Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Word Man

Photo by Jim DeLillo

Some days even the introvert in me needs to come out.

On the fourth day anywhere I know the land. The room is mind. Usually the room staff has given up trying to convince me that the wastepaper basket and the phone should be where the hotel decides, and he or she begins to leave them where I want them to be.

The staff in this hotel was special indeed. I’d bought a small, stuffed floppy dog for company while I was there. Each time when I returned to my room, the dog was placed somewhere new upon my bed—on the corner looking at the door as if waiting for me, on the pillow as if asleep. It was fun returning to see where my invisible housekeeping friend would place my inanimate pet next.

On this fourth day, Kelley had gone to speak with a woman who had worked with kestrels in North Central Florida. I grabbed my book and went out to the beach to read. Well actually, not om the beach, but to a bar along the beach.I thought I’d be with people while I was alone with my legend, my view, and a nice pina colada in the ocean breeze. It allowed me to imagine that I was anyone I might want to be. I did. I made myself the heir to the Levi Strauss family fortune. That made me sit slightly taller in my bar stool.

I read and listened for a while, until finally the bartender could stand it no longer.

“How can a lovely miss be reading with so much sun, sand and beauty around?”

“I like the book. I like the drink. I like the air. I’m happy.”

He cleaned the bar around where I sat. He placed a bowl of snacks near me. It was obvious that he felt that I was wasting a good day reading. I looked up at him. He said he called himself Mike and that he was a writer.

“What do you write?”

“Words, mostly,” he said. A clever one, I thought, this Mike is a clever one feeling bored and wants to play with me.

“That’s good. Words are good things to write. Do they make sentences that make sense?”

“Sometimes they do. Sometimes they do.”

“Does anyone read what you write?”

“Why yes.” He then pulled out a book, It was a book that I had read.

“Your name isn’t Mike,” I said, “It’s Lee and I love your books. I’ve read this one and all of the others. Let me buy you a drink for the days like this you’ve kept me company in bars when I was far from home and I had your words to read.”

He surprised me and said, “Yes.”

We talked most of the afternoon about what makes a book a book, about how words come together and make sense. I think we’d both been hungry for that kind of conversation. I know I had been. I stopped off at the party at Crabby Bill's to meet up with all of my friends. We shared some drinks and danced on a few tables. I'm not sure Key West will be the same.

Later, I walked back to the hotel with them having finished only five pages in my book. My stuffed dog was waiting, legs up over the arm of the chair, looking at the door for me. I picked it up and sat down on the giant feather bed with it. “You know, pup. People are like words. You put certain ones together, and they make sense, They make something new and meaningful.”

—me strauss Letting me be


mergrl said...

Liz that is so great,people that just make sense together, and so glad you stopped by to dance with us :0)

dancing with friends on the tables of Key West then all of walking back together on a warm tropical night, laughing and talking, what a great mental picture in my head, thank you

Have a great weekend my friend (hugs)

Cheryl said...

Just saying 'Hi I read this'. I read them all, actually, lurking via my feedreader, its just that 'Bravo' gets so, well so samey, and I run out of other things to say.

Keep it up :-)

ME Strauss said...

Hi mergrl,
Yeah that was a great day wasn't it. All of us playing in Key West. We should have planned this holiday a long time ago. Have a great weekend you too as well. Thanks for making happy hour so happy. (huggs)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Cheryl,
I've been stopping by to read you too. You've been my break in the weather--you and Zilla, and Lori--a space where I can hide.

Thanks for saying that you're still around.

Marti said...

Magnificent! I feel the warmth of the sun and the friction of your brain cells bumping into one another - LOL

Thank you for brightening my day.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Marti,
My brain cells are bumping all right. I'm not certain that that's such a good thing, but it happens every now and then . . . :)
Great to see you on this Saturday.

Kelley Bell said...

The Adventure Continues...


ME Strauss said...

Hi Kelley,
Somehow I knew it wouldn't stop there. GRIN

ME Strauss said...

Kelley That was the best time we had in the inner lands seeing the animals. But bridge almost scared the pants right off me. . .

Anonymous said...

liz, how joyful - y

Anonymous said...

how joyful liz, yos:)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Yow!
You should read the whole story. We've been on vacation for about a week now. I got tired of winter and just decided it was time to go south for a while.

I'm so delighted to hear from you. I'm hoping you are well and smiling. I'm hoping your eyes are filled with joy of living.

bradford said...

. . as I pulled over to park, having just arrived in Key West, I recognized someone from my crew in Sausalito. I called his name, he flinched, recognized me and told me he had a new identity. He told me where to meet him that night (around 10). I ran into him three more times that day, he must have freaked cause he never made his appointment. . many must meet coincidence at the end of The Union!

ME Strauss said...

And so Bradford, are you going to hook up with us? We're just about to leave Key West and move on to other warm, interesting places. Want to come?

bradford said...

. . my daughter would love for me to take her to Tuscany, but my son want to go to the state wrestling championships in BAKERSFIELD! Since I'm the (widower) father of a 14 year old daughter and 16 year old son, I'll find freedom all too soon. .I'm content to be the clubhouse by the path. .for now, fly on!

ME Strauss said...

Oh Bradford,
This is all Zen traveling. You don't need to leave California to come with us. That's what makes it so much fun!

bradford said...

. .your ride has had great suspension from the moment I settled in. . the ego is a great vehicle if you get to know the driver. .

ME Strauss said...

I supposed that's one way to look at it. I just think of it as imagination and detaching from materials things.