The Dog

January 16, 2012

I was focused on the ground, on the heat in my body and the sickness that was spreading from my neck, walking home from the party full of queer boys and where a balding man who had a bad habit of hitting on me sang a dungeonsanddragons/choose your own adventure song on guitar. Feverish, I wanted to sleep. But then I saw the dog, across the street, frozen and watching me. I clicked at it and it cocked its head. I whistled, it did it again, huge blue eyes and snow fur.


 I’ve wanted an animal companion for six months, preferably a cat, but honestly does it matter? A creature to witness my existence and I theirs? It’s become too much for me to ask such a thing long term of humans, it often is tied to the complexities of communication and insecurity and friendship and sometimes sex, but that’s not true with cats and dogs. Body language, tone of voice, kindness, that’s what matters.

I said hello, patting it’s head and smiling. It raced up and down the sidewalk and into the street. It made me nervous. Dogfriend followed me back to Hellarity. I found Adamscout and was like ‘what the fuck do I do, I can’t take it back to my place’ and Adamscout said, “okay, I’ll watch…” it was dark so he reached out his hand and felt the underbelly of the dog, “him. I’ll hang out with him. But Hell doesn’t want more dogs here right now. We should take him to the pound tomorrow.”

The dog played with Adamscout’s dog, Zoe, they ran back and forth in the yard as fast as they could, a black and white streak in a darkness strewn with bikes and blockades. Zoe is big and sleek and pretty and I think she is my favorite dog at the house. Roots joined us next to the fire pit and we watched them play for half an hour or so,

“This is better than TV” I said.

Dog parade, dog festival, dog pile.


This morning the flame in my body had thickened and I lost all sense of whether it was warm or cold. I walked to Hellarity and Adamscout said he wanted to hang out with Gratercheese some more.

“Oh no, you named him.”

“He was so chill! He curled up next to me and Zoe let him. She never lets other dogs sleep next to me. She really likes him. Shit, I’m tempted to keep him.”

Me too.

I went back to the ReV and fell asleep.


When I woke this time I was further down the rabbit hole or fever hole or whatever. I have an unfortunate habit of hallucinating in fever. I walked to Hellarity. Sounds grated my head. Enola’s voice, which usually sounds like a pretty song hit me as a screech. In my sleep I had realized that we didn’t need to take the dog to the pound to scan for a chip and find the owner, we could do it at the vet’s. Adamscout was explaining who I was to someone as I walked up the stairs to the smoking porch. I blinked at the top. The person he was explaining me to was someone I am in the process of helping start a squat with. I’m always a ghost.

 Adamscout looked tired and handed me the leash without much further conversation when I said I would go the vet.

“Make sure you get the leash back.”

The leash was a piece of blue rope full of knots with a clip on one end and a carabigner on the other. Gratercheese only looked slightly annoyed when I clipped it on.

Before I left I asked Enola to keep my coat in her room.

“Really?” she said. “It’s fucking freezing.”

“Is it?”

Enola said that she had taken her other friend out to lunch instead of me. I was bothered by this, much more than I would have if I wasn’t sick. I hate everything and everyone when I’m sick. I want them to die and leave me alone. I am a big, whiny baby.

The walk was long and Gratercheese had obviously not been leash trained. I tried to remember the dog training classes I had gone to as a teen with Sargent Pepper, the wandering creature who I never really did take care like my own. I think I fed him twice and my mom did everything else for the six months he lived at our house. Eventually my mom, tired of caring for him in spite of my promises to be responsible and having to pick him up from the bagel shop down the street whenever he would wander away was like ‘fuck it’ and took him back to the humane society. He was adopted again within a week. I’ve never had an animalfriend in my life since.

The vet was good. Clean and clinical and boring. And the secretary/vettech was so fucking good. Gratercheese had a chip. In a former life maybe twenty-four hours ago he was called Junior. I think I hate that name. She called the owners and couldn’t reach them and then could and then took away Gratercheese and promised to call me when he got picked up.

I almost forgot the leash.


