Chapter 1 and 2 and 3
The first time we met the Police were turning him over to me. It was a harbinger of things to come.
He had made arrangements with me to pick him up at the airport. I, somehow, missed his flight. He call the Police? They were very relaxed about it.
When I drove up to the Police station he was standing outside. I remember thinking, "There is something different about this one. What does that look like?'' And; Answering myself. "Just another Asian man. Nothing unusual."
When we got to the Guest House and he had had time to rest. I knocked on the door of his room and asked if I could come in. He said, "Yes."
I asked him what he was doing. He was going through his suitcase. I asked, "Do you have anything interesting in there?" He handed me five typed sheets of paper. Every item was listed.
I laughed. "What? Did your mother do this?"
He said, "No. I did it."
I asked, "Why?" And; Laughed some more.
I looked at those sheets of paper. The last sheet had sterile sample bags, sterile sample bottles, sterile pipets. My ears perked up.
I asked, "Are you a scientist?"
He said, "Yes." He did not miss a beat. He was very confident.
I have known a few scientists. The ones that I have known were modest. The smarter they were the more modest they were. Not him. There is not a humble bone in his body.
I looked at him and said. "Huh. We'll see."
What a Character.
I was having a hard time. My life was being systematically destroyed and I felt very helpless. This man was, just, one more person. I like people. They are a fine distraction. I liked to have guests. Meeting their needs and making the house comfortable for them was my 'Thing'.
This guy. What a Hoot. He was not friendly. He did not talk much.
The next day, I asked him what he was looking forward to the most on this trip. It is a standard question. I ask, nearly, every guest some variation of that question.
His answer was, "Pot. Marijuana. Weed."
I was surprised. Most guests want to see the forest or the mountains or the city. I had never had a guest say such a thing before.
I said, "Well, O.K. That is easy." I shrugged and walked away.
He followed me. He asked, "How easy?"
I scowled at him. "How old are you?" He looked young.
He told me. He is an adult. So, I said, "I have some. Do you want it?"
He was pleased, for the first time. So, I gave him some pot. It did not seem like a big deal to me. It is common as beer and mud where I come from. I guess it is a big deal where he comes from.
So, The next day he wanted more. O.K. (Shrug, again.)
After we were both fairly high I asked, "What do you want to do, now?"
Oh me yarm. Those words became our theme.
He responded with, "What is there to do."
Well; There was a lot to do. I don't remember exactly what we did, but, we both had a good time. We hung out a lot. Each day we became more and more comfortable with one another.
Some time during those first days he said, "You are smart."
I said, "Thank you."
I was discovering that he was smart, too.
He was getting my attention. He listened to me in ways that most people don't.
The first time we went for a walk in a temperate forest he walked out with the most poisonous plant in the forest.
I asked, "What do you think you have there?"
He said, "I think it is Poison Hemlock."
I said, "I think you are right. Wash your hands before you eat."
On the way back to the Guest House I laughed and asked him, "What? Did you study the plants that grow here, before, you came here?"
He acted embarrassed. (Shrug.)
I know a little about science. When we talked, he knew nearly everything that I knew. That was weird.
He confided in me. That he has difficulties with Bi-Polor. He was understating the case.
I told him to let me know, if, he was having difficulties. I told him that I could help. He asked about my internal life. I told him about Post Traumatic Stress and what symptoms that I had. The most bothersome symptom for me is the feeling of being a Ghost. And; When I have company that symptom is eased.
He paraphrased, "You don't mind feeling like a ghost if you have the company of another ghost."
That was pretty much right.
This man was a Grumpy Guss, a great deal of the time. Some people are grumpy.
One night he came to the dining table with a foul mood, a bottle of cold vodka and a glass. My red flags were going up. Oh Dear. I have seen men get drunk. I sized him up and watched. I knew that I could take him in a fair fight. So; I, just, watched. He was pouring shots and downing them.
After the third shot, he got my full attention. It was the first time in my life that I had ever seen a man's eyes get more clear as he drank.
Chapter 2 There Will Be No World Peace!
He had been grumpy most of that day. I was 'into' Peace. He repeatedly said, "There will be no world Peace."
He was still drinking as we ate our evening meal together.
He started the, "There will be no world Peace." Again. He told me that I was naive and some other stuff. It turned into quite the little discussion.
At one point he looked at me and said, "You don't know enough about the subject!" That stopped me.
The meal was over. So, I said, "I will go read up. Will you do the dishes?"
He agreed. I ran upstairs and got out my laptop. I was still learning how to read from a computer screen. Most of what I read was review. I have an education. I knew most of that stuff. But, the review was good.
After forty-five minutes, I went back downstairs. I was ready to talk. What a Freak! Yes. He was drunk. But; Really?
He was going to the dining room getting one fork taking it to the sink, washing it, drying it and putting it away. Repeat.
I asked him, " What are you doing? Aren't you done with the dishes, yet?"
He said, "I am doing the dishes. I know what I am doing. I have a method."
The man is so smart. He knows that he is smart. He is blind to anything that he does not know. Arrogant. Yes. The man is arrogant. (Shrug.)
I wanted to talk to him. So, I took over. I can think and talk and do the dishes all at the same time. It took me one trip into the dining room. We talked while I did the dishes. When I was done I turned around and leaned on the counter as we talked. He said something that clicked.
Something inside of me clicked. It was like everything that I had worked for all of my life was meaningless. He was right. Not only will there be no world Peace, but, things are getting worse. I was psychologically crushed. He was quite pleased with himself. I conceded the issue and took myself into the living room. I sat by the fire place stunned and silent. He was right. I could not talk any more that night.
