The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 11
Work was parking vendor cars at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. An eight week gig. You guided them into their slots in the morning, hung out for eight hours, played with the walkie talkie, went home. When that gig ended the same company hired me to park office worker’s cars in downtown San Diego. Two levels underground. I quit after two weeks. No notice.
Early fall, 1996, Joshua Tree National Monument, campground #1, Belle. I’d stripped down to almost nothing in terms of possessions: same old faded brown Honda, North Face two person tent, sleeping bag, backpack, clothes, campstove. But also, for the first time ever, I was free of ambition. I had everything I wanted. Enough money to last until spring.
I ran, (same six mile loop as before), went on long backcountry hikes and backpacking excursions, did yoga everyday, read, pondered the clouds and the endless, droning, hypnotic macrocosm like—I imagined—an Aztec lying on his back at night, gazing up from a field of wild, broken amaranth.
I was in race shape. My diet was gourmet vegie bohemian. I was even running the impossibly steep, twisted trail up Ryan Mountain in Queen Valley.
Ah, sun tea: lemon grass, hibiscus, rose hips.
One day at Belle, nearing sunset, a car pulled up and stopped. A man and a woman, each about my age, got out and ever so shyly approached.
Man: Hi. So sorry to intrude. I’m Jim, by the way. This is Felicity.
Me: Hi. Greetings. Robert.
Jim: Um, we’re wondering… would you mind terribly if we briefly invaded your space and walked up the big boulder there? Reason I ask is because 20 years ago, today, at just about this time, from that spot, I proposed to this lovely… damsel.
I burst into tears, right in front of them.
Me: (Recovering) Yes. Of course. Please. I’m… honored.
Felicity caressed my arm as they ascended.
Jim: Thanks, Robert.
Something was missing, I realized, hours after they’d left. Not the kind of intimacy I shared with Mel or Michele or Jeannine or Sheila or anyone, ever.
Some ONE was missing.
Someone I’d yet to encounter.