I have two job interviews this week. I’m going to have to finagle this without a phone, but I figure there’s a way. And look, I am charming enough that I can get work, right? The kind I can stand? The only things I want in life right now are an overcab bed that isn’t rotting and new battery clips and maybe some solar panels and most importantly, the entire point of this really, is a chill little kitten with a leash and an ability to be comfortable sitting on my shoulders. A home and a little family. That’s not too much to ask for, right?


I’m planning o…

November 5, 2011

I’m planning on a longer post tomorrow, but in the meantime I need non-ableist words to describe things I think are exciting or out there or just a part of my daily life. “Crazy” and “insane” aren’t going to pass the anti-oppressive language test.

Portland to Roseburg. Maybe.

October 6, 2011

Left Portland last Friday. Friday! I think it was my worst day of 2011. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. As I was leaving my dad walked off from saying goodbye all in a huff and I immediately backed up into the curb. Then at the gas station I scraped off back of my patio cover off the side of the RV (metal on metal is the worst sound ever). I punch a small hole in the side. Then I couldn’t figure out how to get on the freeway for forty-five minutes. Then it was rush hour. My life is so hard, bytheway.

But then I made to Covallis and it was great! I stayed there for two nights. I went to the biggest food co-op I’ve ever been in and I ran into someone I went to middle school with (why are so many of the people I went to middle school so amazing?) I went to the ungodly huge farmer’s market and bought healthy vegetables which I immediately cooked and made unhealthy. I stayed with folks from camp, two married couples. One of the couples is pregnant. You know what is crazy? Pregnancy. Did you know? that breast milk is made as the baby drinks it? And that it perfectly matches the dietary needs of the baby on that day? Or that newborn babies can see exactly two distances right after birth? They can see close up (the nipple) and far away (the mother’s face). And if a baby is born “in the bush” and the mother passes out as she’s giving birth, and no one else is around the baby will instinctively crawl towards the nipple to drink. Babies are crazy, amiright? I learned a lot.

Then I drove to Eugene. And I made it to Eugene. I pulled over to check my directions in a parking lot and turned off the car. When I turned it back on a horrible sound started. I turned off the car and THE SOUND KEPT GOING. THE CAR IS OFF WHY IS THIS HAPPENING WHY WON’T IT STOP. It continued for, like, five minutes. I called triple A then proceeded to hang out and wait for a tow truck for three hours. It wasn’t that bad. I sat around and read How Things Work (illustrated for kids!) and attempted to understand what happened to my poor car. After it was towed the five blocks to the mechanics (closed) I biked to a friend’s house (oh, look, someone from camp!) and hung out and slept.

Turned out the car starter had started until it destroyed itself in some kind of Chrysler-engine-specific suicide. $200.00 please. I biked the Eugene river trail while I waited for it to be ready.
Can we just talk about how amazing having my bike and traveling it? This is the first time I’ve had it and it’s so good. I never want to travel without ever again. I have a much stronger sense of place and my new ability to explore feels really good.

The car was fine. Isn’t nice when things start and work? After beer with a high school friend (why are so many people I went to school with so awesome?) I left in the morning and drove to an Auntie and Uncle’s in Lookingglass. The Boudoir hit 60 MPH on I5 to Roseburg. So Fast.

This morning I woke up and it was cold and quiet.

Inside the Boudoir…

We went to thrift stores with a relative. I’m remembering that I can recognize seven out of the 60-something relatives in my extended family. I don’t know any of them or what they look like. Maybe because I haven’t seen most of them in fifteen years? “Family is” mysterious people I’m genetically related to randomly located around the Northwest.

Then I came back and went on a bike ride with my uncle! Uncle is so precious!

Tomorrow is Arcata. It’s going to take me forever. Mountains in an ancient car! Eek. Wish me luck?


September 20, 2011


Oh wow. It’s been a while. (Ha, oh god, you know a blog will be great when every post starts with “sorry I haven’t updated in sooo long.”)

I think the below picture sums what I have been up to perfectly?

