About that time a man and woman stopped at my table. The man was quite a bit younger than the woman, who was probably ten years older than I am. They looked at some of my jewelry and tried to pick up a necklace with a pendant I made from a skull carved out of yak bone and amethyst beads. The necklace was pinned to the cloth wrapped around the trunk of the “tree” to it wouldn’t blow away. When I offered to unpin it, the woman said they would go look at the Gorge, than come back and shop. I thought that if they bought the necklace, I would go home. (Home being my friend J’s place, where I am house and cat sitting.)
They came back from the Bridge, and I unpinned the necklace.The woman held it up to the guy’s neck, and before I could grab my mirror so he could see how it looked, he decided he didn’t want it. They looked at some other things. We talked about the wind, how it had been blowing hard all day. They admired my work. The woman asked where I lived, and I said, In my van, because it seemed too difficult to explain my complicated living situation to them. (Well, right now I’m house sitting, and I do that as much as I can, and there’s a trailer on my sweetheart’s property that I stay in when I’m out there, but it’s 40 miles from here, so when I’m working, I sleep in my van at night…) The woman got a really startled look on her face and did not seem to be thinking (as many people do), Cool! You get to travel around and see the world. I told them I live simply and don’t need a lot of money.
They walked away from my table. I told my friends selling next to me that I’d thought I was going to make the sale, and it was a bummer those people hadn’t bought the necklace.
Not five minutes later, a car pulled up right in front of my table. When the window rolled down, I saw it was that man and woman I’d just been talking to. The man was driving, and he asked if I provided car side service. I said sure, and saw that he was holding a bill in his hand. He said he’d decided to take the necklace. I grabbed it for him and was going to say, Where else can you get smoked yak bone? Before I could make my little weak joke, he said, We feel for your situation. I think I said, Oh while handing him the necklace and taking the twenty dollar bill. He said, Not like it’s a tragedy…It’s paradise right? I think he realized how awkward what he said sounded to me. (I don’t know what my face looked like.)
I wonder which part of my situation they are feeling for. The situation of living in my van? The situation of being in relentless wind all day? The situation of living simply and not having lots of money? And what is it that they feel about my situation? Pity? Envy? Astonishment? I’ll never know, but I can guess.
After that I packed up. I’m at J’s place now. The cat is fed. Rice is cooking and when it’s done, I’ll add beans and green chiles and cheese and have myself a dinner. It’s a good life, despite the wind, despite the fact that money is slow right now.
Today I traded a necklace for a pin with a Grateful Dead dancing acid bear on it. The guy I made the trade with is 24, on the road, trying to see every state in the U. S of A. The pin was special to him, but he liked the necklace made with green and black hemp and a serpentine pendant so much he made the trade and excitedly had me put the necklace on him, even though he doesn’t usually wear necklaces.
It’s a good life. I get to meet people from around the world and no boss, nobody tells me what I have to do. I make my own decisions. I decide to stand in the wind and look at the mountains.
To read about more customers, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/09/26/turtle-ass/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/10/red-letter-day-2/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/11/12/hard-times-on-the-highway/ here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/14/mean-daddy/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/03/17/how-much-are-these/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/09/selling-hemp-again/
I loved your story so much! Now that I’m not a desert virgin anymore, I could actually relate to the scene you painted. I could feel that wind and see the tablecloth flapping like a sail in the Americas Cup. (Do they flap?) And, as so often I am nonplussed by interactions I have with people over just about anything (my rusty communication skills these days, I’m pretty sure), I related to your recounting of the car-side service exchange.
Thanks for inviting me into your world; it makes me happy!
Will you be posting some photos of your jewelry for sale?
I will write about my jewelry work and post some photos soon. Thanks for the suggestion.
Yep,,,been there… they flap….miss everything except the wind. I’m waiting for….lonely tail lights, brilliant stars …..
I don’t miss the wind either!
I just added a photo of The Bridge. Now you can see where I was working.
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Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us
so I came to take a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’mbook-marking and will
be tweeting this too my followers! Superb blog and wonderful style and design.
Thanks to the person in your Myspace group who shared my blog. I’m glad you are enjoying my writing and have bookmarked it. I don’t do Twitter, so thanks for tweeting on my behalf. And thanks for your comment.
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What a beautiful writer you are. I’m really enjoying these stories from the road. I hope someday you will sell these to a magazine, or make it into a book with pictures.
Thank you, Sarah, for the compliment on my writing. It means a lot to know you enjoy my work.
I would love to sell my stories to a magazine, Sarah, but I’m not sure who would buy them. I need to do more research, but I’m kind of wiped out for time. Working, writing, scheduling blog posts, doing life maintenance (shopping for food, cooking, cleaning up, doing laundry, etc.), sleeping, and maintaining relationships pretty much takes up all of my time. If anyone knows a magazine that might want to buy some stories, please let me know.
As far as a book, I have at least a couple more to write. Again, time constraints. Also, adding photos to a book is a whole ‘nother ball of wax!
In the meantime, you can check out my book Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods.It’s a collection of essays I wrote about my time as a camp host in a remote mountain location. Amazon offers it in both paperback and as an ebook. If you click on the Confessions of a Work Camper link at the top of this page, then click on the image of my book, that will take you to Amazon. Anything you put in your cart from there will earn me a small advertising fee. Every little bit helps keep me on the road!