The next day we talked about it some more. There is nothing like a convert. We did other stuff and we talked about other things. But, I was a convert. One time I had been outside where I had been hassled by some Assholes in the alley. Homeland Security? They were putting more surveillance equipment outside my house. I had my panties all in a bunch. I went back into the house. He was standing at the sink. I said very loud and forcefully, "You are right! There will be no world Peace! And; Those Assholes in the alley and Assholes like them are the reason why!" Then I walked past him in a huff.
He followed me. He was concerned. He does have a tender heart. No morals. But; a tender heart.
He said, "You don't have to agree with me that much."
He asked, "Who is in the alley?"
I was so frustrated that I could not explain.
We became friends. We talked a lot. He knew nearly everything that I knew about most stuff and much more about some stuff. I was surprised. It was fun to talk to him. He was interested in plants. I am, too.
The only thing that I knew about that he did not was weather. When it came to weather I talked and he listened. He is from near the equator. There is not much variation in weather where he comes from.
I told him about the fierce storms that roll in from the North Pacific. We talked about fluid dynamics and storm watching. I told him about how dangerous and fun storm watching can be. I told him about the turbulence of the wind when it hits the cliff faces and that it can blow a human off. I told him about things that I had seen while storm watching. He listened.
Then he asked, "Will you take me storm watching?"
I said, "Yes. But, we have to wait for one to roll in. They tend to be best in February. Watch the internet and I will take you out to the beach when one rolls in."
Well; His accommodations were ready in town and he moved out. We said that we would see one another, again. But, We all know how that is. People's lives move on. Lives touch and then diverge. I knew. We all know.
We did make arrangements to meet for lunch and shopping in second hand stores several weeks later, When I went to pick him up he was so down. He did not want to go. I sat across from him and asked him what was going on with him.
He was so unhappy. I wrote an equation and pushed it across the table to him.
N=Intelligence brought to bear
If, you have to think too hard it is not fun.
He looked at it. He nodded and got up and went with me. We had a fine time and he was glad that he went. He bought an old horn. I bought an old tapestry.
Chapter 3 Stormy Weather
A month or so later he called. He said, "Will you take me to the beach? Can two of my friends go?"
I was always ready for a Road Trip. So, off we went. He had been watching the internet. Whew Hew! What a storm! Shit. It was a dandy. I had to watch those Freaks, him and his friends; Well, him. They did not understand how dangerous the wind and waves can be.
He was funny, again. Our feet got cold on one of our adventures out onto the beach. His feet had never been cold before.
It is mildly uncomfortable when feet get cold. It hurts as they warm up again.
He was fussing about his feet hurting. He asked me, so, I told him, "Your feet are going to hurt. You can choose. Let them hurt some for a long time while they warm up slowly. Or, Let them hurt more for a short time while you warm them up faster."
He asked me what way I did it. I told him, for the kind of cold we experenced that day fast was ususally my choice. "You can scream when it hurts. That does not make the pain go away, but, it does help psychologically."
"For more serious cold, slow is important. I will not let you get into that kind of cold."
So, funny. Scientist! He warmed one slowly and the other fast. He decieded that fast was better, also. We spent hours talking about cold feet. Not, just human feet. The feet of other kinds of animals, too. Dogs that run in the snow for hours. Ducks and other water fowl. Bovine. I told him about some of the weird stiff I knew, because, I did farm work.
On the way back from storm watching we were driving in the dark. We were on our way to a hotel in a little town that I knew about. It had been a nice stormy day. Every one was in one piece. Yeah.
As we drove through a small town I realized that the electricity was out. No lights anywhere. It was interesting. None of those people had ever seen the lights out before in their whole lives. Our timing was amazing. As we drove into the hotel driveway the lights came back on. The man at the desk knew me. He said that if we had come ten minutes earlier or if he did not know me we would not have been able to stay.
We had a nice night. The next morning the storm was over and we could look at storm damage. Storm damage is interesting, too.
There were people out rescuing sea birds that had been injured by the storm. We stopped and helped to catch one and talked to the locals about the storm. A good time was had by all.
Chapter 4 and 5 and 6
Weeks pasted the way weeks do.
One afternoon he called. One of his friends wanted to go to S.F. Of course, I agreed. It seemed like a good idea at the time. He stayed at the Guest House that night. We got up at 5 a.m. for the journey. When I got up, I could feel it. It felt like snow. Not down in the valley, but, up high. I can explain how I know these things. It is not important to the story. I went into his room and told him. I had already taken most of the winter equipment out of the car. I gathered a few of those things on the way out of the house.
I said over and over. "You are as interesting as a bug and as much fun as a monkey." I said it again that morning.
He snapped at me. "Why do you keep saying that?!" I do not remember the exact words. "Because, anything else I have to say would sound too serious?" Something like that.
We were friends. He was becoming my most interesting character.
We picked up his friends and off we went. Yep. We ran into a spring Blizzard. The Fuck! The Police had traffic stopped. I had a gazetteer with me. I was good with turning out toward the coast and going down that way. The Freaks wanted to go into the snow. They had never seen snow before. I did not expect the Police to let us through.
I asked. The Police said, "Yes." I was not pleased with that answer.
Everyone in the car was so happy about us being able to go on. Everyone with the exception of me. "The Police said we could. It will be fine." Oh. So, wrong. I don't trust the Police, anymore.
It was a rough 4 hours for me. It was like a war zone. There were cars off in the snow banks, there were people standing out in the snow. The driving conditions were terrible. I had a four wheel drive rig. I was so afraid. If, we ended up in a snow bank, then, the Road Trip would be over. It can be dangerous. The visibility was poor at best. Visibility was very poor, sometimes.
