CATCH THE ART IN SANTA FE PART ONE


 

Portrait of Eugenia Huici (Eugenia Errázuriz)

Portrait of Eugenia Huici (Eugenia Errázuriz) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CATCH THE ART WAVE OF SANTA FE    

Living in Santa Fe is a fertile landscape of more than sage, lavender, mud and ancient dwellings. It is where art branches out in new directions of livingness.

Along the path of adventures in the arts, I attended “AT HOME WITH FASHION, presented by ShowHouse Santa Fe in collaboration with Artgraze; a league of interior designers, artists, and galleries to embellish our homes with, “the art of living with art.” They patterned classic and chic Fashion Design on Interiors selected by ShowHouse Santa Fe founders, David Naylor and Jennifer Ashton. The Santa Fe Interior Designers set up shop in a quintessential Santa Fe home and opened the doors to the public to eat, drink, dance, get lost, or be discovered.  Along the interior paths of the home, artists, designers, home buyers, and sponsors conversed while behind the scenes; funds were dispersed from a generous monarchy to support the Community Foundation of Dollars4Schools. The designers worked for eight weeks, to transform a modest décor, into a stage setting of flamboyance, élan, and their secret design techniques. The designers; Jennifer Ashton, Jackie Butler, Gloria Devan, Pam Duncan, Emily Henry, Edy Keeler, David Naylor Annie O’Carroll, Lisa Samuels, Paul Rochford and Michael Violante. They schlepped all the furnishings, and accessories, including wardrobe accents, and art work to the home and coutured the house as if it was a model.  The epervescese of this lively group spread outdoors, onto a glittering garden patio designed by Catherine Clemens where the best Barbeque chicken I ever tasted permeated the painted postcard silhouette of sunset on the mesa.  Who was there?  A man in yellow rubber suit, fashion models, filmmakers, photographers, art collectors, and Antique Activists. In the crowd I noticed a distinctive gathering of men and women stylists bearing: squash necklaces, Concha belts, O’Keefing hair styles, and jewelry to stop traffic at Paseo Peralta and Cerrillos Road. The 4747 square foot Las Campanas Estate is listed with Ashley Margetson of Sotheby International Real Estate.

 

 

 

