Dispatch from Gumbyville: Karma Is Where the Heart Is…
Donated recent Newsvine.com earnings to the Whatever for Public Lands (Conservancy...?) $12 or so. Just last night I'm occupying "Federal Estates" aka the local P.O. open 24 hrs. A nice little refuge from the storm. Usually I go back up the hill but didn't want to get too soft so a night camping out every now & again is in order.
Standing at the front of the P.O. lobby by a high counter, arms crossed, elbows on surface, wearing long-sleeved jersey, thick black hoody (worn up over my Ravens cap & over that a watch-cap), medium thick leather jacket with a nice warm wool P-jacket over all. Leather gloves I got from local church during Xmas season. This ensemble certainly keeps you nice & toasty.
Must be around 11pm. My friend never shows to drive me back home & I don't want to bother him all the time. He's been good enough. A standup old school kinda guy. A friend nearby with whom I've stayed on numerous occasions isn't feeling well so don't want to impose. But the P.O. is a good standby. Usually I grab some USPS large size cardboard for making boxes & use that as a "mattress" setting up in the rear of the place. Every now & then somebody drops a dime on me or thinks I'm lying there dead. Local cops know me & tell me they've no jurisdiction over me there, that "I'm federal". They laugh about it. I'm usually out by 6am at the latest when the cafes open. If I'm up the hill in Redwood Estates I usually wait until between 8 & 9am before walking downhill to the ramp for Hwy 17 running over the mountains from Santa Cruz on the coast to Los Gatos & beyond.
Okay...so I'm standing there cogitating the cosmos & this good-looking middle-aged Hispanic or Hindu-looking gentleman walks up to me, holds out his hand. I look down. He's handing me a $20. (I've had this sort of thing happen before many times. I mean I know the Universe could care less, nevertheless, makes one think; probabilities & statistics… chance...& all that…)
I’ve said this before here I think: I’ve learned not to say no to two things in this life; money & sex, especially when they’re needed.
Like yesterday I’m hitching downhill at my usual good-luck spot by the ramp onto 17 North. A misty drizzly day with slight traffic. I figure I’ll be there an hour. But one never knows. Don’t lose patience. Cowboy up & take what Fate throws at you. Its usually worked out okay for “your kind”; like the number 13. Good luck for” members of the tribe” but bad luck for “the other people” except maybe Wilt the Stilt...So 2013 should be great. I might even get married. (According to Albanian Gypsy friend Crazy Vic…He also thinks I have unknown children out there & that I’ve a long life line…More likely I’ll just embarrass myself like crapping my fancy pants at the wedding altar…under the chuppah, whatever…)
Forget about it. A frightening prospect actually. Just a convention for owning each other, as I see it.
So cars are passing me by. Its Sunday morning & around 10am not the best time to thumb rides. Here comes this Jeep Cherokee or something blowing past me. A few seconds later the Jeep backs up. A beauty behind the wheel. Turns out she’s a school teacher of Portuguese descent (although she looked more Irish than Iberian) who says she keeps her charges on their toes.( Another dominatrix…? Where’s my pig mask…?)
“Hey, yer really taking a chance backing up like that just to pick me up,” I say. I was actually flattered that I could still stop traffic at my advanced elderly graybearded pseudo-protracted-adolescent age.
She has this healthy California Girl smile but she’s smoking a cigarette.” I know. I’m trying to quit.” I get in. She keeps smoking. Don’t bother me none. I’ve a feeling she enjoys taking risks. Point being with my hoody up I could’ve been the Unabomber or his twin.
Bipolar? There’s energy in her & myself feeding each other, working things up into a Dionysian frenzy on wheels. I wondered if she was preparing to pull off the road somewhere & perform on me. Signals. I can sense them. I wasn’t really in the mood. Felt a bit worn out. Finishing up a cold & was trying to hide my weaknesses.
I did volunteer—perhaps stupidly—that I had been bouncing back from a medical condition so I’d given up driving except in emergencies. Chronic pain & all that. A prescription drug junkie. (Sometimes that’s a plus…) But otherwise I was worthy.
“My sister’s always preaching at me to quit. I quit drinking. I go to AA.”
“Yeah, preaching only makes it worse. You’ll quit when you want to. I still drink occasionally. A good glass of wine with a meal maybe once a month.”
“My mother had a Christmas stroke. I’m going to visit her now. I can drop you where? The Post Office or one of the coffee houses?”
We talked about a lot of things quickly. Our lives & beliefs. We gazed at each other all the way. Compressing time. Just in case we never met again or only after a long time. Immediately we knew we were compatible. You can tell. Matching wits. Smiling a lot. Very pretty. Nice body. 47 & well preserved. Genes & vodka, she guessed. I didn’t ask if she’d been married had kids all those kinds of baggage questions. We don’t get past 30 without getting a little damaged. Unless we live in a desert cave.