I was crawling along at about 15 miles per hour. I looked in my rear view mirror. There was a Chevy van back there sideways in the road. I could not watch. I was driving on slick new snow. I had to watch the road. I could not see the groves from other cars. The next time I looked back at the Chevy van it had straightened out and was gaining on me, fast. The driver had used the accelerator to straighten it out. If, he hit me, that would be bad. So, I sped up to 20-25 miles per hour. That was too fast for the conditions. I was sliding around. I was not far enough inside my comfort zone or skill level. As we blew past people and abandoned vehicles I was not suffering in silence. I identified two wheel drive vehicles, rear wheel drive vehicles, I talked and fussed. At one point I cried. It was a frightening experience. I have been caught in blizzards in the past. I have seen visibility go from poor to white out. I knew that could happen to us.
When the snow finely turned into rain and the pavement became black, I stopped and took a chill pill.
Then, at the first place to stop and get food and be inside a place that was not moving, I took it. While we were in the resturant, one of his friends asked about the difference between front wheel drive and rear wheel drive.
I said, "It is a physics thing. He is good at Physics. Hey! You explain it."
He refused. So, I did it. I drew a picture of a chassis and wheels. She still did not understand. So, I used a straw. I sat up the salt and pepper shakers as obstacles. I asked her to push the straw across the table. Then, I asked her to pull it across the table. We did that a few times and I asked her; It is easier to stear it when you push it or when you pull it? She 'got' it. She got all excited and happy. She said, "I am good at Physics!"
I said, "Yes. You are!"
He was instantly angry. "No! You Are Not Good At Physics!"
She said, "Yes, I am. Right; Addams?"
I said, "Yes. You are good at physics."
He was angry. Physics is hard. He is smart and he had to work hard to learn the math and the concepts to be good at Physics. He was angry that I told some English teacher that she was good at Physics.
Jeeze. He could be a Grumpy Guss.
Then, he told me, "You were over reacting up in the snow." He was being mean, but, I did not recognize it for what it was. I was offended. I got up and asked the people that worked in the restaurant, "Has anyone else come in from the snow? Were they frightened up there? This guy thinks that I did not have anything to worry about."
The people that were working and the other customers began talking about the dangers and how upset people were as they came in from the snow. People being people; They started talking about bad snow storms of the past. The one where a bunch of people froze and the number and kind of accedents they knew about.
After a few minutes of that, I looked at him as said, "See? Do you still think I was overreacting?"
He shook his head. He didn't have anything to say.
After we ate we drove on into The City. Oh; The drive was beautiful. The rolling hills were emerald green with spring grass. We saw a Condor! The sky was blue as blue can be. The clouds were bright white. The clouds were not lined with silver. The clouds were lined with Gold. It was California, after all. California is beautiful. Not every place in California is equally pretty. That day was nice.
We got into the city at 11 pm or so. The girl was messing with me.
He yelled at me. "You are not thinking!"
I yelled back, "I just drove 500 miles! I drove through a Blizzard! I am tired! If, you want thinking done! You.! Do.!.It..!"
He looked surprised. He did some thinking. I found a place to park. He and his friends went off to find us a place to sleep. I lay the passengers seat down and settled myself down to rest.
He came back after he found a Hotel. He and I shared a room. The girls took a different room.
We walked in. I gave us both a tranquilizer.
I told him, "This does not have to be weird. You sleep with your blanket on top of the covers. I will sleep inside the bed. I drove."
I took a bath and went to bed and to sleep. He woke me up at 5:30 am. He was talking to his computer. He was having an argument with it. There was some girl somewhere on the planet and he spent a great deal of the night arguing with her. The computer age is weird.
The next morning I took the girls to where they wanted to go as fast as I could. I was tired of them. For some reason I was not tired of him. I have no idea why. Then, he and I went back into The City.
We went up the Twin Towers. We drove through The Castro. I learned something about what makes him laugh; Man on man blow jobs. So, funny.
We were definitely a strange pair. We wanted to know if a wild lilly was a tuber or a ribosome. I decided to take the top part and look it up later. He dug one up. How he did that without breaking the stem is beyond me. The stem was 8 inches in the ground.
One time we were on an open hillside. He was following vole trails. I was following the little blue butterflies. From a distance we must have looked strange. Him doggedly looking at the ground. Me running all over the hill, then, stopping and walking very slowly. Repeat.
Him a conservatively dressed Asian man. Me a white woman in flowing clothes and purple hair. Well; It was S.F. Many people stranger than we were hang out there.
It was like having a Hostage in all the strangest ways. I was not legally resonsible, but, I sort of was. So; I had to feed us. I found an Italian Restruant. We were doing O.K. But; What an Ass he could be.
Across the table from me; Me, a person that had been good to him; A person that had made him laugh; A person that had done, good. He looked at me with a look that if looks could kill I would have died. He said, "I am not a moral man! Why Should I Be?!"
It was quite. I was thinking. He said, "WELL?!
I said, "I am thinking!"
Finely, I looked at him, I said, "I Love You. There is some chance that you are immortal. I hate the idea of you being stuck with a mean little Bastard, for all of eternity."
He looked at me and softened. He nodded. We ate our meal.
Then, we started back North. We drove along the coast. I did not want to see any more snow. It was a nice trip.
We were still friends at the end of another Road Trip. That is a win.
Chapter 5 The Monastery
So, What Did I Do? I took some strange and wonderful young man to see many of the things that I think are sacred and most of them I told him, "Go head; Pee on it." He had a thing about Religion. Still does, probably.
The Real World offered its own opportunities to test reality. He was such a grump about Religion.
He said, "If, there is something Sacred! Then; Show it to Me!"
I took him to the Monastary. It is a long way from anywhere to the Monastery. On the way I told him to not be mean to the people there. I told him, "These people are important to me. They believe this shit and you must promise to have good manners."
Of course, he had a tantrum. How dare I sugest that he might 'act out' at a Monastery? He is only a Belligerent Militant Atheist. Belligerent Militant Atheists are as bad or worse than Evangelicals.
