1:31 a.m. - 2002-05-27
I met yet another homeless guy, perhaps the only one in the entire town of Bolinas California.
He found me like a salmon finds it’s spawning creek within five minutes of me setting foot outside of the vehicle I had arrived in.
He looked like a stretched out Yosemite Sam, and he spoke like the unstretched out version. He wanted to impart the wisdom of his fifty four years on the planet to me, the fifty four years that had seemed to age him well over sixty four. One of his little lessons was that if you drink cheap vodka and smoke the sinsimilla, the end result is a condition he called “strunk”. It is the best state to be in if you are a homeless hippy Yosemite Sam. That much was clear.
He told me how smoking the weed would make you hungry, so hungry that you eat your guts out. He demonstrated that eating your guts out was done the fashion of shoveling food into your mouth with both hands and making noises like the Cookie Monster as you devour every foodstuff in your house “and more!”. He alternately loved me and hated me, telling me that the fact that I had not experience acid, much less fucking on acid categorized me as a “bummer” and constituted grounds for kicking me out of town. He explained how people who didn’t like me would come down the hill behind us and “take me out” if I didn’t leave on my own accord. He spoke of his connections with the millionaire woman across the street that would also “take me out”. When I enquired if he meant take me out to dinner, his demeanor changed back to one of great fondness as he animatedly yelled “Why not!?!”
The half hour of speaking to him as I waited for my moms to arrive with her friend revealed that I could transform from “bummer” to “alright” every five to six minutes. I enjoyed the process, even though both forms left me feeling very similar.
Bolinas is the town where my first memories were formed. It is the town where my wee sis Kaffer was born in a house. It is the town where I learned to talk, learned the value of friendship, and lived in a converted school bus with my hippy parents. It has changed very little in the years since these events.
One of my childhood friends, a writer by the name of Charles Fox still lives in the town. Though he was very good at relating to me on my four year old level, he was many years my senior. He has MS, and since I lived there and engaged in games of playing practical jokes in alternating turns, he has become much more debilitated by his condition. I would think up pranks like wrapping a rock in a piece of paper and offering it to him as candy, only to be overjoyed at his terrifically surprised response when he was shocked to discover the goods were not what was advertised. I remember him getting even by sending me a letter in the mail. A four year old seldom to never receives mail on a non celebratory day, so the receipt of the letter was incredible on it’s own merit, and was only made all the more fantastic when it’s contents were revealed to be a hand drawn picture of a face with thumbs in ears and tongue extended.
This is truly one of the most clearly burned of my brains first attempts at long-term memory.
I went to see him as my mom had told me that he wanted to make contact with me. He was found in his wheel chair in the town theater where a showing of The English Patient was due to start in short order, preceded by a lecture by the editor of the same.
Charles speaks into a microphone in order to be heard. Even with the help of the device, it is a struggle to listen when lateral noise comes into play. We talked for several minutes and he expressed interest in mentoring me in the craft of writing. He has much experience and theory to share, as well as the need for an apprentice who can transcribe his words into text for him since he can no longer tackle this task on his own.
I was in a state of self-involvement for the most part, as I have been for months after recent events, and even more so after a few days of terrible conflict with my former love. The latter finally showing signs of being settled had heartened me, but the recovery from the transaction that brought about the much-needed result was not yet complete.
Here I am, days later, and the weight of what was spoken of is beginning to set in. It is something that I will need to let marinate in the ol’ think piece for a quite a while longer, but the proposition is one that warrants scrutiny.
Many more events took place this weekend, and they will be conveyed in the coming days to be sure.