“The Bear. I go online there. Its very egalitarian. Non-judgmental. Straights gays. A lesbian owns the place. Techies artists bums like me. No actually, I work part-time. Let’s just say I’m semi-retired at the moment. Good coffee & the price is right.”
“That’s my place too.”
“I don’t know if I’ve seen you before. There’s something familiar. All you good-looking gals look alike.”
Puppy-dog works for me, what can I say?
“Can I buy you a latte or whatever?”
“I have to get to my office first & then to the hospital. But thanks. And I’m just a regular coffee person. I’ll stop by Tuesday night around 7 before my meeting.”
“Maybe I’ll see you there.”
“That would be nice.”
These hitching coffeehouse affairs; sometimes they fall flat but sometimes they work out. For at least a little while anyway. But everything is temporary. Its all so bitter-sweet really. We come & go. Love & sadness. We hook up & then we part. Satisfy our urges. Get our needs met. Then get itchy & hit the road. On to the next. (Just don’t forget to wear a hat, you guys. Get my drift…?)
She pulls up in front of the Bear.
This is always good for my rep. Being ferried around by some babe. ‘Who is that guy? What does he have that I need? What’s he some porno actor or something?’
“My name’s J.,” she says.
“Mine is J.”
“Okay so it should be easy to remember. J. & J.”
“Sounds like a good name for a business.”
“So I’ll see you around.”
“Hope your mom feels better. Drive safe. See ya…” I give her thumbs up as she pulls off & down N. Santa Cruz Ave.
I go into the Great Bear. Set up my laptop. Log on. Get coffee. Chat with the workers. Say hello to a few ghosts. I sit at the bar by the roasting machine. Allie one of the baristas is moving stuff around. Beans I guess.
“What happened to that big water thing?”
“Somebody broke it.”
“Sometimes the falling & breaking of things can be good,” says BBB Allie.
“Good name for a coffee house. Or a band. Or both.”
“There you go,” BBB (Big Beautiful Barista) says.
A (my lady friend) called me to find out what’s what. She’s worried I might find a chance at happiness & disappear & she’s very fond of me, trying to convert me to veganism (fat chance) & more like a sister than a girlfriend. Actually she’s on a mission to cock-block me as much as possible whenever & wherever. But I’m not a monk nor will I ever be.
Stupidly I tell her about J.’s smoking. A is fanatical. She’s lately had hives & attributes it to anything from an insane tenant she just got rid of to adulterated foods to particles in the air to people smoking around me & me bringing the smoke stenches home. They don’t call the South Bay Meshugana Bay for nothing.
If she tries getting in the way of any of my affairs no matter how good I feel about her as a friend I promise she will lose the battle. I will split never to be seen on her property or heard from again.
But as a self-congratulatory self-congratulating amateur clandestine services type I had to be crazy to let anything slip that would produce such a response from her.
“You’re always meeting women & getting carried away that this one is the best & the love of your life &…”
Do I detect a tinge of sexual jealousy here…?
I laugh & dance my way around her harangue. I’m too tired to argue. I note my mistake. If she expects to be provided with the day’s intelligence well she can just forget it. I know I slipped up. Loose lips sink ships & all that. However…unconsciously I probably wanted to make her jealous. Am I an @sshole after all? Sometimes. I still have a lot to learn. No matter how kind & courteous I usually am I can always slip up & do. I have to finally master the art of the puppy dog if I’m ever going to graduate to being a master knight-errant. As of yesterday I recognize I’m still an addle-brained knight-errant in training.
Of course, that was yesterday. Last week I met someone at the Bear, a young woman with a winning smile who had much more than good looks. She’d completed law school & was studying for the bar. Said she’d see me again before she took the exam in February.As far as I know she hasn't returned.
There was my friend E.’s ex & maybe ex-ex. I said I wouldn’t abduct her but I think I might’ve lied. We took to each other right after E. had to go to work at the pizza joint. All is fair in love & war, right…? (Just as long as I don’t get a shotgun up my nose.)
And just this morning Nurse Kathy. shows up.
“Where you’ve been hiding.”
Who knows? Taking care of people, I guess. She's a nurse, isn't she?
She is amazingly interesting, quirky. A good bad girl maybe around 50. Great blue eyes. With a contagious laugh that’s always a surprise. We have a mutual friend who isn’t feeling very well. I tell her about it & she goes for a visit. When she comes back she says V. is resting & that I should maybe wait an hour or two before calling or going over. She tells me I’m looking good. I take the compliment graciously & thank her.
I could continue but for some unknown unconscious reason my winded wounded ego is deflating apace. Time for another cup of the Bear's organic Blue Note aromatic roast.
Another day in Gumbyville wired on caffeine.
© 2013 GP aka JSW