The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 47
I was amazed, everyday, that I lived where I lived. To the south, the mountainous northern boundary of Joshua Tree National Monument just a half mile away; to the east, an uninterrupted 50+ mile view of rolling high desert valley and to the north, sand hills then low gray mountains beyond the hills.
But to the west, just 50 yards from my studio/gallery and bordering my dirt driveway, the trailer park. A real eye sore. Visitors—even UPS delivery drivers—bitched about it. And they weren’t off the mark in doing so. The way it looked spoke to the broken down, twisted nature of its inhabitants. And their dogs.
Dogs in a trailer park.
I got to know Rick, the lead guy at Animal Control, real well as a result. He was a good guy to know. All law. No bullshit. As in: “You’re allowed two dogs max. The others you either get rid of within three weeks or you hand over to me. Plus, there are leash laws and barking ordinances. You aware of that? Break ‘em and I’ll take you to court and fine your ass. Got it?”
‘Course, he was talking mainly to alcoholics and meth heads and inbreds, people with sixth grade educations who, IF they got it, were used to spending 30 in county anyhow. When they finally did begin to get it, sort of, it was I, their neighbor in the nice house—the guy who called Animal Control to begin with—who was the bad guy. And not just the bad guy but the non-Christian, pedophile, dog murderer next door.
Yeah. I actually had the cops show up once because some TV brainwashed trailer park fellow had seen me with my video cam and determined I was filming his kid riding around on an uncorked 2-stroke dirt bike and assumed, naturally, that I wanted to rape the kid. I told the cops: “Yeah. I WAS filming the kid. I was collecting evidence so that you could bust the little asshole on noise and exhaust and dust pollution charges.”
The cops ran a make, then laughed: “They also think you’re poisoning their dogs.”
Now I laughed. “Of course they do,” I said.
Still, the trailer park was clear evidence that I’d failed. It haunted me. I’d made a very stupid wrong turn somewhere and though I knew when and where, knowing couldn’t undo it. Yet, had I NOT made that wrong turn…
I knew things only one other person I’d encountered knew. And he knew more than I. And we knew the things we knew because we’d broken from society, tested our physical and spiritual limits and survived.
I’d done it through self imposed homelessness and poverty. Jones had done it through similar, all-or-nothing gambles and Tao-esque spontaneity.
And we’d met out here, of all places.
So, if failure in terms of money or social status or possessions lie to the far right of the spectrum, success to the far left, Jones and I existed somewhere outside the spectrum itself.
On good days.
When my cats were kittens I’d let them crawl up my clothes till they were at shoulder height. Then, to avoid screwing up the canvas I was working on, I’d slowly kneel, rattle my head around and go: “Wugga bugga bugga!” They’d leap off and I’d say: “OK, kids, you win. Let’s play!”
As adult cats they walk as if stalking invisible lizards on dry, single pigment canvases placed flat on four bricks above the concrete floor as I search for objects to layer atop the surface.