Saturday Afternoon Thoughts

A lazy Saturday afternoon in the big city. Urban sounds abound. Here are some thoughts and thanks for reading them. I never really know who is.

I need to find a clean, ill-lighted Oregon Tavern Age joint full of unvaccinated truckers and loggers and drywallers and see them alive before they are dead. Death by conspiracy, what a dumb way to go, although stories of stupidity are unusually interesting to read.

I took a bicycle ride earlier, at seven in the morning, I passed the usual homeless suspects but there is always someone new or someone who never appear again. One of the domiciles I passed is constructed from a conglomeration of wood products: plywood, pallets, boards, doors, etc. A sign out front the domicile read “Good Wood For Sale.” And indeed, neatly stacked in front of this haphazard wooden domicile was a nice selection of lumber for sale.

A homeless person was vending, probably to nearby homeless people. That was a first such encounter to me.

Yesterday, on my walk, I had another pleasant book chat with the one homeless man bibliophile I regularly meet. He was staked out on his usual sidewalk near the convenience store, holding a book, but not drinking malt liquor. This time he was smoking a thin cigar.

I asked him what he was reading, as I always do. He said Frankenstein in Baghdad, a novel. He laughed and then showed me the cover. “I know it’s a novel,” he said. “Why do they have to tell me?”

Good question. They didn’t put “A Novel” on Moby Dick or Catcher in the Rye.

I asked if he liked the novel. He did, a lot. Many colorful characters. I asked if he’d finished Ivanhoe, the last book I saw him reading, about a week ago.

He had finished and loved it. He said he would have let me have it but it was promised to a woman in his encampment.

I said that was fine and it occurred to me that soon there will be two people in the history of modern American homelessness who have read a hundred-year-old edition of Ivanhoe.

Shit, they’re getting damn well close to a book club there! One more reader, and it would surely rate as the only homeless encampment in the history of ALL American homelessness where the residents had an informal book club going and read a shared copy of Ivanhoe!