Friends, Homes, & Haunt Careers

I probably shouldn’t allow myself to write blog posts when I’ve been left alone too long to stew in my own thoughts. Doing so can lead to paranoid miscalculations with no basis in reality. And I fear that this blog post may be one of those instances.

I’ve also got to be really careful about what I say here because I know that some of my friends are reading this blog and what I’m going to write about could easily be misinterpreted in a number of ways, including “as insulting”.

But everything I’m going to write about is guiding my decision making process. I’ve got very critical decisions to make in the days, weeks, and months ahead of me. These decisions will affect how my life unfolds. And while nothing is irrevocable, a misstep could be very costly toward my ultimate goals.

And for the record – should any of the people referenced in this blog post happen to read it, please understand that nothing written here is intended to be insulting. On the contrary – I have the utmost respect and love for you all. And it is out of that respect and love that I even entertain these thoughts. I won’t reference anyone explicitly by name, but some identities might be obvious. If you take issue with anything I’ve written, please come and talk to me about it. I may be able to express some of these things better in person than in writing.

Patience for Homelessness Wearing Thin

Just two days ago, I told you that I’m loving this lifestyle. What a difference 48 hours can make! To be fair, I still enjoy living outdoors instead of in an apartment or house. I think if the circumstances were just a little different, I’d feel very differently today. But there are a few factors that are trying my patience in a way that it wasn’t tried for the five weeks I spent on the road.

“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” A phrase often uttered by Wisconsinites bitching about summer weather in spite of our infamously shitty winter weather. These are words that I never fully appreciated before. Even when I was out west, I didn’t think “dry heat” was so much better than what I had been accustomed to in Wisconsin. No, it wasn’t until I returned to Wisconsin from out west that I got slammed in the face with the humidity and finally began to appreciate the dry heat of the west.

On top of that, mosquitoes are much more prevalent here in Wisconsin than anywhere else I had been during the trip. Again, I never really noticed how bad it was here until I was out in parts of the country that didn’t have as many bloodsuckers, only to find myself swarmed by them here.

But really, it’s neither the humidity nor the mosquitoes that are bothering me. It’s all of the shit on my skin to counter these things. On the road, my truck offered limited protections against both the heat and the insects. Yes, I had to wear sunscreen and bug spray, but not nearly in such great quantities as I do now. Because I’m sitting still at a single location and spending so much time outdoors, I need to apply (and re-apply) large quantities of bug spray, sun screen, lotion, Cortisone, and more.

In effect, my skin is literally caked in chemicals such that I feel I need a shower every single day (which I’m obviously not getting). On the road, I usually showered once a week, and there were weeks when I didn’t feel it necessary to shower – I just did it because I knew it would be another week before the next one.

Accordingly, my skin is in a pretty bad condition these days. I went to a Planet Fitness today to shower, and I probably spent close to an hour there doing that. I feel better now, but my patience is wearing thin. I’m not sure how much longer I will tolerate living outdoors in Wisconsin. I already knew that I would have to find a home before winter. But given the humidity and mosquitoes, I don’t even think I’m going to make it to haunt season.

Lonelier Now Than on the Road

Another issue is that of loneliness. Ironically, I feel more alone now that I’m in Green Bay than I did on the road. On the road, there was a good reason why I was alone. Plus I had places to go and things to see.

I’ve seen at least one of my friends each and every single day that I’ve been out here. But the times when I’m alone here are tortured because I know my friends are nearby. Plus I have nowhere to go. Except when I busy myself with work, time ticks by here much more slowly.

So even though we partied pretty hard Friday and Saturday nights and had a fantastic time, just a few days later, I’m feeling very isolated and alone.

The Core Group of Haunt Friends

My newest friend, Bones.

In this post, and possibly in future posts, I’m going to make reference to a “core group” of haunters. This is a list of about eight names of haunters I’ve worked with in the past and present. They’re people I (a) get along with very well, (b) have a great deal of respect for in terms of their talents and passion for haunting, and (c) have pretty good chemistry with one another.

This is a group that – if it were within my power to do so – I’d do what I could to keep the group together. But two of them live outside of Green Bay. Three of them are working for really great companies. Two pairs of them are about to get married to each other. One of them is seriously considering leaving Wisconsin for Florida.

