Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tales from the Commune: Part II

I woke up to someone blowing a conch shell for breakfast (kinda like camp, only weirder!). Debated whether or not I should change out of my pj’s before going downstairs, decided against it because I’m at ‘effing hippie camp! After some oatmeal, it was time to learn some building!

Things I knew: Natural building involved using only natural materials, presumably in a non-damaging to the environment type of way. (As you can see, it was a very scientific, thorough knowledge.)

This is true. It’s kind of like the Three Little Pigs…straw, wood, bricks (adobe bricks, obvi), etc.

So, the task for the day was building a bench. This might not seem like a day-long task for 7 grown people, but this was not like a 3-pieces-of-wood-and-you’re-done-type bench; this was a fancy hippie bench.

#1- It was made out of cob. Cob as it turns out is a mixture of clay, sand, straw and water that when it sets is hard as a rock. You get to mix it with your feet. It’s fun and has absolutely nothing to do with corn.

#2- This bench had 4 arches in it made out of adobe bricks with apses (half-domes) under them so you can store things in them like shoes, firewood, conch shells, 6 packs of good beer, and other things hippies store.

#3- This bench was going to have a heating pipe running through it so it will warm your rear when you sit on it, kinda like those heated seats in cars only better because it’ll be au natural and not dependent on foreign oil (hippie point!).

So this is what we did all day, and it felt good after many conversations about and daydreams of creating a community that is more in line with the natural order of things, to get some dirt on my hands and learn a skill that will literally help me build it. Because dreaming is good and talking is good, but ultimately getting things done is what you have to offer the world.

At some point that morning, one of the guys asked if we could change from the hippie music and put on some lil’ Wayne! What?  Lil’ Wayne?  For realz?!  I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to hear lil’ Wayne! Not that I didn’t love the music we were listening to before, but this was the first crack in the homogeny of ideas and tastes that I thought I had perceived at this place, this image that I didn’t fit into. I don’t even really like lil’ Wayne, but this attached Byron to something outside the realm of vegan food and herbal tea and hand-knit hats. Turns out he also played football in college and used to have an earring and wear bling in high school.  And Wade, our fearless instructor, went to Alabama and played rugby.  And Cody didn’t like folk or bluegrass; he liked heavy rock. And Alyssa went to hipster shows and wore cool sunglasses. And Liam went to UGA and probably knew people that I knew. None of these people fit a mold, except that they’d all come to the conclusion, through very different paths, that there had to be a better way to live and they were open to new ideas and were trying to create it.

So, it turns out I did belong there, as long as I was open to them.

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