Midnight in Taos – Part 1
“Hey Duuvy. You remember Campbell, don’t you? Well, he is heading out somewhere in New Mexico to build these wacky homes made out of trash. You should check em’ out”. That was the post coital whisper that started it all.
I was running a cafe at the time. It was in an old warehouse littered amongst an industrial estate turned hip retreat for your average mortgage wielding yuppie with pressed jeans, pressed shirt, pressed time and an unimpressed gaze of longing, Brunswick Australia.
The place was a failed experiment, a tasty one. We wanted to create an environment where humans could gather on one single table, surrounded with food made from a foundation of absolute love and community. A place where everybody feels like they belong, like they are cherished. To leave the ego out of gobbledegook. Just plain old gobbledok, creature of the gods!
Unfortunately, living in an economically dominant inner city community wasn’t the playground for this particular game. This playground preferred games such as; cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, tag as well as the ‘lets run those freaks in the warehouse cafe out of town so we can build multi-million dollar apartments’ game. I don’t like those games. They are the sort of games that separation and division are built upon. Give me kiss chasey and mothers and fathers any day!
Earthships stayed on my mind. Dancing around like a tribal ceremony with no end time but with all the insight and wisdom you would expect. Growing like some kind of malignant tumour, relentless and confronting. Not moving on for any reason beyond moving forward. Was I to stay in this gross experiment, counting each day as though it was one closer to my last? Imagination is more important than knowledge, knowledge is limited. Albert Einstein said that. It really got me thinking. Staying and pursuing a limitation can only bring you to the barb-wired walls of that limitation. You can’t even conceptualise what is beyond that wall without actually climbing it, cutting the wire and flying. Flying like imagination does. Imagination is like the wind, limitless, and it flows through trees, oceans, streams and teens like a plastic bag caught in a hurricane.
As I sit in my favourite red, velvet chair at the back of the cafe, I dream. I dream of laying in the forest of the northern rivers, the wind caressing my body like a lover with a keen eye for the future. That was it! Decision made.
From there it was a systematic chain of events that included but weren’t limited to trashing and abandoning of the cafe, getting engaged, getting unengaged, selling my house and mortgage, driving trucks for the underworld, shattering my elbow and moving to the forest. Imagine it all in a montage with horns playing to accompany the visuals.
So with life quite certainly freed up, I got on my trusty laptop and closed all the open windows, including Facebook. The Earthship Biotecture site becomes easy enough to find, www.earthship.com. Find the section titled ‘Internship and Academy’. I select academy.
Didn’t hear back for a couple of months. Was just living day by day, driving trucks, holding hands, kissing babies when all of a sudden, I got the email. They accepted me. THEY ACCEPTED ME! They accepted me? How did that happen? What did I do to deserve such blessing, such direction. Whatever the reasons be, ol’ stinky Duuvy pants was going to Taos, New Mexico! YEEEE HAAWWW!
Now to break the news gently to the boss man. Here is the more-or-less account of how that went down:
Duuvy – Hey there Tony. You look lovely today. Is that a new gold tooth?…
Shiny Boss man – You’re late again… no.
Duuvy – Yeah sorry about that. Traffic. You know…
Boss man – Ah yes, traffic. That’s true.
Duuvy – So… Do you remember me telling you about the Earthship thing I wanted to do?
Boss man – Yes… (the birth of the seething)
Duuvy – You know how I said I really wanted to do it?
Boss man – Get to the fucking point, you’re already late! (looks at watch, then at truck, then back to watch, then at me, very lustfully)
Duuvy – Well they accepted my application! I leave in January!
Boss man – … I thought you said that you would stay for 2 years. Its only been 4 months. (seethe continues)
Duuvy – Yeah I know but it is the only chance ill probably get. You understand don’t you?
Boss man – (Seethe climaxes then retreats inwards. Still present, just with a nice hat on) Why don’t you postpone it. I’ll pay for your flight.
Duuvy – I cant though, its already done
Boss man – Ok… postpone it (then he walked away)
This understandably left me a little nervous. How was I going to get out of this. Should I get out of it? Succumbing would be easy enough. But what is more important, my safety, my dreams or my contribution to this planet? Besides, I already had the authorities and real estate after me, what’s an extra face at the decapitation picnic going to matter?
It was my friend’s 30th birthday, Benjamin Wild. We would dress up in the kind of clothing that would make Oscar Wilde blush with envy and then go out and paint the town vomit. My friend ‘Iron Mike’ as he is now known and I decided to have a little drunken wrestle. Left swing. Right swing. Right swing. Right swing. Leg flip. Floor. HARD! Hard, hard floor. My forearm had popped right out of my socket and shattered my elbow like a glass cup at an obese Jewish wedding. While I was sitting there with my forearm dangling in the wind I remember thinking, ‘I’m free…. I’m… free! OH MY GOD I’M FREE!! WOO HOO!!!’ Or something along those lines.
I was in hospital for five days and was under the knife for eight and a half hours. The chief surgeon came in afterwards to tell me, “That was up there with the top five most fucked up operations I’ve done all year”, word for word. This was comforting. I called my boss with almost the same amount of giddy joy a woman has when she has been proposed to and is calling her mother to tell her the good news.
Boss man – hello?
Duuvy – Hey, its me
Boss man – Yes,
Duuvy Duuvy – I’m in hospital
Boss man – What?!
Duuvy – Yeah
Boss man – How?
Duuvy – I shattered my elbow, wrestling a Canadian
Boss man – (hysterical girl-like laughter) you are the clumsiest son of a bitch I have ever met! How did you do that?
Duuvy – ….
Boss man – Ah don’t worry, don’t worry. Just see if you can find anyone to replace you… Haha, idiot.
Instead of our business relationship severing off a blade of a hunting knife, we parted ways as misunderstood friends. No hard feelings, mainly good times had.
The doctors told me that I would need at least 9-12 months to recover. The Earthship Academy was in 5. My heart and mind replied, ‘bullsh*t it will take 12 months!” My body replied, “ok”.
So the healing process began with a head full of morphine laced bin juice. The painkillers were harder to deal with than the actual pain. At one point I thought I was being groomed to become a half man, half gun murder machine for the government, encouraged by John Cleese as he confidently urged that it would “be good for the economy”. And with that, the morphine was gone.
I was left with a plaster cast the size of a small bear and the shooting pain the size of a small bear fighting a small bear. It was interesting. The plaster cast eventually turned into a steel brace, which eventually turned into a Sri Lankan lady removing my surgical staples with a staple remover. There is something calming about a woman with an accent, telling you not to hit her while she is pulling metal out of your arm with office equipment. I obliged.
From there I was given stretching exercises to do so I could use my arm again for activities such as pounding tyres and lugging things for the elderly and the un co-ordinated.
I knew that the right thing to do would have been to inform the Earthship crew of my accident. Two things stopped me from doing so.
1. I didnt want to risk limiting my experience out of being labeled ‘the crippled guy’ or ‘el cripplerino’ as well as being treated as though I couldn’t handle the physical intensity.
And 2. I didnt want to limit myself, personally. Giving the injury any balls whatsoever would have let those little doubt gremlins who live in my head, grab onto the steering wheel, slalom through suburbs of uncertain indulgence and smash, head first straight into the failure tree.
So I stayed silent, like a fist to a clench.