REARRANGING AND REMEMBERING


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September is the month to rearrange; wardrobes, patio furnishings, and thermostats. Heaters go upstairs, fans go downstairs, down blankets are released from plastic zip lock bags, and coverlets are removed. We seal the windows with weather stripping and my list notebook follows me everywhere.  If you live in the seasons then you understand that the menial work goes deeper as our bodies prepare for winter’s residency.
The interior change, what Anais Nin refers to as; ‘our emotional landscape,’ wakes to a chime of awareness. Now that I’ve completed all those mindless tasks, I’m ready to listen to the chime and renew the organism of emotion. On this brilliant film shooting day in September shadows of light, glaring light, brush the feathers of my wild birds as they tap dance from tree branch to feeder. Between the leaves that drop like confetti from the trees, the New Mexican sunlight feels like ten thousand flashlights in your face.
Summers postcard days flash on and off  as I write; Natives dancing at the Plaza in the wildness of fiesta to Latin and Mexican music, while Anglos freestyle a sort of slow rock and roll hippie dance.  I meet strangers and we exchange our exaggerated cheer and humor, during festivals, fiesta parades, and the burning of Zozobra.  These yearly events chisel the face of Santa Fe into a collage of New Mexico colors; magenta, orange, lime, and yellow surface on paper Mache flowers, streamers, and costumes.
     The phantasmagoria of my summer thumped one night in July during a Monsoon thunderstorm. My summer vacation rental guests were in the main house and I was in my casita sitting at the desk writing, with the door open. It was pouring rain, the kind of shower that explodes from the rain gutters like a tub faucet and those huge blue and white La Posada Hotel umbrellas seemed  race up the street unattended.  When the skirmish between warm air and thunderstorm collided, lightning seared the charcoal clouds and thunder bombed me out of my swivel chair.
      How rigid my body felt;  like hardened cement, but the phone rang and released me from this state of shock.
     “ LouLou, I think we have some issues in your house.”
I rushed over in my kimono (a writing uniform) and found the three of them stiff as statues. Young headlight deer eyes, all piercing me at once. 
     “ We saw sparks, and all the electricity is out. I think the lightning hit your house. ” 
     I didn’t’t know what to say; suddenly I was responsible for this rarity of nature’s behavior.  They clung to their cell phones, and watched as I feigned authority and calm by checking the blackened outlets. The electronics were silenced, appliances deadened, circuit breaker inoperable. I called my friend, White Zen, who doesn’t fluster easily.
      “I have to get help now. Right now! What should I do?”
     “I’ll call my electrician. He’s really good. Are you all right?”
     “No, not at all right.”
     “You want me to come over?”
     “No, but thanks anyway.”
     A few moments later, she called back.
  “ I pulled Phil out of Smiths Grocery. He’s on his way, she said with humor, enough to release a molecule of laughter from me.
     “ I can’t believe this. Do you know the chances of being hit by lightning?”
     “ No, but don’t take it personally.”
The funny thing is, I did. Other house disasters; like the time the plumbing backed up, or the historic windows wouldn’t’close didn’t’t have any comparison to this cataclysm.  Then my next door neighbor, the Architect, and professor of all topics informed me, “ Oh you’re in bad shape; you’re going to have to rewire the whole house.”
     Phil arrived within ten minutes, and I greeted him with a hug, more for support of someone’s appearance with tools than anything.While my quests and I tried to answer his questions, all of us at once, he went down to the basement, as we followed behind. Phil replaced something in the circuit breaker, and the lights came back on.  I clapped my hands but they didn’t’t join in;  they went back to texting.
     Then he tried the TV and stereo. The stereo is fried he said, but the television is okay.
     “What about our Wi Fi connection?” I asked.
     “The surge protector fried too. You have to call your provider. Good luck on that.  I’ll come back tomorrow, after you get PNM (City Electric) out here to check which panel.”
     “Which panel what?” I said.
He went into a Wikipedia explanation about the two hundred and fortyhouse voltage, and who is responsible for the outage. I followed Phil  outside after failing to soft stroke my tenants.  What made it even worse is they are musicians with the Santa Fe Opera and live sensitive structured lives.  One gal remained board stiff and and unblinking, the young man offered all of his technical support but his hands were trembling. The leader of the pack, who greets life with radiant optimism, was busy eating crackers in rapid succession.  I felt the responsibility of a mother, and so I assured them of my competence. Then I  slipped into jeans and T-Shirt, almost falling over as I raced across the street to La Posada and gulped a Martini. While I was still trembling, staff and guests gathered around me.
     The concierge said, “The lightning hit your house; I saw it from the window! Are you all right?”
     “ On no, a bar guest remarked and rubbed my back, ‘Oh Loulou, something always happens when you have guests, a waitress commented, and another broke out in a euphoric smile and said, Wow LouLou! What was it like?”
    “Ahhh. It’s not a humor story Ed; it’s a disaster!”
The electrical company showed up late that night, and poked little metal toothpicks into a box outdoors; a box I didn’t’t know existed.
     “Sorry Mam. Our panel is working fine. You’ll have to get the electrician to make further repairs. Wow! That lightning sure hit hard. Have a nice night. ” Ha Ha, I said and stumbled into my room. No Internet, no television and no music.  I slept with a pillow over my head.
     The next day Phil returned to trouble shoot everything.  My television and the house stereo blew out, so did the surge protector to our modem, and the electronic gate was broken. The guests couldn’t get their cars out of the driveway.  We pried the gate open, and they backed out in jerky anxious motion.
          A week later, in between substantial attempts to behave normally, all of us were still irritable, prone to trip, biting nails, and voices wavering over the tenseness that clipped our tongues.   It was never the same after that; our simpatico shared residency turned into staged friendliness.
     That’s the thing about lightning, it gets inside of you, and you are involuntarily rearranged.  My emotional landscape is naturally in a state of alarm. I startle easily, imagine voices, and see too much in the dark.
Too be continued.   
 


SNOW DRIFT TO DANCE


SMILEY’S DICE-ADVENTURES IN LIVINGNESS

White Wolf introduced himself to me when he worked Valet at La Posada Resort. He was the kool one with enough style and manners to attract attention. I learned he also provided private airport transportation and luxury limo service. A trip to Albany, New York was on my schedule, so I asked White Wolf if he’d drive me to the Albuquerque Airport.  When I told him my flight left at 6:30 AM, he didn’t flinch, ‘I’ll be at your house at 4:00 AM with Starbucks-what’s your drink?’

He showed up, loaded the car, asked me to select my own music, and off we went. I felt like I was riding with James Bond; smooth shifts, minor breaks, all the time engaging me in conversation. The combination relieved my pre-boarding stress and woke me up. From then on, I chose White Wolf’sairport service. When he picked me up from Albuquerque, he had Fiji water, Travel & Leisure Magazine, chewing gum, and he played Vic Damone. ‘Chill, sit back, tell me all about the trip.’

