The notion of living a nomadic lifestyle in mobile collectives and following the seasons is as old as civilization itself. Early tribes of native American Indians wandered across the nation, periodically moving location to maximize the advantages of climate and the environment. While “Hippie” is often a term used to describe Transit Antenna, we are more suited to the nomadic “housetruckers” of New Zealand who practice alternative lifestyles and promote sustainable energy. Housetruckers are individuals, families and groups who convert old trucks and school buses into mobile-homes and live in them, preferring an unattached and transient lifestyle to more conventional housing. These nomads are found traveling independently and in convoys from town to town making a living from small cottage industries such as arts and crafts, or following various fruit picking seasons as they occur throughout the nation. In the past, we have been accused of being a burden to society, expecting others to support us in our ventures by mooching off of friends and family. And, although the name of our project is not “Working Odd Jobs Across America,” the members of Transit Antenna have taken on a variety of vocations in the past year to fund our mobile lifestyle.
Of all the pig ramp building, school bus fixing, door to door knocking, and wedding coordinating, our present task is by far the most difficult. From the afternoon that we parked Walter in Clover, we have been scraping, peeling, grinding, sanding, and melting layers of paint off the Gadsden’s porch. The 100 year old porch has more layers than a giant jawbreaker. Each morning we wake up with a new ache and a little bit sorer.
Knowing that nothing gets accomplished if you’re waiting around for a man’s help, Jamie and I have learned that power tools can be a girl’s best friend. Holding the grinder tight, Jamie chips away the last stubborn layer of paint from a column, hoping not to be stung by blazing debris flying in every direction. The salty sweat dripping from Bob’s brow caused by the scorch of the heat gun, cools slightly in the mist of the afternoon thunderstorms that roll in each day. Although the weather may temporarily delay the use of power tools, nobody stops working on account of rain.
Moving from banister to wall to ceiling to column to floor keeps away the monotony and distracts you from the feeling of blisters making their way to the surface of your fingertips . With no end in sight, we arm ourselves with heat guns and angle grinders to battle till the bitter end, or at least until we decide to make a run for it in the middle of the night.
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