Thursday, June 03, 2010


I met a delightfully spontaneous character at the reading I attended last night (where Matt Love and Cheryl Strayed both gave great performances at the Blackbird Wine Shop) when I accidentally shattered an empty wine glass after the penultimate song of the evening. This man, who I later learned was named Richard, says to me, "Blame it on me. Nobody's gonna mess with me."

I then ran into him and his friend at the bus stop, where he chatted me up all the way to the next bus transfer and the whole ride we shared. He was this strange blend of old school New Yorker with a penchant for old school gyms and a kooky west coast old school Dead Head. He provided a near endless stream of hilarious one-liners and story fragments. What he shared with me in the twenty or thirty minutes or so our paths were crossed included the following:

several Woody Allen film references; a story about Ox, the big guy at the gym (always make friends with the biggest guy in the room and the guy with the biggest heart-- if they happen to be one and the same then you're in real good shape); an offer to set me up with his Irish friend Patrick; stories about the old MacTarnahan's and before that Finn MacCool's; several Grateful Dead fragments, most often involving people that you wouldn't have first guessed might be into the Dead; jokes about misfiring synapses; meditation; yoga; the phrase "coat hanger shoulders" which came from a story about his grandfather's tailor; various passing drug cultures references; Timothy Leary; Ram Dass; more about Ox; zero points; "I am 'anonymous' Bosch"; moving from solitary exploration to making peace with journeying on the path with others ("I can party by myself all day long, but I've finally reached a point where I'm cool with hanging out with other people again"); good folks to have at your side while navigating the bardos; why he doesn't need fruity hair products; and a lesson in what he called the New York shmear, which involved palming a $10 bill off during a handshake to smooth things over with someone (I inferred that given when he learned the lesson, $10 went further than it might now).

He was one of those characters you know you may never meet again and sort of wish you could have recorded for posterity because the riffs he went off on were full of things you couldn't possibly script any better and you know you'd laugh just as often and hard listening to him for the tenth time as you would the first. At least I think so... His friend Lee kept saying, "Richard..." in such a way that she may have meant anything from "oh you!" to "are you drunk?" or "why are you bothering this woman" or "I've heard that story before and it gets more elaborate with each telling." In any case, I found both of them delightful and hilarious.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

weird baby

I have recently had my third dream of being in a car that has crashed into water in (I think) the past year. In all three there was a moment of realization that we were traveling too fast, taking a turn too quickly, and that the vehicle (in two cases a car, in one a Volkswagen bus) was ultimately going to land underwater. I don't recall being particularly frightened in the first two and certainly wasn't in this last dream. I only recall being the driver on one occasion, and in that case, it was a fall from very high up on a very long and narrow passage (read: cartoonishly impossibly high and long and narrow) and in this last one, I was actually very casual about the whole affair. I simply unbuckled my seat belt and climbed out the window onto the hood where I hopped from the car to a dock that we'd aimed the car for when it hit water. The really strange part of this dream was that I carried a baby in my arms the whole time. It seemed like it was my baby, but at some point after I'd climbed off the car I began to remember that I didn't have any children. I looked at this tiny human and wondered, if he didn't belong to me, who did he belong to and why did I have him? It was a beautiful day and despite managing to get out of the car without getting wet (while holding an infant in one arm) I found myself sitting in the grass, damp, and wondering where on earth this baby came from.