Wednesday, December 29, 2010


OF COURSE YOU DO! EVERYONE WANTS TO BELONG TO SOME KIND OF TRIBE---ITS ONE OF THE 5 UNIVERSAL HUMAN IMPULSES. I'll show you mine--celebrating Christmas and Thanksgiving. Christmas first (it's an afterthought) Here we are camped just outside Yuma, Az on free BLM land.
Christmas day gift exchange---a hilariously fun process of selecting and "stealing"
Now I'll return to my origional story about our Thanksgiving gathering: Hwy S22 in California---my tribe is assembling near the base of those mountains near the lovely town of Borrego Springs.
Down there are the early arrivers---our numbers swelled to a hundred by Thanksgiving Day. My rig is at the bottom--for some wierd reason I always choose to park on the edge. This tiny triangle of land is famous among RVers---it's called Peg Leg Smiths ---it's free and only 5 miles from town.
We assemble mornings and afternoons to organize our group activities. Two volunteer host bring focus and plan events.
One of which is morning hikes. I'm always amazed at the general vigor of my retiree companions---able to hike 5 miles or more before breakfast.
One day this bold coyote sauntered by on a morning hunt I suppose.
Another morning, I hear music on the mountain.
It's "Fast Freddy" practicing for a performance. He follows the fiddlers circuit.
Thanksgiving day--all set to serve. (we all chip in $10 for the basics and supplement pot-luck style---it's enough for 3 meals.
Everyone was served in 22 minutes. We are understandably good at this ----been coming here more than 10 years.
I became intrigued by that lady on the left--a newcomer--with true grit---asked her out.
She accepted and we toured the area looking at these marvelous sculptures which dot the landscape---more than a hundred of them----comissioned by a rich guy named Avery. (of Avery labels) He owns the land where they are situated and allows free camping for 3 days at the site.
Together we marvel at this prize winner---seemingly a story or metaphor of some kind---mother eagle brings home a vicious snake----to feed the chicks? or to scare them out of the nest and into the air? Don't know!
The day after Thanksgiving I perform for the crowd--and hopefully to impress the Lady, I poetized:
Something grand and dear is happening here
The world could not have expected:
The mobile domicile---and a new lifestyle
right here---are being perfected.
We're the sprouting seed of a brand-new breed,
living simple and light and lean;
living happy and free like wild cherokee
in our cozy little living machines.
A life that is bold, with ourselves in control;
with clustered friends ---in affection;
reinventing the tribe---helping revive
our long lost natural connection.
Choosing sunlight's glow over ice and snow;
acceptance over sorrow;
adventurous games over riches and fame;
and today--over iffy tomorrow.
We'll never grow old--so long as we roll
onward---till our roadway ends;
expressing our talents and keeping the balance
'tween solitude and friends.
It must have worked---she went with me another day to see more sculptures.
This one perhaps the most elaborate.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I've been a member of this tribe (Wandering Individuals Network ) more than 10 years ---camping with them beyond a thousand nights. I think it is the best singles RV club in the nation---surely the most active because we travel year round--hiking, biking, kayaking, dancing. Its structure is a quirky blend of for-profit enterprise and volunteerism. The club is owned by a single individual who handles the difficult details like newsletter, directory, policy for a yearly charge of $60 per member. Volunteers plan and host the approximately 52 gatherings---a 6 month winter circuit and a 6 month summer one, with an average stay of one week at each place.
This is NEO-TRIBALISM at its best; unlike old tribalism because it is not geographically based--avoids a strict heirarchy; is based on common interest rather than birth; holds common values but not common myths; and of course one is free to come and go at will.
Einstein needed a tribe and so do you. (his friend sorted out the complex math of relativity for him and he worked hard to convince the scientific community--his tribe) We are grievously incomplete without others to communicate with---growing bizarre as we recede from human contact. Even St Anthony--the first Christian hermit / monk had contacts that relayed his message to the world. The trick is to select an inspirational and nurturing tribe--mine has helped me in a hundred way to discover and express myself. I eat better, live better, write better, behave better for my association with them. I hardly need say that a tribe can also drag one down--like street or motorcycle gangs--distract, dilute and waste one's time and energy (like churches). As with Fire and Forceful personalities---good servants--bad masters.


giantspeckledchihuahua said...

I hope to realize my dream and join the tribe this year! See you out there.

