T E A R D R O P VIII: unhitching

Hello Everyone,

This will be my last update for a while. Lola and I are back in New Haven, after a final few weeks on the eastern seaboard.

It was sad unhitching. I really love spending time with the trailer and sitting around it.

In Portland, ME we had a trailer party

Living in the trailer gave the lie to the idea of self-sufficiency, isolation, making it on my own. To shower, to get water, to seat a group of people on a hot day, I had to ask for help. A friend's house or a rest-stop to give me water, a tree on the street for shade, etc. It was a pleasure, like here on the street, to not be self-sufficient.

I felt hesitant when I was grouped with the zealous tiny house crowd, even though I think many of those buildings are very beautiful. "Off the grid" living has a strident flavor, proud of a purported independence that doesn't really exist (and would be unfortunate if it did). Who made the solar panels? The fasteners and panes of glass? The composting toilet? They're only ever (sort of) independent and insulated at a very short time scale and by very selective accounting. In reality, even these tiny buildings are, in their construction, use, and eventual demise, the hardened confluence of much larger systems. This is no different than any other construction.

For me, the thrill of these small structures is in fact that they force honest dependency, in contrast to the big houses that go to great expensive lengths to create a home-as-castle illusion.

Here's a big house that gets to feel like its own world while it's out on the water. Though, if the fuel runs out or if no-one needed shipping containers delivered, the myth of self-sufficiency would quickly come apart.

It feels like most buildings are built to act like cocky twenty-somethings, basing all their accounting on the inevitably inflated ego and tunnel vision one gets from driving a sports car and having a healthy body. All the systems work, all the chrome is shiny, my hair is great, the radio is loud, and I'm going fast right now so please don't bother me, this sexy moment is all there ever was or will be. Unfortunately, these cruisers aren't useful for much more than solo cruising and the inevitable dings and scratches are catastrophic to the shiny paintjob.

So much more pleasant and realistic are the contingent, kind of decrepit places like this kitchen, and they work better, too.

Here it is at capacity, feeding 100.

I tried to let my kitchen feel the same way but it has a long way to go.

One of the great pleasures of this trip was the way the trailer had to take on different personas to fit into all the places its been.

Dry and airy and public in Eastport, ME.

Dark and private and cool in Connecticut.

When I got back to New York, the cat had chased a chipmunk into the toilet where it drowned

That afternoon I found a New Yorker cartoon where two construction workers are looking at the foundations of a big building-to-be and one says "I don't know... Seems like a lot of work."

That was my feeling every time I saw some half-finished or abandoned project, like this load of logs left for someone else to pick up at what was once a parking lot for the Cloud 9 Motel (you can see the Pepsi sign there above the weeds). This was somebody's Big Project, at some point! How much work just to set up that sign! Pleasantly exhausting, imagining all the human scrabbling-around that went into this little nowhere spot.

The truck cab became a very happy and comfortable spot after scrabbling around in it for 7000 miles, and the back evolved a workable natural order, though I'm tired of crawling in over the big black toolbox.

A mirror on the door.

The trailer back on the porch in New Paltz.

out of the rain

More in a little while,

Harper