I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people so far during my trip. And while I will gladly continue posting pictures of scenic campsites and mountain tops, I thought that sharing my experience of intersecting human experiences would be fun.
6/15/17: Phil. Choteau MT
I met Phil after I had spontaneously stopped at one of the (several) dinosaur museums in Choteau, MT. I learned while I was there that Choteau is the proud home of “Egg Mountain” — the highest concentration of dinosaur eggs ever found in the world. Specifically, Troodon dinosaurs made this their nesting ground but they’re joined by fossils of lizzards, insets, pterodactyls, Orodromeus dinosaurs and mammals (Old Trail Museum, Choteau MT).
Anyways, Phil approached me as I walked out of the museum and towards my van asking “where abouts in Washington are ya from?” He must have seen my plates. I said Seattle. He asked “what part? I grew up in the Duwamish valley before it was a bunch of warehouses.” From there sparked a lively conversation covering about an hour + worth of content but most notably the following topics:
1. He is a Vietnam vet. He has seen horrible things that I would never wish on my worst enemy. He endured serious injuries, both mental and physical.
2. Sasquatch is real, and he has seen him in Forks, WA.
1. This I found especially interesting. As a northwest native, Sasquatch has always been a ‘thing’ but there are few people I get the opportunity to discuss his actual whereabouts with. Turns out, according to Phill, Sasquatch is a hybrid creature, mostly man though, and has the power to camouflage himself — if he wants you to see him, he will make himself known. Sasquatch, by the way, is about 12 feet tall and looks exactly like the movies make him out to look. We got to this topic after taking about octopi and their uncanny ability to camouflage themselves.
3. Dinosaurs lived in an entirely different planet than we do now. The same planet technically, but the atmosphere was entirely different and housed a unique blend of CO2 and Oxygen that allowed things to grow as big as they did. Not only dinosaurs, but there was a giant breed of humans that existed back to 4000 BC. They were 20 feet tall, had 2 sets of teeth and 6 fingers and toes. They were spawned when Satan (Lucifer at the time) came down from above and intermingled with human ladies.* This giant race can be traced back to references in Sumerian cunniform. Specifically, Gilgamesh, the giant. There is allegedly a preserved skeleton of one of these said humans that the Smithsonian owns. He knows this because he has a friend that works at the Smithsonian and told him so. However, when he went to see this skeleton in DC., he was told that he must be mistaken, no such thing exists or has ever existed. According to Phil, after doing some research on the matter, the Smithsonian was sued by a “high power” after restricting the flow of information to the public and in that trial they allegedly stated that “we had some stuff that was really secret, but we were under the impression that no one wanted to see it. We didn’t have a place to store it so we dumped it in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.” WHAT?! I exclaimed. That’s the dumbest alibi I’ve ever heard and I sure hope that if said artifacts exists, they didn’t actually dump them. That would be extra stupid. Phil gave me a knowing look and nodded in agreement.
1. *by the way, Phil is a-religous and a-political. He does not believe in any one religion but believes in a creator of some kind since the math and science behind what exists today is “entirely too planned, complex and perfect to happen by accident.” He does not believe in evolution and he does not vote.
4. Wanda Sykes is a hilarious comedian and supported his beliefs that at our most basic reasons for existence, men are meant to protect women and women are meant to bear children. While I SERIOUSLY disagreed with this statement, Phil seemed to sense that and quickly changed subjects. Rather than start an argument with my new conversation partner, we moved onto new topics.
5. There is a new world order out there that is controlling the flow of information to the common folk (us), and planning to wipe out a large majority of the human race as detailed in Georgia on the 33rd parallel (it’s written in stone, and while many people have seen this, no one has acted. This alarmed Phil).
