OpHippie: the Situational situation

OpHippie: Mackenzie Beach Sunset

OpHippie: Mackenzie Beach Sunset

So maybe living off the grid with a bunch of unpredictable hippies in a cabin named after Jean Lafitte’s pirate hideout in the middle of nowhere at the End of the Road (literally, there is only one road in and no roads out except the same damn one, backwards) near a place known as Tuff City wasn’t the most stable of choices.


From the Department of Did Not See That Coming:

After a year and a half of my good friend Shahee making a (very!) modest living trying to get the Symbiosis Ecovillage going on the property known as Poole’s Land, the property owner has decided to pull the plug. The property itself has been for sale the entire time, and one gets the feeling he’d just as soon sell it to one guy who already has the money as wait around for a spontaneous group of moneyed hippies to somehow manifest and unite, Transformers-style, into a single twinkle-fingered ConsensusBot which somehow has three quarters of a million dollars.

Which is down from the two million price tag I’d heard about a couple of months ago.


The upshot is, we can all stay and carry on as usual except that working for Michael, the property owner, suddenly outranks working for Symbiosis in our daily Workshare regimen, because it is now not going to be Symbiosis. That, I’ll remind you all for lo, all of you except those in inherited houses are working far more to keep yourself housed, is two hours a day working at various tasks from keeping the common areas clean to shoveling the humanure composting bins out to spreading broken tiles in the potholes (with the result that our potholes have rainbow auroras and look like they were made by Dale Chihuly at a Greek wedding) and the like. So now, all the long term planning tasks are gone, replaced by “let’s get this place in shape for summer short term campers” tasks.

Which is not simply a change of labour, but also a significant change of direction and thinking.

All of this, combined with the fact that Shahee, the one who convinced me that moving here was a good idea, is probably leaving to find work, has brought things rather to a head. Into my head. Which is already pretty crowded and busy, if you ask me.

Yesterday P left. He’s a wacky, cheerful, tall, blond surfer with a part-time job at the gas station and a habit of materializing at the most improbable times simply to hang out in silence for an hour, then leave, calling the experience “peachy” and wishing me “a beautiful experience today,” accompanied by the prayer hands and little bow gesture that probably has a proper yoga name that I don’t know.

Today S was raging, or as close to raging as a man who is constitutionally incapable of rage can be, about how he came here and stayed here not because he wanted to camp in the swamp and be a hippie, but because he wanted to be living rough now and working to build something for his future, so that by the time he’s 26 or 27 he’ll have a place to live, and he’ll have built it with his own hands. And who’s to tell the man he does not have that right? But he can’t do it here; he’s now too busy weeding the kale fields and hauling lumber to clear the campsites, to say nothing of not, you know, actually owning the land.

So here I am, having received (at a guess, but I’m pretty goddam good at guessing) $500 worth of gifts and cash (returned $200 because YAY, had gotten a brief paying gig!) from a handful of generous souls who wish me well on this adventure and want to support it, and having spent a great deal of my own money to get to the place and equip it (rather glad I didn’t spring for my own axe, thank god), I am now wondering whether to chuck it all in.

This ecovillage is dead. Long live the ecovillage.

Symbiosis will carry on. It just won’t live here. And that’s actually okay, because here, objectively speaking, is 17 acres of swampy rainforest with a protected salmon stream and within the town limits, so subject to building codes, thus ruling out pretty much any structure you could really call an “earthship.” Which is what ecovillages are generally made of, not abandoned Chevy vans circled like musk oxen against predators.

Now, the question becomes do I tag along with Shahee, should he bolt, and land in some other ecovillage, or on the property of an obliging hippie type looking to ecovillage-ize? Even though I don’t actually have a bus or even a tent? Or do I close the Grand Experiment and truck all this sophisticated camping gear back to The Big Smoke, where I have nowhere to live and couldn’t afford it if I did? Or do I sit tight, work on my Secret Project (Oh, I didn’t tell you about the Secret Project? THAT’S BECAUSE IT’S A SECRET!), get my healthcare and paperwork and ID up to date, get a driver’s license, continue to talk to S2 about a work/trade for the bus she has for sale, convert the bus like Shahee‘s into an incredible mobile home, and save money until the passport comes in, as was the Whole Original Plan in the First Goddam Place?