At my kitchen counter, on a twenty-below morning, White Wolf leaned back against a bar stool too petite for a swarthy 6’ 4” man. His Johnson & Johnson silky blond hair is swept back, and I want to touch it, but we don’t play with physical affections. White Wolf’s forty, looks thirty, and thinks like he served an attitude and values apprenticeship under a wise guru. He’s on a break; from plowing snow at Albertsons, the Yoga Center, and private homes. This is before he reports for work at Geronimo Restaurant, where he not only parks the cars, but walks the ladies indoors, keeps the Zapata’s outdoors, and directs traffic on Canyon Road until midnight. He’s wearing a sheet white Polo turtleneck and black slacks, his day look, and I’m about to serve pesto, prosciutto and feta cheese frittata for late breakfast.

White Wolf is sipping a sixteen-once Chai and unwinding his broad shoulders in a circular motion as he considers current consciousness of Santa Fe.       

     “It’s a different kind of materialism. You really want it but you can’t have it. The most simple things; a toaster, a new phone, pinion wood–cause we’re cold–it’s so cold! The guy in front of the Homeless Shelter was near frozen when I drove by to drop off a bundle of clothes. Why is it so cold? Even the valet has to wear BMW beanies. These are some funny times.”

     “What’s so funny about not having money?” I snapped.

White Wolf breaks into a full body laughing recess. His sailor-blue eyes are just slightly turned up when he laughs. This transmits his effortless humorous pitch on life.

     “It’s different,” I said. I mean everything feels unfamiliar.”

     “Yea, its okay to feel,” White Wolf said. “Things are rattling around. That’s why the Gorge Bridge felt so stable the day I drove up to Taos.  I think it’s the most stable thing in my life right now! Hah.”

I had placed the frittata in front of White Wolf, but he hadn’t touched it yet. Even when he’s starved; he lets the food sit there and cool off.  I’ve never seen a man not eat when food is placed in front of him. I was already biting into the frittata; relishing a real meal.

 I found a momentary silent inlet and asked him if the food was cool enough. White Wolf looked down, touched it with his index finger, and then his appetite fired off. After a few pensive moments, as if he were saying grace, he took a proper bite. He takes the food seriously, intensely. He’ll make a remarkable husband for some woman. He talks a lot about marriage, and the songs he’ll sing to his bride’s mother the day of the wedding. He confides in me uninhibitedly, as if we were two teenagers, cutting class. I feel youthful when he’s in the house; the absence of masks, emotional camouflage, and exaggeration is how I remember adolescence. When you’re so much yourself, even the most serious student, is humorous in his self-absorbance.   

    “What’d you say Wednesday was–on your new schedule?”   he asked.

    “Wednesday… I forgot since you showed up. I know! It’s Gallery LouLou marketing.”

     “We have to give out two cards a week. I want you to pass out two everyday.”

I nodded my head and bowed.     

     “Geronimo been slow, no A-list celebrity types, no mothers and daughters; cause the daughters don’t want to come here anymore.”  

     “Neither do single me, I interrupted.  And if they do they’re from Los Alamos. Can you see me with a scientist or an engineer? I’d make them crazy.”    

     “Listen–someone asks you out for an Ecco latte, don’t be a bitch. Just do it! You reverse sweat it. If he’s a jerk; deebo him.”  Deebo is the guy who shows up late, and should have been on time. His quip is unabashed, and he handles himself like Sean Penn; smoking and all smiles while he reverses blame.      

     “Can we change the subject?” I said.

     “No! I want to know why you’re not even trying to hook up?”

     “Because I’m convinced the man I want isn’t in Santa Fe. The ones I’ve met are looking for a caretaker, a fly-fishing partner, or a biker. Look, there are two types of men: one loves a woman because she’s not a man, and the other one seeks a mother who he can bash around.”

     “I want to rat those guys out–like the ones that pinch and don’t tip. Give a name to that.”  

      “ Listen to this; the newly coined slogan for New Mexico is Truth.” I said.

     “ Truth. About what?” 

     “ Exactly! What truth are they referring to? How bout’ the naked truth? Picture a Native American woman out in the arroyo in a leather crop top, her black hair elevated in strands by the wind, dust on her cheekbones. New Mexico is naked, isn’t it?” I asked.

