How Was Your Morning?
I lived in California for 25 years – the world’s largest open-air asylum, and to put the frosting on that, I resided in San Francisco – Ground Zero for weird.
After all those years in California I moved to Indiana. Terre Haute (That’s French for “We’re gentle people aside from the Meth.”) is the Peoria of the Midwest with good, solid, hard working people who don’t wallow around in being nutty. If this is so why am I sitting next to a guy who would make San Francisco move to another table?
What Terre Haute lacks in sheer numbers of Space Cadets it makes up for with intensive “Let’s skip our meds today.”
As I walked into St. Arbucks this morning intent on coffee and quiet time to write about flowers and bluebirds when I am met at the door by a chap who bore a disturbing resemblance to Ho Chi Minh (Under 40 – look it up). I knew that he wasn’t Ho Chi Minh because
1) Ho Chi Minh is dead, and
2) …Oh, who needs a #2 after that’s your #1?
This fellow has been known to pop into St. Arbucks on occasion and be OK until he flips a switch in his head and begins to loudly rant about UFOs and his assurance that the NASA Moon Landings were all staged in Illinois.
At least he is creative, but this morning he glommed onto me for some reason, following me around the store telling me how he had been thrown out of another store yesterday. He complained that, at the other store, they had suspected he was a terrorist with a bomb in his backpack. Whether this actually happened is up for debate, but I didn’t bite.
I got my coffee. I moved to my usual spot in the corner and opened my notebook. My shadow followed me and sat down at the next table. I wasn’t going to get off the hook easily.
He opened up his backpack. No bomb, but there was a large wad of cash register receipts from Starbucks, McDonalds, and from the store that had given him the heave-ho yesterday. He was collecting these receipts with an eye to the future.
The Theory: All of these receipts, after a period of time (about 10 years he insisted) might, just possibly, on an off chance, have some historical value. Then he will sell them on EBay to receipt collectors in foreign countries.
The Reality: He has a backpack full of trash
But who am I to argue?
I wished him good luck and gave him my receipt.
You watch – there will be some little thing about my receipt that will make it valuable and Ho will become the next Warren Buffett, or maybe Jimmy Buffett, or at least rich enough to buy his own Golden Corral Buffet.
He got quiet when I gave him my receipt. I took the silence as my chance. I grabbed my pen and started writing this. He went and got a copy of today’s local newspaper and returned to his spot off my right wing. Then he opened his backpack again and took out a flashlight.
The Chapel at St. Arbucks is very well lit, but maybe he has vision problems I thought. He fooled me again. He began to hold each page of the paper up above his head and shone his flashlight on them. It was like he was looking for a watermark on the paper, or based on recent observations, for a secret message from the Mother Ship. I said nothing. What could I say?
I discussed all of this with a few of the Usual Suspects. It seems they have known my new friend for years. They went to school with him. They agreed that he is nutty as they come and that he sometimes becomes a little too enthusiastic about life. They said that his life as Marvin the Martian comes from several years of unauthorized and self administered testing for Street Corner Pharmaceuticals. What brain cells survived have devoted themselves to speculation on the long range potential value of Big Mac register receipts.
Again, all I can say is, “Good luck on that.”
And how was your morning?