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An Incorrigible Kodger in Bisbee

Maybe Wayne was right the other day about beauty being available even in towns and cities. For instance the Mobile Kodger and I were walking through Bisbee AZ yesterday on our sojourn to New Mexico. Old mining towns -- even if they are tourist traps -- put me in a good mood regarding towns, cities, and -- dare I say -- even people. And I needed the advantage since I was walking through a funky town with the inimitable and incorrigible Kodger.

Those who have never had this experience might have difficulty imagining it. It took a few blocks for the Kodger to reach his stride. We started downtown, in the high-rent district: art galleries, gewgaws, baubles, trinkets, and bourgeois matrons. There really is a sad and noble beauty to the silent suffering of  any husband who is in tow in a place like this. The most humane and sensible matrons leave their suffering saints at home and do Bisbee with "the girls". In fact it might be a good idea for any man who is seriously considering marriage to take Honey Buns through Bisbee. If they are still on speaking-terms after an hour or two, the marriage might stand a chance.

Unlike the Kodger I was indifferent to people, and preferred old buildings and architecture. There were a couple times when my heart started palpitating and my eyelashes began fluttering. This was probably amusing to him. As we walked away from downtown the buildings looked more dilapidated, eclectic, and funky. One old wreck of a house seemed to be built out of the same rocks that were used in a multi-level terrace.

As a cyclist I perked up when I saw this store:

In case you didn't click it to enlarge it, it says "Bisbee Bicycle Brothel."

Each block up the hill and towards the canyon, the Kodger became bolder about getting the "story" from total strangers. I hung back and either blushed or acted annoyed and impatient. Was he just exercising a skill that he knew he was good at? Another scalp on his belt? Or was it actually beneficial to him or his interviewee? Maybe the interviewee just felt important; if that's all it was, the whole thing seemed manipulative, as everything in the social science racket is.

And yet, the Kodger is fundamentally correct in making an effort to see human beings as a valuable resource. One reason I'm involved with his experiment this summer is that it takes straight aim at the mistaken notion that boondocking and hermit-like behavior are inextricably linked.


  1. What about boondocking and introversion?

    We love chatting people up in town, and then we love getting back out to the coyotes and the cacti. Only so much social interaction we introverts can manage in a day.


  2. It's Bobbie who has to drag me from the trinkets and gew gaws in places like Bisbee. I look to funky artsy fartsy towns as as entertainment... maybe the way Kodger looks to people for stories. And by the way, I think I could handle Bisbee for an extended period of time... but I found it difficult to boondock as close as I wanted to.
    Good luck on your socialization... you're off to a good start.

  3. I too tend toward isolation, toward Nature, but I still find Beauty (capitalization intended) in towns and cities also.

    I'm definitely not a Kodger/people-person type, but being a photographer type, I often---in social settings---turn off the mind's attraction to the "noise" and see the streets and grime and traffic from a visual, photographer/videographer point-of-view.

    When I look at the world like it is a silent, visual canvas---like a documentary on PBS or something---well, Beauty, what can I say? I see Her everywhere. :)

  4. There is a profound quotation on Ken Ilgunas website today where his topic is Friendship:

    "The English word ‘free,’ for instance, is derived from a German root meaning ‘friend,’ since to be free meant to be able to make friends, to keep promises, to live within a community of equals. This is why freed slaves in Rome became citizens: to be free, by definition, mean to be anchored in a civic community, with all the rights and responsibilities that this entailed.” – David Graeber, 1961-present, Debt

  5. Your last sentence really jumped out at me. I think I've been missing the point. Boondocking is beginning to sound like a self-imposed solitary confinement which is so contrary to human emotional/social needs that it is used as punishment in prisons.
    Tom, that quote is interesting and I thank you for mentioning the site. Looks interesting. Intriguing to link freedom to friendship. What are your thoughts on this quote as to why you included it in this discussion?

  6. George, A simple explanation, I think it is a novel idea to associate freedom with also bearing responsibilities, not just being free to pursue our own interests.

    ... and I'm not really sure why Boonie's post caused me to react as I did, except to think that he is engaging in an experiment with community. A small community, and more than likely a very interesting group. It will be interesting to see if he feels any responsibilities with this new association.

  7. Good Luck Duck, indeed, the camping style you mentioned is a fun way to camp. The contrast is enjoyable.

    Box Canyon Blogger, it is too bad that Bisbee is so unboondockable. Still, a couple hours there does the trick for me.

  8. While I prefer to boondock alone I really enjoy talking to folks I encounter while on the road. No problem, a minute or two, a few hours or maybe a few days.

    What I can't stand is seeing the same folks in the elevator every day for 10, 15, 20 years. And I have actually been there.

  9. While I prefer to boondock alone I really enjoy talking to folks I encounter while on the road. No problem, a minute or two, a few hours or maybe a few days.

    What I can't stand is seeing the same folks in the elevator every day for 10, 15, 20 years. And I have actually been there.

  10. A great pleasure Boonie to walk the streets of Bisbee with you---blending our styles. You walked us to canyon's edge--where town ends--calling my eyes to the architecture
    ----and most amusingly showed me a new way to deal with religious fanatics. I will rhyme the incident for your readers:

    Boonie and I met a religious guy
    on the streets of Bisbee town--
    Who started a sermon 'bout liberal vermin;
    said all of em should be drowned!

    But my friend Boonie won't tolerate loonies
    (And I won't forget what he did that day)
    In a New York minute he'd reached his limit
    and suddenly walked away.

  11. Thanks for rhyme, Kodger. I didn't walk away so brusquely just because I disagreed with that guy. Rather, it was because he wouldn't let me get a word in. If he wouldn't act civil with me, why do I owe him passive servility?

    At first I was going to make some excuse for leaving. But why did I need an excuse? Why should anyone tolerate being the barf-bucket for somebody else's bottled-up anger or frustration?

  12. I dislike giving auidence, and not getting it in return.
    Persons who wont return in kind are displaying inflated EGOs that have to be stroked and are NOT really interacting at all, but in reality they are performing!

  13. "barf bucket"... I like that Boonie.


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