An Anarchist Weekend

This weekend we decided to go camping with some folk from couchsurfing. Everything was arranged and it was the most simple task, for us, payable in cash instead of effort. We were picked up with our flatmates in front of our new place, squeezed four deep into the back of a car, and driven an hour to reach the edge of Istanbul. There we were met by the classic long-haired, hippy-pants wearing organizer with the most inviting smile, and another couple. Altogether there were 9 of us in a van for 15. The trip to the campsite should have taken about 2 hours, but we stopped often, breaks for beer, for the bathroom, for random views… it was leisurely to say the least. Finally, we arrived at the beach. It was deserted, except for a few people working to get the campground open for the season, and after some bickering we decided to set up our tent on the beach instead of in the wooded campground. Nikola and I used our new tent from our wedding, which was awesome (but highly dependent on proper staking, which is difficult in sand) and then we went about starting a fire, in proper scout fashion. That evening was food and conversation, and a bit of wine, around a campfire. I am not sure how late we stayed up, but even after the boy and I went to bed we could hear the voices of our campmates lingering on in gentle laughter for several hours.

In the morning I woke up to relieve myself, as I usually do when camping, and was greeted by the most serene sea (we were on the black sea, at a little cove where the waves couldn’t get above 2 inches) and a soft pink, cotton candy sun casting all kinds of princess-esque shadows around. It was altogether lovely. I then went back to sleep, and when we woke up for real around 9 the beach was already crowded with weekend day-users. Despite the number of people the place didn’t seem overly crowded, and everyone kept to themselves, doing their own thing, very joyfully. Our group swam in the cool, refreshing water, ate breakfast, and laid in the sun until the burns on our exposed skin sent us under the shade of trees. There we stayed for the rest of the afternoon, playing cards and chatting, cooking lunch, and then eventually packing up. The ride home was similar to the ride out, except everyone was more relaxed, and more exhausted.

On the ride back to the city I was overwhelmed with a huge, dreadful desire to simply not return. I looked out the passing trees and in the van that I shared with these strangers. For two days they had seemed so happy, and I was certain that I had seen little glimmers of joy and passion that are simply not allowed in polite society. Well, maybe polite society is just not worth it anymore! I think of all the weekend warrior trips that I have been on throughout the years, most specifically places like RWB and Burning Man, but also just these little weekend getaways to no-name campgrounds with nothing more planned than how to start a fire, and I realize that the people were almost always loathe to leave. Back in the RWB days I floated so much on the externals of reality that I did not recognize the life that my friends were returning to. Lives of suits, and lies, lives of law and secrets, lives where they cannot be themselves because they all play the same game to function in a society that very few people actually enjoy. It is ridiculous.

I always thought of myself as more of a communist than an anarchist, but I am starting to realize that if anarchy can be a non-system achieved non-violently then I might be more of a primitive anarchist. Of course, I don’t think that the people who join me for the weekend and look so free and happy under the sun and in the sea would really want to live that way forever. The creature comforts of showers and kitchens are a bit too ingrained in most people, and maybe even in myself. All I know is that I hated the feeling of leaving. I saw the skyrising apartments as we entered the city and I felt physically ill at the cramped, quiet lies of lives that people live in order to make urban centers work. I don’t want that for me, or my children. I don’t want to have to pay ten lira a night to access a bit of wild, because the whhole world has been divided up and can be owned for the profit of the powerful. These are not acceptable times.

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