP status obviously — I’d love to be able to say, hey, come on out! Help us pick a bunch of lettuce for dinner salads. Go pet that Capybara. Come get your CDL here, I got a truck. Bring your instrument, let’s jam. Let’s go to my tiny start up honky tonk and two step. Whatever. Yeah.
I guess what I’m saying is, my whole life has been like a rubber band stretched back further and further and further, never releasing, and that rubber band has been the tension of wanting to populate my immediate environment with MY projects, ideas, skills, and gifts. So it’s not just a “normal” level of interest in projects in a new place, for me right now. It’s the frustrated momentum of decades. I’m not complaining. I just think I’ve had a very odd life. Don’t take this the wrong way, anyone, but I have barely been living in America. The reservation is not America, in the normal sense; I’m sorry — and neither is Flagstaff. Really fucked economy and social contract here. And Albuquerque is but only barely. Tucson is the most functional town of the bunch. And Texas, when I was active duty — Texas was great. North Dakota was a smash and grab, as the oil field always is.
It’s all part of this same bemusement I feel when people ask my why I never had kids. I’m like, well how the fuck would I have done that? I know, everyone around me is and was and does, so I guess I’m interpreting it all differently somehow. I would definitely have a kid in Hawaii. Even that feels different. It all feels so very very very different, even mentally, even in anticipation. And know that sounds like emotionally jumping the gun, but I was there, and it was so powerful. It was like the feeling of a tangible goals red carpet finally unrolling. It doesn’t even really matter what pans out and what doesn’t. Things will take time. I have enough going on as it is, even if nothing were to change or evolve. It’s all good. “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” “I don’t know, but not here.” Ha! That’s been it. That’s been the problem. “Not anywhere I can think of.” Yeah, my family hasn’t had a lot of vision for nice locales, that’s for sure, and for a lot of us we’re happy enough to hunker down wherever. I haven’t been, but I’ve made my own nest as pleasant as possible, and as portable as possible, as a maladaptation. I didn’t see any of that, though. I honestly didn’t know that about myself.
Well I tell ya what: it’s cold as balls here this morning. The autumn days have been nice, warm in the sun, and I really couldn’t ask for more of this place, at this time. We’re going down to drive and train more on the truck and trailer, today, and that’s as fun as anything on earth, ha! This is all a good reminder that you have to take your own animal preferences seriously, if you want your human faculties to thrive.
I hope Nick and I get to visit with an enormous sea turtle here soon! That would be such a random, perfect blessing. The funniest part of all is that the bugaboos still have no idea what they’re in for. What a big surprise it will be!
Nick is getting rid of all but a tiny assortment of cool-weather clothing. Presumably we’ll still visit people in cold places. I just can’t commit to a purge on that level, though. I’ve gone lots of places people told me were hot and I was like, surprise, I’m cold. If I’m not hot, I’m cold. That’s my biological rule of thumb, apparently. My dad thinks it’s because I’m vegan, but I think it’s because I’m existentially angry at being born in Wyoming and it just getting worse from there lollll. It’s rainy in Hawaii in the winter, which sounds pretty magical. Ah, so close. What a wonderful project.