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Real Cream in Rio - Part One
I'm fairly brimming with energy today which was actually three days ago and have so many items on my mental to-do list such as work on Suzuki lectures like fix some mistakes in the audio archive and try to transcribe an audio that's hard to hear, work on the Suzuki record like get the interviews with early students together done for mid-sixties Wind Bells on cuke, get to work installing window downstairs, read another chapter in Heartbreaking Work of... which I am reading cause I plan to contact author for some particular reason that you'll see soon and wonder if he'll respond, go through containers to save only those with top and bottom and today is recycling and trash put-out day (Thursday the 11th) so get what's topless or bottomless in the bins etc cause they've got to be rolled out to the road, vacuum all the sawdust on the rugs from the counter-sink-cabinet installation (still not done), get tomorrow's cuke entries ready, need to go out and buy a few food items, maybe go to Spring Lake and take a quick dip and read some there, work on description of what I want to do with Suzuki work for impending fundraising - that should take precedence but it can wait a little longer (still waiting), after one other thing plus a game of solitaire in between each. And the other thing I'll do first is to write a story. Haven't written any stories since returning from India, should write more about India so I can get through the India stuff, but no, I'll write about something totally unrelated to anything, about something that happened when I was 20 and looking for a fridge repairman in Rio and what led up to it. Just thinking about doing that frees me from obsessions and evokes a sense of relief.
I'd been living in Mexico for the late winter and spring of 1965 and had returned to the US, to Texas, not to Fort Worth where I came from, but to muggy Houston where I went to catch a boat to Rio. I was going to Rio to meet friends Pat and Paul who'd hitched there from Mexico City. I had a flight out of Mexico City to Houston. I remember that because I'd let my visa expire again and I remember going to Gobernacion to get that fixed so I could leave the country the next day. Yes, I had a flight to catch. The time before when I'd let my visa expire I'd gone to Gobernacion every day after classes at the University of the Americas and waited in line for five days. I'd get to the window and they'd say we're closing now or go to the next window etc. till finally after five days I got my visa situation fixed, maybe paid a fine for staying beyond the time allotted and I'd done it again. But this time I couldn't wait five days. I had to get it fixed right away all at once, pack and get to the airport early the next morning. I went into the building and walked straight into the office of the head guy going past his secretary without paying any attention to her. He looked at me with surprise but some concern because I was crying and I said to him between sobs as I rushed in, "My mother! My mother!" He stamped my visa for me and I was out of there in five minutes.
I remember sitting on the floor of the Houston Airport moderately disheveled with my backpack and semi-long hair to look through some notes and figure out where to go and what to do there and a large Anglo policeman coming up to me and telling me to get up off the floor. I knew I was back in the uptight US then. Wonderful not uptight Mexico (unless you're being murdered) is also the US sort of - Estados Unidos Mexicanos. But nobody says that for Mexico that I've ever heard.
I was never lonely in Mexico. I was immediately lonely in Houston. I got a cheap hotel room somewhere a bus driver let me off and walked out on the empty sidewalk till I found a theater and saw Sweet Bird of Youth which was great though I have forgotten everything except that Paul Newman was in it and now I want to see it again which is easy to do these days. When I got out of the movie I was lonely again.
You know when people talk about cities and whether they like them or not, I notice that, at least in my case, that opinion is based solely on whether I have a friend there or made a friend there. If I have one friend in a city then I like it. At the time I had no friend in Houston and I had not yet developed the ability to enjoy nothing. I walked down the sidewalk looking for some sign of life somewhere - too young for a bar in Houston and I wasn't into bars anyway, a Coffee Shop, a Drive Inn maybe where young people go. All I could see though was empty sidewalks stretching far away past off-duty office buildings and vacant lots. Cars were the only living thing and they were not friendly.
Then from the distance, two figures approached. I looked at them as they got bigger. It was a couple. They got bigger. They were sort of hip, young. I had an if-only feeling. Bigger, almost life size. If only, if only. Before we passed I stopped and bowed to them, not with my hands, just bowing my body down. And they stopped and bowed to me. And then we walked on past each other without a word. If only. After about twenty feet I stopped and turned around. They stopped and turned around too and then I heard the most wonderful words coming out of the man's mouth. "Would you like to come home with us?"
I think I'll stop there for today. That was very satisfying, just remembering that moment, one of many that have led me to see a cosmos full of angles and I don't know what else. I want to savor that for a minute and go through the lids and containers and get the trash and recycling and yard waste out before I do something else that's important. There's a whole big dumpster there cause of the work that's going on here and its contents are recycled as Sawyer Construction has some sort of super green rating, but I still put the trash and recycling and yard waste out in their color-coded normal size rolling containers as a matter of proper form.
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