     “It’s isolated. If you can afford to come to Santa Fe and not blow your brains out, or go broke, you deserve to be here. Right?”  He is smiling. Even the painful truths, are reformed as tests of endurance rather than complaints.   He developed his own poetic rap dialogue that I suppose comes from growing up in two cultures: one in the hood, and the other in the wealthiest homes in Santa Fe. 

      “ Then it’s a good place for you. Like your friend that takes her poodle to Hospice. I really respect her for that. That’s what she’s doing with Santa Fe.” He said.

     “What do you do with Santa Fe?” I asked.

     “I’m the union organizer for luxury limo drivers. Like, iron your shirt and shine your shoes, have CD’s in the car, and water. You know–like this is New Mexico but we can spell Burberry. On the weekends I’m the ladies traffic controller!”

     “ What is that?”

     “At the clubs. Some of the guys are okay, all suited up, hoping for a dance, but some are like, I’ll buy you a cocktail if I can follow you home. Someone has to protect them. Ladies can’t drive home cause they’ve cocktailed all night, or they can’t find their car keys, or they want to impress their friends with the Viking chauffeur. It’s chill; they’re good girls during the day.” 

The morning turned into afternoon, and now I was cleaning dishes, and watching the birds from the kitchen window. Every hour or so I stop responding to White Wolf, and let him talk. I can feel the rush of his life; how he sprints from limo driver, to Geronimo valet, then to Albuquerque, the gym, and his family. People who live intensely engaged in a variety of relationships; stir their surroundings like a human wind.  Every time White Wolf leaves, I’m bouncing through the living room and dancing.  

When I tuned into the conversation he was recounting his day in ardent animation. His laughter echoes; almost like he’s singing a song and it last a long time.

     “I don’t mind giving back to our greedy city tax roll.  I feed the meters at the Lensic; that quarter made a difference. Huh?”… more laughter and he repeats, ‘we’re down to quarters.’

     “Those meter guys were writing tickets like, here take that, and then on to the next car. Don’t bother coming back to Santa Fe, and it’s the weekend! That’s the barometer of my city—-hurry hurry write that ticket. Once it’s done it’s done.”  Suddenly he stands, positioning his legs a few feet apart, he leans over, picks up his keys, and his phone.

     “Come on let’s go for a quick creep.”

     “A what?”

     “Cruise the plaza, get you outdoors, come on it’ll make you feel better.”

     “I’m not dressed for outdoors..”

     “Put on a pair of low brow boots, and a jacket. Not fashioning this afternoon. You won’t even get out of the car. Come on.”

I listened because White Wolf is definitive in decisions. He doesn’t waver back and forth or want to argue. I rushed upstairs, zipped up my boots and grabbed a down jacket. He was standing by the window.

    “We have twenty-minutes.” He said pointing to his watch.

We hopped into his silver VW GTI and he told me to pick a CD. I shuffled through the stack, while he backed out. Just then I noticed a car pull out across Palace Avenue.

     “Wolf! Watch out!”

     “I got it.” He leaned back, shot eyeball calmness to me and asked what CD I wanted to hear. He didn’t scold me for my alarm and doubt. After that I knew my caution was unnecessary. You learn a lot about a man by his driving. It’s a graph of his responsiveness, confidence, and how he handles sudden movement. White Wolf cruised over the icy asphalt and into the empty Plaza, all white and brown like a two envelopes sitting side by side. He was now slouching back, one hand on the wheel, messing with something in the open compartment, and driving 15 mph. There weren’t a lot of cars, but I had the feeling White Wolf didn’t care if there was someone behind us. We drove past Santa Fe Dry Goods, and he stopped, “Empty– that’s sad. No one buying fuzzy boots or hats.”

He drove by every shop and looked in, as if he was monitoring shopping trends. His eyes swept the streets, the alleyways, and I mimicked him, because I knew this was for me. We went slow as a couple of tired horses, so the eyes could bring in the unknown: a homeless man on a corner, the Indian woman selling jewelry, the Mideastern jewelers smoking cigarettes, and a few locals trotting back to work from a break. I looked up to the sky and found a patch of blue, and pointed it out to White Wolf,” and he turned to me and said, “I’m happy you noticed.”

     “It’s two o’clock already.” I said.

     “How’d it get to be two o’clock?” White Wolf kept the engine at crawl speed all the way back to the house. “You have to go to Santa Fe Spa–at least go see people! And go after six.” I nodded my head as I got out of the car, went inside, turned on the Rolling Stones and danced. 

 

DAYDREAMING


When I watch my wild birds, I daydream of their freedom, and how free I was when I was eighteen.

