Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The-reaus in an American Landscape

Lately, I find myself spending a great deal of time thinking about this American desire to throw off material possessions and hit the road. I think of these Travelers who aren't satisfied with the comforts of a status quo. Who feel stifled by the comforts of American life. Who want to live just a little less well. It's an underground movement, of course. Always has been. The typical American is content to sit in his typical house (in the suburbs, of course), eat his typical food and show up at his typical job. Our bodies are only as fat as our minds. But beneath this Great Numbing Ordinary are rumblings of revolution that transcend time. All the time travelers run beneath the radar of popular culture trying to be different. Trying to find the Life beneath the confines of The Matrix. I think of these travelers as "The-reaus." They've taken some of these philosophies of Thoreau and Emerson in the U.S. and Wordsworth in the U.K. and made them real. Thoreau wasn't real. Emerson wasn't real. Transcendentalism wasn't real. But nobody told these guys. And it's interesting to watch the metaphorical rubber hit the theoretical road. I'm thinking Kerouac. I'm thinking Chris McCandless. I'm thinking Ed Abbey. I'm thinking me.

Across the ages we Beat Beat Beat on the constructs of civility. Give me life, not pleasure. Give me difficulty, not ease. "I want my happiness! Where is my happiness?"


Elisa M said...

I don't know what to say to this post except "Yes, I get this." I am often filled with wanderlust. Sitting still is the hard thing for me.

susan said...

But why? And would you if you were German? These are the central questions. (And not rhetorical ones.)