Monday, February 24, 2014

Handstands

There are times when I sincerely do not know what to do next. I have been following my gut instinct for the past week and it had been thrilling and rewarding. I feel the tug to do something and I act upon it, simply because I have no other options. Now, I sit and try to listen and I am not getting any responses.

Last night, I slept on the floor of a new friend's dormitory. I slept soundly. I woke up the next morning for a prospective job working in a food truck. I had an interview, and the manager said that they wanted to try me out for a day as a cashier in their truck and see what to do from there. 

I had mixed feelings about this. I now have $278 dollars in my bank account, thanks to Etsy (and all of you XOXO). $250 of it is strictly "Back Up Plan" money, money that I have reserved for the sole purpose of high tailing it back to California to write the book. 

I arrived at the food truck lot thirty minutes early and checked in with myself. I sat motionless for thirty minutes straight, trying to figure out what I was trying to accomplish in Austin. My gut told me to walk away, and I did. I botched my opportunity to have paid work in Austin. 

What thinking in Austin, Texas look like. 

I am planning the journey home. A career in Austin, working out of food trucks is not what I was looking for. I was looking for a place to figure things out. A lot of the people I have met on my trip asked me what I was up to in Austin, Texas. The most sincere answer I could give them was "I'm fuckin' around." 

One of my friends sent me a message through Etsy that said: "Please succeed. I need to know that it is possible to just drop everything and end up fine." 

You quite possibly will die. I have heard stories about people getting decapitated on Greyhound buses. I have friends who have been mugged. Every day I see homeless people and it scares the shit out of me because I know there is a great possibility that things will NOT end up great and I am not in control of anything that happens to me.

But if I am going to be completely honest, I would rather take that risk than not at all. I would rather do crazy shit on the daily just to see what happens then to sit at home browsing Facebook. I blame testosterone and too many movies as a child. But to fail is a part of trying, etc. etc. I would rather go to Austin, Texas and realize that I needed to go home than to never go to Austin, Texas and always daydream about what it would have been like if I tried.

THINGS I HAVE LEARNED:

  • I need to go back to school. I have a new-found appreciation and understanding of why I was going to college. We hear it all the time "College is a tool that needs to be used correctly, blah blah blah" and I know for a fact that I was using it incorrectly. To return to school with focus I think is going to save me a lot of money and time. 
  • Be kind to everyone, be patient in your search of true friendship. Part of my mission was to try and be more social and to meet more people. I thought that there was something wrong with me, that I was just too awkward and weird to connect with anyone, so I thought "If I go to a new city, I will be forced to learn how to be friendly and I will make tons of friends." True, and not true. I met a ton of people, but I realized that not everyone has the capability of being my friend. I thought there was a recipe to connecting with people. There isn't really. Some people will understand you, some won't, and it takes time to find these people. I once asked my dad if there was a magical formula to social interaction. He shook his head. "It's always going to be weird. Social interaction, by nature, is one of the weirdest things ever." 
  • Wandering is humiliating. Everyone please read this article. http://www.theonion.com/articles/im-just-a-free-spirit-who-is-entirely-financially,33905/. This is how I feel on a daily basis. I am by no means "independent". I am at the mercy of the kindness of others. There are only so many times you can say "thank you" and to save my pride I have made sure that I have stayed in a different place every night so I don't put up the appearance of freeloading (even if this is EXACTLY what I am doing). Realizing how much it sucks to be pathetic and penniless it a huge motivating factor to return home, to continue my education, and to be a fuckin' lion instead of a leech. 
  • Being Twenty One Is Awesome. I am young enough to pass unnoticed through college campuses, buses, and dormitories. Almost everyone is willing to help you. The man in the golden scarf was right: it would be impossible to pull off half the shit I did this week if I was thirty five. I cannot stress this enough: THERE ARE SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. IF YOU ARE SO INCLINED, TRAVEL BEFORE YOU ARE OLD. The Pro and Cons list of being young and traveling is lopsided and unnecessary. Do it now. Disclaimer: Even though you are young, you still may die. Happy trails! 
That's it. I don't mean to be preachy, but a lot of this is new to me. I set out to learn things and I think this covers it. A lot of these are no-brainers, things that are like "of course you should know this, we've heard it a thousand times" but I learn by doing, and I plan to be that way for the rest of my life.

Sigh. I get excited and get lost in my thoughts, so I am going to leave you with this.

Last night I was in a car driving through the desert from Houston back to Austin. Apparently it is tradition to stop at a gas-station halfway through these towns, so we stopped at a Shell station to use the bathroom and to buy snacks. It was about 10:00pm and outside in the dimly lit parking lot, one of my friends did a handstand and walked on his hands. 

This is the most beautiful thing. To do midnight handstands between towns. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Back Up Plan

A text conversation from last night. 

Erin: How are you? 
Me: Afraid, excited, hustlin' hard. 
Erin: Turn that fear into motivation. Think Batman. 
Me: Fuuuck, I think about the pit scene from the Dark Knight Rises EVERY DAY. 
Erin: Why do we fall Master Bruce? 
Me: Remind me. 
Erin: So we can learn to pick ourselves up. 

I have spent the past three days applying for jobs, doing job interviews, and so far I have heard nothing. I get about two hours of public library use a day, and then I scavenge around, meeting people and eating until I find a place to stay at night. My money is dwindling. 

I did some math. I can survive unassisted for about two more days, more if I find a place to crash. Unless I hear back from jobs, I'm going to have to take the fall and come back home. 

The problem is, in order to to get home, I am going to need at least $300 for Greyhound and food. 

So here is the plan. 

Quite literally, THE BACK UP PLAN. 

On Etsy I have a link for a book that is being written. It will be finished, scouts honor, by March 31st if not sooner. It's $10 for purchase, shipping FREE. 

