Getting Lost

Jensen's Fjord.



Early spring evening. Chilly, but temperate on a sprawling college campus. There was a brick-faced art-center with its own parking garage that was currently featuring an ice-show but had space for ‘HBO’ theater. Across a park-like quadrant was a two-story brick building that resembled a factory or warehouse from the late 19th Century: This housed an exclusive European-style hotel. I asked C to get into the car for a drive over, she said she preferred to walk; I replied that I had the car anyway and rather than park, I was driving over. She said, “In that case...” and got into the car. Out of view from this commercial section of the campus was the main body of the hotel; a much more modern single floor with an exterior wall of glass. On the walk from the parking lot to the front desk I made the acquaintance of a Mrs. Gatz who had earlier in life had been either a movie star or simply rich, and an instant suitor reminiscent of Tine Flirton. I could imagine her golden coiffure as grey but she still retained much beauty and considerable charm but with reservation. Before registering we stopped for coffee at the dining facility. Across from us was a large gentleman wearing a suit and small beard who owned several of the hotel’s apartments. Out of curiosity I asked him how much it would cost to buy one. He related that he had an apartment on the market since 1984 at $600 a week for a 90 year option which could default to the owner on any missed payment. I mentioned that ‘the market’ didn’t regard his offer very seriously. Amused, he merely shrugged. Tine asked to stay with Mrs. Gatz who relented by the time we reached the front desk. The desk manager, a beefy European man wearing an Armani suit, had a tan complexion and short, balding black hair. Speaking in heavily accented English and making reference to Tine he said that Mrs Gatz was giving up steak for candy. No one took offense. Mrs. Gatz turned to offer me a place to sleep in her hotel suite. Tine and I both knew better. I claimed to have my own accommodations on the main campus. I left as night fell and was surprised that it was snowing with several inches on the ground. I began walking over cobblestone pavement to where I had parked my car. Finding it was out of gas I coasted downhill and finding myself on a wrong-way street maneuvered against oncoming traffic for almost a mile, finally moving into the correct lanes as I neared the main campus which was European-style within in a small gentrified city.


Not a Wedding Guest

Lost an old motorcycle in a muddy river. Caught a ride with J on his Harley into town. Joked that I was a nerd who last rode a bicycle. We went to a large home, I was courteous but still unwelcome. Next door was a building that seemed like a cross between a bank and a church; from its lawn to past the curb, a wedding celebration was being prepared. Folding tables and chairs were everywhere. The bride resembled a young Sophia Loren, but taller, fuller and perhaps not as smart. The next day I went to Newark and outside a pizzeria ended up regaling the hard-luckies about my time as an electrician apprentice with considerable hyperbole. “Hottest summer on record, pulling wires through walls, shit falling all over me.” I was asked for sage advice by people with no connections who wanted to break into the skilled trades. I remembered what my father said about working for his disappearing brother-in-law: “How long can you sit on your ass without a chair?” It was all I could think of even if it didn't fit.