East Palace Avenue Santa Fe

East Palace Avenue Santa Fe (Photo credit: paigeh)

When I listen to Wes Montgomery  I dream of Brazil,  and riding on a float at Mardi Gras, just once, with a feather hat, and dressed like Rita Hayworth.

When I sit at my desk and look at my mother’s photograph, I dream of those few luncheons in the formal  Garden Room on the top floor of Bullocks Westwood, watching the fashion show with her, proud of my model mother, and imitating how she ate the tuna salad.

When I lay in bed at night, I dream of him, and his strong  shoulder cupping my head, watching an old Cagney movie.

When I shovel snow I dream of Southern California, of old Del Mar and sitting on the bench under the crooked tree, in a triangular postcard of the crashing surf, prancing dogs, and the meter maid marking the curb.  When I walk along Palace Avenue in Santa Fe, New Mexico  I dream of walking  5th Avenue at about 6 pm, when everyone pours on to the Avenues, a fountain of limbs and accessories crisscrossing patterns of human tolerance.

Day dreaming unlike night dreaming that takes us on the back of fairy tales and science fiction  battling some inner masked trauma,  illuminates where we want to be, what we need to do,  and intercepts the embroidery of our life.  The medicine of daydreaming surpasses self-help books, health food, vitamins, yoga, religion, or mind altering experiences. It is the essence of our rising emancipation from complacency.

dramatic dream

dramatic dream (Photo credit: unNickrMe)

WHY NOT SANTA FE IN FEBRUARY OR MARCH


GALLERY LOULOU VACATION HOME AND ART SALON

IF YOU’RE CONSIDERING Santa Fe, the land of enchantment, for your next destination….

We’re at 7200 ft, 33 degrees daytime, and wavering between sunshine and an O’Keeffe cloudy sky. Bring sunscreen for the slopes or trendspotting Santa Fe from our porch.Small_Porch[1]IMP

NEWS:

  • 10,000 Waves renovation completed and worth a trip for hot tub, stars, and  massage, before dinner.
  • Farmer’s Market Weekends at the Railyard
  • All that Happens: www.santafe.com
  • ARTfeast February 24-26. Walk, eat, shop.
  • Restaurant Week

March 4-11, 2012

Take advantage of great deals during Restaurant Week, when the city’s eateries offer special three course meals at discounted prices for eight days. This is a wonderful time to try new restaurants that you might have neglected because of expensive prices.

Many Santa Fe restaurants participate in this week, offering up new specials as well as signature dishes. This is a relatively new event to Santa Fe, but it has proved incredibly popular with locals and visitors alike.

For more info, visit http://restaurantweeknm.com.

FLAVOR SAVERS:Geronimo: Low season, you get that table you want,  Il Piatto, New Menu-New Wines Chocolate Maven, Coyote Café Bar, Taberno for Tapas and Spanish guitar.

Morning flaky croissants at Chez Mammou on Palace Avenue.

Tia Sophia’s and Pasquels for Green Chili Breakfast Burrito

La Posada, Complimentary Wine & Cheese Wednesday,  and Friday night Chef’s tasting.

If you need Valet airport pick-up, reservations, snow update, requested movies..etc,  just you ask.  Thanks for knocking on LouLou’s door!

Adventure on,

PATHS TO DOORS


Français : Une chaîne rouillée, à une poignée ...

Français : Une chaîne rouillée, à une poignée de vieille porte. Dordogne. English: A rusty chain at a door lock of an old door. Dordogne, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The signals were all there, but I kept going in the opposite direction, on the road away from the new door, because I’d gotten used to the door I had.

Today the road is closing, it’s going to be shut before too long, hardly long enough to pack it all up, the newly purchased furnishings, drapes, lighting, towels———-and going in the boxes, into storage. The fifth renovate, refurbish, and move play. Three acts-repeating themselves.

Where the new door will open is uncertain, more of these adventurous in livingness tests that I write about.

 

ADVENTURES ON THE ROAD INSIDE AND OUT


I’m watching the double yellow line between coming and going on interstate 25 from Santa Fe past Albuquerque.   In the rear view mirror I see scaffolding, an airless sprayer, paint tubs, tools, a wardrobe box, and suitcases. It is the same VW Van I used to refuse to ride in because it smelled of wet drywall. Now cushioned in the front seat, the wide windshield to the world saturates the bullet holes of a wrong-way love. It mattered before, the van thing, now it doesn’t. I’m grasping for the road, to burn out the memories, on the other side of the double yellow line.