At the Monastery, I parked far away and we walked in. I did not know how I felt about introducing him. So, We walked in through a meddow, on a dry dirt road that had chamomile growing between the tire tracks. I walked us into the forest as we neared the buildings. I was dressed in dark clothes. He was dressed in light colors. There were deer feeding in the meddow outside the Santuary. I decided that we would do well to, just, watch.
The people and the deer were both highly preditiable. We were invisable in the shadows of the forest. As long as we were quiet and did not step out into the light.
We watched. We talked in very quiet voices. His camera was clicking away. There was a fawn still in spots. We wanted to get a photo of the deer nursing. It was so cute. To him it was Magical. To me, also. But, I am used to that kind of thing. It is not that big a deal. A small heard of deer hang out around the Santuary. That is encouraged. Don't spook the deer is a good rule of thumb. But; Sometimes I do. Who knows the mind of deer. I am often busy with my own thoughts.
We talked about what the people were doing. We talked about what the deer were doing.
I wanted him to see the inside of the Sanctuary. He wanted to see it. The sacred. When the people went in to eat lunch we went into the Sancuary We did not break the silence inside the santuary. He was looking at the back of the room. I like the front. Yes. My friends, the Nuns, knew I was there. (Maybe.) We don't always have anything to say to each other.
The room was built to frame a lovely Redwood. The windows go all the way from the bottom to the top. Nope. It is not possible to see the entire tree from the back of the room.
It was important for him to see the simplicity. The Nothing. One plan and simple room where people gather to share the Nothing.
I have seen some weird stuff in that room.
Chapter 6 The Exorcism
By this time I Knew that he had understated the case of being bi-polar. On the way back from the Monistary he started telling me one of his stories. It was hard for him. He took the whole thing so serouosly.
It was his life story, sort of. When he was five years old he had been identified as briliant. His school, his parents and his government had meetings. He was to be given any thing that he wanted to know about. His parents bought him an enclyopedia. He read it. He could discuss anything in that set of books with adults at five years old. He still remembers what he read, then.
He said that he was an arrogant ass. But, he was a happy arrogant ass. Then, when he became a teenager, he began to lose his mind. To people like he and me, that is a big deal. He asked to see a psychiatrist. His parents agreed. But, The psychiatrist was not much help.
His parent had an exorcism for him! Oh me yarm! I was laughing so hard. He started to get angry at me, but, what good would it do? He asked me why I was laughing. I told him. "Because, it is funny. People believe that shit. And; Can you blame them? Their Little Mr. Perfect was doing weird shit! What could explain it?"
I had to ask him to stop the story. The more he talked the funnier I thought it was. I was laughing so hard that I had to pull the car over. We sat in the car until I got control of myself. I told him, "I am so sorry that happened to you. It must have been so awful. The people that you loved. The only people that you had to turn to....Had An Exorcism For You!" I was laughing, again.
The car was stopped. I was able to really look at him. I reached out and took his hands. I held them so gently.
It took a few minutes. I was able to explain that I understood how painful it was for him when he was a teen. But; He is not a teen any more. I held his hands. I put them to my forehead. Then, I put all of our hands to his head.
We were deep in the Redwoods.
I told him that I was sorry for his pain; Over and over. It took a while. He began to believe me.
So; Down the road we went. He started talking to me, some more. Oh me yarm!
I asked him, "What did you do?"
He said, "Nothing." For the next few days he did nothing. He was hurt. He was a teenage man. Pain turned to anger. Then, he did something.
Yes. I had to pull over again. I was laughing so hard that my vision was blurred with tears.
A few days after the exorcism, he was alone in the house. He had been thinking. He went into his mother's study and got out her bible. He crumpled up some of the pages and set it on fire. I was giggling and listening.
I asked, "How long did it burn?"
He said, "I didn't want to damage my parent's home so I put the fire out."
I said, "Good move on your part. How did you put it out? Did you step on it?"
He said, "No. I had something more handy."
Me, "What? Nothing is more handy than your feet. What did you use? Water your mom had for her plants?"
Him "No. I had something more handy."
He peed on it. Oh me yarm! That is so funny!
He peed on a burning bible, then, he walked out of the room and locked it from the inside!
Between laughs, I said, "The exorcism did not work! It did not get rid of the demon! The exorcism made it mad!" He started laughing, too.
He said his mother yelled at him to open the door. He couldn't. It took a week in the tropical heat for a locksmith to come to the house.
I said, "So they threw it away and you had to have a talk."
He said, "No. It is a sacred object. My mother put it in a plastic bag and but it on a shelf."
I said that I thought that was a stupid thing to do. He asked me what I would do if he peed on my sacred objects. I told him that it depended upon the object. I had some very old books that meant a lot to me. I told him that if he pissed on one of them, then, he and I would have trouble.
He asked why. I told him. "Books are important to me. Books are where I find the voice of reason."
I told him that I had delt with people that worship the bible, too. I did not worship my books that way. I loved them like old friends.
We talked a lot. He asked about the Buddha that was in front of my house. I said,"Go ahead. Pee on it. You will change the way it smells; You will not change its sacredness." I had to tell him that over and over.
He was carrying such a burden about the sacred book that he peed on. I finely told him to go get one of my books and pee on it. He would not do it. I am not sure if he peed on Buddha or not.
Before he was done with me, he did pee on many of my sacred objects.
Chapter 7 and 8
We did not see a lot of one another for another month or two. He did visit from time to time. He was, kind of, a jerk. There was a class that he made wait for him. What a jerk.
One time I knew that he needed to be there and it was time for him to be there and I had promised to take him. I told him to get in the car. He was bitching about his bag.
I said, "I'll do it."
