Little Traveling Altars

By Olivia Dunn

February 5, 2018

Little Traveling Altars

I am calling my current situation ‘vow of poverty’ because that sounds much nobler than ‘slumming’ or ‘lazy.’ Vow of poverty helps me remember that the reason I will eat chickpeas for dinner for the next three nights is because there is a larger goal at hand. I am hardly sweeping bugs out of my path with a miniature broom; I am not curing leprosy with my blessings; I am just trying not to end up like one of those people who wished they had done something entirely different with their life. Someone who has their acoustic guitar displayed on a specially installed hook behind the television in their living room. Someone who can’t quite look you in the eye. 

Very few are going in for monasticism these days, but, fact of life: everyone wants to be a rock star. Yesterday I was setting the tables at the restaurant to the unexpected soundtrack of a live U2 album. The lyrics were so sweeping, the crowd so adoring. What other job these days allows you to travel the world, yelling about love? 

Perhaps generic spirituality was replaced by rock ‘n’ roll in the 1960s, at least for some, at least here in the western world. Agnostics everywhere, eyes squeezed shut, headphones in. The iPod a little traveling altar. Atheists up at the crack of dawn, loading the cooler with beers. Laying out blankets. Lighters out. Arms raised. Sad-eyed business owners, singing along.

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