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A pleasant morning

Went to Ely to do my art in the library once again. Air conditioning, spacious table, calm atmosphere, and my music on my noise cancelling headphones - lovely.

Parked up next to a van lifer. Heard he was playing music, and when I got out of my car to get my stuff ready to go, he glanced at me and turned up his electronic music and started frantically dancing in his seat, and making his van shake from side to side.

I locked the car and set off. As I did, I heard someone behind me calling out to me. He shouted again and as I turned around, I saw it was the guy from the van. He walked up to me and asked where a rave was happening for the solstice tomorrow. I smiled, but I told him that I didn't know.

"Ahh man! How can you not know where the party is?!"

He paused for a moment and looked rather confused. I told him I wans't into partying anymore and that I was sober; to which he quickly, and confidently retorted:
"So am I."

Admittedly I had my doubts, given his energy and vibe was that of someone who'd clearly enjoyed his fair share of disco biscuits (MDMA).

I asked him if he lived in his van, and he told me he did. He then excitedly told me he'd recently bought a boat. It's funny really - how many "free spirited" types end up doing the exact same thing. Breaking one mold, then slipping into another one. He informed me he had his studio in his van as well and was rearranging stuff since getting the boat.
I showed him my phone background which is a photograph of Boxanne. He loved the look of it, then warned me to be careful. That "they" are trying to get "us" off the road. To which I replied I've been building a list of van park ups in the middle of nowhere out in the countryside. He smiled and agreed that was a good plan.

I get it though, I read about groups of van lifers parking up for prolonged periods, and I think it's no wonder people get fed up. Me personally, I want to get as far away from others as possible. And now I have a job that is person centred - I can easily get my fill of socialising whilst working, and then enjoy hermit mode in my van once it's completed.
I wound up the conversation rather quickly as his vibe wasn't so appealing. I gave him a fist bump and headed off for the library. As I walked away he called out to me again. I turned around to see him pointing at me whilst tapping his nose and winking at me:

"Good boy for being sober!"

Ahh, people are fun. Especially the quirky types. Of course, van life will appeal to a lot of outsiders such as this. And back in the day when I attended illegal raves, you met a lot of creative types who enjoyed the freedom and hedonism of the free party scene.

I could never keep up with it though, and nowadays I abhore crowds, and think that a group of people who are off their faces and dancing to music isn't free-spirited. In fact I think it rather selfish and highly self-destructive.

Between my van, my look and my fire staffing - a lot of people assume I love the festival and rave scene. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'd much rather be in a library or alone in nature. Whilst I still love the music of that scene, music to me is a very personal experience - and I don't wish to share it surrounded by a sweaty group of noisy drunks, and people with various powders leaking out their noses.

Experimenting with party drugs were a brief phase in my early 20's which I knew could never become a regular habit. A weekend of long distance driving, dancing and then negotiating a comedown at the beginning of the working week? It was grim. I knew it would never be sustainable, and I quickly realised those who kept up this lifestyle quickly came across as spacey types with mushy brains, and a lack of cognitive faculties. 15 years later and I can't help but find it rather immature. Each to their own of course, and I know only too well how substances are an easy and viable means of escapism.

I was always the designated driver, so I could never really go all out as I had to be compos mentis in order to get everyone back home safely. In the end I sold my car and bought a motorbike. Suddenly all the people who regularly contacted me inviting me to parties and raves stopped messaging me. Yup, sounds about right.

When I left the library I bumped into a woman who worked at the gallery where I had my first exhibition. We had a nice chat. I mentioned moving to care work, and doing a van to live in. She introduced me to her husband who joined in the convo half way through. He too had done care work. They both loved the van - especially the colour, as both of them were wearing purple.

I said helping others in care work feels like it's helping myself, and that being kind to others is highlighting how I need to be kind to myself. Her husband smiled and said it was uncanny how similar we were.

A pleasant day all in all. My rota at work has changed a few times for this week. So I have enough hours, and I'm doing some single rounds, which will help me build my confidence and abilities a lot quicker. My double up on Sunday was excellent. I got on really well with my partner, and we did a really good job considering neither of us had covered that area much.

Things are moving along nicely.

Ed

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Raggamuffin
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