The Dolphin is a diving bell. Through its port holes I watch weather move across the high Sierra.
I watch rich women in Lululemon follow fat golden retrievers into the network of trails in Ojai. I watch sunset lovers soften in their bucket seats, teens in tuner cars buzz by like angry dragon flies, Latino gangsters bobbing by their bumpers. Their bass vibrates my faux wood paneling.
I step outside to light the hot water heater. Next to me a Latino guy leaning back his Toyota Corolla cradles a baby. He has a tattoo across his neck, gold in his teeth. “That for hot water?” he asks. Oh yes, I say.
“Real smart to have a small RV like that,” he says. “Under 25 feet you can park it on the street.” He tells me he had a big one once, but he could never find a place for it, and one day they just towed it away.
Back inside I prep the spoils from this morning’s visit to the farmer’s market. I have this quote taped above the sink: “Creativity is the fragrance of individual freedom.” It reminds me that I’ve forgotten to buy deodorant for a week. I haven’t shaved. I live in an RV on Garden Street. As my wife says, “we’re balancing on the tight rope between normal and ‘not.’” It’s some consolation that at least two of my workmates also live in trucks.
I sense that there’s a sea change happening, as people from the chaos of big brands and public companies eddy up to this quiet corner of Santa Clara Street, trained, as some are, to see individual freedom as a threat to profit.
after lunch I run long and hard beneath ancient oaks and long-dead vineyards. The trail is polished and fissured like old leather. The terraced hills across the valley hold oil and gas wells, rising and falling like tired ghosts in the hazy maritime air.