Tunnels are “a way through things”……….they can also be these charming little enticements – c’mon in, c’mon, c’mon don’t worry about that 50 tons of rock over your head……you’ll be fine! Nothing like a little cave in or mine accident to inject a little excitement into a routine passage……..should things suddenly become a Death Struggle just remember – Adventures are only “Peak” experiences when fringed with doom. Popping that DVD in for a dose of horror or prancing in and out of the stands at a sports stadium doesn’t count……..you are just a spectator.
Main Spice: Alienate people – if you don’t, you run the risk of inclusion – which means less isolation and let’s face it…….happy, well adjusted people make lousy Megalomaniacs. Have you ever wondered about well “adjusted” people before? Here at RidicuRyder, we can’t figure out what “Well Adjusted” people are supposed to be well adjusted to……….Cinnamon Sticks, Puppy Dogs, Rainbows? All wonderful, yet bleak when over processed by Hallmark Greeting Cards – marketing aside, it seems the most honest thing to adjust to, is in fact, doom. Then again, maybe we should just sweep the “adjustment” aside and simply encounter life’s wonders without being “adjusted” or stiffly oriented to any of them. What if rainbows, sand in your eye, hate, funny associations and nothingness were all just accepted as variables in life, instead of “adjusting” and re-orienting to circumstance, circumstances were more or less accepted as part of life’s variability for those who choose interesting lives……not so pre-packaged.
Fatalities, fate, fatalism……..you can still be determined about stuff and also just accept that shit happens, except for experts – they like to have explanations for everything. Experts exert energy to eliminate or greatly diminish variability so that their predictions appear sound – life snuggled into a predictable rut is the doom most people opt for. The cute thing about the Megalomaniac is……..they haven’t attached to their environment in “normal” patterns (and it is almost impossible to convince them to do so). A Megalomaniac’s expertise is everything……..yes, you can say grandiose, but we find it more satisfying to consider the Individual trying to capture the big picture or gain Indivisibility (usually missing by miles). Can’t attach to stuff most people attach to? Eff it – attach to everything. Typically, being a “big picture” person often means you overlook a lot of little stuff and this is where a Well Balanced Megalomaniac must focus their attention (or risk being less “big picture” by being too big picture).
We know this all may seem ridiculous to most of you………RidicuRyder has developed a certain flair for irregular perspectives – think of us as a vacation from your well ordered lives.
We arrive to the girls campsite with Fudge and a burning curiosity for how these guys get an Alpaca to “blend in” on a car camping trip. “We waited for a Shape Shifting Horse to keep travel costs down – Billie Holiday Blue is a lot more economical to run than a big truck towing a Horse trailer everywhere” says Campfire Cuisinator after we ask about their pet. “Grey only cruises around at midnight or so – she likes the stillness” whispers Spoof (Diabolical is napping on her lap)…..”say, you guys need a haircut, I’ll get my scissors out after supper.”
We help Lone Lunch Ranger handle a Dutch Oven tucked inside the Fire Pit, using two sets of tongs we turn the pot so the heat transfers in through another side for a while. Campfire Cuisinator lifts the lid briefly before we return the Macaroni to the fire,“that smells amazing, what have you got in there?” She smiles, “everything.” We smile too” sounds fantastic.” Billie Blue and Kimmie Lou are chatting away at the picnic table, we have brought them in close to the campfire circle to round out the group.
Ridicu and I comment about how we always feel more comfortable around women – outnumbered here 5:2 feels about right (we don’t quite count ourselves as two and we aren’t quite sure how to count the Shape Shifter – two guys / one girl). Lone Lunch Ranger laughs, “adoptees crave that maternal, feminine piece that was pulled away from them early on, maybe that’s why you guys went into Nursing…….and oh, by the way, I don’t buy that whole laser copying your RN girlfriend’s credentials story. A couple of seconds go by…….we don’t recall discussing being an RN with anyone here. ” I read your Blog in Townsend while Campfire and Spoof were shopping, I heard Kimmie Lou tell Billie Blue that the whole Christ incident would probably wind up in the Blog. Campfire explains, “Lone is like a detective around new people…..she has to figure you out before her guard comes down.”
The Macaroni is unbelievable, we single out a few interesting ingredients among the usual tomatoes and onions like shredded lamb, jalapeños and strawberries. Everyone is silent with their first bowl – this stuff is so amazing…..the taste – unlike anything and the crackling of the campfire – the sounds our spoons make when they return to our bowls – everyone blowing to cool the food before another mouthful. Spoof is the first to finish, she is ladling another helping, “just how close to the end of the world are we…..will it be in December with the whole Mayan calendar thing or is that just the beginning of a new age?”
