Eddie and Gwen

Eddie and Gwen
Standing Tall Among the Saguaros

Monday, November 29, 2010

Talking To Myself

Every morning I awake with a fresh spirit of hope. Being alone out here is an emotional roller coaster ride. As things begin to slowly ramp up, one moment I’m bored; the next I’m inspired; and then concerned. Round and round it goes etc.. etc… I feel like one of those refrigerator magnets that display’s various moods, just pick the appropriate emotion for the moment. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve also begun talking to myself as a form of entertainment. It’s not a schizophrenic thing, it’s more rhetorical like; “does this guy know he’s got way too much hair growing out of his ears…. he probably knows, but he just doesn’t care.” Actually, I see this activity as a mental exercise; more as an observation of my current environment, rather than being judgmental. Mostly, I do it for my own entertainment, just to crack myself up. Not a whole lot to do out here in Quartzsite, Arizona. Perhaps that is why I find myself taking on the role of observer and social analyst. I’ve begun to open myself up to this world, this “life on the fringe of society”, I have become a sponge, soaking up all that it is has to teach me.
Since arriving here in Quartzsite, AZ, I’ve discovered that people on the fringe have much to teach. They’ve lived it all, the good, the bad and the ugly; and yet they haven’t lost their sense of self, their uniqueness, which is one of the more interesting benefits of living around society’s fringe; they aren’t afraid to be who they are. Let me give you an example: The other day I walked into the one and only local bookstore and was greeted by the proprietor, a tall, lanky, 50 something, his skin tanned and dried from years in the desert sun. It didn’t escape my notice that he greeted me wearing nothing but a codpiece. I mean he was wearing NOTHING but a knitted penis cover. He was a skinny desert dweller, very proud to display his personal freedom. He actually reminded me of a bull ready for rodeo. So after perusing his shop, I got in my car and said to myself, “what the F#@K was that all about”…. talking to myself again. Upon returning to my humble abode, I asked my neighbor Jim about the under-dressed bookstore owner. Jim, a veteran of the Quartzsite scene informed me that the guy was a local celebrity, having won his right in court to dress or not dress while assisting customers in his bookstore. Jim further told me that people from near and far flock to his bookstore to see him in all his glory. Imagine that, man have I got a lot to learn.  

          Every so often, I take Gwen for a walk along the perimeter of each swap meet. November seems to be the time when everybody begins setting up their vending booths. There are several new vendors arriving each day. Anyway, while walking the dog, I’ll pop in on some of the new arrivals, say hi and check out what they have for sale. Many people just kind of respond with a low groan of hi, others just look at me like, yea, I’m here, are you gonna buy something! They all seem so grumpy. I don’t get it ! In another two weeks there will be tens of thousands of 70 something snowbirds bargain hunting. The place will be filled with free spirited hippies; wanna be rock hounders; vagrants; migrants; indigents; and tourists.   So why do they look so glum. Anyway, as I walk away, I look down at Gwen and say, “damn these people are sure grouchy”, at which time Gwen will just tilt her head like she totally understands me. Bam, there I go talking to myself again, all the while wondering when is this damn dog gonna reply back…..Which brings up the issue of sanity, or the lack there of. I’ve warned those closest to me to watch for the signs of me starting to lose it. I told my wife if she gets that phone call one day, “honey….I made contact…it’s the aliens…..they come by every morning at 3:00am and I make them bacon and eggs…..they love it ..man”; if I start describing intellectual conversations with my dog Gwen; If anything like that happens, ya better get down here quick and slap me back into reality. To help keep me in check, my closest contact geographically, is my sister in-law who lives in Bullhead City. Now we are talking about Bullhead City, Arizona, which in itself is full of people on society’s fringe. So I’m not sure who will keep a better grip on reality. You never know, my sister-in-law may decide, aw hell I don’t need teeth anymore, while I start wearing my newly knitted codpiece; then she’ll make coffee for the aliens, while I cook them bacon and eggs. That’s when I’ll need the intervention squad to pull me out of my desert utopia.

I am, in fact, noticing an interesting change in me….. I really enjoy engaging the people here who are living on the extreme fringe. While standing in line at the local convenience store, a homeless person with a tallboy MGD in his hand strikes up a conversation, so I jump right in. This guy tells the cashier its okay if she puts each bottle of his Miller Lite in a separate bag, as he’ll use one to cover his girlfriend’s head, about that time he starts cracking up. I mean these people can be pretty funny. I’m thinking about hiring one of these guys to do a stand up routine outside my trailer…..well maybe not. Anyway, Right now here at the Rock and Gem Show in Quartzsite, Az, things are pretty darn slow. The “big crowds” won’t be getting here until December, or so all the locals say. I’ve decided to go with an Asian menu. Everybody loves Panda Express and that’s the kind of food I’m doing. So for the time being, just call me Eddie B Wokin’. Hey Diane, if you’re out there, e-mail me some recipes from the old Chinese kitchen in New York. Most of the locals are pretty excited about my Asian menu because no one else is doing it, and you don’t need teeth to eat rice….yea, that’s actually what people are telling me. I am looking for a sticker with a circle & diagonal line through a set of teeth that says NO TEETH NEEDED HERE ! I’d like to post it next to my menu board.

As time goes by, I continue to be amazed at how my eyes are being opened daily. When the most extreme of life’s circumstances hits you between the eyes, you become aware rather quickly that perhaps you don’t know as much as you think you know. The truth is, all of the people I wrote about today, fascinate me. When I was caught up in my rat race life, I had no time for such people. Once again without getting all spiritual on ya’ll….I am beginning to learn how to accept people as Christ would. You may call Him Buddah, Mohammed, your Higher Power, or the Universe, whatever; I call Him Christ. At the end of the day, I am learning tolerance, acceptance, kindness, peace, and understanding. I know these revelations are all due to the fact that I’ve lost all that I worked a lifetime for. It may sound trite, but I am starting to see my loss as a good thing, perhaps even a blessing.
Well guess I’ll sign off for now. I’ve decided after the long introduction blog, to keep my entries a little shorter, so I don’t put you all to sleep. Besides, my creative juices have a narrow window of juiciness. Please pass my blog along to those friends you think might find it enthralling or interesting…..or to those that just have way too much time on their hands. More soon…. Eddie
(Link to Video about the Naked Bookstore Owner)

1 comment:

  1. This is a really good and interesting blog..keep it up. I will be looking for pictures of the hammock monster online