Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tell Me About Your Life


If you listen, people will tell you everything.  For such a loquacious person, I have come to the belief that if you listen, people will tell you everything.  From the grocery clerk to the person who you happen to sit next to in any public facility.  
     It's not always the case, but often, if someone begins a sudden conversation, sit back and listen.  You'll get it all.  Case in point: a few days ago I was privy to someone's drug dealing past. I heard all about his former life, why he doesn't need to go that route now, and, get this, why he really misses the good old days.  Cocaine was so reasonable.  Nowadays these meth heads have screwed up everything.  No argument from me, up here in the Northwest, they're taking anything metal that isn't nailed down, and even taking pipe cutters and welding torches to a few things that are.
"Tweakers" are so desperate for the almighty scrap metal dollar, they are going after statues in the park, catalytic converters under cars, fire hydrant fixtures, and all types of copper wiring.  
     So I'm listening and this dude is telling me everything.  His need to tell it is obviously greater than my need to hear it.  But, as a writer, it's how I learn things.  So I listen harder and he details his customers from a senator's son to a bulimic jockey.  Now I'm really listening; and he's really telling me everything.  
     He's so likable too.  Even when he tells me about a certain trip to Vegas when, "we turned the Jew on his head and took all his money."   Imagine him looking into my face and telling me all this.  Is he that out of it?  Apparently.
He spots an old friend in the crowd who asks what he's doing now. "I'm following the Cubs," he says, yeah, I go to a lotta ball games, the Cubs, the Giants sometimes, and the Roy-als." He refers to the Kansas City Royals as the Roy-als. It reminds me of the Travolta character in Pulp Fiction who was so amused that a Big Mac in France is called a "Royale with cheese." They'd like each other.
 So now I have a new friend.  Oh boy!
Eventually I move on.  He took off with his brother to have lunch and I saw a chance to change seats.  An hour later I feel a tap on my shoulder.  Deep in concentration I look up and guess who?  Fortunately, a quick handshake from my new bud and we part company.  
What a great day I had.  No really.

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