Well, is it really a question?

Any situation, however chaotic, that I am already in is always my default choice as compared to any new situation unless the new situation comes with paid-up housing that includes deep bathtubs suitable for hours-long soaking, and that is simply a fact. I often say of myself that I’d put more effort into avoiding crises if I didn’t take such pride in my ability to cope with them, to which the friend who knows me best said, “That is the most self-aware thing you’ve ever said.”

This preference for stasis will no doubt come as a surprise to most of you who are familiar with my rather adventurous-seeming lifestyle, but then most of you didn’t see the mildew on the apartment that I’d hung on to for thirteen years. As long as I have a place to come home to I’m perfectly content to go to some crazy dangerous places on day trips, or even overnights, provided there’s wifi, I assure you.

So. Sunrise. Sunset. Sunrise? I’m still about 10% on the fence, but for now it looks like I’m staying.

But it definitely looks like I won’t be giving this blog URL to the landlord.

PS: for what it’s worth, the rainbows are still following me.  All the way from Port Alberni, in fact. I hope it’s a good sign.

OpHippie Rainbow means pot AND gold at the end? What if I don't like pot? Can I just get a nice Guatamalan poncho instead?

OpHippie Rainbow means pot AND gold at the end? What if I don’t like pot? Can I just get a nice Guatamalan poncho instead?

Au Revoir, Vangroover

ma thuggie, yo. straight up awesome

ma thuggie, yo. straight up awesome. o g

So there I was with money in my pocket (or my backpack, or my bag, or maybe in my other pants, my debit card…somewhere; but there it was) for once.

There=Downtown Vancouver.

I’d gone downtown after two months of house-sitting in the leafy, unconfined confines of South Hill. It sure is peaceful there; the rowdiest the neighborhood got was when there was a dispute about a cricket game in the park out back. The biggest problem I experienced was deciding if the cat was rubbing up against me because she wanted food, or because she wanted me to clean the litterbox. I basically did nothing except cook (I ate the pasta puttanesca from this cookbook every meal for four days running, it was that good) develop a crush on Bobby Flay by watching Food Network 24/7, and hardly changed out of my Thuggie the whole time except to (very occasionally) shower.

Glamorous, it was not.

So, on payday I wander downtown to pick up my mail and get there a mere ten minutes after the main post office has closed, which is one-half hour earlier than ANY OTHER GODDAM POST OFFICE in the world, so. Fuck.

Now what do I do? Without my MooCards. Without my new Wikileaks tee shirt. Without my bills.

Oh. I guess I’ll find a way to go on.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a glam-deprived blogger in possession of a decent paycheque must be in want of a Chanel makeover, so that is what I got, along with a LARGE bottle of Chanel 19 for which I have been pining for years, and my very first truly grown up red lipstick. Yes, extravagant, but I hadn’t been paid in close to three months, so it qualifies as a necessary act of Salvation Armani. As I said to the makeup artist, if you can’t find a good red lipstick that suits you at Chanel, where can you? And good luck trying to find, let alone deal with, the bio-contaminated, sticky testers at the drug store.

But I still had some money left, so obviously I had to go, like the guy in the nursery rhyme, to Market. To Market. Where I ran into my friend Hez and the cadre of Hezbians who run the bar there. Jay Jones, bar superstar and officially Canada’s Best Bartender, bought us a round, which is something that happens all the time to people who have money and not frequently enough to those who do not. Spot prawn sashimi, three cocktails, and a small pizza took care of some more of the extra weight in my wallet, and then I staggered back to the DTES to catch the 12:30am bus to Casa Metro.

My pal Hummingbird604 came down to the bus station to hang out at McDonalds with me and see me off, and it’s a good thing he did, even though his first remark was, “What happened? You look like a girl!” I explained about the makeover and made the now-obligatory bus joke about being eaten by a mentally ill cannibal somewhere in Northern Manitoba, and obviously that angered the gods, for they had a surprise for me.

