Friday, January 16, 2015

A SAFE AND WELCOMING SPACE FOR MISFITS---GOOD IDEA? BAD IDEA?

WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITH ODD, WITH (SOMETIMES)TROUBLESOME PEOPLE?? I will go wander among a community of mavericks and see what I think---

And I will take 40 of my friends with me.  These are fellow WIN (wandering individuals network)
members----many of whom have never been to the infamous SLABS.

Every day I lead them to one or more of its distinctive areas. The SLABS community is likely the "most free" (least governed) place in the US---which is both good news and bad for its inhabitants.
Good news because misfits such as Leonard Knight can express their creativity publicly.  Where else can you--on public land--build a monument such as this? Salvation Mountain took 25 years to build--and is now on the National Registry of Folk Art. 
The Slabs are perhaps the only permanent, free campground in the world.  You can go there and stake out a homestead and build yourself a home like this?
Or this?
Or this
Or this

Or create your own personal museum and art colony like this?

Turning junk into art.
This very creative (he built that glass wall on the right) and articulate guy is a relative newcomer to a community of artist who live and do their art here in a place they call East Jesus

Sometimes pretty good art. (yes, that's a bus they partially buried just for the effect)

At the Slabs--misfits say whatever they wish-- to the world.

Or build their own religious sanctuary?

You can start your own business--paying no rent?

Or build your own theater.  I am standing where a scene was shot in the movie INTO THE WILD.
You can start your own community.  This is a well established one with about 50 members.
These facilities are owned by the largest community there--the LOWs (Loners On Wheels)-- a chapter of a thriving national organization.
A warm pool---104 or so degrees---free and open to all.
The Lows welcomed us into their space for our visit here---threw a party and a dance for us.

Complete with a professional DJ
As you leave the Slabs--after what will likely be a surrealistic visit--this sign warns you that conventional reality is just ahead.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I APPROVE---I APPROVE---I TOAST---I CELEBRATE--THIS SERENDIPITOUS SQUARE MILE.  Started as a quirky accident on the remains of an abandoned Marine base---it has endured for 40 plus years---evolved---adapted---achieved national fame.
It serves hundreds as a PLACE TO BE.  (the existential minimum)
LET US SET ASIDE A HUNDRED MORE OF THESE SQUARE MILE SANCTUARIES---GIVE THE MAVERICKS AND MISFITS OF OUR NATION A PLACE TO BE---AND BE FREE.

I say we can afford to give everyone a place to BE.  It is SOCIAL SAVAGERY to squeeze blood rent from everyone.  A fair percentage of us cannot and will not live "respectable" lives.
Like Thoreau, we "hear a different drummer" and "march to the music we hear".
















12 comments:

Al Christensen said...

An organization for loners (LOW) is a curious contradiction.

I spent last February in the Slabs, plus a week in December. Totally enjoyed it. It seems Slabbers are more accepting of people than most people are of Slabbers.

klbexplores said...

I have seen many a post about the Slabs. Some twick my curiosity, some make me run for the hills. Yours is the first to have caused me to want to visit and see it for my self..... with you as a guide. What an intriguing place.

Rob said...

As I read your piece & looked at the photos I was reminded of something I'd seen that was similar.
http://www.theplaceswelive.com/

bayrider said...

No thanks, makes suburbia look like Paradise. I would prefer suicide to living in such pointless squalor.

I've known plenty of misfits and loners that have done way better for themselves.

Anonymous said...

bayrider, your post kind of makes Al's point.

Anonymous said...

Making a place to be...isn't that what we set governments up for? Thoreau was mainly protesting the Mexican American War if my memory it right.
Building a representative government would allow Sanctuary Square Miles too, long with many, many amenities of freedom.
Taos, NM in the 60s was free wheeling community of talented rebels...it was a whole lot of fun from what I heard, and from experiencing the after glow on visits.
It was still fun!
Bushman

Emilie said...

Al Christensen, the LOWs means something slightly different than what you may think. A LOW is a loner on wheels, meaning an individual is alone in her or his RV or trailer, traveling around the US and Mexico, usually. They meet up with other LOWs because they want to LIVE in their space alone but like to connect with others to do things - hike, kayak, whatever. Often a group travels together. So they aren't loners, but people who live alone.
Re: the boo post - nicely done! Hope to visit the slabs one day.

Anonymous said...

I have been a leather tramp and after breaking my back on the job I became a rubber tramp because it was all I could afford by means of Social security disability. I have been traveling up and down California during the seasons. I've always know that if I come to the Slabs, I can save money for repairs and improvements. i have made many friends by volunteering to help where help is needed. This in turn guarantees that if I leave my vehicle it will be safe. people who have vehicles are willing to offer rides to local towns. However, if you come with an attitude, it's guaranteed that you will have unpleasant visit. Many people who bring trouble will be run off. In some cases, their camps are burned down to get the point across. The Slabbers are great people who will except you in after showing that you are nice and can be trusted. Many of us have no place to go.
Towns and cities really don't like homeless people on their streets and so they are forced to seek out a place where they can have safety from street crime and harassment from police and local businesses. Not everyone can get into a homeless shelter

Anonymous said...

Do not judge until you see for ur self DON'T judge a book by its cover.

Becky said...

Being a Low, Loner on Wheels member does not mean you are not a decent person. Actually, many are quite wealthy, but prefer a quiet low-key style of living. I am a member of that group, yet I am retired, have a regular home in a nice neighborhood, and I have a decent retirement. However, one of my favorite places to be is with my friends at the Slabs, so I will travel many miles in my motor home, pulling a toad "towed car" just to spend quality time with people I care about, special friends, knowing that when I am with them, I can be myself, and relax. Sure there are people there who need help, but so do people from all walks of life. If you like being there, it will show in your attitude, and they will know it. If you are unhappy or uncomfortable there, you should leave quickly, because your attitude will stick out like a sore thumb! It takes a depth of understanding and compassion to be versatile enough to live many different lifestyles, and I love the challenges!

Randy said...

Thank you Becky: Well said, Being a Maverick myself, I'm quite comfortable at the Slabs. That's why I'm calling for a hundred more of them to be established around the US.
As you implied---one has to be a reasonably competent, functioning person to get together the components of comfortable living--(a rig) and get free enough to go there.

Jason Collins said...

I am just finding your blog. I saw you on "Without Bound" the documentary on cheaprvliving. I have so far enjoyed reading your words and perspective. I aspire to travel and seeing smart, interesting, and friendly people like you do it is invaluable. You are a pioneer. Thank you for the information and the inspiration.