So i live in this unusually wonderful place. There is tremendous freedom, there is basically no crime, low stress, guaranteed work, no bosses, we grow our own organic food, equitable distribution of resources, rich social culture, very stable, small footprint and much more some of it quite hard to describe.
So it is not surprising that we attract with some regularity some amazing personalities. I co-manage recruiting here (the self-proclaimed Minister of Propaganda) so i watch with interest most of these extraordinary characters as they consider living here. Often i can tell it wont last, these are the shooting stars. We get them here for a while, they shine their light on us, we enjoy them, and then they whisk off to another adventure or romance.
One such shooting star was Raven.
He was extraordinary in a number of ways. He was the only practicing Muslim in my 14 years at this commune. He was mercurial – One month he would do all tofu and scheduled work, the next he would do all hammocks and unscheduled work. He was a bike racer who took that haste into almost everything he touched. And i knew from before he became a member, we would only have him for a while before the next amazing opportunity caught his eye and he flew off.
Raven told me a story, which captured some essence of him for me and it is tangled in one flavor of this shoot star identity. It goes something like this.
Raven had saved up money from the bike messenger job he was working in some random urban area. He took his $500 to the bike store with the intention of getting a particular high-end racing bike (or perhaps middle end at $500). He went to the bike shop and the shop was having trouble figuring out if they had the bike or they could get it. They left my friend waiting for a while during the time they were trying to figure it out. Big mistake.
Raven was looking out the window of the bike store at the travel agency across the street. He got up walked over placed his money on the desk of the travel agent and said “If you can get me a round trip ticket for Italy, leaving in the next week for $500 i will buy it.”
The travel agents started by saying “I probably can’t, but i will check for you.” They looked through various computer listings and actually found one. “It is $490 and it leaves tomorrow, back in 3 months.” And Raven bikelessly was on his way.
He had no plans for what to do in Italy. He had no contacts, did not speak the language, had no money. He also had no worries. He is a charming, charismatic, wildly handsome and funny man. The world opens for this type of shooting star. On the flight to Rome he sat next to a woman, who was interested in his stories and situation. At the end of the flight she gave him 2K Euros (about US$3,000). Which Raven happily accepted. She offered him her phone number, which he respectfully declined.
“Live like you are trying to keep the reader of your autobiography engaged.”