Today I met a suburban bohemian.
I’m finishing up a bookito* I’m writing called Bohemia in Suburbia (and beyond) — about creativity and originality outside of urban centers — so how perfect is that?!
I was driving home with that phenom son of mine along the final stretch when I spied an old minivan for sale for $800 at a house about half a mile before ours. Since I’d seen it gradually come down in price from $3,500-ish, to this latest sharp reduction, I had to circle back around. In case it could be the right thing for a guy we know in need of a cheap car.
When I pulled off beside this aggressively happy blue Chevy Lumina the guy who owned the vehicle was walking away from it. He’d come out for that minute to put something in the car. I’ve lived on this road for two years, travel it twice to many times a day, and maybe once in that time have I seen someone outside.
Why would I know this?
Because this house has two older yet massive RVs at the side of its driveway. The garage is an airplane hanger style structure. Immense. It probably rains inside because it’s large enough to be an ecosystem of its own. A giant with several sister wife families could live in it.
At least 8-10 other vehicles are always arrayed around the driveway, perfectly and tightly parked. So I’ve been paying attention to this place. It’s unique in the neighborhood. We pass it and remark on it.
Is it owned by a mechanic? Someone who rehabs vehicles? A car (and RV) enthusiast?
When I passed the vehicle no one was there, and yet, when I got back to check out the minivan, there he was.
Turns out his name is Muggy and he’s a true member of the suburban bohemian subspecies — or ruburban bohemian, since we live in the rural suburbs (the ruburbs). He’s older than me — his sixties? — but still in fit shape, only the slightest belly under his tank top.
Muggy plays the organ for the Buddy Miles Express (they used to jam with Jimi Hendrix). When he’s not playing music he loves his cars. He rents a room in the house but is mostly on the road in his RV, going from gig to gig, maybe back home for four to six weeks at a time.
“Yeah, I threw away the road atlas in ‘92,” he said. It had been years since he’d had to consult it, he knew the roads of America that well.
“Do you still enjoy it, hitting the road?”
“Oh yeah, I live for the road. There’s nothing better than that. That’s when I come alive. Behind that wheel. Doing the music.”
That’s where his vagabond heart is. He’s been gigging the music scene so long he’s got people he’s known from way back wherever he alights.
Here’s why I’m telling you this.
Maybe a month or so ago I added a new element into my daily declarations: Doors open by themselves.
I use it to refer to opportunities and money and meaningful personal experiences that open up sweetly and unexpectedly.
It’s my way of affirming to myself that as long as I continue to do the work I love doors will open. That as long as I’m crystal clear about my intent universal forces are at play on my behalf, as they are on yours.
When I met Muggy it was the day after a chance meeting with another suburban bohemian type, a woman who slid off to Hawaii a couple of decades ago to follow her passion for surfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding and creativity — and lived it!
These moments of surprise connection are worth celebrating. They are peeps into the Magnificent — that indescribable, soul stirring, curiously perplexing mystery at the heart of it all.
* Bookito: my term for a short-form book. In novel form they’re called novellas. Amazon calls them Singles.