The Buddha of the Walnut Creek RV Park cracks open another Coors Light, grinds his ass into the comforting mesh of his lawn chair, and fires up an impossibly mind-bending moon shot of pontification.
Life, he says, is a series of commas. Not periods. And alsos, not ors. Circles and U-turns and roundabouts. No right angles. No stop signs.
“Commas merge, ya know?” the wise man says, working a plug of Skoal into the corner of his mouth with his tongue. He picks at a hole in his shredded blue jeans, then spreads his arms wide. “Like, out here. There’s no curbs. No borders that say ‘You must stop here and show us your papers.’ The driveways just kinda”—and here he smacks his hands together and wiggles his fingers in mystical fashion—“merrrrge right off the street.”
So what if the fabled fat man doled out wisdom from beneath the green umbrella of a bodhi tree? Matthew McConaughey prefers his classrooms a little bit more down-home. Today’s lesson begins on the concrete driveway outside his pristine Airstream trailer, a silver bullet leashed to a generator beneath a patch of skeletal trees. He’s cozy here. So cozy that he’d rather we not use the actual name of this RV park on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. And, three or four beers into the day, we’re ready to oblige. Besides, McConaughey’s mouth is fast becoming a well-lubed parable machine and he’s ready, as the late comedian Bill Hicks used to say, to squeegee my third eye clean.
“Good ideas are free—or at least they should be. . . . The best advice comes from people who don’t give advice. . . . Always listen to your inner Jiminy Cricket. . . . When you get to certain parts in the path of life when you get to run downhill a bit, why trip yourself? . . . There’s bullshitters and liars, but the bullshitter lets you know he’s lying. And that’s why bullshit is great.”
McConaughey does love him some bullshit. But he can’t abide liars, which can be a distinct liability for an actor in Hollywood. So McConaughey, famous for his monthlong “fugue-a-mundis”—or head-clearing disappearing acts—to Africa and South America, has found a vehicle to help in his quest for sanity: a metal igloo on wheels, roughly 8 by 28 feet. He hauled the Airstream across the country last year in a renegade publicity dash for Sahara, but what was once a promotional talking point is now home. And judging by the roaring mess of balled-up blue jeans and T-shirts, dog-eared sports sections, and beer cans inside, this arrangement looks rather permanent. No bullshit.
“I love Los Angeles, and it’s been very good to me, but if everyone is running around telling the stories, who’s living them?” he says. “You don’t play characters that are celebrities—you play guys who know what to do when their septic tank’s blocked.”