The McChoppin’ Experiment

Very soon after I moved out to California I starting trying to get my best friend, Mr. Slick, to move here. We have been friends since junior high school and unlike most all my other friendships ours had only gotten stronger over the years. It is just the nature of relationships; over time they deteriorate as people move away from each other and on to new things in life. But this friendship defies this and, incredibly, we have in many ways gotten closer despite distance and time. People, that is the kind of relationship that you should cherish because it is rare. Anyways, things were going great for me in the Golden State and I naturally thought that he would love it too.

Well, at the start of this year the economy was tanking and Mr. Slick was in the Midwest in a town that he didn’t hold much love for and in a job that he was increasingly worried he might not have for much longer. I was putting the pressure on him more and more to move here. His assessment was correct and shortly he was laid off. Immediately after that he moved here. He had already tossed out most of his unnecessary possessions and packed up the rest into his vehicle and drove across the West to land of opportunity, that special place in the American psyche: California.

So, one day I came home to him sleeping in a tent in my parking space of my apartment complex: the Slickman had arrived. He slept on the couch for a few days while we quickly made plans to vacate my current apartment, which was good because my then roommate was becoming increasing passive-aggressive about me moving out. (She had met a man about a month previously and I guess she thought he was the one?) Our criteria for a new place was based mostly upon our ability to do projects. And by quickly, I mean we looked at two apartments. The second one was McChoppin’. It had an enclosed porch and a small shared patio space in the back. Sold. Our decision process literally took less time than you’ve been reading this article. I’m not even sure we looked at the bedrooms anymore than to note that there was bedrooms. Needless to say, we moved into McChoppin’ directly.

Now, to fully understand how it is that we could base our living arrangements so quickly and almost entirely on the existence of a project room is to understand the two of us. Hopefully that I will come, in part, during the course of this blog. But suffice it to say for now that the way in which I sold this move to my friend was in part with the promise of doing lots of projects together. We had had been doing projects separately for a long time and here was our chance to do them together. To make beer, to make soap. To build shit. McChoppin’ was our place to do all of this and we recognized it immediately. It was perfect.

In the end however the McChoppin’ experiment failed. It failed almost immediately. Not for lack of projects or what not. To be sure projects immediately started happening and, in some instances, with great fervor: Slickman made a hand-joined bed with a Cod chiseled headboard. We carved spoons. We made soap. We made costumes, a treasure chest, and even improved the shower amenities of McChoppin’ (apparently the previous tenants were either dwarves or they were content only washing below the waist.)

No, the McChoppin’ experiment failed because life often times doesn’t exactly work out the way you planned it. I met a girl. The economy tanked more. I moved in with the girl and the Slickman had to move on to get a job. But, although it didn’t work out, I don’t think that they are were any regrets on either of our parts about the experiment. Sure I feel guilty about barely living in an apartment with by best friend before calling it quits. He probably feels disappointed about California not quite living up to the land of opportunity that I had sold him on. But I doubt either of us, given the chance, would have played our hands any differently. Yes, the McChoppin’ experiment failed but it had to be done. We had to try it out.

Well, McChoppin’ the apartment experiment failed. But maybe something else can come out of it. The Slickman and I had a vision. This blog is meant to be an attempt to explore that vision. We started to do that at McChoppin’ the locale and will try to continue it here. We’ll learn from that experience and expand it. McChoppin’ will live on in a new form. And I’ll write McChoppin’ alot.

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