"Where ya been?"
The only thing harder to achieve than my adoration is my undivided attention. Last night the @NatGeoChannel earned both with their series #taboo.
In the episode, crews followed a man leading a double life. In it’s self, having a hidden alter ego, a la Anthony Weiner, isn’t all that marginalizing anymore. We as a people have gotten used to that kind of stuff.
This was better. Far more strange, and far more rich.
Here’s the synopsis:
Minneapolis, MN, USA: “Adman” (Todd Waters’ hobo name) rides a freight train. Todd is a married, successful businessman with two grown children and a million-dollar home. His family know and support Adman’s desire to live two different lives.
It was a story about a guy who refused to accept a comfortable, acceptable, and therefore, painfully normal way of life.
A few times a year he takes off. Leaving his credit cards, cash, and cellphone at home, relying instead on a rugged spirit to take him… well, where ever he ends up.
To do this, he hops trains, and sleeps under bridges like the romanticized hobo’s of the 1930’s and 40’s did.
It brought me back to the market I was working in prior to coming here, and the view I had from the window of my bureau. Two or three times a day, the Norfolk Southern line would race by, shaking the building, and interrupting the tracking that I would undoubtedly be doing whenever it passed.
The train cars were tired and rusted, and therefore completely gorgeous to a weirdo like me.
In the book I’ve been working on I wrote this of it’s daily passing;
But train hopping, she knew, was just another one of those romantic desolate notions, like cigarette smoke and southwestern nights spent in cheap motels. Ideas, that make for great descriptive literature, but actualized, would provide nothing more than certain devastation. She figured that to be the case for most artistic longings.
First off, I do not have Aspergers. I promise. But I may be of the breed that understands what this guy is doing, and perhaps why it is so important. Watching this story begs me to now wonder if this ‘devistation’ I wrote of is as certain as I had thought before. I mean, for me, yes. It probably is. The show didn’t forget to highlight the dangers of this kind of adventure. Most living in such a way do not do it by choice. Gangs who hang out by the rails are a constant threat, plus substance abuse and mental illness run rampant through these homeless camps.
Still, there is something very beautiful about making this kind of choice. Maybe I have read too many books on 1940’s counter-culture, and have listened to too much Dylan, or have seen ‘Into the Wild’ one too many times.
Or maybe, it’s just the old-soul’d hope that life can go as deep as you want it to.
Anyway, happy trails to Adman.
And if you watch the show and get easily creeped out. Turn it off after this segment! I obviously did not and now have to wrestle with the fact that we share this world with people known as “Furries”.