Posts Tagged “kindness”

The best words of wisdom I have to offer anyone visiting Slab City for the first time is to not judge this place or its people based on outward appearances.

Judge not, lest ye not be judged
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged…
Matthew  7:1

Slab City Resident RigAs often as St. Matthew is misinterpreted, this verse is especially relative when visiting the slabs for the first time. For starters, no slabber I’ve met is about to pass judgement on anyone. And any visitors who do judge, are not likely to make it past the Range.

I take that back. When it comes to justice, Slab City does have its own judges and juries.

Take for instance the slabber whose boat got burnt down by vigilantes after he mistreated a fellow resident of the opposite sex. But I digress…

I have never felt unsafe when visiting Slab City. Not even when Moth stabbed Sam. That’s because I live by the unspoken law of leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone.

But seriously, while judgmental folks may take one look at some of these souls and see a wild pack filthy miscreants and ne’er do wells, I see a bunch of fun-loving friends just doing what they can to survive and loving life to the fullest as they do.

Never mind their looks – and in some cases their smell – Slabbers really are some of the nicest folks I’ve ever met. I’ve never been greeted with a smile by strangers in Los Angeles. And I’ve never had such a warm welcome to a strange part of a big city, as I have to an even stranger Slab City encampment.

Take for instance one night at the Oasis, where those gathered around the fire might happily pass along whatever it is they may choose to partake. You don’t need to agree with their poison of choice, but ya gotta appreciate the offer! Then there was the guy returning to his seat who did not barge right in front of Rene as we talked. He politely waited, then said excuse me and even bowed before he passed.

Or how ’bout the boisterous gang in the corner at the pot luck?

Slab City Pot Luck Mad Hatters Tea Party
Slab City Pot Luck Mad Hatters Tea Party

A suspecting individual might wonder what mayhem was in the works. The quiet observer would soon discover the Mad Hatter was just having a tea party.

People Watching is Best Slab City Entertainment

Slab City Pot Luck Tea Party Mad HatterPeople watching is one of my favorite activities at the Slabs. There is actually some amazing talent to be seen at East Jesus and heard at the Range. But the audience is often the best act. Where else will you see a drunkard don a helmet before hitting the dance floor, or a clean cut young lady give Moth a sweet kiss goodbye?

What I find most interesting, however, is the harmony that exists among such a striking dichotomy of economic classes. One Saturday night I observed an Audi convertible parked at the Range, clearly out of place. It was easy to identify the owner and his clique trying just a little too hard to fit in.

But then again, I guess that would just be me passing judgement.

Slab City Liquor for East Jesus Bottle Wall
Liquors of choice vary greatly at Slab City

If you have heard of boondocking for free the Slabs, but have never given it a try, what has kept you from joining the fun?

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Go ahead, give it a try. Smile.

Arun looking happy at the T or C FiestaFeeling upset? You may be surprised at just how good a smile will make you feel.

You might even be more surprised how contagious it is. In fact clinical studies have proven that smiling improves relaxation.

But smile at the wrong people, and they’ll wonder what you’re up to. I feel for these folks.

Going for an early morning run through industrial areas of Los Angeles, I would make it a point to smile and greet everyone I encountered. The majority of these people would just look at me funny. Some would scowl, others would grunt, and oftentimes someone would literally be quite startled. But every time, the eyes would quickly be divereted, if any eye contact was made at all. And while I did get a few responses en español, it wasn’t a language barrier thing. Take for instance the one older Asian gentleman walking briskly who replied with a big grin and resounding, albeit thickly accented, Good Morning!

More recently, as I was running along Mission Bay in San Diego, many people out for their morning stroll would reply with a smile or at least a nod. But still, the majority would still appear a bit taken aback.

Is it big city shitty life that makes one so jaded? I believe it has more to do with lifestyle. Take the old Asian guy. He was healthy, happy, and he knew it. The hungover lookin’ gangsta type at a bus stop appeared to be none of the above.

I realized something after comparing these runs over the past few weeks. Those who were up early and walking or riding bikes because they needed to be were not very happy campers. Those out enjoying the morning air because they wanted to be seemed much happier.

Where in this wonderful world of ours have you been where you noticed people to be exceptionally happy? Or rude for that matter?

I would have to say everyone we’ve ever met at Vickers Ranch has always worn a smile. And Luckenbach must be one of the happiest places in the universe. It is the center after all, according to Hondo.

Hondo Crouch Moon Shadow Sign in Luckenbach Texas Bar

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