Monday, May 29, 2006

Bob Marley Brightens My Evening

Tonight I was so tired, miserable, etc., that I was on the brink of tears. Or spending $50 on a tank of gas so that I could drive around and listen to loud power pop to force my sorrows out my ears. Or eating the unopened half gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream that Boss B brought home from the grocery today. All by myself. In one sitting.

In the end I decided to pack up a book and a camera and head downtown for a cup of coffee. First I hit up Hard Bean and Booksellers, where I mosied around a while looking for a cheap copy of Gary Shteyngart's new book, Absurdistan. (Shteyngart wrote my blog's namesake and one of my favorite novels, The Russian Debutante's Handbook). The one copy they had was $24.95, and even with the 10% off they give on all books, I wasn't willing to shell out the cash when I've got at least two shelves full of books waiting to be read here at (what do I call my dwelling--home? apartment? bedroom? peaceful lavender-scented refuge?) this place I'm living.

I was heading out empty-handed when I see a dreadlocked guy standing with a few other dudes, and he says something to me like "Having a good night?" Caught off guard, I give my typically witty and charming autopilot reply: "Yeah, you too." Walking out the door, I realized that I made no sense, but I didn't really care. Time for a cup of coffee.

So I went down to City Dock Cafe, ordered a cup of joe, and sat at a high-top table for approximately four minutes, staring at the same page of my book, before I realized that I was more depressed sitting there than I had been sitting in my bedroom before I left the house. Took the coffee outside, took the long way to the dock to avoid the obnoxious guys yelling at cars passing and giving the hitchhiker sign, and picked a nice spot overlooking the dock where I could read and sip in peace.

Not for long. The dreadlocked guy from Hard Bean promptly (and by promptly I mean about 10 seconds after I'd sat down) came over, plopped down, and introduced himself as Keith. I didn't know, at this point, whether he was a bum or a normal decent guy. I quickly profiled him, noticed he was wearing New Balances and eating a coffee shop-bought muffin, and decided he must be OK.

Then I got to play 20 Questions with him. In about 3 minutes he got enough of my life story to gather that I was lonely and probably needed his company and conversation. I inquire about his work and find out that he's a musician. This means he's not quite a bum.

We talk some more, he asks if I smoke ghanja, and I say, "What's that?" His reply: "The herb." After telling him nope, I don't smoke it, he tells me that Bob Marley said, "The herb tells us who we are," or something like that. I felt like telling him that I don't need the herb, or any other substance, illegal or not, to tell me who I am. Knowing I would have been wasting my breath, I must have uttered an, "ohhh" or just sat there, drinking it all in, knowing I could talk about it on my blog later. If only I had the gall to ask him if I could snap his photo.

He then sang me a song he wrote, and I found myself smiling as he sang. He had the sort of free spirit that in another life I would have--the sort that allowed him to sing a song to a girl he just met, then 30 minutes later sing it to an Indian family who, like him, was in no hurry in life and wanted to meet everyone and, in the dad's words, "make lots of new friends." I told the dad that the world would be a much nicer place if more people were like him.

(In the "Yeah brother, love's what it's all about. Maximum love," spirit of the conversation, I felt stupid after making this comment that was obviously too wordy and rational and not hazy-sounding enough.)

Found out that he's a vegetarian, and when I told him I also am, I think that was the nail in the coffin for him: we must be soul mates. He wants to take me to eat avocado and cucumber sushi. And sing songs together. And ride our bikes, and take walks, and do yoga on the sidewalk.

And in another life, maybe I will.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mexican food in central Kentucky is excellent!

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you find it? Interesting read » » »

12:20 AM  

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