And as things fell apart, nobody paid much attention.

The hard part about hauling yourself, your 45 lb bike and another 40-50 lbs in gear, tools, food and water 444 miles through the rolling hills of through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee isn’t the bicycling day after day.

It’s what I’m calling capitalism withdrawal. I didn’t get it traveling 3 weeks in Cuba, but I did get it cycling 7 days on the Trace. And it hurt so good to check out of that system for a short while. We’ve grown accustomed to the luxury of having things available to us. We’re so conditioned into a cycle of overconsumption that breaking it truly is like kicking some sort of addiction. Get your damn hands off my coffee!!

Go ahead and try not buying something for just one entire day. I mean nothing. No food. No water. No gas. No iPhones. No 100″ TVs. No clearly-compensating-for-something “hunting” machine guns or douchebaggy sports cars. You have to not pay your rent or mortgage or utilities that day. Or week. Or month. I guess the air is still free to breathe as long as you can survive outside with whatever you have.

This very much is a concept I’m intrigued with. I’ve tried it in some form or fashion a few times; usually failing miserably. Back in the last millennium, Black Friday meant that you bought nothing that day – at least my social circles. I still paid my rent that day and had a cell phone bill with the same number I have now, so that’s paid. I might have even been paying for cable too. I was buying shit the day after thanksgiving for sure, it’s just wasn’t tickle-me elmo or a PlayStation 5000.

I bought absolutely nothing all week. I had no opportunity to buy anything. No salacious billboards beckoned me to enjoy Denny’s breakfast or Starbucks double foam lattes. I purposefully wanted to do this to challenge myself – and it still came with these sort of withdrawal symptoms. Like the National Park Service signed me up for some sort of behavioral social experiment.

Thank you sir, may I please have another.

The Natchez Trace is what made this possible. I feel patriotic as fuck for de-hardwiring myself. Psychological detox. We need more of these parkways, people.

Shit I have not seen one instance of anywhere around me: Street lights. Traffic signals. Heavy traffic. Commercial trucks. Potholes. Grocery stores. Motels. Hotels. Restaurants. Bars. Car dealerships. Parking garage.

Talking Heads – (Nothing But) Flowers

Once there were parking lots
Now it’s a peaceful oasis
You’ve got it, you’ve got it

This was a Pizza Hut
Now it’s all covered with daisies
You got it, you got it

I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
You got it, you got it

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention
You got it, you got it

So while it was made easier – or at least simpler – for me to not “buy, consume, repeat” for a time; it hasn’t reduced how difficult it was going through with it the last week. Like i said, WITHDRAWAL – I’d strongly suggest we all should go to rehab.

About tonycaferro

Entrepreneur, Citizen, Marketeer, Fire Fighter / EMT, Bicycle-Tourist, Booking Agent, Youth Mentor, Activist, Agitator, Coffee Addict, Foodie, Social Media Nerd, Amateur Film Critic, Son, Brother, Uncle & Rust Belt Representative. Follow me on Twitter @dtr45
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