Dirtbag Day 26

Austin Haedicke bio photo By Austin Haedicke

By its very nature dirtbagging rails against the status quo and what society dubs normal. The stone masters and valley uprising may not have been “the norm” but the counter-culture of 1970-something was certainly in vogue. But there are other more subtlely intricate ways that even "going dirtbag" doesn’t immediately illuminate.

Coming up on a solid month now, this lifestyle has brought a lot to light and shaken some things up. There are lots of things that one who is not a dirtbag might consider “rude” or “uncouth” or “shady” — ya know, all those things the Mad-Men era folks use to describe "hoodlums" and "freeloaders". In a literal, and extreme, sense; those things aren’t normal (yet) because you’re simply not hungry enough (yet). A strange new “normal” sets in when you’re a dirtbag. A lot people tout that; "I don't care what anyone else thinks about me". You don’t need to be a psychotherapist, a sufficient empathic and worldly person will do, to realize that those are the folks that care the most.

At any rate, dirtbagging ushers a new breed of necessity; for example, I had to stop caring about odd glances and underbreath muttering when I toted a gallon jug into Subway to “fill up my water bottle.” Frankly, I had to suck it up or stay thirst… those were the only options. The same goes for (i.e.) sitting in Starbucks mooching water, WiFi, and air conditioning (because its 105’ and humid enough to melt the pavement outside) and remaining seated until asked to leave rather than being paranoid whether or not your behavior is “acceptable” or not.

I had a little run in with the 5-0 at about 2:00 a.m. this morning. Now, let it be known that I have several friends who work in law enforcement and the military and I have the upmost respect for them. That said, nothing good comes from a knock on the window and a bright light in your eyes when you’re sleeping in your car.

The cop was fairly polite and wasn’t an outright jerk, he just asked the routine stuff (for I.D., where I was going to and headed from, etc…). Fortunately I was able to regulate and separate my inside and outside voices because what was odd — and set me off a bit — was the minor passive aggressiveness of the officer. "Normally I don't let people stay here, but I'll make an exception this time. Just be somewhere else tomorrow night." “Thank you”, I said. I’m not sure for what. Maybe for realizing you can’t boot me from a public parking lot I pay taxes for and has no signage prohibiting overnight parking and is right next to a 24-hour fitness club (which I’m a member of); or maybe for not having anything better to do than hassle homeless people who are minding their own business and are far far far from bothering anyone.

Then came the "Oh, and do me a favor.... When you get a chance, change you're license to this state." “Okay, thanks.” Inside; “Okay, thanks. That chance will be when my current and valid license expires.”

In any case… fly free.