The Couch Surfing Glory Years
It was 6 years ago and I was leaving the comfy comforts of one of my new-found friends, Vlad Elkums. He was kind enough to let me crash on his famous Chicago couch, free of charge, the savings of which would go to more than pay for the gas of my entire motorcycle ride out east.
My next stop was to another internet friend I had made. He had promised me I could crash on his couch as well. And I was very much looking forward to meeting this person in meet-space. But as I approached the town he lived in and I called to check in on him to see when I could stop by, I was rather shocked when the person on the other line yelled,
"Jesus fucking Christ Clarey! You can't just swing on by here anytime! And you want to sleep on my couch? We're in our 30's man, not our 20's anymore!"
It was one of those rare times I was speechless as I had nothing to say. I also had to quickly figure out where I was going to stay that night since my previous offer for lodging had been rescinded. But I chalked up this irrational behavior to the only thing it was - mental illness. And sure enough this former (and to-remain-unknown) podcaster/blogger proved to be mentally ill. He has since retreated into obscurity.
The rest of the trip went just fine. I found lodging with Glorious Karl. A buddy of mine down in Raleigh. Major Miller along the coast. And a divey hotel in some town in Ohio. But what I thought was an unfortunate instance of mental illness on the part of my ne'er-met colleague, turned out instead to be a trend. And that trend was an increasing amount of friends - both internet and real world - would not provide lodging, would not provide a couch, and often times just not provide simple help to a friend and traveler in need.
Not a year later I found myself in another similar situation wintering down south. A friend's girlfriend offered me lodging if I would dog sit and keep her apartment in relatively good order. I was only happy to oblige in that her place was near a wonderful trail system I loved to hike. I took her pooch out, cleaned the apartment, while getting work done at the local coffee shop. It was in truth one of my happier and more memorable times in life.
That was until I came back to her apartment one evening to find her crying on the couch, fetal position, demanding I leave that night.
I was pissed. I liked this person. I considered her a friend. And she was one of the stronger women (I thought anyway) with a military and STEM background. But like my previous colleague, I had to chalk her dramatic behavior up to mental illness...though no doubt it could have been the recreational drugs she was on.
Still, Cappy was very resourceful in these glorious couch surfing days, and I had yet another family of friends in the area I could crash with. They even had an honest to god guest room. A room...(now sit down Gen X wives, because this is going to floor you)...
specifically designated for guests!
I was given license to crash there for 2 weeks, but they would hardly know I was there on account I was always going out hiking, exploring and visiting other friends.
But the next winter when I asked to crash at their place, the guest room was no longer available. It was converted into a workout room that no one used. And instead of getting the husband of the family to go out very regularly, it was pulling teeth to get him to go out once for a drink. And so rarely were phone calls returned, it was too much effort to keep up the friendship (though there is the occasional time his wife lets him out and we can meet up once every two years).
Then there was the Talented Mr. Le, my life-long friend who is still to this day my most cherish and loved friend. But three years ago even he was reluctant to allow me to crash on his floor, when just three years previous to that, I had all the offers in the world to sleep on the couch, floor, or chair...replete with Bark Scorpions, Black Widow Spiders, and Rattle Snakes. It has since become too tedious a task to ask to crash that I just get a hotel, but that is on the very rare case I travel to Phoenix.
And finally, perhaps the Grande Finale of couch surfing meltdowns, was my friend who not only lost his shit, but went to an all-you-can-eat buffet to engorge himself so he could lose even more of his shit when...
I didn't put a coffee cup away,
I failed to tuck a chair back under the kitchen table,
and (sit down for this one)
I made an illegal U turn in his neighborhood.
These grand offenses literally pissed him off so much I thought it was potentially going to come to blows. But thankfully, he calmed down, I gathered my things, and I left, retreating to (yet another) buddy in the area who had a couch and wasn't an unstable psychopathic sperg.
It's Not Me. And It's Not You. It's Society. And It's Real
Now, it is here low-IQ people will go for the low-hanging fruit and predictably say, "well you're the common variable in all these things, you must suck as a guest!" And while it is true I was a common variable, you are wrong. I am an exceptional guest. And it is here that it is of PRIMARY importance the individual know when he is right and the rest of the world is losing its fucking mind. Because, yes, some people are getting old and no longer want to have guests. Yes, no doubt, some people's wives are tyrants and don't want buddy's of their husbands around. But let me be very clear - most of these people lost their damn minds and their damn shit. And I've been alive too damn long to start second guessing myself like an unconfident 7th grader trying to be popular. There is a trend of people helping each other less, and no, it's not that I farted in their living room.
These Non-Lodging Examples Three
Still, if you insist on more proof, allow me to give you these examples three that don't involve lodging. That don't involve me crashing with people like the good ole Recession Days of the 2010's. Just a bunch of real guys, who I thought were real good, upstanding, reliable men, who instead (frankly) just turned out to be a bunch of whiney, flakey, pansy ass girls.
Non-Lodging Example #1 is a guy I entrusted to keep some of my vehicles up and running as I traveled between Minneapolis, South Dakota, and Vegas for the better part of a year. Also during that year I had seminars, online classes to develop, switching ALL my various accounts (banks, cards, insurance, etc.,) to my new house, and the regular monotony of regular ole life.
