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Life Intrudes
A Half Day in the Life of a Hobo: 3/16/2023
© 2023 James LaFond
SEP/25/23
I was to finish much today.
Going to bed in the garage at 9 PM I put on Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. The writing was very sharp, between curt and florid and the reading great. It is a massive book of 55 hours. But it was just about a beta boy stuck in the maze of motherhood, high school [institutional motherhood] and university [existential motherhood] with such a gay attraction to attire and a worship of Groes...I just had to cut it off after two hours.
I put on Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year and learned a lot and was treated to better, more human writing from across more than 300 years.
How do I share more of a world view with Defoe than with Wallace, my contemporary?
I rose at dawn and listened intently, the clear night sky having blown cold after a warm spring day and chilled the garage. I was really enjoying the little oil radiator heat, like sitting around an inverted camp fire, the garage mildly lit by a little snake-necked desk lamp pointed at the wall. The spring birds I never hear in winter are now here. The crows protest, but they should not, their oppressors the gulls of winter having flown down to the sea.
I had a day ahead without the three bears to crush 5 articles. Defoe’s 1370 word summation done,sitting up in bed, I took the $300 check The Operator had sent me to reserve my training time back east down to the bank. Cashing the check, trying not to admire the tall Latina beauty behind the counter,I then stepped away to the check signing station and counted my unearned gain.
I crossed to the Safeway and checked with the big racked, short, pretty Pharmacy clerk about my script transfer. The Pharmacy in Baltimore does not answer its phone. Maybe it is gone. The clerk asks if she can call Doctor Dread and get a new script and I say yes, and goodbye until next week.
Buying the boys some peanut butter that is on sale, I check my phone and my hot Irish lass from back east has wished me “Happy Saint Patty’s Day, Baby.” As I leave there I also get a text from a cute lady of mild character in Portland that she wishes to see me later today.
The writing day narrows.
I write a publishing outline.
I do 4 emails and then proof read my next 4 pre-scheduled articles, as I have flagged them for Lynn and Clark and want to correct typos.
Then, I sit to finish the Dive Bar Character sketches and there comes a jovial knock on the door. I step out and am greeted by two fat, 20-something men with infotech uniforms and tags on, buzz cuts, baby faces and smiles.
“Good afternoon, Sir. Do you have time to talk about your internet and phone service?”
“I’m not a home owner. I am just house sitting. He is banging some rich girl that pays for his internet and will be home on Sunday.”
“Well,” says the lead guy, “I’m not knocking on anyone’s door on Sunday.”
“You guys have a nice day.”
“Sir, do you live in the area?”
“I’m a hobo—no known address.”
“Sweet,” says the back up nerd.
Not critical but jealous from within the invisible precincts of his soul crushing job, the lead man says, “Nice set up—you’ve got the castle for the night! Now, would you happen to be a phone user?”
“Oh, yes, the homeowner’s kids make fun of my flip phone all the time.”
They laughed and grinned with a visible wince—but nothing ventured, nothing gained goes the axiom.
“Sir, perhaps you would like an upgrade?”
“You know, I didn’t vote for the first African American president in history for nothing—I did it for the phone!”
They laughed heartily, “That is great sir—thank you and have a nice day,” as I closed the door and came back to this writing station ten feet in, around one of two wood kitchen sized tables in the dining room, the place where the Three Bears and Baldy Locks dine and play cards and chess.
The cats have stopped rampaging and I have time to write until the lady with the dream catcher earrings rolls up to take me to dinner. I recall her dropping me off one night and coming in for a drink. A tiny thing, she stopped in front of the heap of kicked off shoes and boots by the door on her way out, nudging them with her foot, barely able to slide the one boot out of the way and said, “Oh My, you really do live with The Three Bears! I thought you were joking!”
The phone lights up with a text from Mom, the mom of the two Big Bear Cubs, asking if it is okay if she has them walk home to me from school, as she has gotten behind at work. I texted that it was okay and that I’d stay here until she got here to pick them up. She apologized that it would not be until 6 and I texted, “See you then,” and she texted “Thanks!”
The mail arrived and I have two envelopes here:
One from Mom:
I loved you before you were ever born, and you still continue to amaze me. Says the print…
In her hand: “No truer words have been written. Love always, Mom.”
There is an envelope from James and Jenn, my hosts in Washington State:
Within is a homemade gift card with shovels and a “You Make me Smile,” with a smiling shovel, title.
Inside the card is a $200 VISA gift card:
“Dear Lafond,
“You make the Washington winters a little warmer! I hope you’re well and over the bronchial yuk and enjoying the good-times (smiley face).
“Just a little thank you for your help this winter.
“God Bless!”
Jen & Jim
What a fortunate hobo I am.
Thank you, thank you all.
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