I asked where is was. I picked it up and as I was walking it out to the car. I asked myself, "What Is In This Bag?!" That was a heavy bag.
We had talked about nuclear reactions. I like big ideas about small things. I thought, "Shit. Is he smuggling plutonium?"
I put the bag into the car and went in and told him to get into the car. He asked, "Where is my bag?''
I said, "In the car."
Once we were in the car and moving, he asked, "Where is my bag?"
I said, ''As far away from the driver's seat as I could get it."
He asked, "Why?"
I said, "That is one heavy bag. What is in it? Plutonium?"
He was all indignant. "Do you know how heavy plutonium is?!"
I said, "Yes."
He said, "You are stupid. That bag is heavy. If, it was full of Plutonium you would not have been able to lift it."
I said, "I am not stupid. I could be a piece smaller than your thumb nail. The rest of the contents of the bag, could be shielding!"
Then he asked, "If, you thought I could have Plutonium wouldn't you contact the authorities?"
I told him, "If, you have Plutonium, then, you are the authority. It is none of my business. I am not on the 'need to know' list. Besides. What the fuck is in that bag!?"
It was a big lap top. I guess he needs a big one to run big programs. And; A physical chemistry resource manual. Not Plutonium.
We would have some of the strangest conversations.
Chapter 8 Mr. Nice
Then; Shit. He had some upset in his life.
My life was same shit different day. I was taking some flowers to a woman that had found my stupid dog and used the dog tags to return her to me.
I got a call from the Police. They asked me to pick him up. Of course, I agreed. When I went to pick him up, they insisted that I sign a form that gave me legal responsibility for a suicide watch over him.
He had gone to Canada and when he came back he managed, Somehow, to get arrested. Yep. For pot.
I thought that he had been arrested for public nuditty or worse. I asked the woman on the phone, "Was he nude?" She asked, "What!" I repeated. She finely understood and said, "No."
Did he set himself up on purpose? What the Fuck? Really? Who is that Guy? Fuck. He was, just, some guy that I got used to and enjoyed. He was a funny one. Fuck All! So much of the time I thought he was kidding. He was serious! What a Freak! Still; The man could carry on an interesting conversation.
How does a person get busted for pot in a place that has clouds of the stuff? He set himself up and he took me with him. It is like the line in Beetlejuice, "I will go insane; And, I will take you with me."
How did he do it? Well; His part was easy. My part was hard.
I like plants. He likes plants. It had been a Hellish winter. The pipes in the house froze and broke. Most of my house plants were dead. I was going through the death and distruction. I was throwing away most of the plants. I was looking for signs of life down in the crowns of the ferns.
I had a little pot plant that a guy had given me. Its name was Mr. Nice. I was so suprised. Mr. Nice was not dead! Mr. Nice had turned Purple.
I knew that my friend was coming over to visit in a day or two. When he arrived I showed him Mr. Nice. I asked him if he knew why Mr. Nice had turned purple. He said, "No."
I repotted Mr. Nice and gave it to him. I told him. When you know what happened, call me. I like having things to think about. I was being nice. I was giving him something to think about that was both Chemistry and Botany. I knew the answer. Anthocyanin. It is a wonderful chemical.
Mr. Nice was all of four to six inches tall. That was about as big as Mr. Nice would ever get. He had been through Hell. He was a cutie. I thought that watching Mr. Nice get new green leaves would please my friend. It is not something that a person does all in one day.
So; He wanted to get busted? He put Mr. Nice out in plane sight where Mr. Nice belongs and set a very loud alarm clock to go off every twelve hours for more than one hour each time. Then he went to Canada. The neighbors made the call. The Police walked in to turn off the alarm and saw Mr. Nice. Fuck. The Police were stoned at the time. How can you explain how they knew what Mr. Nice was? He did not look like a regular pot plant.
He did it. He set himself up and me, too. What an Ass.
When the police turned him over to me I saw that he had a wound on his face. Oh! Dear! I instantly thought that the Police had done it. Once in the car I took him up on a hill to talk. I wanted to know what had happened to his face.
This is what he told me: In Canada there were Norwegians and Germans that he was drinking with. They were some big boys. They started picking him up under one arm and walking around with him. They were celebrating. They dropped him. They were drunk. He was drunk. That is the story he told. Fuck. Who knows what he did to make them that happy? He is a Chemist. LSD? Nah. He would, but, he was having trouble with precursors. Maybe, he told them that he could and that was enough for a bunch of drunks.
I asked him a few questions. The man was fine. He asked me to take him to his place to get a few things. I had signed a paper that gave me responsibility for him. I did not see him as a risk. Damn! I let him out of my sight at the University.
The little Bastard manipulated me. Fuck. He got away from me at the University. Fuck. I looked for him. I called his cell phone. I waited. I started to worry. Twenty minutes is too long. If he was a danger to himself, then, twenty minutes is too long. I called the Police for help. I called the Police for assistance and they gave me a citation. Damn! Did he tell them that I had given him pot? Fuck. Little Bastard! Now, I am mad at him. At the time, I was worried about him. Mission before self. Remember? The Police gave me a ration of shit, a citation and told me that if I did not have a dog they would arrest me. Yeah. He knew what he was doing and I still took him with me. What a pain in the ass. But; I liked him. So, strange
At the house we talked for a while. For some strange reason I felt a connection to him. Why? I don't know.
He fell asleep on the sofa. I woke him up.
I told him, "No one sleeps on my sofa!" He looked surprised.
Then I said, "You are comfortable. You are not like other people. You can stay there."
He was exhausted.
The next day I started making telephone calls. I could not get the staff at the Lab to take responsibility for him fast enough. I could see a storm forming around him. I wanted to get The Fuck out of the way. It took another day or two to arrange to meet someone from the lab. I insisted that she sign off on the paper. Date, printed name, title and signature.
