It starts in two days.
It’s Friday night at 8:30. I’m sitting in the polar bear, that is, the van, in the parking lot of a coffee shop on College Rd. I’m typing this into a word document that I’ll paste into wordpress when I’m done so I don’t have to waste my laptop battery on wifi in the meantime. The windows are down and the van is off, and it’s a reasonable temperature, for me anyway – sometimes it seems like people around here bitch about anything over 75 degrees.
In about an hour I’ll get a call from my sister and meet her halfway between here and Raleigh to pick up my youngest nephew, who’s spending the second-to-last night in the apartment with me. We’ll hit up the beach tomorrow, I wager. Or whatever. He’s cool, so it doesn’t much matter what we do. Tomorrow night he’ll come out and see my band play arguably our most notable show to date. After that, he’ll get taken by my rents back to Raleigh, and I’ll spend my last night for the known future sleeping in an apartment of my own. That night is tomorrow night. Word.
The apartment is a shell and bones, it’s guts are just about scraped clean out. The only thing in my room is the desk (decided to sell it, not having any luck so far), the mattress that’s going in the van when I make the switch, and a box and a half of stuff that doesn’t really belong to me, but that somehow I’ve come to possess. Some of this not-really-mine whoosawhatsit is going home with me mum and dad tomorrow, and whatever’s left, I’ll post a picture of on facebook and hope people claim.
These 1.5 boxes contain a fine assortment- for example, my paddle from a fraternity I once pledged, which, to be honest, doesn’t mean much to me and which I hope to get back to the frat house. Clothing – from tights to sombreros – belonging mostly to women, but for the most part, no, not because of scandal and sauciness (get your head out of the gutter). An electric air pump. Etc. The fact that I could light these 1.5 boxes of other people’s stuff on fire, and maybe every 50th item would ever even get thought of by its owner again, make these beautiful tokens of why, at least for a person in my position, being forced to throw stuff away is awesome. I do not need junk. I’ve given away or trashed so-ho much stuff as I’ve prepared to vanlive. It’s bloody amazing. As I toss thing after stupid thing into the junk boxes, every little slap-twang of “ehhh, but what if I need/want that someday?” recedes into a feeling of freeing myself, sort of like the initial oof of getting your back cracked ultimately leaves you much more relaxed and at ease.
That said, I ought to step off my soapbox. I have quite taken advantage of my storage unit, which contains not just a few of my toys. How minimalist is someone with a surf, skim, and snowboard locked away in an oversized closet?
Still, I’m excited. The van is organized and so, so close to ready. Most of the stuff fits under the bed in plastic storage containers. It’s actually rather neat. And, this morning, for the first time, I used the gym as the start of my day. I rolled out of bed, put on not-super-fresh basketball shorts and t-shirt, walked into the gym with the somber handful of morning-workout type folk, ran a couple miles on the treadmill, and made use of the showers (they are such nice showers for a gym, seriously). Okay, so motion-sensor sinks are infuriating things to try to use when brushing your teeth, but other than that? Bloody awesome. I felt great.
I don’t know how much of this is quick-fading novelty. I don’t know how much is me overdosing on the rush of being weird, or clinging to this self-imposed struggle like to the escapism of a fantasy novel. I don’t know how much is actually me striving for a more enlightened existence, though I’m having fun pretending it’s 100% of it. I’m ready to find out. This Sunday, the experiment begins.