Although I haven’t had explicit conversations with them all, I think I can safely speak on behalf of all eight that – given the ability and opportunity – they would survive on haunt work alone. They share my dream in that regard. A few of them have said just that.

I would love to figure out a way to make that happen, and to do so with this core group of haunters.

Making a Living Out of Haunting

Easier said than done, of course. In all of my discussions so far, I and a few others have discussed a number of ideas and opportunities we could consider. I couldn’t possible rattle off all those ideas here, and even if I could, I wouldn’t – because they’re not for public consumption. Suffice to say, each idea has some pretty major obstacles – some more than others and none of them are especially attractive for one reason or another.

Plus trying to get eight people on the same page of anything is damn near impossible.

Green Bay FearLet me give you an allegory. Friday night, Bones asked me to help lessen his burden by taking over the design and construction of one of the haunt areas in the woods. I was very excited when he asked me to do so. First of all, I was being given artistic license to do (practically) whatever I wanted, which is always awesome. It also gave me a project to work on during the day when I’m the only person out here so I wouldn’t risk ruining someone else’s project.

But now about halfway through the build, I’m reluctant to keep going. I’m still working of course, but I’m not eager to get to the heavy stuff. Two other people who have areas near mine have expressed displeasure in my plans in fear that it will somehow negatively affect their scene. I personally believe that they are wrong and being overly-paranoid and controlling. But if they feel the need to complain, do so, and their objection is sustained, then I may be forced to undo quite a bit of my work. And since I’m not being paid, that would be especially irksome.

When you have eight people working on a project – business, artistic, or otherwise – everyone wants to assert their own independence, but you’ve also got to consider the group.

The Conundrum

Apart from my desire to get this group together and keep the group together, I have no real sway. I am not the linchpin of the group. If I thought I could do it, I would keep this group together and figure out a way that we could all support each other in our common shared goal of haunting for a living. I would be willing to stay in Green Bay (a place I really don’t care to remain in) if that’s what I had to do to accomplish that goal.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the individual members of this group are as committed to staying together as I am. I may need to decide that what’s in my best interest is to go off and do my own thing. Except if I leave, I’d hardly ever see any of these friends again. I don’t want that, either – even if I can’t get them assembled. Even if I distilled this group down to just three or four, it would still take quite a bit of wrangling to get us on the same page.

An Outside Chance of Hope

With my patience for humidity and mosquitoes wearing thin, I’m inclined to find a place to live before haunt season even begins. That complicates things further. I need to decide if I want to stay in Green Bay and try to hold this coalition together, or if I should give up and go elsewhere. To be fair – this has always been my conundrum. I did not want to come back to Green Bay, but I also don’t want to abandon these friends of mine.

Supposedly, two of the eight (a couple) are looking at a 4 bedroom house tomorrow. There have been private discussions between them, myself, and one other couple about the possibility of all becoming roommates. Although the rent is expensive, split five ways would be extremely affordable. And it would bring the majority of this core group together under one roof.

Assuming it happens.

I’m not even sure all four of the others would want me as a roommate. My conversation about it was with only one of the four. I’ve always had pretty low self-esteem, and I never like to presume what someone thinks of me privately. I assume that at least two of the four would be fine with inviting me in as a roommate. I’m less certain about the other two. We’re close friends, but I’m not sure if we’re close enough to be roommates. And I would not want to join them in the house unless there was unanimous consent.

In Conclusion

Tough decisions to be made that will have a direct impact on how my life unfolds. Humidity and mosquitoes are tempting me to make the decision sooner than I intended. I’m torn between wanting to leave Wisconsin and wanting to stay close to my friends. We all share common goals to haunt for life, but we also have other goals that are different. And we have different ideas on how to accomplish our shared goals.

None of us have yet come up with a plan that has a high probability of success. If anyone is waiting for me to come up with the idea – I am presently at a loss.

It’s self-inflicted, I know. But I feel that I have a responsibility to come up with the idea. Maybe because I’m the only one with a solid history in running a business or experience with finances. Maybe its because I’m invested in this “core group”. Or maybe it’s because I’m presently the closest of the group to realizing this dream.

Whatever my reasons – I’m feeling pretty stressed out. I wish I could get three or four of us to sit down and knock heads together. But instead, I’m spending most of my days here in the woods, alone, just thinking… obsessing… and worrying.

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