So when I get off the plane, grab the bus, and hoof it to my destination can I hop in my car, fire it up, and go to the grocery store to get some food? No the batteries are dead because the guy couldn't do the BASIC of things and fire it up once in a while. And the reason he couldn't do it was because the COVID/lockdown was making him depressed. And not just depressed, he's gone. He's ghosted. Nobody knows where he's gone!
This is a full-grown fucking man who can't even turn a car engine over once a month. And while I do not deny that the lockdown has been horrible for everyone's mental health, nor do I deny that depression and mental illness can keep a man down, what in god's fucking name do you think a post-apocalyptic collapse is going to do for your mental health? And could you possibly rely on this person in that much more-dramatic scenario?
Non-Lodging Example #2, Good Ole DT.
Here I can name names simply because The Airport Fiasco was made public. And the short version is that despite being my friend, DT can't drive me to the airport because he deems it an irrational request.
Now let that sink in. You can't drive a brother to the airport? You can't take a friend out to catch a flight? It is irrational to take a friend to the airport. Admittedly it is a chore to drive a buddy to the airport, but ain't that like "Friendship 101?" It's irrational, even insulting, to request a ride to the airport?
As an economist I found this particularly perturbing because there is NO bigger pissing away of money than Uber/taxi cabs. But I just inevitably found it funny because who the fuck doesn't drive his friends to the airport?? This absolutely has to break some kind of code in the Bro Code somewhere, on par with not messing with another man's car. And don't you want to catch up and get a coffee with your pals?
Regardless, if you can't rely on a friend for a simple favor like that, precisely what can you rely upon him for?
And then there's Non-Lodging Example #3, hitching hiking. Specifically, the community.
Since DT was on the "hard no" list of people I could sponge a ride from to the airport, I knew I would have to find a ride well in advance of my latest flight. I had a month, which I thought was ample time, but apparently not because the entire community failed me in this one simple task.
Admittedly, it was not "the whole community" or anything as dramatic as that. Some of it was bad luck/timing. The Great One was already working out of town so I couldn't rely on him. My neighbor was also busy with another engagement, so he was out too. My other neighbor couldn't do anything either (and my third closest neighbor is so far away I might as well walk to the airport). But what got me is that after two weeks of asking acquaintances for a ride, I got three people to commit. And the reason I got three was because I sensed people would flake.
And sure enough I was right.
2 of the 3 never got back to me, in spite of saying they could give me a ride. And the third one (bless her heart) could only take me to the airport 10 hours before my flight. And so I did what I should have all along, get an Uber, as the time I had spent trying to find a ride just wasn't worth the effort.
Except...there are no Uber drivers in my remote part of South Dakota. Let alone taxi cabs. And so off Cappy went, backpack on back, hoofing it down the highway to the airport.
Thankfully, a good Samaritan picked me up and drove me the ENTIRE way to the airport, but while walking I was doing some thinking and came to the actuarial conclusion that at least SOME people said they would give me a ride, but never had any intention to. Yes, I know you think in good ole conservative, country America good ole folks would help good ole folks out....but they don't. They're just as caught up in their own world as their leftist city slicker counterparts, and they have no desire or intention of helping their fellow man out. They just happen to spew those values on the internet or in person to look good. And so if you're expecting any reliability or help from conservatives, libertarians, or just general non-leftists, don't. Because it's too much of a labor for them and their boring, uneventful lives can't possibly be disturbed.
No, "We" Are Not Forming a Community When Society Collapses
And this is the point of this post. Because for all the talk conservatives, libertarians, and republicans talk about how important community is, none of them, and I mean NONE OF THEM do it.
You want to set up a community in case there's an emergency or the economy collapses?
Nope, none of them are coming to help you. They're too lazy to train, learn new skills, or even get to know their neighbors. Besides, the horror channel has a horror movie marathon on this week, and I can't possibly be bothered to help you install that water cistern.
You want to create a fellowship or brotherhood where people help one another out?
Nope, I can't be bothered to fire up your car or take your ass to the airport. I'm too mentally ill, weak, or depressed feeling sorry for myself to honor my word or just do basic kindnesses. Walk down the road and there's literally a higher chance a completely random stranger will help you out than your "friends."
You want to save your buddy $2500 in unnecessary lodging so that money could go to better things?
Nope, as per wifey's commandment from the "Gen X Wife Homeownership User Manual" according to Rule 9, Subchapter 17, Sub-section 5.A7
"No guest rooms shall ever have actual guests stay in them."
Nearly all these people I've mentioned are staunch conservatives/libertarians. Nearly all of them are for prepping, independence, freedom, and community...on paper. But the truth is if it comes to actually helping your brother out, nearly all of them value tucked in chairs, drugs, sloth, laziness, a nagging wife, and/or feeling sorry for themselves more than they do their fellow American, brother, or conservative. And I'm going to bet it's the same for your circle of friends/colleagues. These people are fair weather friends, not people you can rely upon in case the SHTF or you just want simple community and belonging.
I watched this video from Wranglestar and I was truly envious of how he was describing the community he once belonged to. But I doubt he's going to be able to recreate the community he once had where the entire village of men would come out to build your house or repair your car. I highly doubt WIVES will come out to communally cook for men instead of bitch and whine about having to do it.
Like Wranglestar, the majority of you will not have a community to join or even form if you wanted to. I strongly suggest you prepare to be a lone wolf and as always, enjoy the decline.