After the Lab signed off, we went back to the Guest House. There I put my shampoo and my computer into my laundry basket and put my laundry basket into the car. I put his things into the car and told him to get into the car. I took him to his accommodations. I was more efficient than what he was used to. I had to be. He was so manipulative. I could see it. I did not want to play that game. When I dropped him off he was taken by surprise. I took his things out of my car and sat them down on in the grass and started back to my car. He realized what I was doing. He called me, "Bitch!" I yelled over my shoulder, "Term of endearment!" I was spooked. I thought that I would go one thousand miles away and stay for two weeks. I went 500 miles away and stayed one week.
I did not get out of the way fast enough. I spent a day in jail, after he got on the airplane, over calling the Police. So, weird. I called the Police for assistance and they gave me a citation. And; I spent a long day in a cold cell. Fuck.
After a week, I could feel things were calmed down. So, I started back. I called him.
He asked, "How are you?"
I answered, "I can tell you where I am. I can not tell you how I am."
Then I asked, "If your life were a movie, what kind of a movie would it be?"
He answered, "A 007 Thriller."
He asked, "What kind of a movie would your life be?"
I told him, "I live a chick flick! I don't watch Thrillers and I don't want to live one!"
He asked me to meet him for lunch the next day. I agreed.
He wanted to stay at my place for a while. He was no longer reactive. So, I said, "Yes."
He was worried about his career. He told me that his career might be over. It had only, just, begun. He was so sad.
The city had sued me and shut my business down. My career was over. The judge said it was not a big deal. I had to change two words on my web site and then I could open, again. But; After court two big men came to the house. They told me, "This house is one hundred years old. A trained eye can always find fault with it. If you open on Monday you will be in court on Friday. Think About That."
We were both as low as low can get. After three or four days of that. Well; "What do you want to do, now?"
Comic # 330. Two hours? It was, like, four days. Bored stiff. We had chased the chemical that causes diatoms to glow. We had looked at pretty spectographs. He had access to secure data, because, of his job. He was able to worm his way into satellite and arial photos of Area 51 and Mercury, NV. That was interesting. I had no idea that information was not available to everyone. I was new to the internet. After four days we were bored.
Comic #330. I would not have thought of it without Randall Monroe. Thank you, Mr. Monroe. It was fun.
It changed our friendship. It always does. I did the math in my head. I knew that I would lose him as a friend. He had an expiration date stamped clearly on his forehead. The friendship would end when he got on that plane to go back where he came from. So, the risk was acceptable.
I expected change. I did not expect what happened.
He moved in with me. It was a ton of fun. We played 'camp out' in the living room.
My business was gone. The Police were watching me at all times. If, I had a guest, then, I got a visit from the Police or some one that they hired. They were in my house at all hours of the day and night. They were inside while I was there, without an invitation, more than once.
The monitor on his computer was breaking down. He got a new one and it took hours for him to down load.
He was downloading all of his files from one computer to a new computer. Jeeze.
It was like he was giving birth. Fuck.
Me: "Down load the fucking files and Let us Go!"
Him: "Monitors not working. I am doing this blind, mostly. Fucking Monitor. It's Up! It's down."
So; After hours of downloads from one computer to the new one; We could leave the house.
I put my computer in the car, like always. I called the dog and asked the him to hand me his computer.
He said, "No."
Pfft. I was not going to leave that brand new computer in that house.
"Either you go get it; Or, I will."
We left the old one. (O.K. How stupid was that? I wonder about that young man, sometimes. Is he crazy like a FOX?) Did he set us up, again? I have no idea. The Police got a computer of a young Asian Chemist. They got it from my house. Crap.
Guilt by association? Fuck. Can I have some of that smart? I am not that smart. I know a guy that is smart. See?
Does Homeland Security think that I am fluent in Chemistry? Pfft. Again. If, I try real hard I can, kind of understand photosynthesis; The Kreb's Cycle. And; ATGC.
French and Chinese? No way. Sorry. Can't do it.
I am an American. Famously Undereducated.
I think they were in my house every time I left it. They were not all that careful about showing signs that someone had been there. After they took his computer, they were too much trouble.
When we got back to the Guest House and found that my cell phone and his old computer were missing he used his cell phone to call the Police. They came right over and said that they had caught the 'bad guy'. They had our stuff and we could have it back the next day. The next day we asked for our things back. The Police said it was a 'No Go'. The guy that signed off on that sort of thing was gone. It took five days for them to not give his computer back.
Can you imagine what that was like at the Police Station. They got a computer. Nowhere; Springfield, Oregon. Springfield had gotten a great deal of money from Homeland Secruity. They must have been in their Seventh Heaven. They had a BIG one. They had a reason to call the Big Boys. This must have been so great for them.
When they turned his computer on, the screen was filled with Chinese characters. Then, the monitor crashed. It was broken. But; to them it looked like protection from a high level security system. They messed around with it the way he did and it came back up with French. Then, Porn. Then, some of his Science stuff and then some of the sites he was not supposed to have wormed his way into. Who knows what was on that computer?
Homeland Security does.
The view from my house had turned to checker board. The Police were always there.
When the Police were too much trouble we went for a drive. Who ever those Assholes in the alley were, they were a pain in the ass, too.
The theft of the computer. Triggered my flight instincts. Where to go? Became the question. It became a Spiritual Intensive. How did we manage that? We went to a private party for the Fourth of July a day or two before the Fourth and we ran up the Valley on the day.
The Fourth of July 2010. So weird. We went to the town where I was born. It is a nice town. I was outt'a there by the time I was three days old. It still is the place. The town where I was born. We went up to the Abbey. We went to the first Protestant Church built in the Valley. The Abbey is up on a hill with spectacular views. The simple little church was down on the flats.
