Sunday, February 15, 2009

TWEAKING THE TRIBE

A "focus bringer" is absolutely essential for social cohesion. This day I am quoting from Walt Whitman's "Song of the Open Road."
Dancing under the stars
Ron Sinor, inventor of the desert dance floor tests it out with Donna Huffer. It withstood 2 weeks of heavy traffic.
The burning Kayak. Diana has much better coverage of this ceremony in her blogsite: www.lifeontheopenroad.blogspot.com
Visitors to our singles ice cream social.
CREATING CULTURE

Myself and 6 of my friends decided to tinker with our tribe’s culture–in a big way! With the cooperation of 185 members who attended our Quartzsite, Az gathering, we conducted 7 bold experiments. Amazingly, every one of them was a spectacular success.

1. TEAM HOSTING. Usually one or two people take on the job. This time we split the task 7 ways and found it ridiculously easy.

2. BUILT A DESERT DANCE FLOOR. Yes we did! And for only $70 we engineered a usable smooth surface over the rocks; removing the largest of them, coating with sand, covering with outdoor carpeting and finally securing a taunt tarp over all. Worked like a charm! We danced our boodies off night after night under the stars. Oh so romantic! Our people loved it–we saved a fortune in bar tabs and next year we’ll build a whopper.

3. CONDUCTED A SPEED DATING SESSION. Two long lines of chairs on the desert, —gals and guys face to face—2 minutes each to ask whatever—then on to the next. NO IT’S NOT E-HARMONY scientific matching but it was good enough–fun and enlightening for all.

4. HOSTED A MULTI-GROUP ICE CREAM SOCIAL. Distributed fliers to all singles groups in the area inviting them over. A hundred or so visitors showed up and we mingled in the rain–hopefully spreading good will. A good time was had by all.

5. INVENTED A NEW RITUAL. ‘BURNING KAYAK’ About a third of us carry Kayaks and one whole travel circuit is devoted to kayaking, so we threw out the challenge for someone to build us a sacrificial kayak out of firewood scraps to serve as focus to our ritual. (as in the burning man festival in Nevada) Surprise, a boatright, James, volunteered and astoundingly, had it built in two days; a full sized kayak made of wood and cardboard. Barb and Clair choreographed a new conga line style dance for the ceremony. Then, at the appointed time and to the tune of Proud Mary we danced in a long line in the desert and then round and round the fire as it burned. ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIC–WE ALL GOT LOST IN THE MOMENT.

6. OPENED UP OUR HOMES FOR INSPECTION—RIG TOURS. Those willing, let everyone see the inside of our campers; especially showing off our unique adaptations. The STEALTH TRAILER as always was the object of much curiosity.

7. FORMED AN ISSUES COMMITTEE —to deal with those rare but serious breaches of our code of conduct: RESPONSIBLE, RESPECTFUL, RESPECTABLE.

8. HELD A SADIE HAWKINS DANCE—A minor—frosting on the cake experiment where the ladies were required to do the asking. They got the hang of it quickly and so did we—fun!

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: All of us come to consciousness within a particular culture (shared beliefs, values, practices) and live within it like fish within water, hardly noticing it. Visit another culture—go to Mexico or visit the Amish and suddenly you become conscious of your own. Cultures often imprison peoples mind and spirit like Mormonism or Jehovas Witness or Islam. I escaped my fundamentalist Baptist culture and find life incredibly richer for having done so—I never danced till I was 27—a bit of Baptist repression.

My mobile tribe is young and our culture is still forming----a great opportunity to help create a brand-new one. Some years ago I laid out our first camping circuit, a string of short hop gatherings and was delighted that it caught on and is now part of our culture. Another of our members organized a dance rally that also caught on and is an exciting annual fixture. Still another started a kayaking circuit that is now standard.

I’m convinced we can create a culture that fits us rather than adjusting ourselves to it----and that we can do it very quickly. One or more of our experiments at Quartzsite might become part of our culture. How sweet to escape an unsuitable culture and find a suitable one. How double sweet to participate in shaping it!

1 comment:

wisesongbird said...

The lifestyle continues to amaze me while producing a certain longing to give it a whir(realizing it is not a "whirl" to you boondockers). Kudos for your leadership, King of the Kodgers! Thanks for the vicarious experiences.