"The Kindess of Strangers" A Streetcar named Desire

Last night at the pub in Golden, someone called me a hobo when I told him I didn’t’ really have a home right now and was on the road. If he saw how much stuff I was schlepping around, he might have changed his tune. I’m not exactly carrying around a stick with a small bandana affixed to the end, carrying my few belongings. Here’s a quick tale about my stuff and what I’m carrying around these days: 
I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers…” Blanche Dubois of A Streetcar Named Desire.

This morning was a great example of that. My sister from another mister Melissa Jane dropped me off at the Greyhound station in Golden just after 7am for the bus to Radium Hot Springs, where I am sitting now in a sweet little coffee shop, awaiting another sister to fetch me and bring me to Invermere. The stranger I encountered was Chad, the burly and sweet bus driver who helped me drag my bags onto the bus, which is a huge feat unto itself. (see photo) No one can say that I travel light: one pair of touring skis, one pair of alpine skis and a set of cross country, which in turn means I have 3 sets of ski boots, touring gear, clothes, guitar pedals, CDs and my toiletries, which take up an overhead compartment by themselves. Chad could have easily let me handle my bags myself, like the grumpy driver I got from Radium to Golden a couple of weeks ago and left me on the side of the hiway to fend for myself, but he didn’t. I couldn’t buy my ticket online so he had to take cash, which he wasn’t supposed to do. He also was supposed to charge me an extra $15.00 per bag (I have 3) and he only charged me for one. He was supposed to drop me at the Esso station, but took the extra 5 minutes to take me to the coffee shop to wait for Cassy, and he helped me schlep my bags in. Then, when my friend Cass arrived, I started to take my first bag outside to put in her trunk; behind me came two other people heaving my heavy bag and skis to the car, without even being asked and I had not been chatting with them at all. They did this all on their own accord. That’s the kind of kindness I’m talking about.

This is my first trip out here without my own vehicle, and I admit I was a bit skeptical and nervous about traveling solo, with so much stuff, without wheels. So far, so good. I’ve been able to hitch up and down to the ski hill with no problem, usually with the drivers dropping me off at the front door of the yoga studio where I’ve been staying. Even last month in Antigua, I was able to hitch around, get rides to and from gigs from friends and strangers and basically live without a car. It reminds me to ask myself, what do I really need? I’ve realized that I (along with most of the people who run in my circles) have way too much stuff. I saw this a couple of weeks ago as I moved the majority of my stuff from my ex’s to my dad’s basement in Ontario. Although I’ve paired down considerably, I still need to go through my stuff that is not only cluttering Dad’s basement, but so that it’s not cluttering my mental space too. Now that I’m homeless, and apparently a hobo, I really should be traveling lighter so I’m vowing to sell my two pairs of skis this winter to replace them with one pair that I can use on the hill and in the backcountry. It may not sound like a big change, but it’s a start. Any suggestions on how a multi-instrumentalist can pare down? I’m open to suggestions. 
(NOTE: last night at my show in Invermere at Safta’s, I asked a few locals here if they knew anyone who might be renting out short term vacation homes for when Dad gets here. One jovial fellow Bob immediately said, “My wife and I will be away the first week of April if you want to stay at our place…it’ll be empty!” Yup. The kindness of strangers makes my heart smile).

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