Just a quick preface here: It has been a couple of crazy but oh so wonderful months here in Southern California, and I am just now starting my slow and steady ascension back East. I was so fortunate to spend the first three months of 2018 in this beautiful place, and have met the most impactful and beautiful human beings here. I was here for commissioned work, family gatherings, reunions with dear friends, and some awesome house sits thrown in between it all! I am now leaving with a swollen and heavy heart, but will make sure to try and be a little more persistent with documenting all of my future adventures and dwellings. From here on out, I'll be posting about all of my current adventures and mishaps that will continue to take place in my nonsensical life on the road (and probably more so the latter, I'm sure).
After a couple hours of driving Eastward, away from the beautiful, rolling green hills of California, the terrain slowly began to lose it's lushness. I pulled over into the lonesome desert town of Blythe, California to finally relax and perhaps get some work done. I would be camping later that night on the Colorado River, but for now I sought out some shade in the dry heat, finding refuge in the shadow of an empty building that bore the ghostly, subtle imprint of "RITE AID" where the plastic letters once hung long ago. An hour had now passed as I sat in my driver's seat, enjoying some shade in this quiet parking lot and furiously sanding away at the sides of some of my paintings. This past year, my car has been the humble home of yours truly, along with some of the latest oil paintings I've been working on, all in various stages. I was desperate to finish staining the sides of some, and was hoping to ship at least three of them out to their prospective galleries within the next couple of days so that I can have a little more kicking room in my cramped car. All of the sudden, an older woman appeared out of nowhere with a limp and a cane, and walked directly up to my window. Being the presumptuous, small human being that I was that day, I assumed she may have been homeless and looking for some sort of handout from me. "Excuse me ma'am," she asked me, "would you like to buy a pen from me?" She had pulled a plastic grocery bag out of her pocket that contained several ball-point pens of various colors and styles. Shocked, mostly because it wasn't quite what I was expecting to be in the bag, I replied with "I'm so sorry, ma'am! I'm afraid I don't have any actual cash on me." She continued to stare at me for a moment, as if she was sorely disappointed that she just walked all the way across this desolate parking lot, and all for a lost cause. Nervously trying to fill the now very awkward air with my mindless chatter, I then spewed out "But I can't be spending any money anyway, I mean, I live in my car after all!" I still don't know why I think telling that to people would entertain them as much as it does I. I mean, I don't literally live out of it most of the time, I'm just constantly traveling and my car also holds all of my life's belongings. But I always get a kick out of it every time I explain my situation to others, but I quickly soon realized this definitely wasn't the right situation for relaying that bit of information. The woman suddenly looked pitifully at me, and then told me that she knew exactly what I'm going through since she had once been in the same exact situation herself, and then began to pull out the only two remaining dollars in her pocket and hand them to me. I was now VERY shocked, and pleaded with her that she need not give me any money, and that living in my car was a choice of mine and that I actually very much liked it! Except on hot days like these, out here in the desert, I joked. I tried to explain all of this in as lighthearted of a manner as possible, and that I was completely fine. She plopped them in my lap anyway, and told me "God bless you, child. Stay safe out there. At least you can buy some water with this." She then casually hobbled away, and it was at that precise moment that I realized what a complete and utter ass I am. Next time, just buy the stupid pens. In fact, I implore all of you poor souls who just endured this long and ridiculous story of mine to always buy the pens. I believe in the kindness of strangers, and am constantly overwhelmed by that kindness on a daily basis. I deserved to be put in my place by this kind woman, and shame on me for being so presumptious in the first place. I vow to always keep cash on me now, specifically in the case if I'm confronted with this situation again. I want to keep paying it forward, and I'll start with the dollars of that sweet, sweet stranger. Also, I decided to re-name my car Hot Daniel.