In the meantime, I wish you and yours many sunny(but not too hot), very happy trails days,love, laughter, good health and success in all your endeavors, throughout the New Year!
Cyndi and Stumpy @ RVly Ever After

john patrick said...

Thanks, Randy!

Anonymous said...

Let's take your argument at face value: about the primal need to belong to a tribe, for us human critters.

Isn't there an irony in using this point in the context of a singles group? Say what they will, any singles group is just a thinly-disguised Lonely Hearts Club.

I'm sure you've noticed people couple-up dozens of times. (Sometimes it's probably the same person. grin.) And you've seen their social status climb relative to the losers who are still single. (Single here means unpaired.) Why, it's almost like when certain of the Pigs in Animal Farm started to walk on their two rear legs.

Then the couple more or less drops out of your vaunted Tribe, and happily rides off to the sunset, as a self-contained egoism a deux (sp?). This contradicts the theme and premise of your post.

Randy said...

You're in rare form anonymous--acerbic but funny--on point and off--let me assist your perspective: There is no irony in the fact of singles tribalizing themselves any more than monks monasterizing themselves---also a tribe. Modern individuals usually belong to several neo-tribes. And In the deepest sense all hearts are lonely and seek connection---only misanthropes would scoff.
And Re coupling: Those who pair up are usually as stable as the non tribal--my last pairing lasted 10 years. You slander us with talk of "dozens of pairings".
Re status: Pairing confers no increase in status. In our daily activities you would be hard pressed to recognize couples--we relate as individuals.
I urge you to come on back to the tribe--we will welcome you back as the prodigal. Our polishing sociability will rid you of the prickly spines you have grown. We will make you fit again for civil interaction. (grin)

Anonymous said...

OK I apologize if it seemed like I was beating up on your singles tribe in particular.

Your point about the need and benefits of tribalhood is a good one, and deserves more attention than it gets. There are many tribes in the real world that would illustrate this, including monasteries!

Unfortunately you chose a singles group to illustrate your point. I think that most singles groups are terrible for that purpose, since Egoisms-of-One join singles groups just to USE the Tribe as a mechanism for insinuating themselves into an Egoism-of-Two, at which point, it's "hasta la vista" to the Tribe.

Dixxe said...

The tribe comparison is a good one, wrap yourself in someone's buffalo robe for as long as it serves your purpose--I guess that's the idea...and when everyone is a willing participant then its all good-hold no grudge or contempt if that robe becomes infested with the fleas of disagreement or contrition or when the pull of freedom becomes overwhelmingly strong again!
I also see the reality of the comments of Anonymous-that the only reason to be part of a tribe is NOT to be alone...i.e.:(Singles grouped together are no longer singles but a component of the group, part of the collective) its an oxymoron that's all --and it’s an ingrained element of human behavior to [not be] completely alone--the most primitive of humanoids traveled in groups as there is more strength in groups and less effort is made to be sufficient as it is when one has to be completely self sufficient. (If your neighborhood helps you to survive, life is easier).
Even the hideous outcasts of the tribe would travel the peripheral of the group as they moved from one camp to another-always with the hope that they will at some point be welcomed back to the fold.
AND then there is this--Anonymous though may not be part of a physical tribe in reality is part of a virtual tribe, even more proof that humans need other humans around if only its for conversation! Why reach out if you don’t expected to be touched back?
Meanwhile as the debate goes on Happy New Year [one] and to [all]!

Gayle Maria said...

Just had to add my experience that, in my tribe of city singles and marrieds, the Lonely Hearts are mostly the married ones who are leading lives of quiet desperation. Their marital status is supposed to confer upon them a standard of happiness and devotion that few humans are able to achieve. Out of respect for their life partners and the institution of marriage, they don't complain. The singles say "this sucks" or not and take off to fix whatever needs fixing for as long as it's broken. I think you give 50 RVers boondocking in the desert more credit for deep thought than they have time for! Happy new year and happy trails to all!

Anonymous said...

A Guy's Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, a Prince asked a beautiful Princess, “Will you marry me?”

The Princess said “NO!”

And the Prince lived happily ever after and rode motorcycles and went fishing and hunting and played golf and dated women half his age and drank beer and whiskey and had tons of money in the bank and left the toilet seat up.
The End

Paxie said...

I think it's a beautiful way to live life and was amazed at the sculptures out there in the wild!

Divorced, but married for 20 years and was lonely. Now this is my choice.