If I sell 30 of these future-books, I will have enough money to pay for a Greyhound Bus and a couple lunches. If I sell 50, I can buy reams of paper and postage as well. 

HERE'S THE DEAL: If a) you want to help me get home if things turn sour and b) you want a copy of a book with the entire, unabridged story of the Austin Mayhem Adventure, you can do BOTH by buying the book for $10 on Etsy. 

A couple points: 
  • If you don't believe that I'm going to write the book
  • If you think it's a shitty investment 
  • If you think I am going to misuse the money
  • If you think this whole idea is DUMB 
THEN DON'T BUY THE BOOK. I don't want to hear your sass. Just don't buy the book. 

BUT, if you like my blog, if you want to help me get home, and you like art and people who make original content, and you want to know what HAPPENED, then by all means, please buy the book. 

SITUATION A: If I get a job and successfully support myself, you STILL GET A BOOK BY MARCH 31st.

SITUATION B: I don't make enough money and have to make awkward phone calls to get home. I am ashamed and broken. YOU STILL GET A BOOK BY MARCH 31st. 

SITUATION C: I die. You might get a book. This situation is really the wildcard of the bunch. 

Please share this link and let's see if we can make this happen. No matter what, you are paying $10 and YOU ARE GETTING A BOOK. 

[Also, if you are a super-fan by all means buy two or three. I will send you as many copies as you buy, and the more you buy the quicker I raise my "Get Home" funds]. 

The link for the book is HERE: 

Also here is a photo of the cover I just designed on Pixlr in this urine-soaked public library:
 

Spread the word. Let's make art and shit. 

Here's to making the jump without a rope, and to picking ourselves up again, and ALSO to my sister Erin Miller who drops more wisdom than Alfred Pennyworth EVERY DAY. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sheer and Utter Insanity

My hometown employers will be upset. Actually, if I had to guess, they are very upset right now and wondering why I haven't showed up for work all week. Starbucks called me and asked me if I crashed my bike. I said no, I was having a personal emergency. Which was very very true.

On Sunday before work, I went to Peets for an afternoon latte.

All the seats were taken. I was about to leave when a man in a golden scarf said to me "Here, sit here." He offered a seat at his table. I sat down and drank my coffee and we talked for a bit.

"So what do you do?" he asked as he picked at a roast beef sandwich.
"Um... I'm a waiter at a Japanese Restaurant. And a barista at Starbucks."
"No, no," he said, "What do you want to do in the grand scheme of things?"
We got into talking about mind and body, life and purpose, and he concluded saying "You live in an exciting time. You're young. You can do anything. No obligations. It's so eeeasy for you to travel," he finished his sandwich and licked his fingers. "That's my one regret. I didn't travel enough when I was your age. Your mind is expanding right now, and you need to use it!" he began picking up the crumbs of the sandwich with his fingers. "If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?"
I thought for a moment. "Austin, Texas."
The man laughed. "There you go! Austin, Texas. What's stopping you from packing your bags and going right now?"
"I have two jobs," I said.
"Psh," said the man. "For kids your age, jobs like that are a dime a dozen. I am sure if you went to Austin you could find work. You're smart, you're friendly-" he gathered his napkins. "- you could make a living for yourself in Austin, Texas. WELL! I have to go. I'm already late."
"It was a pleasure talking to you," I said. "I guess I'll see you around."
"I hope not," said the man, and he left.

I sat at the table alone for ten seconds before what happened next.

I rode my bike home, packed my backpack, took all the money I had stashed away in my drawers, and biked to the bus stop. I did not go to my scheduled shift at Starbucks.

After a brief stop in Santa Cruz and 48 hours of bus travel, I arrived in Austin, Texas. I have been here for two days now and I already have a novel's worth of shit that's happened to me. As some of you might have seen on Facebook, I MET JASON SCHWARTZMAN. I was just walking down the street, looking for food, and I see JASON SCHWARTZMAN across the street. I got his autograph, had a short but pleasant conversation, shook his hand, and went on my way. Apparently he was in town shooting a movie called "Seven Chinese Brothers"  (more on that here) with Bob Byington, who was also with him when I ran into them. I met up with some friends later and tried to express to them how exciting it was that I met JASON SCHWARTZMAN, but no one seemed impressed. "Yeah, that's Austin" was a common response.



Where the f**k am I?

Since I've been here I've been trying to get a job so I don't die. I got my Texas Alcoholic Beverage Certification and my Texas Food Handlers License, so the world is my oyster. I have been applying to restaurants all over town, and so far I haven't heard anything. It's tense, because I am reaching the "point of no return", when I will eventually not have enough money to buy a bus ticket home. And why on Earth would I want a bus ticket home? I need to somehow find a way to survive here and DAMMIT, I'm going to do it.

As for living arrangements, my first night I stayed in a hostel ("Hostelling International - Austin") which was like heaven compared to the bus. I slept soundly in a bed next to a man from Denver who had a pleasant demeanor and unpleasant smelling feet. Last night I managed to use my Facebook connections to find a friend of a friend who lives in Austin, Texas, and I crashed at her place last night. Everyone has been so kind and I am so grateful, but it is time to get a job. ASAP. Or else I quite possibly may die.

This is, of course, a summary of events. I have been taking extensive notes and I know that I will definitely be putting together a book or something to talk about all of my adventures on the Greyhound and in Austin, but for now I think I need to focus on getting that GUAP.

My life is sheer and utter insanity. There are certain things that are very hard to express in a simple blog post, like how everything felt "right" when I left, and how certain opportunities arose and it seemed too perfect to be coincidence. And how much I love Austin so far. I could go on, but I'll save that for the book.