We saw a field of bright orange flowers from the Abbey. Our mission was to find it and ID the plant. Ascelpeias Tuberosia? Nah. The leaves are wrong. What ever it was, it was pretty and smelled good. I could have stayed there for a long time. He was bitching about hay fever.
I taught him to pray to the Parking Diva. So, funny. We got a great parking place on the river to watch the Fire Works from the river's edge in Downtown Portland.
I drove us back to the guest house in the night. He slept.
We talked and Googled Science. We talked Art and Religion. I had books. I could walk over to the book case, pull out a book and show him faster than we could Google anything.
He was upset one night. We had become very close. He knew about my education and skills. He told me that he had been on strong anti psychotic medication for half of his life. He was upset and angry.
He said, "I have been numb for half of my life!"
He said that he wanted to know what it was like to feel human. He asked me to help him.
I said, "Yes. If, we have a solid plan. I know about this subject."
We planed this thing. We planed for days.
He asked me what I would do if he became violent. I told him. "Honey; I can take you in a fair fight."
He thought about that for a while. We played rough sometimes. He knew that I could take him.
He was so sweet. He was embarrassed. He had his back to me and he asked me something. I did not hear it. I asked him to repeat it.
He asked. "Would you ever hit me? If, I became violent, would you hit me?"
I laughed. I told him "No."
He asked, "What would you do?"
I laughed again and told him, "Buddy; I can out run you."
Then I got serious. I told him. "This is what my education is in. I was trained to never hit a patient. I...Will...Never...Hit...You."
He looked at me for a long time. Then he nodded. We hugged and we began.
Whew. What a pain in the ass. He is smarter than shit. As he started to come off his meds, well...He was a pain in the ass. Some of the shit that was happening you would not believe. He was even more manipulative. On top of that he was effecting the physical world with his mind.
He was a pain in the ass in other ways, too. While we were in the planing stage, The Police had come into my house while we were gone. They had taken his old computer out of my house and he wanted it back and I could do nothing to get it back. He was demanding that I get his computer back.
I was not happy either. "You downloaded all your files to the new computer. Right? What do you want that thing for!? Let them dispose of it. It is, just, another piece of trash!"
He threw a girly fit. "It's mine! I want it back!" (Was he thinking about what was on that computer. He looked worried. We would stand together looking out at the trees. He likes trees. I like trees. There was not much to say, most of the time.)
They never did give his computer back. They gave my cell phone back. About day four he was unstable and I was stressed.
While we were waiting for the Police to not give his computer back I packed the car for camping. When we got done at the Police station we went back to the house, got his back pack and left town.
I made a 'bee line' to the Ocean. When we got to the Ocean, we got out at a view spot and looked at it.
I told him, "You can out think me. Now; Out think that!"
Some of the stuff that happened was so weird. The Ocean helped a great deal. We stopped to look at it. We could see it often from the moving car. The sight of the Ocean and the moving car settled him down.
He kept asking "Who is out there?"
I said, "What?"
He tried to explain. My guesses were that there were fishing boats and fish and seals. I know it sounds weird. But; I think the man was hearing the whales. Like telepathically. I have some experience with that sort of thing. He did not.
I still think that he was hearing the minds of the whales. One big beautiful mind hearing other big beautiful minds. He was so much better while at the Ocean.
I took us to the most far away place that I know of. The summer winds were blowing. We were on the Lost Coast. We camped out in the car. The car was a Honda Element. Wonderful car for camping. The back of it was large enough to make a comfortable bed for two people. We sat in the back of the car looking out at the Ocean. We could hear the waves. The wind rocked the Element. It was soothing.
It was fun.
I had promised to give him every chance that I could to feel truly human. I promised to support and protect him while he was off his meds. The promise was to protect him from both himself and from outside dangers.
I would not take any control over his meds. He had to decide to take them or not take them. I would never touch them. I knew that he could turn it into a power and control issue. That is not the game we were playing.
It took courage. It took courage for him to do what he did. It took courage for me to do what I did.
We met the goal. We were in The City when it happened.
Something was 'up' with him. I was concerned He might have been 'losing' it. Something was 'up'.
I asked him. He started to explain. My first guess was homesickness. He said, "No."
He said. "I feel human."
It was a sacred moment. I asked, "What is it like?"
He said, "It hurts."
When he said, "It hurts." I felt it. Ouch. It did hurt.
He had tears. The tears were on his lower eye lashes. He looked at me and smiled with tears in his eyes. It was one of the sweetest moments of my life.
He felt human. To be human hurts.
He still takes drugs for entertainment. He does not need the meds any more.
How can I tell this story without typing about what happened at the Grand Canyon.
After the city he was in many ways a happy man. He had started chattering the way I do. He was sitting in the passenger's seat talking about being happy and that shit may "Hit The Fan'' when the summer was over, but, he was having a nice summer and on and on. It was fun to listen to him.
Then, he asked me, "Are you Happy?"
I told him that I was content, enough. But; I would like some quiet. He was confused by that. He asked, "What noise?"
We did not listen to music. We talked, we sang, we were quiet. There was no music.
I told him that the noise of the engine and the roar of the tires and all the other vehicles were too loud for me. He asked what quiet was like. I reminded him of the Monistary. I told him that, if, we went hunting, then, we might be able to find some quite.
He was a funny guy. We would be driving along and he would say, "Does that look quiet?"
He did that several times.
One time, I stopped the car and we went looking for some quiet. We took off cross country. We were walking under Pine trees. There is very little understory in that kind of forest. The walking is easy and we can go 'off trail'.
We had been walking for half an hour or so. I could still hear the road. When What To My Wondering Ears Did Appear? A Huge black propeller plane flying low. Crap. (I thought that the Canyon was a 'No Fly Zone'!)
