I have an Imaginary Me. I think I always have. I suspect most of us do, but many people don't feel comfortable with multiple entities living within the same cranium. They won't talk about it, write about it, or even admit it to themselves. This writing is about a particular Imaginary Me. My Imaginary Me.
Imaginary Me has been wintering in Slab City, for the most part. The winter temperatures are tolerable for a van dweller. Imaginary Me lives in the Mobile Man Cave, a Chevy conversion van adapted for camping. Life in the Southern California desert is rather simple, which appeals to Imaginary Me.
Imaginary Me doesn't have to share his pension with anyone. He doesn't have a mortgage, and has established residence in Nevada due to the lack of state income tax there. While Slab City is a central location and general place of dwelling, Imaginary Me has been wandering around the connecting corners and edges of California, Arizona and Nevada. No particular plans. Just wandering.
It is now getting warm in the desert. Imaginary Me had planned to go to Death Valley to view the spring flowers, but the Internet indicates that the flowering will be sparse this year. Perhaps another year. Even so, the time to migrate is coming upon Imaginary Me. Some uncomfortably warm morning will compel the movement to begin.
This year Imaginary Me will move through the desert to the southern terminus of U.S. Route 395, and journey north the whole length of that route. Slowly. Available free camping at comfortable temperatures will dictate where to stop, and how long. Still, over time the whole of 395 will be traversed. Once the border with Canada is reached, a new direction will be selected. That, however, is in the future.
Imaginary Me is a coping mechanism. He is the embodiment of many of my desires. Reduced responsibilities. Simplicity of lifestyle. Solitude and freedom. I do not regret my responsibilities. Managing complexity in life can be rewarding, and I do not despise that. Solitude is not a longing for loneliness, and I value family and friends. Yet I Imagine. I Imagine Me, in another life.
The life of Imaginary Me is achievable, and more rewarding now than at any other time. My iPhone provides communication, a wifi hotspot, Internet connectedness, and serves as an entertainment center within a small living space such as a van. A laptop computer provides much of the same, and a more comfortable work space. Most of what is truly needed fits in a van, and is quite portable. Imaginary Me has much to do within the context of desert days and nights. It is not a life of loneliness and boredom. It is a rich yet simple life.
Imaginary Me watches the weather on the iPhone. Temperatures and precipitation, here and there. So do I. Real World Me. We scan maps on the computer and iPhone, seeking places to go and see. Highways and byways. I await spring in Southern Oregon. Imaginary Me awaits the compelling heat to motivate a migration. I anticipate getting out into the yard and doing some projects. Getting the barbecue going. Going fishing. Imaginary Me seeks a longer journey, full of simple adventure.
Camping. Exploring Southern Oregon and Northern California, even if just a bit. Not quite life on the road, but a bit of living on the road. So many roads. Real life isn't so bad, really. Real World Me can taste what is presently only imagined.
Perhaps I shall run into Imaginary Me as I get out on the road this season.
I am currently 62 years old. At present I am a retired correctional officer with 20 years of service. (My real job these days is being a Grandpa.)
I am married to my long-suffering wife, Linda. I have three children; Matthew, Beth, and Jon. I currently have six grandchildren; Alexandra, Madelyn, Wyatt, Lucas, Abigail and Landon.