UTOPIA

a dreamscape to manifest the physical

Hidden Indigo

 

My eyes will tell you that I’m indigo
but you’ll  never know
because the Kino Flo
will make it so
it doesn’t show
that my teeth are crooked

Redwing 40

My minimalism mission meant it was time to go separate ways with my sweet Kelty Redwing 40 hiking pack that I got when I was traveling in Vermont. I bumbled around the gorgeous state and then took a long beautiful train ride down to NYC after about a month or so of walking the long country roads (getting chased by viscious cows), watching the leaves change every shade of red, yellow, and amber, and discovering maple everything for the first time. I took my Redwing to many United States, and rocked it especially hard in my grand finale state, Alaska. I traveled with it to Europe for 6 weeks of early winter all over the continent from Ireland to Hungary to Portugal and beyond. It is abundantly roomy and the compression straps can suck it down to feel like a daypack. It fits in the overhead bin of a plane, or under the seat of a train. When I’ve been lucky enough to get both seats on a long bus ride through Western Europe it sits by my side and I’d fall over onto it like a perfectly sized mushy cuddle buddy. Sometimes it was even my pillow on the New York Subway after a long day of urban trekking.

I have discovered that I have a little bit of a bag obsession. As I pare down in my glorious minimalism, I have found that I simply have too many bags. Too many ways to carry and stow and trek. I know this because most things, like my wardrobe, have been a cinch for me to downsize. I hate clothes for the most part. I am too rough and tumble to be fashionable. I get into an overwhelming tizzy when I have to shop for anything fabric related. Forget sewing! Textiles have a mind of their own and I can not handle the way they change form and shape without warning. Give me power tools over a sewing machine any day. I am OCD clean at home but what happens after laundry is washed? I can’t seem to find it in me to simply hang these things on a hanger and be done with the task. I dump the basket on my bed so I am “forced” to put them away before I go to sleep ~ but NO ~ this does not happen. Putting the clothes away simply never happens with ease. Later, tired and ready to go to bed, I grab the heap and throw it on the lounge chair and go promptly to sleep. The next day I am shuffling through the mad pile to dress myself and the shit goes spilling all over the floor. After a few days the dirty is starting to get mixed up with the clean and, DAMMIT, again, Amy?! Anyway, it’s a nightmare. So I promptly got rid of all but a capsule wardrobe in about 4 whole minutes when I decided to do the 100 Thing Challenge and go hardcore minimalist. So now I have no clothes. I have BAGS. Holy Cats! I’m a bag lady! Ummm…

SO. I was having the hard talk with myself and realized it’s time for some tough love. I simply must downsize, even my precious bag collection, for my ever inspiring minimalist lifestyle. As a Tiny House Movement Wannabe, it just makes sense. Less is more! How many hiking bags do I really need? I already got rid of 3 lightweight generic backpacks. Along with this Kelty I still have a North Face pack and my trusty Lowe Alpine that I got in 1990 when I first started hiking and climbing in the Pocono Mountains. Home turf Pennsylvania say whaaaat! I also have a gym backpack, a beach tote, a waterprood gecko swim bag, a messenger bag…needless to say there are many more vessels in my collection.

I’ve had a few things sitting on Craigslist for the past month collecting dust and trolls and I didn’t really feel like dealing with that forum so I decided to try posting it to a local Facebook garage sale page I recently began following. I couldn’t remember what I paid for it, at least $150, possibly $180. I posted it for $50. Then I looked it up and it is selling for new on Amazon for $264, and it’s an older model. Whoa! Did I pay that much? I never did think too much about what I spend on quality outdoor gear. I barely shop as it is so when I do go for a high ticket item it’s usually worth it. Still, even though I bought it in 2012, 4 years ago, all of those trips I took it on tallied to only about 6 months of use. I take great care of my gear. Wiping dust off with rubbing alcohol, shaking out the debris regularly, keeping the excess straps bound neatly to prevent unnecessary wear and tear. I always hang my hiking bags in the closet between uses, all zipped up and compressed, so pretty. I copied the Product Description and Bag Features from Kelty and posted it with a couple of pics. To my surprise I had a nearly immediate hit. A woman liked, commented, and sent me a direct message shortly after I posted. Well, that was fairly easy.

