hitchabouts abounding – rolling into one another

Several weeks ago I hitched to Taos from Santa Fe several days after the SantafeSki basin closed. Word on that last day by many locals was that Wednesday was going to be a powder day…and the lift tickets for that week only were $20, instead of $90 +. I went, standing there in flurries on this corner holding my skis, poles and boots by my feet. I quickly got a ride the whole way from a man who was doing some business and had done his Trader Joe’s stop etc., heading back to Taos. He and his wife have Taos ski passes. We had plenty to talk about social, political, economic and environmental subjects. My host phoned me to give an update on the meeting point because he was leaving his current location. The call came when the vehicle I was in was within less than a minute from where my host was standing.

The following week I hitched the 90 miles again, to be present for a dinner with my host, a friend from my home town in Pennsylvania whose mother, a friend of my parents, was making her trek across the country to visit several of her kids. I made it just after the cocktail hour and before the Palmyra crew were sitting down at the dinner table. The ride I had that day was with a woman who picked me up at the same corner at the DeVargas Mall. I had just started to dial my host to apologize that perhaps I was not going to make it in time, when this young woman put down the passenger seat window to say she’s driving to Taos. I always have a sign! I would have been on time, if a female police officer hadn’t kept us for 20 minutes after waiting in her car at a speed trap.

I hitched to the peoples climate march, the 1,877 or so miles, and after about 9 rides, leaving 1pm on Wednesday, I made it to the grounds of the event at the Mall in Washington D.C. a bit after the opening speeches had begun. I was among them as we approached the White House to surround it. Although I later learned and saw that the Prez was indeed there, because there was a very long and loud motorcade for the visiting dignitaries…I assumed that this particular weekend he might have chosen to go golfing on a high-rise rooftop in Saudi Arabia with Marine le Pen and Putin. En route, I pretty much barely caught any sleep. The night of the climate march, by the time I’d wandered to the Starbucks at Dupont Circle to plug into electricity and the world, after having taken 300+ photos after the march of all of the signs laid down in a field spelling out words from a mandala, I realized it was too late to phone my friend. Oh yeah, I had to go to Starbucks to look up her number. I thought it was in my phone. I wound up chatting with a guy outside of a bar on this pleasant Friday evening, where all these people flowed out from the club above. They were mostly gay men, of mostly middle eastern decent; Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt…I wandered into a different club to dance, and when that ended, asked a man on the street where I could find a place open to eat dinner. A tall, elegant AfroAmerican, we somehow got onto the topic of the award winning deserts he makes, marketing in other countries. He steered me to a restaurant bar where I could find his dessert which was near. I was still in the Dupont Circle area. Not knowing where I’d sleep that night and figuring that I wouldn’t, I wandered to go splurge on dinner. I say splurge, because by virtue of my lifestyle, I rarely have spare money to go ‘out’ to eat. However, turns out that I was given numerous donations along my hitch to D.C. I believe I left with $13.00 in my wallet. By the time I reached D.C. had about $90, and returned with about the same amount I left with. Seems the money went in multiples of $7, each time I’d buy anything.

So I walk into this restaurant at about 5:00 in the morning. It’s packed. I’m seated next to a bustling table of gay men, mostly the Middle East, like a different country represented by each of the six. Turns out the guy next to my elbow was very communicative. We chatted, chattering and and laughing. I had a nice rapport with the waiter, a gay man from Tunisia. He asked after the gang next to me left and I was finishing up my meal if I had anywhere to sleep. I accompanied him just a few blocks away after his shift ended. He was genteel, made sure that his alarm clock was additionally set for when I had to rally to catch a 5:40 pm flight. He was proactive and is kind and a great sense of humor. He explained how I needed to walk back to the metro and catch the train, in case he didn’t get up. I noticed the clean, sleek black sheets as I was leaving the following afternoon. He also articulated the two possible train routes I could take to the Ronald Reagan Natl Airport, in retrospect very helpful, because the Blue line was not functioning on this particular Sunday. I got to the domestic flight with still half an hour to spare.

driving directions from Taos, New Mexico to Tucson, Arizona

Now I’m hitching tomorrow, Friday morning for Tucson. It’s a quarter of the distance of the last, according to google maps about 9 hours. I was asked if I wanted to be among the cast of female producers for this ‘all female producer’ electronic music producer’s open mic sort of thing. It takes place every month at a bar in Tucson called the Flycatcher. I participated in it twice before. I figured yeah, I’ll go 578 miles to play 20 minutes or so, why not?

