I have a mythic tale that if you know me for more than two minutes, you’ll probably hear me mention at least once. In September of 1997, I sold everything I owned, except for a carload of essentials, and drove alone across the country from Columbus, Ohio to Seattle, Washington to seek a new life. I’d like to say that I blogged this journey, but in 1997 there was no such thing. Open Diary started in 1998. Blogger and Live Journal followed in 1999. What I did instead was write a series of posts in chronological order on my website that captured my thoughts and experiences. Had I decided that I should develop this idea and bring it to others, or had I monetized another idea of mine that people should be able to rent a car for an hour and get into it whenever they wanted and leave it wherever they wanted for the next person, well, I would have considerably more money than I do now.
My departure from Columbus was a severe act of simplifying. The car became a mini-house with various corners designated for various objects and activities, dividers strung between “rooms,” and everything positioned so that they could be retrieved with a quick, blind reach-around while driving. It was a model of efficiency and function, populated only with needs and the occasional small luxury.
At the last minute, however, because “less is more” could be argued to mean that “more is more more,” I was persuaded by some nagging voice in my head to pack a large, black canvass bag with things I didn’t need. Since there was no room in the car for it, it was bungeed and strapped and otherwise fastened to the roof of my Ford Tempo with an intricate array of cables.
The only place that it would attach was right inside the door, against the little metal bar that lays underneath the weather stripping. By snagging the hooks on the metal bar and slamming the door, a secure bond was formed as the hooks were pressed tightly against the frame. Now, weather stripping’s purpose is to make a seal of the door to the car to prevent heat and cold from escaping, or perhaps rain from getting in the windows. This all works well unless the weather stripping were to be pulled away from the window by, for instance, little, metal hooks. That would defeat the entire purpose. Savvy?
And so, when it rained in the mountains, water poured in through the cracks above the hooks and there was a flood in the car. When the wind blew on the plains, the oddly-weight-distributed, soft-sided nature of the bag caused the car to swerve violently on the road. Squashed insects from the grasslands plastered its front side, creating a fluorescent yellow Jason Pollack painting of goop and antennae. The cold rusted the zippers closed. The heat baked everything inside. I worried about it constantly.
To this day, I can tell you everything I had in that car. I cannot tell you a single thing I had in that bag. Wants can be very heavy. Don’t take them along for the ride.
In this episode, two simpletons simplify. But first, the weather. It’s snowing in Columbus. It’s swinging wildly between lava melt and ice age in Seattle. What did Al Gore fail to mention? William is grumpy about an upcoming journey into the Heart of Innovation, tries to get a sandwich, and serves up a carafe of whine until Luke Pez has had enough and attempts to end it all. Scott heads to the Deep South of Kentucky to steal William’s thunder, or maybe his sandwich. We rant about the AOL of social media as William tries to bring things into focus and Scott finally becomes friends with his family. Scott won’t easily escape now, and neither will the Flash! After a prom fashion tangent, we put on our clean jeans and head to the dance. Unfortunately, the dance is the “Update Office Every Three-and-a-Half Minutes Shuffle,” which has William facing the cold, hard fact that he’s renting his entire life. As the demons pour from the Whitening, we both realize that you can’t even trust water. Our Two Topic Episode™ begins in earnest as the TV Freight Train known as Scott incubates his Silicon Valley watching into fully-funded completeness. We discuss shake weights, startup bubbles, horse sex, and nerd archetypes until we settle on a mutual love for Big Head while playing “What Silicon Valley Character Are You?” (Hint. All of them). As William finds movie scripts at the bottom of the barrel, Angle-shape approves and we all move on to Word of the Week, which is “simplify.” As William shreds all the paper in the world, he wants somebody to take his basement… please! Scott attempts to save the U.S. Postal Service only to fall victim to his “To Be Filed” pile and the curse of a null modem cable. Luckily, he has a basement dragon. It’s all about what you need to survive, and 40 gallons of cables, a SCSI bin, a milk crate of broken tools, and a ten-percent dent won’t cut it. But a knife and a shovel might. Stuff is heavy, especially if you have to bug-out to the z-axis. Scott’s house becomes a library and he considers a unique daddy master class. William becomes a cloud app for his wife, but is still looking for that sandwich. We decide, at last, that this whole digital thing is here to stay and we’re gonna need a bigger shredder. Maybe it’s time for 1952 instead. Yes, Music in Rearview is here to help as 1973’s 1952 becomes a hookup and PUA-cultured time-warped 21st anniversary for Park Davis’ Myadec High-Potency vitamins, now at popular prices! Turns out 1952 was quite the Boom-Boom era as Rosemary Clooney goes Rosemary Looney and Botches everyone in sight. What is IN that vitamin!? That’s a whole lot of Yadda Yadda Yadda! Then we visit Doris Day who cheerily tells us that a Guy is a Creep and spins a stalkery tale of, well, let’s just leave it there. Don’t follow us inside, even if you do look familiar – and do NOT finish that song! So, with a licka-licka stamp, William visits a few days into the future where hopefully we will have this whole thing figured out. Clutch those PDFs, Grandpa. Everything must go, save the iTarp!