Ridicu and I go back for seconds, thirds, fourths and fifths, we explain that Aliens are unpredictable when they close down worlds like this…..sometimes December is a two minute warning for our species and sometimes the bear-trap snaps shut on the 21st. There have been a handful of times where things have looked interesting enough and the Aliens let things play out for a couple of decades. Humans have gotten close a few times, but we just haven’t quite managed to evolve yet. Campfire and Spoof have only caught pieces of the Blog that Lone read to them while they had cell signal in Townsend, they will read more then stay in touch later for updates – you can’t get cell signal in Smoky Mountains National Park – getting back to nature blah, blah, blah.
Our evening with the girls is magical, the conversation is lively and varied, nobody notices Diabolical hop away into the woods when it gets late. Spoof cuts our hair as we polish off this wonderful Pistachio Ice Cream made in the campsite with dried ice, the Tennessee Turtle Fudge we brought along gets chunked into it. She tells us we should stop biting our nails so much, “you almost look like you have a meth problem or something.” “Ryder would like to resume our career as a Nurse, we have almost chewed off the tattoos under our right fingernails…….we’ll probably get started on the left hand in another week or two.” We all laugh about Wanda Witch and her weird ways, “keep an eye out for some goats milk girls, that Captain Crunch sounds spectacular” says Campfire.
“You aren’t Witches are you?” asks Kimmie Lou. “We’re just Ordinary Humans engaged in strange pursuits” answers Campfire. “Of course, you have to be pretty off center to attract a Shape Shifter” says Lone. “We probably wouldn’t have any trouble with the Witch training, but we basically prefer being difficult to define” says Spoof as the scissors jab into our right temple (Spoof talks with her hands a lot) the pain is pretty intense, Spoof inhales sharply – the silence is deafening for a second or two……..”Good point” seems to be the right response from us and the laughter tumbles off everyone like finless sharks slipping over the back of a Japanese Trawler. After the girls say good night and turn in, we hear giggling in the tent for a while, then soft snores.
Campfire is a terrific person, someone it would be great to be a life long friend with, we can’t decide if she looks more like Lisa Kudrow or Shelly Long. We are finishing the dishes and she explains that Spoof’s father was a Megalomaniac, “he just got so wrapped up in these expansive ideas that after a while his day to day life just fell apart – being with us didn’t ground him…..he couldn’t focus on us as important.” “The spooling into grand ideas has created havoc in our lives too, imagining these big beautiful schemes gets very seductive” “We have learned not to fight these tendencies we have……we just look for ways to balance things out.” Campfire handed us the last bowl to dry, “are you able to do it?” “Taking ourselves less seriously helps, humor is a great defense against tyranny – these compulsions can be overpowering. Then again, at some levels, humor can be a subtle form of anger.” “Yes, he was often angry about things, he got way too intense at times.”
We finish clearing up the picnic table and retire to chairs by the fire, just embers glowing softly, still pretty warm though. “So what, you are divorced?” Campfire shakes her head, “he committed suicide – at least I am pretty sure it was, but he made it look like an accident so we got the life insurance money. We have been able to go on these trips – summer after summer because he loved sticking it to corporations.” Ridicu then talks about his fascination with suicide or at least this Strong Death Wish he seems to toy with, “I’m always ready to check out of this world – other worlds, other dimensions would be nice…….it’s not that we see the grass as greener somewhere else…….” “We happen to remember other places, at least partially and so opting for something different – whenever we separate from this world – is fine with us. “Campfire takes our hand, “it would be nice if you stuck around for a while though……your wife would probably prefer it and what about this whole end of the world thing huh?” “Don’t you want to see how it turns out?” We don’t want to end the evening by describing all the destruction…….killing vast numbers of people, even if it has to be done, leaves a funny taste in everyone’s mouth.
Campfire can tell what we are thinking, “so what continents have you deep fried in previous rounds?” We shake our head and laugh “so he remembered – old worlds?” Campfire chuckles “he used to say psych wards were full of people who were still glimpsing previous worlds.”
We don’t say goodbye to Campfire, our brief time with these folks has been that sort of connection we know we will never lose. We push Kimmie Lou back across the campground (her trip odometer reads 9 7/8) to our site and something catches our eye in the trees by the neighboring group site. It’s the Alpaca, ” hiya Grey, nice moon tonight eh?” The Alpaca just looks at us the way Alpacas do when they aren’t buying your bullshit, “I have a message from the Pelican.” Generally, when animals are this well organized, the end is near. “Let’s see……I took your Deaf, Dumb and Blind companion from you so you could Hear, Speak and See………something like that?” Grey smiles and she chews a few times, “Nah, he just wants to know, when it comes to Kentucky Fried People,……..do you like Extra Crispy or Original Recipe?”