Pushing Buttons -Monthly Producer Getdown Sat May 6 at 9pm

Pushing Buttons -Monthly Producer Getdown Sat May 6 at 9pm

I flew back to Albuquerque after the march on sort of a standby. I didn’t know how I’d make it back to Taos by 10am the next morning to meet the person driving me to move my stuff from Santa Fe to Taos, but knew I could wake up early and hitch that distance easily. In fact, after having a bit of a rapport with a man sitting right behind me, I then saw him walking together with the man seated across the isle from me and overheard Santa Fe. I asked them, and they were happy to give me a ride that night, right off the plane. We had a very in depth conversation, carried along by my continued questions about the Ba H’ai faith. They were coming from a conference in which the driver is the Santa Fe representative who is eligible to vote for a National member of their ‘clergy’. I will have to talk about that later. I am still on the learning curve of creating music with these programs, though learning short cuts and continually learning by doing, how to use the programs Ableton Live and Propellerhead Reason. I lost the original material of a chunk of songs when that laptop ceased and I couldn’t transfer the content from one to another Software version. I had heard of this before, hadn’t realized until the man informed me that it originated only about 150 years ago in Persia. Ironically, Persia is also the origin of the particular meditation tradition the South African Pediatrician studied originally (a Sufi tradition). He guides a ‘Heart Rhythm’ meditation presently at the Hershey Penn State Medical Center in Hershey, PA.

Interesting, Ba H’ais except and wish to support and respect all religions, they don’t proselytize, they don’t have a hierarchy of clergy with mega bucks holding sermons in mega churches. There are no ‘leaders’ but an elected group who pass things by majority rule. They believe in love, kindness, acceptance and service. They are very Green.

I got that flight back by virtue of walking along the same sidewalk the day before I booked the flight, and running into a guy I’d known years ago in Taos, when he was a customer at the Cafe Tazza where I was employed. We chatted for a while, catching up there on the corner where a man with a stark white long beard and cowboy hat had just ridden across the crosswalk among the midday car traffic. My friend mentioned that he’d give me a call. He did the following day, and I hopped on my bicycle and he met me to donate funds towards my vision, to get to the peoples climate march. He gave me the money, I found a one-way ticket after lots of searches that was guaranteed to leave the day I wanted to leave, but not revealing the time until after it was booked. I hoped it would give me time to get to the airport from D.C. It did.

I came back to move into a yurt so that I can live the life of a starving artist with a roof over my head. I’m not starving either. Although I worked 7 days a week throughout all but the last month of the school year as a substitute teacher booking often 4 and 5 days a week of work and taking weekends and holidays to commit to working as a ski instructor for the local ski basin in Santa Fe, I have barely any money saved; trying to pay off a credit card debt. The yurt residence is not far from the center of town of Taos, New Mexico.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/21261638@N03/albums/72157680301250213

yurt

new residence in a yurt

I have to stop writing now and get onto arranging what I’ll be doing. I just started a new song a week ago involving Penguin calls that sound sort of like horns. I still have more composing and sound editing to do.

In the meantime, I have had two landlords rip me off here in New Mexico, land of enchantment. Astoundingly, after verbal promise to reimburse my security deposit and not cash the check for the rent I paid in advance, which was paid by another woman for the same month and same room, and from whom I received a security deposit, David Michael Carman who owns this property in Santa Fe among others in his residential city of Albuquerque, stole over a thousand dollars from me. Just sayn’. The following landlady, where I had to move in on sudden notice, also itemized the deductions from my security deposit to squeeze as much out of it as she could. What happened to honesty?

Here’s the blog I never got to post about the hitchabout to Taos.

The ride down, actually, up, north to Taos, was flawless. The word had been spreading among all of the locals and employees of Santa Fe Ski Basin on its last opening day of the season, Sunday April 2nd, that the coming Wednesday will be a powder day at Taos Ski Valley, not only open for still another week, but lift tickets reduced to $20.00 from over $90. No brainer.

Ride – hitch to Taos $20 – powder day = fantastic ride > direct to Chris at phenomenally the exact time of his call

I phoned my friend living in Taos from the same hometown in Pennsylvania next to Hershey. He hadn’t planned to ski, but wasn’t on a project at the moment. Sure, he’ll join. It had occurred to me the day before that hitching, I can’t feasibly wait until the day after the storm, because I’d have to leave while it’s still dark. Lift lines open at 9am for the 90 mile drive.