In the lineup an obviously mentally ill man took a liking…no, a loving…to me and decided I was the most glamorous creature he had ever seen.He would not leave my side, although it meant cutting off 30 people in the line. He would not stop standing too close, staring too hard, asking sincerely if I were a celebrity and coming thisclose to asking me to run away to Toronto with him.

Must have been the lipstick.

In any case, I was pretty sure it was going to be difficult to shake this new Klingon, so we subtly conspired to let him get ahead of me in line. That way he’d choose a seat and I’d choose another one, instead of me choosing one and him plopping down beside me, as he’d apparently decided the gods had decreed must happen.

Enter the bus driver.

I hadn’t particularly noticed him, but he did notice what was going on, and while he did his best to discourage this poor, rootless fellow about taking the bus all the way to Toronto (even though he got a ticket for less than $200 somehow) without any luggage or anywhere to go there, he eventually had to let him on. Then he turned to me and said, “Ma’am, can I ask you to do me a favour?”

“Sure,” I replied, thinking (with inner groanage of a severe nature) maybe it was to keep an eye on the guy so he didn’t wander off at some podunk gas station and get eaten by coyotes or something.

“Can you sit in the front seat? I like to pick and choose who I put there.”

Can I? Could I? You BET I could. Sure, it was a night run, and sure, the reading lights don’t work in the front seat, but just as surely I’d managed to pack my books all in the luggage that I’d checked, and not in my backpack, so it was all good; I wasn’t missing anything. I spent a Klingon-less five hours looking out the panoramic windows and looking forward to soaking out the road stress in the infamous hot tub, which I had put on Foursquare when I was up here in January.

And what’s new with you lately?

The view from Ruralopolis

The view from Ruralopolis. The ACTUAL view.

What I’m Missing: in Yellowknife this week

The Long John Jamboree.

This is what it looks like, according to FranH on Flickr. They may only have a couple of hours of sunlight, but that’s two more than we’re getting in Vancouver right now. I STILL regret not seeing any competitive tea boiling when I was up there (what? WHAT? It’s a THING, I’m telling you).

American Indians reclaim Zuccotti Park at Occupy Wall Street

The Greedy Eagle Casino by IndigFlygirl

The Greedy Eagle Casino Grand Opening by IndigFlygirl

We at the ol’ raincoaster blog salute our First Nations brothers and sisters of the West Village Band of Zuccotti Indians as they proudly reclaim their ancestral territory.

And promptly put a casino on it.

“Hit me!”

“No, that comes later.”

This may be the funniest, least PC thing I’ve ever posted. Should be good for at least one flamewar with some White Liberal Guilt-Having Vegan. Hey, don’t blame me, blame the 1491’s! Blaming the Natives: we should have perfected it by now!

Sunrise over Condorizon, Yellowknife

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This was two house-sits ago, out in what I called Buttfuck Nowhere, which it is if you don’t have a car, and I don’t. Also known as New Newfoundland, for the influx of Newfies: such an influx that the local grocery store carries big white plastic pails of “beef navels”. Those are actual beef navels, not some kind of seagoing bovine, because it’s a popular food in Newfoundland, or so I surmise from the fact that the bucket has a map of such on the label. I found a recipe for beef navel pastrami, but otherwise I’m not sure what you do with them.

While I was out there, housesitting at a far too nice place on a perfectly ordinary road surrounded by condos, Walmarts, and Tim Hortonses in all directions, I decided to take the garbage out. In the middle of the night. Well, normally who cares, right? Only on my way back from the dumpster I saw something move under a car, something doggish-size, and being from Vancouver and used to raccoon and skunks and coyotes and such, I just made growling “giddoudahear” kind of noises and something shot off into the brush.

A lynx.

I knew a woman from William’s Lake who used to go out hunting grizzly bears in the woods, just her and her two bear dogs (the kind they tell the white people are extinct, but aren’t). The only thing in the wilderness that scared her was the lynx: apparently they’re just as crazy and aggressive as wolverines, and will attack pretty much anything.

So yeah. Even taking out the garbage can be a bit of an adventure up here.