We agreed to meet at a nearby coffee shop the following afternoon. I slept as hard as ever since I’m now doing bricks to train for my first triathlon. I woke up at 5am ready to conquer the to do list and saw the appointment on my calendar to sell my Redwing. I suddenly had a hint of seller’s remorse. Not as much of a hint, really – more of an onslaught. “This thing is in excellent shape,” I thought. “Have I been underutilizing this bag?” “Should I sell the Lowe Alpine instead? The Kelty is newer technology! What am I doing??” I continued to wonder if I was doing the right thing as I dragged myself out of my house to deliver it to its soon-to-be new owner. Maybe she won’t like it. Maybe she will find it awkward. Yet, lo and behold, when I met her, I couldn’t help myself: my REI member-salesgirl persona came tumbling out all over as I excitedly showed her all the cool features. How it was so big and so small at the same time. The trick velcro side pockets that opened up for tent poles or walking sticks. The secret camelback compartment that opened through the top while doubling over enough to still keep the rain out. Comfy, slim straps for the female torso and an external spine that distributes the weight absolutely perfectly. So much back padding! The perfect bedroll straps, the countless carabiner loops on the bottom, the compartments, the top loading ~ OHEMGEE~.

It was a hard break up, but at the end, my knapsack was starting a new love affair. The best part came when she told me she will be using it to hike the Continental Divide!!! All of a sudden, I was ABOUT IT. YES. So much YES. “Prior to the trip, planning, preparation, and training can take anywhere from twelve to eighteen months. The trip itself takes about six months on foot, when averaging 17 miles per day.”** I am grateful to provide something so useful to this woman’s incredible journey and the look on her face told me she was super pumped! Kelly got her Kelty and I am stoked to know this Redwing has many more adventures ahead. Bon Voyage!

**continentaldividetrail.org

8.7.16

I kind-of had a boyfriend but I wasn’t totally sure if it was committed. I was being pretty flaky about the whole thing, not insecure, just still feeling single as I had been for so long.

I ran into another guy that I was meeting for some casual business purposes. He was walking with 2 brown girls. The girls didn’t pay me much mind at first. I was a rare white girl in this ethnic neighborhood so they were just feeling me out. As a humanist and civil rights activist I understood the need for this assessment and took no offense. I made light talk to show I was not a threat nor had any malicious intentions towards them. I was being myself, cracking some jokes and finding common ground, so they soon accepted me and started laughing and loosening up. I was grateful to get to know them more; everyone was pretty funny.

I then moved onto some other location. At some point I was hanging out with another guy and we had chemistry but I wasn’t sure about it so I left like I was going to the bathroom but never came back. I think I meant to come back, maybe, but, again, just following my compass.

Now a third man. This time we really hit off on a deep level. We were having a wonderful time talking about everything under the sun and then we started fooling around. It caught me off guard. We were falling deeply in love. I found out he was much older than he looked. He was worried about that but I thought he was beautiful and we were the same age mentally and maturely. He was financially stable, he was reasonable, sweet, funny. He just seemed perfect. He felt like *my guy*.  In the midst of our tender moment I realized that I was already in a sort-of relationship, and that I had kissed someone else entirely earlier and walked out on him. I suppose I disappeared on both men earlier. I became distraught, thoroughly confused. I ran out, my heart torn in a million pieces, unable to identify the difference between true love and obligation.

8.29.16

Krissy told me she was in town briefly – which town I’m not sure, but I was there too. I met up with her at a diner with a guy named “Ohio”, who was also from Vermont. I met him when I was originally there, and remembered him fondly, but I couldn’t remember his name until she reminded me.

She was distracted, so at first it was hard to catch up – she kept changing topics. But soon it was almost 3 o’clock and she had an appointment so I drove with her through the windy region that was swathed in red dirt dunes. It was a gorgeous drive, like Utah a bit but the landscape was not tall. Perhaps it was more like Mars. We got to the spot where she was going to performing her act – “falling into trash”. I didn’t know what that meant exactly but they were dropping heaps of trash from a helicopter and she was laughing and twirling as it fell around her. She told me she was ready to close the chapter of the past 2 years. Even though she was happy, she was exhausted. She didn’t say what was next. 