The whole point of a powder day is to be there as the lifts open to get freshies – fresh tracks – before the snow gets chopped up by people skiing moving the snow into little digits and channels and mounds. Virgin powder conditions are like floating. Each tiniest weight shift creating a little arc of a turn. “No Friends On A Powder Day” – No Waiting. No Stopping, for anything.

I walked out prepared with my backpack, sign on the back of my ‘SKI’ sign created on a paper bag which I used all season from the tryouts to be an adult ski instructor with the Santa fe ski school to the work days; hitching up to the Santa Fe ski area. ‘TAOS’ was an easy fit on the back side of the sign.

http://350pacific.org/pacific-climate-warriors/

I chose each place where I lived in town specifically for the ease with which I could hitchhike to the ski area, to access the main roads en route to the only road going up the mountain- Hyde Park Road. People trying out for skiing or snow boarding positions are obliged to attend the training clinics, leading up to the opening of the ski area. Those hired were expected to be bodily present during prime times – winter and spring breaks – I scheduled myself to work weekends. When I wasn’t up at the ski area, I was mountain biking on a lent bicycle throughout the entire Santa Fe district from the previous autumn throughout the winter, working as a substitute teacher for all grades. This for the Santa fe public schools, many of which were located on the periphery of the town. When I still lived in the hills on the way to the ski area, my commutes were for example, 22 to 28 miles round-trip. Once I moved, they were reduced to 15 and less, taking biking trails south through the town district. One can schedule jobs online independently. There was only once that I looked at the snow report for the ski area moments after clicked ‘accept’ this job, when I saw that the there were 6” of new powder. I cancelled the job for the following morning. Being a night person who typically starts preparing dinner after 10pm, that was now my curfew.

April 1st was the send-off party, more than the final day, the 2nd of SkiSantaFe. On the 1st, many locals were in costume, there was a treasure hunt, dj’s on the deck of the mid-mountain Totemoff lodge, and just lots of partying. It kept flurrying as the sun was still visible through this veil of clouds. The following last day, were phenomenal conditions. Fresh untracked powder everywhere. The decision to return to ski at Taos, especially when this inexpensive, was full-on. I phoned my friend in Taos who also had worked at Taos Ski Valley previously (I at the Kinderkaefig and Chris on Ski Patrol). Our paths had crossed that time, each having lived in California at different times and each raised in the same town in Pennsylvania, next to Hershey.

I walked quickly to my starting point, with no place for cars to pull over on the main drag heading north to Taos. With skies propped on my shoulders and poles and ski boots next to me, I stood in the flurries of late afternoon. I felt confident I’d get a ride the 90 miles to Taos. Within about 5 minutes, I heard a beep in the parking lot behind me. Someone driving by who couldn’t stop, turned around. He was coming from business meetings and a Trader Joe’s stop. His non-profit work focuses on the health of people in relationship to their environment in specifically rural areas in the rocky mountain area. For example the planning of land, community spaces, looking at resources such as water in particular and thinking not only about the health and attractiveness of the town but also improvising ways to make the town more attractive, to persuade inhabitants to remain there or return; explaining that there’s been a trend of people magnetically moving towards cities.

The Santa fe ski area had closed on Sunday, with fabulous conditions of fresh powder and sunshine in the morning. It was mild and beautiful and there was no work, just skiing and socializing. I was very happy with each of the different new and newly rediscovered ski routes that I discovered and created. I felt super happy, feeling very happy with my turns.

fantastic return trip after turning down 3 of them, each scarier than the prior. Mr. Bill (with 6 daughters) a climatologist and I had very much information to exchange in conversation.

I found out hitchhiking back from Taos, NM with my ski equipment in tow several weeks ago something alarming and astonishing from the Climatologist who gave me a ride. He had worked for years for the State of California. He said that back in the early ’90s, he was warned numerous times by the state of CA – uh, a progressive state in the USofA – NOT to mention the word Climate Change – at this time I’m sure the dirty word was Global Warming. So, Chump is just a reflection of a much larger horrific state of consciousness lead by the corpocrisy, in which science, truth and actions in defense of what is right, and the words of scientists, are dismissed completely, in the name of profit of the oil oligarchy. So this denial and hushing up of facts, the facts that Al Gore revealed 10 years ago then shown in the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, have been hushed, denied, kept silent to the public, while we’re distracted again and again by other ‘news’.

Now I just found an article in the Rolling Stone

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/climate-of-denial-20110622