This article is part of the Trials of the Chillsquatch series.
Thanks again to Ian BFM Helm for his assistance with this excellent Chillsquatch art.
Welcome, new friends. If you have forgotten we are meditating in the Temple of the Most Chill, and there is an unease at home within me. A pernicious voice who whispers that my chill is but a thin veneer over a rageful demon core of a heart which will never know rest.
Have you ever heard that voice, before? Or are you so undifferentiated from the anger which wears you like a glove that you cannot tell where your pain stops? Freedom starts with the first step outside of yourself. For me, the first step was fleeing my family and taking up residence in a remote monastery. You might enjoy downloading a mindfulness app, or telling your spouse you know about their affair.
The Chillsquatch Contemplates Eternity
But, like all good times, my tenure at the monastery was blessed to come to a close. All I could learn from hanging out with the Chill, doing Chill activities, simply taught me the customs of Chill people, it did little to internalize the blessing of Chill within me. I was distraught. Dismayed! I sat on a log and stared out at a sunset, sighing heavily at regular intervals. Though the rage did not return, I simply felt... Unseated in things. Thus, my decision to travel the world and become the Chillsquatch.
One morning, I was journeying through Toronto (the chillest part of Canada) when I came upon a lunch truck serving a park full of families. A single chef worked a broad griddle, and the families tucked wads of bills and handfuls of coins into a convenient bucket. One by one, they were handed a plate full of steaming food, mushroom-burgers and piles of limp griddled vegetables, hotdog buns slathered with onions and baby bok choi in a soy ginger sauce.
It smelled like the kitchen in a general's palace. Having no money, I could only proffer a quarter of a honeycomb I found adhered to the hair behind my ear. The chef stopped my wrist with a spatula, and simply smiled.
"Let us talk, when my shift is ended." I nodded and spent the balance of my time standing in a sand pit, doing what I imagined was tai chi.
When the sun reached its dramatic zenith and the families headed home for baths and their nightly bingewatches, I headed to the lunch truck. No name nor menu bedecked the surface of the vehicle, save an understated mural of a river rolling through a pine forest.
"Hello?" I called out, knocking on the awning. Two mushroom burgers sizzled on the grill.
"Hello!" The chef called, popping up. "Did I startle you?" They asked. I shrieked. "Glad to hear it! You may call me The Burgerman. I am preparing you a meal. Come in the truck, we shall discuss your journey."
I needed not ask how they knew I was on a journey. All who succumb to the morphology of the 'Squatch are on some kind of sojourn, their bodies overtaken by a Wanderer's Mission which will outlast every step taken in its answering.
"So what brings you to the Lunch Truck of Eternal Satiety?" He idly flipped his burgers, his paisley apron covered over in stylish enamel pins.
"I seek chill, but my Chill is ruined by my own doubt of my Chill."
The Burgerman nodded slowly. "A persistent voice whose only words undermine your work? Ah! Friend." He chuckled. "You are in luck. Many have walked this path before you. To say it plainly, you doubt that a Chill which can be disrupted cannot be the true Chill?"
"Yes!" I jumped up. "That's it exactly! I fear my search for Chill renders me perpetually unworthy!"
The Burgerman chuckled sadly. "True Chill is not the achievement of Chill, which is always temporary, but the acceptance that even the absence of Chill is passing, and that in time the Chill will return when we are worthy."
"How do I know if I am worthy?" I nearly shouted.
The Burgerman shrugged. "You are worthy. Chill is simply the state of being nonreactive to the world's constant horseshit. There is the Tested, and Untested Chill. The weakness of the monastery is the weakness of every institutional pursuit of Chill. The weight of the people and resources pulls on the world around it, devouring the space and resources till it becomes so insular Chill is all but unavoidable. How easy it is to be Chill when your garden is weeded for you!"
The Burgerman laughed. "How trivial health becomes when you outsource the maintenance of your own body. Those monks aren't Chill, they are Unbothered. Untested. No problems tug at the hem of their Chill, so they have lost the muscle control to maintain it. I promise you, one shift cooking vegetables for diaper-clad picky eaters and their locavore parents, they'd be just as mad as we all are." The Burgerman smiled with his eyebrows only, like two herons alighting upon a log of salami.
"It sounds so simple, and when I meditate I feel like I can almost reach it, but it's when the world reaches up into my brainthoughts and starts throwing challenges at me that I cannot regain my footing." I ran my hand over the dustless dashboard, complete with hula dancing bobble figuring.
"A reaction is a terrible kind of feeling. It rises unbidden, carrying us off the path of our best intent and into territory beyond conscious control. Reacting to something is like riding a Segway off a cliff, the conclusion is inevitable and you regret every moment.
The reaction is the intake of breath. Our response is the exhale. You control the exhale!" He slapped his knee. "The reaction of Chill is not the true Chill, that is but the absence of strife. To breathe in anger and exhale Chill, this is the true Chill. Not until a mood has been passed through the digestive process of strife can it be enjoyed as the true Chill."
I nodded, and stroked my many beards. "So to say a poke bowl shared with friends is the Chillest meal possible, this is untrue as the nature and setting of the meal itself is immaterial to my internal Chill?"
The Burgerman smiled, slowly blinked, and nodded. The entire process took upwards of 5 minutes, his face moving with all the speed of a late summer sunset. "Things that are Chill only possess Chill because they bring forth the Chill which waits within us at all times. Chill becomes the aesthetic which represents Chill, and we become vexed by our pursuit of the aesthetic which was only ever a representation of an internal state."
I nodded. "That sounds right, mostly because, I don't actually understand anything that's happened since I abandoned my family. The only thing I know for certain, is that they are absolutely better off for my absence."
The Burgermaster's eyes snapped open in shock. "You, what? Wow, okay, Yikes. Mostly you 'Squatch types are young dudes who thinks philosophy justifies your addiction to psychedelics, but... Damn." The Burgermaster scratched the back of his head. "I suppose you could move back in with your family and apologize for being a weird flaky burden. Or you could spend a year working for me-"
"I accept." I said, leaping to my feat. "Teach me, oh wise greasy hermit."
"You didn't even hear the conditions of the agreement. I'm going to feel like I'm taking advantage of-"
"Don't care!" I decreed. "Cloistering taught me the shape of chill, it is only through cheerful service will I nurture it within my thoughts!"
"No, see, I was going to ask a lot of really unreasonable shit to discourage-"
"There is nothing unreasonable in the quest for Chill!" I grabbed a handful of cabbage from a cutting board and slapped it on the grill. They sizzled next to the now thoroughly burnt mushroom burgers.
"Hey, guess not." The Burgerman handed me their apron. "Don't burn anything down. Deliveries are weekly and there's a safe under the driver's seat, which incidentally is also your bed. Keep a knife in your teeth when you sleep because you will get mugged. If the city comes knocking this place is legally registered as three toilets. Don't burn anything down, I'll either see you in a month or never again." The Burgerman produced a frayed fisherman's cap and suitcase from nowhere, and made a hasty exit.
I watched him bowl over two joggers and a Pokemon Go dweeb in his haste, leaving behind a comically thick dust trail. I stared off into the sunset, smiling and waving, waving and staring, not even noticing the line of hungry drunks and late-night LARPers queuing up behind me.
"Hey!" Shouted a man in unseasonably casual sports attire. "Do you serve food or just wistful gazes?!" He snarled. "Cause I've got a lot of exes I've been thinking about..."
"My friend, you're in luck." I said, donning the apron. "We've got food and wistful gazes aplenty, here at the Lunch Truck of Eternal Satiety."
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