Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Burning Man 25: Sketchy Bill (b)

Upon crawling out of my stupor on Friday morning, I was immediately accosted by Sketchy Bill, who offered me a beer and a place to sit down and talk. In the air conditioning, or at least in the shade. Not being a rude individual, and also being a bit curious about the guy, I accepted.

Inside the RV, I met his beautiful Albanian "girlfriend," whose name I can't recall, and his incredibly well muscled bodyguard/driver, a French Moroccan guy named Gabriel. Gabriel was just "saying goodbye" to yet another young lady. Since his bodyguard duties were light, and his driving duties nonexistent, he'd taken to just sort of wandering around and flexing his pecs. I don't know how, but he always seemed to be freshly oiled, as well. To paraphrase Monty Python, you could tell he was a king because he didn't have shit all over him.

But Gabriel didn't speak any English, just French, and the Albanian girl was nice but a little stupid, so it was mainly just Bill and me. Bill was seriously pleased with the A I'd given him the night before (which I really had forgotten about), and wanted to discuss, of all things, Beat Poets.

Now, I feel about Beat Poets pretty much the way I feel about Elvis, to wit, history would not have been the same without them, but history didn't begin or end with them, either.

That is, I don't place Allen Ginsberg or Jack Kerouac on some sort of pedestal. I'll admit to being a big fan of Bill Burroughs, yes, but I'm pretty anti-intellectual about my intellectuals, and any whiff of ordination I get from people regarding them is enough to put my teeth on edge.

/beat rant

But I liked this guy, and I could feel he was genuinely trying to get what was going on, although I truly suspect it was too little too late.

So we chatted a bit, and traded his dogeared copy of "The Beat Reader" for my even more trashed copy of Bukowski's "Love is a Dog From Hell," which isn't my favorite, but it's such a good title that I feel more comfortable giving it to people. There are half a dozen books I feel compelled to introduce folks to, and I hadn't finished reading my newest copy of "The Wasteland" yet.

When I do finish a book like these, if it's a light one (like "The Wasteland") I'll just throw it at someone when I'm driving down the street. If it's heavier, I'll just leave it lying around the house and eventually it disappears. Oddly enough, this results in a hangover for me the next day.

So we traded books, and inscribed our phone #'s and emails (I was shocked at how many people out there had emails-even the people who didn't appear to own clothes had an email address), drank another couple of beers, and parted ways for a while.

Friday afternoon. Things were starting to get exciting-there was some sort of "sex opera" this night (which I'm still perfectly willing to let someone (ahem) guest blog about), and of course Saturday night was the climax of the entire event. I wandered into and out of camp, talking to folks and fiddling around with the cubes (yes, I'm nothing if not persistent).

Friday evening, I was (re)introduced to a lovely young lady named Lisa, who was a folk singer of a sort, and exceedingly interesting to someone (like me) who hadn't really met or talked to many women from other parts of the country. Somehow or another I'd run across a small bag of mushrooms, as well, so you must color the rest of this fairly pedestrian story with lots of little flashes of colored lights. And maybe a complete misunderstanding, too.

On second thought, this story requires its own heading. You'll just have to wait. I'm not sure how long you'll have to wait, but since I'm trapped in this office for what looks like the rest of the afternoon, it might not be too long.


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