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Starting over in a new area is exciting yet filled with trepidation. Will new friendships solidify? Will employment be forthcoming? How much elasticity will the meager savings provide which were grudgingly withheld from further adventures in Mexico?
Instead of plopping down a month's rent plus damage deposit and utility hookups, and like many low budget travelers, I parked the RV starter kit, our 71 VW bus, at a Super Wal-Mart. It has a 24 hour rest room, a quick food place where I could order a coffee at night and sit for an hour or more reading novels from the 1920s. Food and beer are available and fuel for the propane stove. One friend said he would live at Wal-Mart if they offered child care and a casino. Having a dwelling is not imperative except on paper so I discovered a vacant lot in a residential area and used that as my address. A phone is essential so a cell was the ticket.
With a college degree maybe substitute teacher was feasible. They required a background check that cost $40. I had not spent money for a job since getting snookered for 90 dollars for a set of cutlery to begin my first high school gig selling kitchen shivs. Plus the idea of freely divulging information to the police is repulsive to my nature,. Here are two examples of friends who put incontrovertible credence in the police. Mary returned home one evening to discover her house broken into. Without entering she called the police from the neighbor's. The boys in blue arrived, investigated and found the intruder had long since departed. While searching her residence they found a tray of pot under her bed. They ended up charging her with drug possession.
Another example is our friend Lisa. After an extended happy hour she was seven sheets to the wind. Outside the bar she approached a policeman for help, thinking in her befuddled mind that he might drive her home. Instead she was arrested for public drunkenness.

I applied for a job in liquor sales and I had it nailed down except for a class that cost $30 on alcohol required by the state. I refused to spend money to procure a job. The public library offered one hour of free internet access so I tried to apply for positions on line but was unable to submit my application after filling it out because the system demanded identification of the incoming server. Was it POP3, IMAP or HTTP? It was gobbledygook that stymied any headway.
One day the cell rang and it was a potential job but the battery expired halfway through the call. By the time I recharged and called back they had selected someone else. I felt like a confounded loser. One of the few pleasures during this period was chatting with some of the RV and mobile home retirees. A couple who bought an Atlas with all the Wal-Mart locations had just spent a wekk in Big Bend National Park. I admire the area because it has consistently thwarted attempts to commercialize it. The farmers and ranchers tried their hand. Now Daniels, Homer Wilson and Sam Nail homesteads are in ruins. The miners extracted minerals from the earth but Mariscal Mine is rusty. Development near the hot springs along the Rio Grande failed and the store and hotel are empty. The travelers were gone in the morning. I became acquainted with the security guard who drove around with his flashing light. I got on friendly terms with the overnight cashiers as I bought supplies.
One night while withdrawing money from the ATM I noticed a computer to apply for a job. I like playing on keyboards so I hunkered down with a quart of orange juice and answered all the questions. A few days later I received a call from Wal-Mart to come in for an interview. When the time came I walked from the parking lot to freshen up in the mens room and to the back office. They ended up hiring me as a cashier. After the first check I entered a room near the university. Life is good.
 
                                                               Las Cruces, New Mexico



Joe Speer publishes the print magazine BEATLICK NEWS with Pamela Hirst and maintains the Beatlick website at http://www.beatlick.com

Improvement makes straight roads, but crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius ~ William Blake.