I Left My Pants As Collateral

While I am home and this journey technically at its end, I will save my more lengthy musings about the trip as a whole for a later date. I still have some things I wish to ponder, some brief encounters I want to recall further, conversations to check, old posts to read, and even notes to browse. When these are done, I will begin my “final thoughts.” You may expect it later this week.

For now, however, I will give some hints as to the next adventure and lay out what few plans I have made.

First, though, I am home. I arrived here, to an empty house, at about 1PM. Four months and one week of travel are officially over and I’m back with family, whom I have missed dearly. I hopped off the bike, kissed the filthy ground, kissed the bike, and went to find the dog. Amazingly, he remembers me. I wonder if Uncle Caesar’s dog will when I go back.

The remainder of this week is devoted to catching up with people, replying to the scores of e-mails I have neglected, making various appointments and plans, and Christmas shopping. I’m already running late.

An hour after I returned home, my littlest sister stopped by to say hello. In truth, I am honored that she took the time to do this. It was great to see her. She looks older now. More grown up. Maybe it’s longer hair, I don’t know. But she’s a woman now, that’s for certain, not just my little sister.

I have since also spent time with my mother and father, always a pleasure, and hope to be doing much more of this in the near future, and throughout Christmas and New Years (eve). It is good to be home. My clothes needed washing.

On August 18th, while I was still in Oklahoma, the following conversation took place on the comments section of the blog:

Naomi R. Sutton said…
I am having fun reading of your adventures and wishing I were on the road as well… although my purpose here at the moment is sure. I really wish the lady on the porch had let you photograph her, this is one I would have liked to see. Continue on this adventure and do not forget the reason for which you ride… There are great things ahead for you Ben!
Uncle Caesar, in the future if Ben is not available I house sit as well and would welcome a journey out West:)

Uncle Caesar said…
Ten four Naomi. It is always good to have another resource. Ben may not always be available. He was a Godsend this time. You don’t need a reason to visit. Just visit.

Now nearly four months later, I presented Uncle Caesar the opportunity to eat his hat, or hold true to his word. Naomi, amazingly, has some free time in early January. Much to my delight (and Naomi’s), Uncle Caesar and Auntie C are still very keen on visitors, even if they’re random and have never been met before. “We’re old, Ben,” he told me. Any infusion of youth, energy, and adventuresome spirits is welcome. No hat eating.

And so, at the beginning of 2009, while most people are still sleeping off their hangovers, trying to determine where they are and where they might find their cars, Naomi and I will be returning to Keota, Oklahoma. She has a break in her study and work schedule, juggled some meetings, received permission to miss a few more, and we’re headed out to the mountain. There we will remain for a week or so, finding whatever trouble we can get into with Uncle Caesar and Auntie C, exploring places I’ve missed, hanging out with the Gossip Society, and traipsing about exploring. No plans have been made, and I don’t want to ruin anything by making anything. We, with the assistance of the creative, artistic, humorous and clever Auntie C and Uncle Caesar, will find plenty to do. On top of the mountain, it can be as busy as you wish it to be. If you want something to happen, something will. If you prefer to not set foot outside the house one day, you can be assured of a quiet day. Unless, of course, calamity strikes and hilarity ensues. There’s a whole shelf of chemicals to spray in our ears.

What is most pleasing to me about this next “leg” is that I enjoy travel companions. Throughout my 13,500 mile ride to California and back, none have traveled with me in physical presence, but only in spirit. While that has been great, this will be even better. Additionally, two people who would have never heard of each other were it not for the fact they were reading the same silly blog now get to meet and delight in each other’s company. This I will relish. Uncle Caesar, Auntie C, here’s Naomi. Naomi, meet the Oklahoman side of my family – or just the beginnings of them. And then I step back. People who had only met in the electron-universe of the internet now get to meet in person. I can think of a number of sappy remarks involving circles and unbroken chains. I will share none of them.

Throughout this trip I have reached the conclusion (and also been directly told more than once), that I am a flake. One couch surfer looked at me squarely, merely 5 minutes after meeting me: “Ben, tell everybody you’re a flake.” So I did. The point is that I tend to forget things abruptly, show up late, change my route and omit various stops, announce that I’m visiting somebody and promptly never call them again, etc. I forget things, and plans change. But the trip in January isn’t open to debate. The schedule has been made, no plans made (that’s the thrill of it), and we’re locked in.

To help assure my aunt and uncle of my guaranteed return, I left some rather
cherished items at their home – a couple books, some scorpions, and pants. They are my collateral. I will definitely come back for the pants, since I rather like them. My little sister bought them for me. Leave no pants behind. I also want the scorpions, too.

Whereas I truly forgot to put on pants before I departed on this trip (quite a foreshadowing to future flaky behavior), I have now voluntarily left them behind.
Naomi is, egad, a genuine photographer, so you can expect good pictures to ensue. They won’t be mine. My lens is undergoing repairs and shall probably not be accompanying me on this little voyage. Naomi also writes, by the way, so expect great things. Again, not from me.

What is important is that the trip is continuing. Not in a desperate attempt to prolong something that has long ago lost its merit, but taking on new shape into something better, something different, and something equally (if not more) exciting.

Soooooo, does anybody else have a few days of free time? I’ve seen a lot of nice places that I’d like to see again. Anyone care to join? Cause I’m still going. And Uncle Caesar has my pants.

Copyright © 2008, Ben Shaw
All Rights Reserved

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7 Comments on “I Left My Pants As Collateral”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hey, I am cool with this. This is a place where you and any friends can come. Peace Bro. Love to you and yourn

  2. Betty Says:

    Ben, I’ve very glad to hear you are home safe and sound. Praise God for safe travel!

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    Once Mary Anna went swimming at the lake with her friends. When they came back to the car, they saw their car had been broken into and a lot of wallets were missing, along with Mary Anna’s pants. They called the county police, which happened to be Mary Anna’s employer, and one of the officers she knew came to the scene. Later that evening, as Mary Anna was walking to her car in the police dept parking lot, one of the policemen yelled across the lot in earshot of several folks, “Hey, Mary Anna! Did Officer Jones ever find your pants?”

  4. Sarah Says:

    When you told me the story that your forgot your pants, remember my fear of forgetting my teeth? Well…it happened.

  5. Mary Anna Says:

    That wasn’t quite how it happened, Elizabeth, but to this day I will pick up the phone at work and hear a man’s voice cackling, “I’m wearing your pants.”

  6. Uncle Caesar Says:

    Maybe this article should be called, “I left my pants in San Francisco.”I knew a guy whose wife found some womens underwear in his glove compartment. He had to wear them for the next several weeks before he could convince his wife that he was a transvestite.

  7. Elizabeth Says:

    Yo, Boxers Boy: When’s your next post?


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