Tales of a 21st Century Gypsy

August 17, 2004. Back in the U.S. of A.

Sometimes I feel as if half of my life is spent in logistics. Iíve been back in the USA for almost two weeks and what have I done? Gone through bank statements, sorted out insurance problems, figured out why I couldnít refill a prescription on line, talked to the New Jersey EZ Pass office to find out why my pass didnít work, sent in forms to Booz Allen so Iíll get paid, spent hours on the phone with the IRS to find out how to handle my taxes
this year, went to the doctor, went to the dentist, paid USSEE bills, filed estimated taxes, requested an absentee ballot, argued with my ISP about web space quota, sorted through moldy things in the basement, weeded out things I donít need to travel with, gave away things I donít need at all, got the van inspected, fixed the headlight, got the van reinspected, and packed up to leave again. Itís endless! I wonder how any one has time to do anything in life, with the amount of logistics it takes just to keep going, without ever getting ahead. Though at least this list makes me feel that I must have done something since I got back from Rome.

Itís almost eight months since I stopped having a home Ė though much less time that Iíve actually spending traveling with Matilda. I donít know if Iím supposed to get somewhere with all this, learn something profound, find the meaning of life or the gold at the end of the rainbow. Iíve learned a few things that arenít profound. Being on the road is a nuisance, itís always setting up and taking down. The logistics become troublesome. I want a desk where I can work without having to put everything away whenever I want to drive somewhere. I want to have room to cook and eat without having to first put away whatever else I was doing to make space to chop veggies or put peanut butter on bread. I want to be able to reach whatever I need without having to shift everything else out of the way first. Life in Matilda one those childrenís puzzles where you have to shift the squares to line up the colors, but as soon as you move one square, itís in the way of the next.

I want a few things to be there for me all the time. A coffee house with excellent coffee, electric outlets, and no smoking. A swimming pool. A gym. Unlimited fast internet access, any time of the day. Good public radio stations, and a radio with clear reception all the time. The coffee house isnít really about coffee, though Iíd like it to be good. Itís about having a place to work that feels right, where Iím productive and can write smoothly.

This definitely doesnít add up to the meaning of life. It doesnít add up to much at all. I think at some point Iím supposed to know that itís time to

settle, or find some great revelation out of all this. I have realized one thing. Iím having trouble getting away from the mid-Atlantic. Thereís always one reason after another, I always want to stay around for this or for that. The Arlington County Fair, to visit my sister, see Suzanne when sheís back from Maine, see George while heís in New York, go to Arrowhead, join the family at Thanksgiving. I canít really have it both ways. If I want to live on the road I have to just go, and miss out on all the things that keep me here.

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Iíve been invited to a Sustainable Minerals Roundtable meeting in October, in Salt Lake City. My first thought was, ďhuh?Ē Iíve been out of the loop on that for years. But my second thought was to jump at the chance and take Matilda with me. It would make me go. Get me out of the places I know and off to the places Iíve never seen. Thatís what I told Deborah in response to her invite. Iím sure she thinks Iím nuts. She hasnít replied with the dates of the meeting.