“ Are you glad you came with me?”

“ So far, but we’re still in New Mexico. Try not to drive me over the edge, okay? I mean with the speaker phone talking Taiwanese to B of A, or.. would you hold the steering wheel with two hands please…see, there’s an accident.”

“ Wow, the car flipped over.”

“ Yea, that kind of thing.”

“ I’m a safe driver.”

“ I know, but only about half of you is here.”

“ Whatta you mean?”

“The other half is glaring into the distance, the mountains, the clouds, the crows, imagining yourself a dinosaur.”

“Not no more.”

“Why? Did she make an adult out of you? I hate her for that. John did the same to me.”

Scenery whizzes by; snow capped mountains, speeding patrol cars, highway signs; it’s barely absorbed before it is gone. Make it like this, easy to forget, like the scenery.  I fell asleep, a dreamless nap, the kind that wakes you displaced but without alarm. Rudy was leaning away from the sun-splashed window, one loose hand on the steering wheel.

“Where are we now?”

“Gallup”

“Someone told me it is the drug capital of the United States. Where is everyone? Maybe they hide indoors so as not get shot.”

“Gallup is also the largest Indian center in the Southwest and the ceremonial capital of Native America. There are many American peoples in the Gallup/Four Corners region. By far the most numerous are the Navajo, who are today widely regarded for their achievements in wool, with original Navajo rugs and blankets (both new and antique) sought by private collectors and museums throughout the world. “Wikipedia

  Five hours later we are sitting by the window of Pesto, in Flagstaff and talking alternately, not in conversation, but in spite of, John, Match.com and the billboard irony of our circumstances. Even though we hadn’t checked into the motel yet, or even knew where it was, the adventure of livingness struck, and I climbed out of myself.

“It’s like it never happened, you know?” I said.

“Oh yea, I know.”

In the middle of the night I woke up screaming at John.  Rudy was in the next bed, and didn’t hear me, so I opened the drapes and stared out the window at the brightest star and listened to the voice of reason that visits me sometimes. What love scars bring to the world is poetry, literature, art, music, theater, gospel, and dance! So where will this take me? I thought about the documentary on Nicholas Ray, and his remark,    “ Without content all you have is composition.”

I wish morning would come.

Starting in 1999, every road trip between NM and CA includes a morning at Macy’s Coffee House. I entered this time without the explosion of zest in previous trips, when my heart was in one piece, and found enough distractions to pull me further out of wrong-way love.

A group of middle-aged men, retired cops or civil servants were my first source of entertainment. At a wooden table, conversing microphone loud about city ordinances was the leader. One Fry boot perched on a chair, and the other on the floor, his belly protruded way beyond a few beers here and there. His pals, all looking up to him, waiting for an injection of his wry humor, and dirty jokes. Rudy is talking about how much he loves Flagstaff, but what I hear is a tide of elation rising up, just resurfacing now, after a good nights rest in the Hampton Inn.

Somewhere between Flagstaff and San Diego, we stopped for Snickers and gas, and I walked around a neglected weed field, kicked rocks, and asked myself when was the last time, I just fell into the moment without that incessant poke of reality; unpublished stories, bills, missing folders, clutter, grocery lists, mail, websites, photo sharing, John’s lunch, John’s phone calls, the news of the world.

“I feel better Rudy, I haven’t cried all day.”

“It’s still early, he chuckled.  I have an idea, let’s take the off roads.”

“How off we talking?”

“Check your map, see if Interstate 8 runs into 10?”

I reached for the Droid, and fussed with the tricky touch pad.

“No, it doesn’t.”

“It does.”

“So why bother with maps.”

“I know–we’ll take 78, through the countryside. It will be pretty. Look, see the sheep?”

The pasture was yellow as corn, hay stacked with sheep, hundreds of them.

“Let’s stop.” I said.

“Even sheep make money. LouLou, there has to be a way for you to capitalize on your writing, and not wait for some jackass to hire you. There has to be. Even I know people pay to click on website ads.”

“It’s pennies.”

“You said you had 165 clicks the other day.”

“That was once! Mostly between 10-50 a day.”

“So! It adds up.”

“Look, the sheep are watching us.”

The sheep rose as soon as the car door opened, but they just strolled along, the babies following the mother’s, and one with a limp, dragging himself behind. Every one slightly different, but all part of a community, a gang, with primitive ancestral traditions and routines.

