Get Weirder

 


What we have loved Others will love And we will teach them how.

- William Wordsworth


 

Last week Bjorn and I went hiking in the Tilamook State Forest. I wanted to go romping around outdoors with him while we were in Oregon because it's an area of expertise for him. Bjorn's family has run several outdoor experience companies ever since he was young, and it's been a big part of his life.

 

So, naturally, I wanted in on the action.

 

It's hard not to get excited about the outdoors, being here in Bjorn's childhood home. There is gear everywhere. Hiking backpacks, sleeping pads, and crazy warm sleeping bags are crammed into the loft space in everyone's bedroom. Nalgene bottles fall from the sky every time you open a cupboard. In Bjorn’s room, just hanging on his desk, all casual, is what looks to me like a 50 ft coil of climbing rope.

 

These guys love being outside, and their good at it.

 

Me, on the other hand. I’ve been raised on a steady diet of state park camp grounds. Hot dogs and s'mores and pizza sandwiches made over the fire – that’s my idea of camping. The kind of camping where you play cards with your grandparents inside their RV on rainy days.

 

The first night out with Bjorn, we were driving up the Oregon coast and couldn’t find a camp ground. The solution? We pulled over, found a quite bit of beach up in the dunes, and plopped down our sleeping bags. Problem solved.

 

I don’t know if I’ve ever slept under the stars, but if I have, I don’t remember it.

 

All that night I would wake up, open my eyes, and startle myself. There was absolutely nothing between me and the big black sky.

 

It was awesome.

 

And I never would have been there if not for my weird friend Bjorn.

 

This, my friends, is the promise of our new world.

 

In our post-industrial world, there is no mass media. We no longer watch and read and think the same thing. The three networks have been replaced by one, big, infinite network. We each get to watch and read and think about whatever we’re interested in. And when you give us the opportunity, we get weird.

 

We geek out on tiny houses or circus culture or extreme minimalism or political blogs with strongly worded comment policies.

 

The Internet is here, and we’re all getting weirder.

 

Which is great, because weird people are fun and interesting. Bjorn and his family are weird. As in, they're not like other people. Other people have never hiked down the Grand Canyon and rafted the Colorado for two weeks. Other people have never spent 10 days out in the wilderness with only the resources that they built, found, or dragged in on their back.

 

And having weird friends is how I found myself face up on a beach whose name I can’t remember in the middle of the night.

 

Which was pretty incredible.

 

We'll teach our friends about our weirdness, they'll teach us about their weirdness, and we’ll all be more interesting and have more fun.

 

“What we have loved / Others will love / And we will teach them how.”

 

When in doubt, get weirder.