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adalger: Earthrise as seen from the moon, captured on camera by the crew of Apollo 16 (Default)
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 10:06 pm
That's right, Columbus Day is right around the corner, so I thought I'd share this guide to a traditional celebration of one of the most honored holidays of the American continents.

First, you need a sponsor. If you can write a good enough proposal to make this seem like research, or a small business start-up, or whatever else will qualify, and fleece the government for a grant, that's ideal. I would've said "your government," but really, it's even more in the spirit of things if you can somehow finagle the money from a foreign government -- especially if you're not even a resident alien. If you can't get it from the government, take out a loan.

Use the money to buy vehicles and supplies. The vehicles don't have to be new, or even particularly nice, just roadworthy. Load 'em up with food and full gas cans. Your objective here is to maximize your range, and spend all the money, because once you leave you don't pay for anything until you're back home. This is one of the most important, and traditional, observances.

Next, pick a direction that you think might eventually get you to somewhere you've always wanted to go. It is important that you pick a destination in this step to which you have no idea of the actual distance. Also, the greater your degree of uncertainty as to the direction, the better. Someplace you've been before, even if you've forgotten the way, is definitely not in the spirit of the holiday, nor is anyplace where you have any relatives or know anybody, even if only by correspondence. (This part gets harder and harder in the internet age, but if you're forced to pick a place where you have 'net-acquaintances, it's important that you don't contact them for the duration of the holiday season.)

Now that you're "prepared" and "know where you're going", drive! Head out in what you think is generally sort of the right direction maybe, and keep going until you run out of food and/or gas. It is acceptable to stop when you're almost out of one of these if you are in a major urban area that you don't recognize. Wherever you are, find a nice quiet neighborhood or farmhouse or whatever artifact of residential sedimentary society you can. Pick a door at random (or by Hobson's choice).

Don't knock on the door. Set up camp on the lawn. Make sure to establish a proper campsite. Drainage is very important, and proper firepit safety even more so. If you don't know how to dig a latrine, that's okay. There's three other sides of the house besides the one where you're camped, and you'll be going home before flies and odors become too much of a problem.

Sooner or later, someone will notice you. Anyone who approaches must be greeted as a dear friend. If they come from inside the house, note that they've opened their door. This is to be regarded as an invitation to enter. If you arrived while everyone was out, wait to follow them in. The principle is the same.

Once you're inside, admire the many nice things they have. Drag whatever leftover supplies you have out of your vehicles and offer to trade for things like their furniture, their children, their back yard, anything that looks nice. Start hauling off things they aren't actually using at the time. If they object, advise them you didn't realize they thought they owned it, and nobody seemed to be using it. Start building a cabin in the yard to house all these abundant natural resources you're discovering.

For a modern twist that's entirely in the spirit of the tradition, start posting anything you actually get out of the house on craigslist and ebay. Contact a realtor to list the cabin, too.

When you get bored, or you run out of vacation time at work, or authorities forcibly evict you, or some other circumstance forces you to leave the premises, declare the holiday over. Pile back into your vehicles (you did leave at least enough gas to get to the nearest gas station, right?) and go home.

On the way out, write down the address of wherever you were. You'll need that for your traditional Thanksgiving celebration.