Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Classic Case of Shooting the Shit

This is a news flash. This is literature. No, it's only me checking in.

Dear Diary; Dear Journal. I have abandoned thee. I'm horsing around in the wild and I have many stories to share. Much has happened; more is in progress.

I am at peace and I am at war. My brain, my body; we are bound, and I am always testing the ropes. When I take a deep breath, I am pleased for the excitement. I wouldn't trade this life, but I will always wonder about the nature of it.

Key West is a calm hand in January. I won't talk about myself today. Doing so would be unkind. I'll talk about R.D. instead.

R.D. drinks Strawberry 'Rita from a foggy gatorade bottle. He looks considerably older than 67, because that's what living in the wind and sun will do. Long white hair; long white beard; tan creased skin. Bony spotted hands, just like the ones I will have before too long. We met in the corner of a gas station parking lot. I was standing amidst some drunk fraternization around the bicycle rack - mostly taking notes, but not too shy to toss in an errant opinion or some hot air. Classic case of shooting the shit.

R.D. entered the parking lot like a mist. He bore the standard accouterments of the dispossessed. A rustbucket bicycle with high handlebars; island style. The type of bicycle that only works for its owner; one that might fold like origami under any other body. Huge rusty baskets held clothing and cans to capacity. Front and back baskets were full to overflowing. Between the rust and the textiles it was an evolving work of art. He floated to a halt and stood the bicycle on its kickstand - the only fully functional component on the machine. We connected right away. We were friends before we spoke.

We discussed the merits and potency of our drinks. The Strawberry 'Rita is a strong 8%. For comparison, a Natural Ice goes 5.9%; Four Loko is a whopping 12%, but all the professionals know to stay away from Four. Incidentally, the pros don't do Steel Reserve either. Not long term. There are rumors under the grapevine that it has a poisonous component that deteriorates your organs. Worse than normal. Steel Reserve is an angry drink.

I have been possessed as of late by spirits. I am aware constantly of both sides of the curtain. I wear the cloth on my shoulders now, and steal peeks in either direction. I am a resident in both dimensions. I recognize this quality in others. The sense is easier to absorb than articulate. We are sisters and brothers; members of a curious tribe. We share a wordless understanding of the fundamental facts. Words are simply for color and fun.

Being alive can be difficult to make sense of. Once you notice that your worth can't be measured with money, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep a foothold in what most people seem to agree to accept as reality. Today I am still in the game. Money goes in a bank account - it is not simply a paper ticket for beer. I sleep in a minivan. I have small but certain concerns.

R.D. helped build Key West. As a skilled laborer, he stacked a small fortune before tragedy and 1980's crack leveled the playing field. Now he stands with calm stoicism. He exudes a tranquil essence. Standing in his presence makes me suspicious of whether there has ever been a single truly important matter, past or present, in our plane of existence or infinite universe. Is there one valid worry in the world?

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