Return to Faery (fuck capitalism)

I woke up the other day with the total intention of driving north. That’s what made sense, to go where the money is, if not good, at least consistent. But Helga didn’t want to go north. She wanted to go west. I stood in the sand and spun in circles until I got dizzy and fell down giggling, facing west. Life is so ridiculously beautiful sometimes. I was still going to do the practical thing and drive north, though. Bro and I climbed into the van, battened down the water jars and other potential flying objects, and took off. Just one last time, I stopped in a hotel parking lot to check my email and mapquest it to the club I wanted to work at that night. Seven hours. No way I would be there in time…

There was an email from someone in Utah, extolling the many virtues of her city. Cheap but good student massages and a cool cafe that feeds the world. So I went to Utah. On the way I pulled over and emailed and called everyone I could think of in Utah, which wasn’t many. I had a massage that was excellent even if it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, and I met a group of random strippers and van dwellers for dinner.

I’m learning to love random groups of strippers and van dwellers. I think sex workers, van dwellers, and gamblers have a lot in common. So we ate multi-fish gruel and quinoa salad, and a random psychotic guy joined us. First he walked up to this very cool van dwelling woman, who had printed me out all these google maps of good places to night park in the city, and he said hi. She said hi back, and he just became absorbed in our group. At first I thought he was pushing boundaries on purpose, but then he started talking to people who weren’t there, and I’m totally cool with that. I’ll take psychosis over creepiness any day. And how awesome is it that people in this city have no boundaries and just absorb crazy people, right? But when we sat back down he pulled up a chair and sat six inches from a hot strippers chest. She leaned away, uncomfortably, and I started to see that it wasn’t so awesome that people didn’t have boundaries.

I leaned forward and smiled, asked his name.

“Oh, I’m Mike,” he said.

“Mike, we’ve been enjoying your company, but we’re having some girl’s only time now and we’d like you to leave us alone.”

“Oh.” He zero’d in on the stripper next to him again. “Do you work at the nude club?”


“Do you work at the club down the street?”

“No.” She was making her voice all cold and looking away from him, but of course if you keep answering he’ll keep answering.

“Mike,” a woman called from inside the cafe. “Come over here with me.”

Mike scratched his head and looked up at us. “I like strippers.” It was cute, like we were puppies, and I wanted to laugh, but I didn’t.

“Mike,” I stared at him, “please leave now.

The woman came down from the cafe and told him that we’d enjoyed his company and now we’d asked him to leave and he had to leave. After she repeated herself a few times he got up and left.

“Wow, Tara, do crazy people always follow you around?” someone asked.

It was such a fitting way to pass through that city.

By the time we were done eating I figured it made sense to keep going west, instead of driving north, so I did.

Today I woke up and kept driving west. At first I was driving through pretty sparkling white sands, and then all of a sudden it was the ocean, with waves lapping at the freeway and telephone poles sticking up out of the water. I swear I wasn’t hallucinating. I have photographic evidence. Soon the water was gone and the sand was brown, and then suddenly there was dirt everywhere, the air was brown, I could barely breath and I couldn’t see the road in front of me. I slowed to an almost stop and turned the lights on, hoping no one would run into me. Thud! Something hit the side of the van, and scraped up it, materializing as a little tree as it passed the window.

Just then my phone rang. “Katie!” I answered it, “I’ve fallen into a faerie tale!”

Instead of making it to the local club in time to work I folded laundry, sung songs, cleaned up the van, tried to sew t-shirts into a dress, and played with Bro. When I got hungry I found the towns little play ground/park with picnic tables and pulled out the stove, pressure cooker, and food. I made a yummy curry with lamb, onion, garlic, carrot, flax seeds, ginger, and curry powder.

I talked to Darcy while I cooked, and she explained the different types of omega 3’s, and how only eight percent of the omega 3’s in flax seeds were converted to a usable form of omega 3 by the body. Every time I talk to her I learn so much.

Curry lamb is so yummy. It got dark while I was eating, and the wind kept blowing leaves and tumbleweeds into my face, and it was so beautiful and I missed Alaska so much. After I packed up the stove I brought an armload of stuff back to the van, and on my way back for a second the sprinklers came on! I ran and saved stuff as quickly as I could, getting soaked in laughter and mystery.

And – have I told you guys lately how awesome pressure cookers are? – I went to the gas station and got two little cups of ice, that I set inside the pressure cooker, turning it into a cooler so that the left over lamb will still be good in the morning.

I am so glad that I’ve given up on logic and gone back to living my own faery tale.


  1. Seems like an interesting life, wherever you are. I recently read a book “Finding the Buddha Within” that had a quote you may like, or may not, but thought I’d pass it along. I’m not a Buddhist, but it was good read. Here’s the quote. “Whatever we are looking for, it is always right here. We are usually elsewhere. That is the problem.”

  2. The best advice ever given to me was “Be honest and be kind”. You really can’t go wrong with that one. I am sort of known in my circle for honestly and kindly telling hangers on to bugger off and making no bones about the fact this is non negotiable. I bartended for long enough to know that drunks/crazies/hangers-on will NOT leave you alone unless you very specifically tell them to leave and stand your ground. I come from a family of very passive people who would rather look the other way and squirm around uncomfortably in their chair, and it made me crazy my whole life that what the crazy person wanted TRUMPED what they wanted just by the nature of their obtuseness. I figured, fine, I’ll be more obtuse, then. But I’ll do it honestly and kindly.

    From what little I know of you, Tara, I think that is your greatest strength.

  3. T, you know I’d never pass you up. I don’t think I’m going past you, tho. Gotta look at a map.

  4. If you’ve gone that far west, you might as well go all the way, ya? Pretty easy to follow the coast all the way up to the AK.

    Just sayin’ is all 🙂

  5. Also, re: crazy people following you around, I get this too. Some folks call my mom (a therapist) the Schizophrenic Whisperer, as they tend to be attracted to her and she seems to have a way with them. And it seems to run in the family, since my sister and I often have the same experience.

    I have seen my mom have completely rational exchanges with people on the street who, moments before, had been ranting about the end of time. It’s like magic, and I think it has a lot to do with having good boundaries. Crazy people like people with boundaries, having not enough of their own to hold on to.

  6. This was a great post but most of all, I loved your firm but polite crazy person-rebuff! I live in SF (so many crazies and borderline-crazies here) and have been trying to figure out how to diplomatically get rid of people who have latched on to me or my friends. This is especially awkward when you were friendly to the person at first and are then forced to extricate yourself. In your characteristically artful way, you manage to get your point across and enforce your boundaries while still treating the person like a person. Wish I’d learned that skill years ago.

  7. Drive North! I remember how much I craved Alaska when I was gone, and how happy I am knowing I’m in the right place now that I’m here. Even if I’m not sure about the right *thing* yet. Your writing rings so true. Thanks … an odd start to de-lurking, but there it is.


  8. This is why we slave over our employer’s good fortune while waiting for him/her to share it with us… Do you think the man/woman who pays your bills will for a moment entertain some crazy fuck who can’t get his mind off his ‘impending damnation’?

    N0ne of us will ever get a leg up until we stop letting everyone else piss down their legs at us.

  9. Cool, I just read this again. I am so going to get my pressure cooker bits together. I’ve just been using the pot and a frying pan lid to cook with, but you’ve inspired me to pressure uses.

    btw did you know that the text is weird in this post. This is how the quotes look to me:

    “Mike,” I stared at him, “please leave now.

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