My flight was coming up so we had to part ways. I went on my way and “woke up” from the “dream” about seeing Krissy to go do my travels of the day. During this supposed awakened state I found a brochure for a small environmental group that was trying to re-route trash from the landfill. When you opened it, accordion style, there were about a dozen silhouettes of people decorated with shapes that were objects and costumes made from recycled garbage. I glanced through until I recognized her silhouette. I didn’t realize she had been doing this for a cause since it was related to her circus routine. I thought it was just a general performance piece at the time. I never saw the video that they recorded  that day, but it was cool to see this promo brochure and I was proud of her for helping with an important cause.  I was also amazed because I thought I had dreamt the meeting with Krissy and was now awake with this brochure, which meant that I found out about all this in a dream state and it was actually true. So when I woke up for the second time, but the first real time, I was surprised to discover that I had been asleep the whole time. Ha. Well it was good to see you, Krissy. 

6.11.16

I was in NYC last night – meeting amazing people. There were many details, of which I remember none. 

Heaps

Every time I finished a load of laundry, another one appeared in the washer, just finishing. I would pile it into the drier and go to put  dryer sheet in but the box would be empty. Put the laundry in the dryer, look for dryer sheet, missing, exasperated each time as if it were a completely new experience, over and over again. I desperately wanted to leave the laundry room but the cycle was endless.

 

2.11.16

I almost missed the trolley. I was saying goodbye to 2 friends and I didn’t want to leave them. My luggage kept getting moved around. I had a large suitcase, my big black tote with the rainbow handles which was heavy and bulky, and another big backpack. It was hard to carry them all at once. It was impractical to have so much luggage. The first trolley stop was where we started our goodbyes but I realized my luggage was in a building closer to the next stop, so we ran across the city. I finally gathered everything and and we waited for the trolley but we had to stand in this tiny little area that was squeezed against a big wall and I was worried that we were going to get hit/smothered by the trolley because we barely fit in the space, especially with all of my luggage. When the trolley came I realized I didn’t have a token and exclaimed it out loud. A big and gentle woman at a picnic table slid 2 tokens toward me, one large, one small. I tried to decline but she insisted. I tried to take just one but she said it was after 11 o’clock, suggesting the fare increases at certain times. I finally started to climb on the trolley after several goodbyes and the conductor explained that the back section was closed, again because of the time, but the front section where we were allowed was having a technical issue because it kept spinning. This section was like a carousel. Normally they would only rotate if somebody was trying to get off or after people were seated and they needed to access other seats. But now it was stuck rotating pretty quickly and it was a challenge to get onto the spinning seats and try to get all of my luggage up there. I managed to get my large suitcase and the big black bag there but the tote with the rainbow handles was missing. I told the conductor that thought I had it but I left it inside and I’d be right back. She shrugged disapprovingly but allowed me to go so I started running because the building which used to be right there was now down the street through an alleyway with a series of curves and a dirt road with muddy sections and a lot of obstacles for me to tackle. I ran really fast and wondered if I had overlooked the tote, if it was still back by the picnic table or on the trolley all along.  I finally found it and started running back. I could see the trolley in my sights, and the lady at the picnic table. As I ran closer, I could feel the pressure of the trolley about to leave the station. I’m not sure if I even ever made it because that’s when I woke up. 

2.8.16

I was taking my houseboat to overnight camp.  Somewhere in the middle of the 2nd day of the journey, the first half began to sink. I was already out in the open with nowhere to go so I just took my chances to see how far I’d get. I was stunned to wake up in front of the place I was going. I went inside a bunk but the counselor, Jodi P., ignored me while she talked seriously to her kids. She finally recognized me and I asked if I could use the bathroom and get help with the boat. She said no she was too busy. I went back to the boat, downtrodden, and a huge current had come and swept it away. Mars was inside and I was frantic to save him but I didn’t know where the boat went. Rich W. jumped from the bank of the river, said it probably went to the rocks. We swam that direction to no avail. There was a set of bunkhouses in the way so I had to get back on the land to run to the next section of water that he might be in. Rich said he had to leave. I looked at him imploringly and started running up the hill to the next body of water I could get in. I knew the boat was somewhere along the perimeter, it was just very wide and I didn’t know my way around. Still I was determined to figure it out. I ran up the hill. Rich followed. 

