We’ve been on the road now approaching four months and there are a couple of things that Ance and I have found about this route (and world) of ours that are both wondrous and infuriating. We thought we’d put together a little running list of rants.
MONEY AND NOT
Some of the most bizarre places we’ve been through are wealthy resorts and neighborhoods. I am not out to drum some kind of socialist commie political ditty to string up the rich and nationalize the banks for free healthcare – it just seems so incredibly unfair and wasteful.
You can roll through these incredibly wealthy neighborhoods, in West Vancouver, BC and Carmel, CA (for instance), and every car rolling by is a $30,000 dollar BMW or Mercedes, except invariably for the cars and trucks of people that are fixing the multi-million dollar homes, their roofs or windows or doing the intricate landscaping. And, predictably, especially in California, those workers are Mexican.
Now, there is nothing inherently wrong per se with this. However, when you think about how many times you have seen a white person doing the gardening or patching the roof of say a Mexican or African American home, you realize that there is something inherent in our culture and economy the perpetuates statuses largely on perceived racial differences.
Beyond the blatant social divisions, the ugly monuments to wealth – the gated mansions decorated with no trespassing signs and grandiose metal fencing guarding, declaring, proclaiming security cameras protecting green grass and exotic plants with homes that seem to be rarely used – are a testament to humans’ pretensions toward excess that no other creature on the planet seems to pursue or desire.
There, we said it, excess and disparity suck.
MILES UPON MILES OF TRASH
We love people, have that naive trust and faith in the goodness of peoples’ hearts that only the young and hapless can I guess. However, if you travel 10 miles an hour for around 3000 miles the sheer consistency and volume of an unmoving river of trash can be bewildering and insanely angering.
We’re not just talking about the blown out rubber from tires or the broken bits of plastic and glass from carless drivers but plastic bottles of every size shape and content – not just a few filled with most likely piss – whole fast food bags, millions of straws, grocery bags from every store within 30-40 miles ,in certain areas washers and dryers and engine parts, car seats and diapers, snicker, reese, almond joy, you name it candy wrappers, plastic wraps for cigarettes and doughnuts and condoms, endless trails of orange cancerous butts, whole boxes of miller lite and coors and pabts and actual good beers and their bottles and cans, spray bottles of paint and cleaners and toothbrushes and underwear and pant legs, empty cans of corn and beans and syrupy fruit snacks, pudding cups, chip bags, whole reams of hundreds of useless phone books and fliers and posters and receipts and ribbon and balloons and baking tins, plastic cake platters, forks, knives, spoons and broken grocery baskets and carts, TVs, radios, beds and box springs, smashed cellphones and headphones and CDs, ice cream wrappers, plastic oil cans and rags…
Thousands, literally thousands of miles of trash on a massive sacrificial tabernacle to our gods of sloth, disgust and carelessness. A messy deadly feast for every winged character and rodent that will probably find itself dead either from the trash or the wheels speeding through.
There we said the obvious. Trash sucks.
TOLIET PAPER PATCHES
Our daughter reads a book quite often called Everybody Poops. She loves that book for some reason and while it seems easier to talk about children’s bowel movements and their mastery of toiletry use, we rarely mention that adults on the road seem to have some pretty poor etiquette.
I am just going to leave it at this – we know everybody’s gotta go somewhere and pulling into a turnout with no toilet can be a drag. But, please, take your toilet paper with you or throw it away. We’ve been in plenty of out of the way places where whole hillsides and sheltered spots in the woods are just a wavering field of white flags. Even better, try and bury your natural movements AND take your paper with you.
FAST DUDES/DUDETTES WITH CARS
Dude with the gray convertible BMW wearing that powder purple button up with the brown blazer screaming down California 1 – slow down and stop honking at people that happen to be taking up some space on the highway. Wherever you need to get isn’t getting any further and while ripping around corners in your German car is probably pretty bomber, slowing down for 4 or 5 seconds to get around us shouldn’t ruin your day or mine.
Similarly, lady driving the white Mercedes SUV above Santa Cruz, honking, donating the finger and obviously screaming inside your luxury cabin at our placement on the side of the road, chill out. Maybe your day was a real pisser but blowing your anger load on us doesn’t do anyone any good. Best to you.