html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Oh friends. Take care of your lives.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Oh friends. Take care of your lives.

I was picking tomatoes at my garden tonight when a street guy on his bike stopped on the outside of the fence to say hi. He was skinny enough, but his teeth looked good and he was too clean for meth. He asked what I was growing and I waited for him to express an interest in a garden plot. He recognized all the plants, but it turned out his interests were not in gardening. After a long pause, he said “I’m just a lonely old man, looking for some conversation.” OK, mister. I’ll talk to you as long as I’m harvesting. I asked him what he was doing in Sacramento. “Being stupid.” Oh. I asked him if he had any better options. “Naw.” I asked him what his plans were. “I need to find a wife and start a family.” I asked him how he was going to arrange that. “I don’t know. I need help with that.” He was looking at me all meaningfully, so I wasn’t sure what to say next. He asked if he could give me his phone number. I thanked him, but declined. He grinned and said, “Well, I tried.” I laughed and agreed that it was a good try.

After another long pause, I broke the silence with “You seem like a guy who knows his mind. How come you can’t get things together?” He said “I dunno. The divorce makes everything bad. You look like her.” Then he rode away.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moral of the story:

If you think it sucks being single and thirtysomething, try being single and fiftysomething.

Make good choices now while you still can...

Second moral:

A surprising number of seemingly well established people are only one bad break away from having their lives go down the crapper.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay, I take back my comment on death and codes...if you can write like that then you've got a book coming. Just push your reflections a bit more...someone who was clever enough to know that he was "stupid"?
M, I've found your technical posts to be mind -numbingly boring but think that you're at your best writing about human relations.

Billo (or bill O as you've anglicized me!).

2:16 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Hey, at least he didn't say "you sure have a purdy mouth" and make a lunge for you.

4:26 AM  
Blogger Bob V said...

anonymous, do you not like technical posts in general or just Megan's? Personally, I think she's at her best when she is at the intersection of the social and the technical. I got goose bumps reading her post regarding a technical solution to the social problem of getting single people to interact while running at a park.

Anyway, no book or blog needs universal appeal.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob-the-fifth, parks I can take; reading about sewers jusy ain't my kettle of fish, sorry ! okay, I don't want this to sound like a critiqe or an anlysis-and much less a criticism: but I find her writing to be intersting only when she talks about life.

Reading about the technique of baking a pie is boring. Eating a pie is fun (especially if it's apple with vanilla ice-cream), cooking a pie is fun; reading about why baking is important to you, *personally*, CAN be interesting. But techniques? Nah...

5:51 AM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Anonymous, do you have any ideas on how one could interweave sewers with life?

Let me point out that I suspect that a book about the sewers wouldn't literally be about the sewers. I would presume it would be about the systems and personalities that led to the technical problem (not to put words in Megan's mouth).

6:19 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

How do you know he was a street person vs. just unkempt?

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, "interweave sewers with life"
You're joking, right?

No, I do not know Bob. How do you interweave sewers with life? [That's your cue bob, and try and make the punchlime snazzy]


7:02 AM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Megan's the creative one. I'm sure it'd somehow work. Here are a couple of ways she could do it though.

1. She could tell her own story of how she investigated the issue and uncovered more information. That would make including events that happen to her natural.
2. She could tell the story of some of the residents.
3. She could finally use her charms to seduce those people on the secret floor in her building and see what they know. All details would have to be documented, of course.

I'm thinking something like "The Cockroach Papers: A Compendium of History and Lore" by Richard Schweid. I think she could do a better implementation, but that is an example of a book that interweaves the technical details of cockroaches with the author's life. So, it's been done.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

11:57 Anonymouse:
Your second moral was exactly what I was thinking.

It isn't that hard to recount a poignant anecdote. The trick was talking to him in the first place.

He wasn't like that. He was sad.

He may have had a place to stay, but he was rode hard and put up wet.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've learned my lesson. I'll be sure not to marry somebody who looks like you, so that when we get divorced, I wont be so heartbroken as to be unable to move on.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M, talking to crazies is easy-I do it all the time (er..present company excepted!); I think the difficult thing is to weave a story out of it, to pay attention to details, to tell it, but "tell it slant".


12:43 PM  
Blogger Freudian Slip said...

Ouch, the last part of the story "you look like her", that sure broadcasts NOT OVER MY DIVORCE doesn't it?

Its good that he was making an effort to be social, but he needs to spend more time dealing with his issues before he can better move forward.

1:37 AM  

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