I held my ears and yelled. When the plane was out of ear shot I could not hear anything. I had no idea where the road might be. I told him once. I told him twice. Then, I left him. It is so dangerous. We were miles from anywhere. I made a guess, based on where I was when I heard the plane.
As I was walking, I listened with all my might. I heard one of those fucked up Harleys. It told me where the road was. I don't like the sound of those things, but, I was glad to hear that one. They make more noise than a Tractor Trailer Rig.
I went back to the car. We had left our cell phones back packs, everything in the car. I got my cell phone. I called an old friend and told her that I had lost him and that I was going back in. (Something human about wanting to have a someone else know what I am up to.) I got my back pack, water, food and an extra coat and started back in.
I would attempt to find him while it was light. After dark I would contact the Rangers and it would be their baby in the night.
I was walking along the road listening with my sixth sense and attempting to figure out where to go back into the forest. I walked around a curve in the road and there he was walking toward me. I was so glad to see him.
For a smart man, he was stupid sometimes.
The journey had been planed around some things that are both time and space dependent. The full moon at the Grand Canyon was one of those things. Full moon night we were there. It was amazing. I highly recommend it.
We met two men from Spain. They had been at Monterey, CA on the same day that we were there. We told them what we were doing. They were nice. They were interested and they were tired. They had driven over from the Ocean in one day. So; I promised to wake them up for the good stuff. I did too.
He and I stayed up all night. He photographed lighting strikes in the distance. He tends to be a busy guy. I watched him. I watched the light change in the Canyon while the moon rose.
When we could see the light from the moon bouncing off the river below, I woke the Spanish guys up. They were impressed. We had some wine and food and wandered around in the moon light for a couple of hours. The Spanish guys went back to sleep. He and I stayed up, until the we lost interest in the world. The sun was coming up. I was tired.
We were there for days. He wanted to see where the other people were. I did my best to find them. It is very built up. Lots of people. He was struggling with stuff that I struggle with.
He and I were the only people that were looking at the moon and the Canyon. The other people were busy with each other.
He asked me, "Why are we so alone? You see it. I see it. Why can't they see it? What are we seeing? Are we crazy?"
He was breaking my heart. I did not have good answers for him. These are things that I have struggled with. Crazy? I have been told that I am crazy. It hurts. I know. I stayed outside. He wanted to go indoors where the people were. I did not. There is no one in there for me. The night of the full moon was wonderful the night before he was disappointed. He wanted more. I could not show him, more.
It was a day or two later that he got into my Pot. He was off his meds. I don't mind him getting into my pot, but, it made him a Giant Asshole. When he was on his meds he had a very high tolerance to Pot and to Alcohol. Off his meds his tolerance did not seem so good. He was following me around the camp site bitching about everything. He did not like the food. He did not like me. He had tried, but, he did not like me and he was not going to keep it to himself.
There came a point. I asked him, "What do you want me to do? Do you want me to go away?" He said, "Yes."
I started packing my shit.
He asked me what I was doing and I told him. "You have your lap top. You have money. You have your cell phone. You will be fine. I am leaving."
He stopped bitching. I kept packing. He stopped me by telling me that he did not think that it was smart to stay alone up there. He asked me not to leave him. As he spoke the air exploded with a lightening strike and the boom together. Then, it started raining those big splashy raindrops.
We had to seek shelter inside the back of the Element. I was still mad at him and I was stuck inside a car with him. I wanted the hatch up, so that I could see the rain. He wanted it down. I had frisbees that I used to catch the water that dripped into the car. I was not feeling very cuddly toward him.
By morning he was straight and we went back on speaking terms.
(He tells me via e-mail that he has learned to be off his meds and smoke Pot with other people. It is a skill, like, being off his meds. He can do it now.)
He was becoming more and more difficult. The Happy was wearing off.
He threw a fit. He wanted an internet connection. So; I took him to the Libarary and Ranger Station and Gift Shop all wrapped around a court yard.
I was all, "Different Day! Different Shit!"
So, was he; Until he walked out of that room.
I said, "Hi!"
He said, "I have to go back on my meds."
Me: "What?! Hey! Oh! Come on man. Please. Just one more day."
He was telling me that the e-mail he read gave him a very short time to get back to the airport. He was telling me that he needed his meds. I was begging for one more day with him. I knew that when he went back on his meds we would not be able to do any physically taxing activities. I had become pretty good at putting up with his shit and he was a great deal of fun most of the time.
He gave me the one more day. He was a royal pain in the ass. He was doing shit that was dangeous, again. He was not really aware of where we were in relationship to the car and to safety. He was not aware of what dark would mean for us. He was not experenced at all and was making Big Executive Decisions. Fuck.
Some of it was fun. Most of it was Stress City. People have been throwing rocks off the edge of the canyon for a long time. The good ones are mostly, gone. Somehow he found one. A good one, too. It was heavy. He is not a big man. He was running on adrenaline. He carried that rock for quite a while. Then we made some predictions based on smaller rocks. He tossed the big boy over. It Was Great! We where standing on the edge of a smaller side canyon. The sound ricocheted off the other wall. Then, it echoed as it went down the cliff face. We could hear it for a long time. We were both laughing.
That was fun. We were eight miles from the bus stop on bicycle. It was getting dark. The park has a service that has a bus that can carry bikes and people. The last run of the night was taking place. I attempted to talk to him. He said that he was going to ride down. What could I do? I put my bike on the bus. He decided to go with me. I was relieved.
It was dark by the time the bus got down onto the flats. Neither one of us had bike lights. Fuck. It was four miles more; In the dark with Ma and Pa Kettle on the roads with us. It was, just, another life threatening event. He loved it.
The next day, he went back on his meds.