1.24.16

I’m not sure of the order of things but I took a taxi ride and left a bunch of change on the roof. In another segment there was a minute girl with a broken leg. I think she morphed from some animal. Then when I was randomly standing with Matt with my bicycle for a time after the taxi ride, she needed help getting somewhere and I was the only option. We had to put her on my piggyback and ride on my bike. Before that though the other guy was really excited to meet her for some reason, like she was some kind of magical being. He was immediately “in” with her, in a non-romantic way, and praised her profusely. That made her question me because I didn’t give her the same praises. She said “you’re not like them. I can tell”. It was stern and cold and I thought she was disappointed and disapproving of me. I know she was a guide, a force, and a her judgment could send me to doom. I tried to assure her that I was a good heart. She thought I didn’t have a clean soul so I let her feel my heart and my neck with her palm to get my energy reading which was a little bit not great at the moment because something weird happened with the workday being too long or I don’t really know why, but I was tired and I was a little bit stressed out and I said “no it’s just been a long day. I’m OK I promise.” Then we went to leave and I had to work hard to get her on my back with the broken leg even though she was really small. She kept landing on the wrong part of my back and I needed her to go higher.  I said, “It’s because I’m sure they need you to be a pirate. Go around my waist”. She kept throwing her legs below my hips and sliding lower. I finally got on the bike. I went to get on the bicycle with her on it. The mounting was going to be tricky and the cabdriver came back. My money was still on the top of the roof except this time he said that I needed to get set up on a waiting list and then he would come back. So I started to do that and then another driver showed up and I explained to him what he was doing, that he kept coming back for gas but wouldn’t take the passengers. I knew the passengers inside because they were the same passengers that were inside and got dropped off last time I had taken a taxi ride. At some point I was also a snake. I was in a room and a man had a snake that he trained but it was still pretty wild. He kept it in the little foyer next to me while he prepared it for whatever he was about to do, and then he had to let the snake go until the snake tipped. When it would stand straight up he sprayed some kind of solution on it with a spray bottle. The snake saw me peeking around the corner at him. He was fine for a while, as long as I was very still and slow, but then I was sitting on a bed or a couch behind the door and I saw that he had noticed me too much so I tried to hide my leg and I shifted a little bit so that he couldn’t see me anymore. That made him upset and he came into the room where I was and started moving like he was going to bite me. I kept saying “take him take him away before he bites me get him get him away from me”. I was really really scared. I was trying to keep my heart rate low like when I was swimming with the shark but it was really hard. Then the snake keeper told me that he’d already bitten someone. That did happen with the man in front of me but I never saw it. He said that the snake chose to bite that other person instead of me. He was trying to show me that he wasn’t going to bite me but I couldn’t believe it.

1.22.16

I went to a pizza shop and ordered a pizza. It took 45 minutes. I accidentally got in the car with the driver who was taking a group home. They ended up at a party. The driver went to get something from his house. He was Czech and I liked him a lot. When he got there the electricity was shut off and this made him fall asleep. 

Finally was able to get him on the phone but we were gone for an hour or 2 and I was very upset. I hadn’t eaten and I left my wallet on the table at the restaurant when I went to the counter to see if they put my order in. I called and asked them to hold it until I got back but I didn’t know if they ever retrieved it from the table before someone else got it. When we finally returned I had no patience left. The restaurant was almost closed and the staff had changed over. The woman working refused to get the manager and said they would have to charge me for that. After asking several times and her continuing to ignore me I shouted very loudly to the air “I need a manager!”  One came and I tried to begin the story. I said, “I was here earlier and I ordered a pizza” she said “si, cons Dana”. Yes, I continued with getting stuck with the driver for 2 hours and all the things that happened. I said I want my wallet, I want my pizza, and I want it on the house. I didn’t want to get the driver in trouble. I still liked him.

Kelly A was also in my dream. I confronted her about blocking me on Facebook. I kept trying to soften her. It was the first time I saw her give a little. It made me hopeful.