Caveman Fever

I've just had the most interesting conversation with my old roommate, Daniel Suelo, who is now very famous for giving up money. (No, that's not why we stopped living together.) I kidnapped him after his booksigning last night, so I could give him some free stuff and feel good about myself. (Actually, I wanted him to meet my family.) And now the time comes for him to get back to San Francisco so he can meet up with the author of his biography and get on to the next stop on their freakishly popular (thank you, the 99%) book tour.

Rockin' the new caveman fan fashion trend....
Daniel and I reminisced about living in a six-person household in Boulder, Colorado in the mid 1980s. We were a ragtag bunch of ungrounded youth, unsure of what to do with our lives, collected by my big brother Damian, who had met Daniel in a Religion course at CU. All we wanted to do was talk philosophy, listen to the new Sting solo album, and eat leftover rice from The Harvest, Boulder's most happening natural restaurant, where my little brother Felix was a busboy. We managed to get along okay with little to no money, not (of course) by choice, being resourceful and helping each other through our problems. We built important life skills together, like home dentistry. (Today's Obamacare kids have it so easy, enjoying dad's health insurance 'til age 26!)

Boulder has, or at least had, at the time, anti-commune laws leftover from the 1960s, so when the landlord found out there were six unrelated people living together in his suburban home, he evicted us. Before we moved, we contemplated easier solutions. For example, since three of us were related already, I could just marry Daniel, and then the household would be over 50% related. It was almost worth it to get married just so we could hyphenate our names: "Daniel and Kristen Shellabarger-Baumgardner." Even better: Shellabaum-Gardnerbarger.

Back to today. Since my almost-hubby doesn't use money, I'm planning to give him the gift of a BART ticket. But hmmm.... He has to make a Muni connection. How to deal with that? Daniel's choice to break up with money brings up so many curious and interesting questions. (FAQs are here.) Is it aesceticism or aestheticism? How do you live in a mindset of acceptance? What if you break your leg? How do you eat a thistle? We discussed the many options of him getting from BART to Muni. Would he hop the train? Could he stand around with the book in his hand and hope someone came up to offer him a ticket? Hold up a sign that says, "I don't use money. Help me get on this train."

I've been peppering him with questions all morning, (help him train for the Santa Cruz audience, of course,) but now I really want to know: "Do you EVER use money, if someone gives it to you?"

He replies, "sometimes people will give me money to buy something they need, but I don't use it to buy something for myself."

"So, If I gave you $2, could you buy a Muni ticket for my friend Daniel?" Ha HA! I trapped him with my clever logic! He grins and blushes, deeply.

But I don't want to be the one to come between a man and his art—and I do believe he is living his art. I'll just give him a ride and enjoy the adventure.


cavenoid said...

And now by odd quirk, he finds himself traveling the country. Without money. What would John Steinbeck think?

Suelo said...

Little would we know, after all, we'd be finally sharing the same name, without trying: Caveman.

Yeah, it was a truly beauteous time with Kristen & the rest of Damian's family. I got a couple of Kristen's books now. And her mom, Louise, & I went for a wondrous walk & talk that morning, too.