The highway now was split with white lines, and we were sandwiched between limitless textured scenery; Manzanita trees, orchards, big boulders, a dry creek, and then we were driving along one stretch, my legs curled up under me, and I am grazing on unhurried thoughts, just ripples of ideas and dreams.

“Did you see that?” Rudy blurted out.

“See what?”

“That guy! I just saw a guy walking alongside a weary  looking burro dragging a miniature red covered wagon. I gotta turn around.”

“ Hi folks, how you doing?” He extended a hoof like hand, weathered as paws, “I’m Howard West.” Howard was outdoor fit; sunglasses, hat, boots, and evenly tanned skin.

“Hi, I’m Rudy, and that’s LouLou.”

“Hi LouLou,” he shook like a city man with hardened hard-labor hands.

“ Hi. This is some way of traveling. What are you doing?”

“ I’m on a book tour, The Quicksilver Key Book Tour.

I caught my laughter when I noticed his educated aura; that veil of disguise we think fools everyone.

“It’s about the history, the lost history–the West in particular and how the government accrues the investment of the rancher, and the universe. If you read my books you’ll see….”

I was petting the dog, a friendly furry mixed breed, and Howard was now blending Rudy in his claw, with this rockabilly wisdom that I didn’t understand.

“How far are you going today Howard?” Rudy asked.

“I do about 10 or 12 miles a day. Whenever I feel like stopping, I just pull over. You been down to the Dunes yet?”

“ Where’s that?” Rudy was keenly addressing the wagon, it’s wheels, and accessories, but only I knew that.

“ Down the road. Now, those kids have money. They ride doon-buggies-sell for anywhere from five thousand to seventy five thousand dollars! They took me on a ride.”

“ Wow! Hey do you have any power source?”

“ Sure do. See this–jets up the whole works, laptop,

lights, even my stove.  Let me show you.”

I tinkered with the bell around the donkey, I came to find out was named Blue Pegasus, and watched Howard lead Rudy to the watering hold.

“I have books and disks; the books are $12 and a disk is $5, which one will it be?”

“We’ll take a disk Howard.”

“All righty… and the distinct differentiation of

the classes…..

I was about to interrupt when another car passed by, and Howard was distracted by the prospect of a purchase.

“Howard, you’re the coolest! I love what your doing man–I wish I could do it.” Rudy shook his hand.

“Everyone has a book.”

We drove past the sand dunes, and all that bleached rolling sand smooth as pressed sheets, jolted my mind like a wrench.

“ Howard West probably went to Harvard and has a degree in History.”

“You may be right. Why can’t you do that?”

“I would if I was a man.”

“No, not the road part, just get your writing on a disk and sell it. If you sell them for 10 bucks, and you sell…..

“You mean my columns?”

“Whatever! You’ve been writing since I met you for Christ’s sake.”

“Yea I could do a collection of columns, or even a book.  Why didn’t I think of that?”

“You’ve been too preoccupied with other stuff.”’

“Look, they’re having Superbowl Sunday party’s right here in Brawley.” On either side of highway 78 a campfire gathering of trailers were wedged in a circle, boom boxes blaring, American flags blowing, and a dog tied to a post.

“I took out my phone and scrolled through the numbers until I got to John, and then I deleted it. Maybe it was the dead cats in the road, or the poor teenager back in Anza without any future ahead of her but the donuts, or Howard, or the clarity of a cobalt blue evening sky staring down at me, that got me to move over to the other side of the double yellow line, and let John go.

“ I’m starving, why didn’t I bring any snacks? “

“ We’ll stop up here in Anza.”

“ How do you know Anza.”

“ I just do. You don’t want to know.

“Oh I do… please.. Rudy, I really don’t care.”

“ Can I tell you anyway? She knew antiques, once we saw …

“ Oh Gawd.” I threw my head back and laughed without actually any noise.

“ Stop, there’s the store.”

“ You know what else?”

“ What?”

“ She couldn’t understand why I cared about you so much.”

“That’s a good ending.”

My phone rang, an unknown number, never pick those ones up, could be the guy who said his father killed Ben Siegel.

“Rudy, stop!”

“I can’t stop now. We’re on the freeway nutcase.  Who called?”

“The daughter.”

“Whose daughter?”

“My father’s.”

To be continued.

LISTEN TO WAITING


The throw of the dice this week lands on adventures in waiting. 

As children our waiting depends on how long it takes Mom and Dad to finish what they’re doing and pay attention to our needs.  It takes hold of us, like a fever, and we resort to nudging them, whining, even sobbing, if we are made to wait longer than we expected. During the school year, I waited all semester for the summer.  In Los Angeles that meant it was hot enough to go swimming in the ocean.