6. The Bilderberg Group is real and one of many secret societies. Thousands actually. Americans are too dumb to realize the gravity of what is happening around them to take any action on this point, but it’s not their fault. Most people are given a steady stream of junk from the government and then inclined to watch TV rather than read a book (Phil seemed like a pretty well-read guy, so I assumed this to be a Brave New World/Soma reference). See topic 5 for evidence. Additionally, Phil cited Beirut — he says that this was a hugely catastrophic civil war that could have largely been avoided had Hilary Clinton not gotten involved (his words) and we as a global people saw this atrocity happen for 20 years and did nothing. We saw the “Paris of the Mediterranean turn to dust. We saw a beautiful culture and people break each other apart and culturally significant structures be filled over and up with concrete to better accommodate bombing. We lost timeless pieces of history to war and it is a damn shame. And at the end of it, one guy is missing an arm, another is missing a leg, a third guy can’t even see because of shrapnel injuries to his eyes and they sit there saying ‘what were we fighting over again?’” I agreed.
I had recently finished Jon Ronson’s book THEM and thought it would right up Phil’s alley. I gifted it to him saying “you know what, I have just the book for you — ever heard of the book/movie The Men Who Stare at Goats?” To which Phil replied — oh. I know most of the guys who were part of those experiments. I was in the inner circle of the government during the war. I worked on projects I don’t care to name and saw what they planned to use it for and was disgusted. They (he did not specify who “they” were. I assume he means “the Government.”) keep calling me and having their lawyers cite me lines of the Anti Terrorism Act. They’re telling me that I’m the one at fault for creating weapons. Can you believe that? I did my duty as a soldier and researched particle physics and built magnetic engines and the like because I was told to and now I’m the one on the terrorist watch list?! I actually moved to Canada for a time to hide out for a bit because I couldn’t believe it.
- I suspected there was more to the story than Phil was sharing with me. But agreed that it was seriously messed up that after he had endured countless attacks, shrapnel injuries, broken bones, PTSD and depression after his time in Vietnam (all before he was even 21 years old), it was unfair for him to be made to feel like an outcast from the US. He says that that’s part of why he moved to Montana from Seattle. He just wanted to be left alone, to study history and look at dinosaur fossils and observe nature created by the “agape based creators that left us here.” He says he hates war, that he’s all love and not war, that he strives to reach agape but knows that he never will because he’s been polluted by the earth. That he hopes that at some point, his soul will reach perfection and move onto the next dimension.
This seemed to be Phil’s concept of the afterlife — that we’re all together on Earth, stuck in the same dimension and that we can’t move to the next one until we’ve perfected our souls. He likened earth to being like a channel on the TV — we’re all stuck on channel 4, and channel 4 has a lot of programming and things to watch, but we can’t even grasp the level of what’s on channel 5 because we’ve never seen it and we don’t own the clicker.
I had to agree with this sentiment. As humans, there is so much we don’t know that we don’t know. And we share that in common with everyone, regardless of race, religion, background, etc.
Phil graciously accepted the Jon Ronson book I offered and asked if he could send it back to me. I said, that’s really nice, but I’ve already enjoyed and finished it, I’d like to gift it to someone else who can enjoy it. He said thanks. Then, he looked at me through his tinted bifocals, his chest-length beard moving in the wind and said “you’re smart. You want to know the truth and the truth will set you free. Just know that it’ll make you mad as hell for a while. You’ve got to move past that.”
We were silent for a while. Phil made another Wanda Sykes joke — something about men being compared to dogs but dogs can at least lick their own balls. We both laughed. By now we had been talking for over an hour and a car pulled up and said “hey Phil!” We both took this as a cue to end our lively conversation. I got in the van, drove past Egg Mountain and thought about Phil for a while after that.
Phil gave me a connection to Choteau that I might never have had (save the dinosaur museum). He reminded me that people are just people. For the most part, humans can be really friendly and kind and just want to connect with other humans. And while we disagreed on a lot of things, I left that conversation with a really positive feeling about people in general and the value of talking. I have lived the majority of my life in a very pleasant, protected and curated Pacific Northwest Bubble. It has been nice to move outside of it.
In a world that seems to rely on driving folks apart, where it is easier to keep your face in your phone rather than talk to a stranger, I’ll leave you with sage advice from Phil: “most days I just say fuck it all, nuke everything. But then I meet people like you Brooke, and I say, nah, give us a bit more time.”