13% [chapter 24]


In January of 2013, when all the electricity had blown out and everyone else living at Bleakhaus dealt with this lack of power by running away to their boyfriend's or girlfriend's houses, you were the only resident left cuz you
had nowhere else to go. So you sat frozen in your room with a bike light strapped to your head, watching wisps float off from your cold quickening breaths. For 3 months this continued and it was during this darkened quiet time that a new/old idea came back to you. On March 1st, you woke up and bolted out of bed reciting the words, "BOX TRUCK!"

After a lifetime of paying rent to live in a house where heat hot water and electricity were frequently out, where your only trustworthy companion was in the form of a little brown mouse, it was not a far stretch to visualize living alone with the exact same creature comforts of null and void for a lot lot less. Maybe in that solitary space, you could be at your best -- or at least, just fucking be.

No one else would be in yer face, judging your every move, telling you how to live your life or denigrating all exasperating attempts to uplift this stagnating environment. So you started saving every penny. Pennies that came from unemployment checks, from working under the table, from pumping up the volume of ebay sales, from committing the occassional act of corporate embezzelment without a single post-financial-collapse-but-banks-get-bailed-out moral regret. SCAM presidents.

Isolation and entropy increasing, after nearly 10 good years of loving your home, Bleakhaus became just a coffin filled with clinging memories of happier, more musical times. Only a quiet empty room crowded with the past now greeted you. A comparatively cruel skeletal outline in your current curb kicked loveless state of mind.

Spring, 2015, you knew the time to leave was approaching.The flickering lights in your bedroom said so. After a while,you no longer bothered turning the switch on at all due to the constant twitches and fissures going off above you. Annoying. You didn't want to read too much into it, but it was a bit weird. Then the flies swarmed in like never before, and you knew that this really was The End.

Scouring craigslist for a viable vehicle to live in, everything was too expensive for your lowlife savings. You test drove a mini schoolbus with your friend Erich, but it didn't feel good for the long haul. Dejected on your bike ride home from the 5lowershop warehouse where Erich lived, you rode by a white Isuzu FRR box truck parked on Bayshore Boulevard with a For Sale sign in the window. Exactly what you were looking for, but you couldn't afford it. Still frustrated the following week, Kismet tipped you off as you passed by the same truck again, parked on 24th Street. But for the greatly reduced price of $5000.

As soon as the previous owner turned the ignition key, her engine's rumble sang of freedom and you fell in love instantly, clamouring "YES, I'll take it!" Gladly handing the man the biggest stack of money you've ever had in your hand, there was no turning back.

The piano moved in first, then internal construction on Haustruk began. Everything takes longer than you think it should, but life was already looking brighter from the back of your 7.1 litre turbo diesel's viewpoint. High all day and night with this higher purpose; to work like mad and get the truck homeworthy before you had the chance to sabotage yourself with some lame ass mindfucking shite.

While parked in front of Bleakhaus overnight on Mission Street, there'd be a friendly wave from Albert the garbage man at dawn. And instead of a $65 ticket, a gentle headsup from the traffic wardens to move on at 4 a.m. cuz the street cleaner would be coming soon. After the bars closed, drunken college girls in heels would come clik-clak-stumbling down the street on their weekend quests for male validation. Then they'd see what you were doing and ask themselves, "Wha..? Is this allowed? Really...?" At all hours, every prostitute working Capp Street wholeheartedly approved.

During those 13 weeks of laboring on conversion, you wouldn't allow yourself to do any drugs inside Haustruk. Though the kid who rapidly tagged "SOBER" onto one side of the box climbed into the back with you one night and smoked himself icey while another kid, a clean cut upper middle class student at SFAI slowly tagged the other side with "HOLDIN'". Oh, the hilarious irony. But you didn't want to foul up this spiritually free space with your own acts of drug abuse. So you let your habit happen only in your echoing old room, thinking maybe you'd leave this thing behind, too.

Be like the wind, you said repetitively, as you sobbed onto a decade's worth of belongings getting slotted into boxes.Packing unpacking and repacking. Don't make a big fuss. Cry as much as you like. Just keep packing. And leave when the breeze feels right.

Otherwise it would hurt too much ~ the overwhelming fear of choosing this narrow path. Choosing to leave your big cheap flat, this tinderbox of doom, filled to the brim with triggers, eviction threats and other muddled irritating drug addicts. Choosing to effectively become homeless and live off-grid in a box truck with the only thing that still mattered to you, that beloved red piano. Yeah, scary. Choosing to quit work quit sex quit drinking quit drugs quit everything; after 30 years of running at full speed around every different type of dependency with blind ego-eyes and a tiny desperate heart that was now numb as fuck, all used up.

This mountain of fear might've paralyzed whatever faith you had left that you weren't done living yet. Sincere attempts to have going away parties with old friends were met with a complete lack of attendance anyway, so it was best to let go by slipping away silently, in little pieces, day by day.

At 4:30 a.m on the summer solstice, you were headed over to pick up your regular refill of PTSD meds/meth when that particular breeze came through your newly converted house truck's window and said, "Go. Now." So you stopped at a traffic light and took a left off Townsend onto the freeway heading east.

Chanting loudly helped calm that panic stricken shriek from entering these unknown territories at a rate both so long planned and so suddenly. Eventually, the beauty and stillness of constant change crept back into the driver's seat and nothing mattered except moving another foot forward and breathing.

Coming down, there was no crash landing. It was more like swimming out to sea.

No matter where you were from now on, you'd always be at home. Trying to understand, without grasping too tightly, some momentary smaller sense of peace. Even in the face of each newly discovered gutwrenching difficulty.

Now there was a sweet fragile tenderness to life that was previously hidden beneath society's senseless demands and your mind's own violent self-berating. Now you noticed things outside like how the leaves on trees curve upward when it's about to rain.

Thanks to practicing binaural meditation daily for the last few years, right before doing some more drugs, one ritual would gradually replace the other, and something in you had changed.

I hear it's called bodhichitta ~ the love that never dies. It lives in all of us, down in the most digusting part of ourselves, somewhere gross inside. When all else gets stripped away, you might be bleeding and skinless and invisible to the naked eye, but, hey - don't worry, you too will find it.

*u can call me ph!*