When I lived in Hollywood, I rode two buses, to get to Santa Monica.  The second bus dropped me off on Ocean Avenue, above Santa Monica Beach.   I ran down the ramp that connects to Pacific Coast Highway, and headed north to Sorrento Beach,   another long block away, and when I got there I stumbled in the sand in  my tennis shoes trying to run,  and find the place where my schoolmates clustered,  in a caravan of towels, beach chairs, radios, and brown bag lunches. I couldn’t just run to the ocean, I had to sit and talk and have something cold to drink, and then  I made myself wait, until I couldn’t stand it any longer, and then I ran down to the shore, and embraced the waves, tumbling inside their grasp until I lost my breath, and floated into abandonment.

After I moved to New Mexico, I stopped thinking about the ocean, I had to remove the memories from my thoughts, and so I could continue to experience this spark of the world. The dry sage ocean of pink soil, and radiant blue sky that pinches your eyes when you’re driving,   the sunlight, and the warmth of a desert night  and the white snow on pink adobe.  It has postcard perfection, even now, with fallen leaves spread like trash everywhere, and the trees almost naked, and the dead plants in the garden.  I try not to think of the ocean, the look of the sea from watery suntanned eye lids, or from the bluff at Del Mar, or the splashing of waves around my shoulders as I sink beneath the surface.

I waited, like I did as a teenager, for that summer to come, so I could return to the sea.  Last week,  I stood at the water’s edge in Del Mar,  it was like summer without all the kids playing ball and screaming, hey dude what’s up, and the running of the dogs, and  lifeguards  thrashing the beach in their jeeps shouting, , no swimming, no dogs off the leashes, no glassware,  and no surfing.  They were missing, so as the caravan of beach runners, and surfers. In fact, I was only one swimming, on that first day at the beach.   Before I went into the water, I reclined on a big black boulder, and faced the sea, and let my eyes wander amongst the scenes of the beach on a Tuesday afternoon. In front of me was an older man with graying hair, in a wal-mart beach chair reading. He must be retired, he looked perfected adapt to his spot about five feet from the shoreline.   I thought about that Dennis Hopper commercial, about retirement, and how I still cannot come to grips with retirement, and spending my days on park benches or in cafes watching younger men and women live.

There was one swimmer, on a bogey board, he was far out, and floating along, and I wished I’d brought mine with me, but it was in SC’s van, and the last time I used it was when I lived in Solana Beach.  I also wished I had a new bathing suit, because the one I was wearing was ripped, and the neck straps were tied together in a knot so I could swim without losing my top.   The sun baked my body, and I let it without abatement, without shading my limbs,  or wearing a hat, just enough sunscreen to keep the rays  from trotting over to my skin, and I closed my eyes and I opened them, and this is when the waiting business suddenly felt so important, so much so that I began to think about waiting as an aphrodisiac or something like a good cocktail that you have to make last for sometimes, years, while you wait for that moment that makes you feel immortal, and childlike, and senses sharpened as an animal.

I felt the beach flies, and the tang of salt water on my lips, and the when the seagulls swarmed above the water’s surface, like so many beads of a necklace, I thought, that this is about the most beautiful day I could have, and it’s all because I WAITED, I didn’t give up on the ocean, or my place in it, or believing that I would have my day in the sand, under a faded denim blue sky, with cotton ball clouds floating above me.   I baked until the sweat drenched my pours, and then I raised myself up, and walked slowly to the edge of the water, the flat surface made tiny breaks not enough to shatter my body warmth and I felt the first sting of the water on my feet, and then my knees, and then I submerged, and found that the best way to celebrate this day was to keep flopping backward on top of each wave as it crashed, and I did this for a dozen rounds, until I felt silly and weak, and dented with the surf, and I found that waiting thing again, meant something that I should write about because  all of us are waiting for the election, and the economy to recover, and our real estate to be worth something again, we are all waiting for this big change so we can feel secure and optimistic about the future.  There is something useful about waiting, something predisposed, that gives us the support and substance we need, so when the waiting is over, and we are all flush with success again, it will feel like the first time, it will overwhelm with us with power and joy, like the ocean.

When I left, I had enough jubilation  bouncing through my blood to take the risk of driving by Maurice’s home, the one he left three years ago, when he died under his favorite orange tree.  To be continued next week. Any dice to throw Email: folliesls@aol.com.

English: Ocean Avenue at sunset in Santa Monic...

Image via Wikipedia