Where I’m staying is a small child of age one and change, and where I’m staying I am to this small child nothing less than Uncle Tom. He seems to like me. We walk around the yard scouting for dog poop, and when he sees one he says “Ah!”–eyes lighting up (though they shouldn’t, given how many dogs, and how much dog poop, there is on the property)–and I say to him, “Icky, dude. Gross. I know it looks interesting, but shitting isn’t really something you want to get hands-on with.” I lift him over the shit he is running towards–(running, as a tiny child does, at the speed of a tiny child; which is to say, incredibly slowly)–and place him down on the other side of it where, usually, we continue, because shit’s not that interesting, and anyway, if it is, there’s more over there anyway.
Matt, Alexandra, and I are on Pierce and Page, in the Haight, San Francisco. Matt and Alexandra have brought me my tent, which I intentionally (though, in retrospect, accidentally) left in San Francisco before I went to Mendocino, but after I went to Big Sur. That is, I should have just lugged it with me to Mendocino from the get go, but I’m kind of glad now that I didn’t because it gives Matt, Alexandra, and me the time to properly say goodbye. (Matt and Alexandra are flying to Southeast Asia in a week, and I don’t know when we’ll all see one another again. None of us does.)
I tell Matt that I’m sorry I didn’t have time to buy him a little good luck travel token before he and Al leave, and he says, “You could always just give me the India souvenir,” which makes me feel bad because 1) I forgot it in Boston before I came out to San Francisco, which was on top of 2) a number of other, more opportune times when I’d forgotten to give it to him, and in addition to the fact that 3) he probably won’t like it anyway. It’s a blue shirt, with a Nehru collar and three buttons. If it’s anything like mine (and it is: I bought it at the same shop as I bought mine in Varanasi), it’ll run in the wash and stain all of his underwear. Except that my shirt was brown, which made (and still makes, for a couple of pairs of underwear) it look all skid-marked and unsanitary on the drying rack. And besides, I don’t wear mine anymore, and Matt would probably only wear his in Asia.
(Which might have made it a good thing to remember to bring, after all. You know. Asia.)
I give Matt a hug, and I give Alexandra a hug, and I remember that I owe Matt ten dollars on the Arcade Fire ticket from the night before, and he says Oh But Didn’t You Already Pay Me and I say No to which he replies But Didn’t You Buy Me A Beer and I reply No Because I Was Going To Buy You A Beer But Then You Bought Yourself Two And I Already Had Two And I Figured That Was Enough. And Matt was playing a game, and of course realized that I hadn’t in fact bought him a beer, but he was being nice because that’s the way he is–and he knows I’m perpetually broke and he was offering me an out (an out, I’ll admit, to having taken once or twice)–but this time, no. No, Blogbytom. Maintain your virtue, Blogbytom, and give the son of a bitch his ten dollars, ’cause he’s gonna need it for those rabies shots in Phnom Penh. And he’s going to need it when the police need to be bribed in Bangkok. He’s going to need it to get the room without the roaches. But even then, it won’t do any good.
Tomorrow I drive into Research Country, California, where I’ll be doing Research in a Tent for the next Month And A Half. I will probably go Insane. I may begin a Stylistic Movement to Capitalize words At random Intervals, Just to see what Happens. Stylistically, Of course.
(I will see you when I see you.)