For the past three weeks I have been living in Crescent City, California. I needed to stop and re-evaluate how I can make this life sustainable. But also, I need to figure out how do I stay intellectually stimulated and continue to contribute to the personal and professional growth of business, community and myself; on my own terms.
The dream looks like this.
The reality looks like this.
Many franchisees are familiar with the concept of office in a box. They set up with an established company and are provided everything they need to run their office. My office is in a backpack – everything I need to do my business is in there (I think the contents of that bag is a post for another day). I have been working from McDonald’s for 3 -4 hours a day – building content, building a marketing plan, finishing my website, and taking in the McDonald’s experience. Strange place for a vegan to work during the day, but at least I am not tempted by the smell of a Big Mac anymore.
It seems that McDonald’s is a place for all types. I have met other people, such as myself, that come here for a coffee and free WiFi while they work on their own independent contracts. I see students with their books spread out, a big cup of caffeine and a dream of the future. And kids, oh my the kids, they run mad through the place hyped up on sugar. The staff are primarily young people figuring out their own shit, and most will not make this place a long term career.
This part of the city has a moderate population of homeless and McDonald’s has a menu that fits their budget. It makes me so sad to watch this. I know I can make much healthier meal, for the same money; but I have a roof over my head and a kitchen to cook in. As I explore this town, I am stuck by how some people are living. Cuddled up together, near the beach, with everything they own in a backpack. I feel overwhelmed by my inability to do anything to help these people but at the same time I wonder – could that be me some day. What would happen if I burned up my savings, and could no longer afford to keep the van? What if I could no longer work with my brain? What if I …………….. That night was a long one, as I lay awake thinking about all the things that could happen. That’s what trauma does to you! You question everything; and it’s a lot of work some days, to keep that shit from taking over. But here I am, at McDonald’s, playing the game of life; and doing my best be present with all that is here right now, in front of me.
I recently saw an elderly gentlemen with a cup in his hand and a sign that said he was a veteran and that it was his birthday. I parked the truck and ran back up the road to give him a $5 bill. He thanked me and off I went. Twenty minutes later I saw him in the grocery store with milk, bread and a small package of meat. I still think about him, and my heart races back to our encounter and I ask myself – Did I have more cash on me that day, could I have done more?
Please help a brave squirrel out today – Stop and help someone – if you can. We are all in this together.