I stopped writing for nine months. Altogether I have maybe five personal journal entries. I would force myself to sit and write and write a page and get bored. I have people to talk to about the trivialities I would normally write about. But then today I was attempting to entertain the five-year-old that I nanny (more on her later) and I was I was making up a story about the Tooth Fairy and the Anger Monster and the traitorous Everywhere Fairy and she was completely entranced, (“what happen next Micah? What happens next?”) and I realized that I really, really miss story telling and writing.

It’s just that my recent stories and have been so…uh, how to say? run of the mill?

Maybe that’s okay? Maybe this is kind of interesting anyway? I will preface that it’s definitely not travel writing.

Things that happened, in no particular order:

  • I’m in the middle of what I call ‘The Great Poly Experiment’. I’m kind of dating a bunch of people. Kind-of-not-really. Maybe ‘date’ is too strong a word. Everyone I’m seeing  is either insanely busy or doesn’t even live here or both. And I really like all of them, but I don’t talk to most of them more than one every few weeks. Does that even count as dating?  I’m  closer to some people than others, that’s normal, right? I trusted one of them enough to actually meet my parents, (who do not know anything about The Great Poly Experiment). He is a really special person who I like a lot and lives far away.  Here, look, this is what he looks like while playing scrabble :

I know, right? He’s kind of great.

  • I paid rent for seven months. It was originally for only two months, but I just kept staying. Do you know what kind  of house I would do that for?

I don’t have good pictures or permissions of the people, otherwise they would be up too. Suffice to say everything was magical. Really grown-up in a way that wasn’t creepy, as in, people at this house have their shit together and priorities I agree with. Not to say that hasn’t been the case at other houses, but it felt much more cohesive as a unit. I could trust them to say “no” when they didn’t want to do something, and they didn’t take it personally when I said it. I think I learned more from my roommates than I could state here, but watching and interacting with them is a big reason I can do poly-amory-whatever successfully as well as working towards continued aspiration to better communicate with people I care about.

  • I nannied for cash. A two-year-old and a five-year-old. I had never been mistaken for a mother before this. I got to hear continuous commentary from strangers on how little boys act “just like little boys” or something. I almost snapped at a saleswoman Saturday when she told Xoco (the two-year-old boy) that the flower jewelry set was for little girls.  He’s two. He shouldn’t have to deal with your weird underlying concepts of gender. Stopitalready.

Also they are goddamn cute. I mean, here! Look! God, they aren’t even related to me but I would say they are probably cuter than most other babies.

  • I hung out with my family (see the post two posts earlier).
  • I worked at the education-residential-camp job-thing that I’ve worked at for the last three years. They put me up a position so I was kind of in charge of things I didn’t want to be in charge of. At least they like me enough to put me in charge?
  • I managed to hurt myself multiple times in such occurrences as The Great Broken Vagina Biking Incident, (took me out for two weeks, so of course the first time I can bike I get into) The Great Wheel in the Streetcar Tracks Incident (hurray! My yearly ER visit!) and The Great Streptococcyl Rash Incident (“Are you sure you’re immunized for Rubella?”)

Pictures from the first and third Incidents:

This happened in the middle of a half mile stretch of nothing but busy road while biking in Olympia. People were whizzing by in cars and probably thought I had a miscarriage, but were unable to pull over. Even the police stopped by to say hello. It was a bonding experience for everyone involved.

A rash subtle enough that people didn’t notice at first, but once they did they usually kept their distance. I went to a wedding like this. Even after six drinks I did not make any new friends.

  • I bought an RV, moved all my stuff into it and got my driver’s license.

I don’t have any good pictures of it yet. Imagine all the aesthetics of 1978 compressed in 26 feet. Brown and orange plaid with brown and orange carpet.

I’m leaving next week to travel south, as I usually do this time of year. I will be driving the Boudoirgouise (bood-wa-zee, a bedroom with class) and anyone else I can find to go with me.

I have no idea what is next. Adventure?

Whistle Punks, by Stewart Holbrook

March 2, 2011

Dear Internet,

I’m not too horribly sorry that I didn’t update you for two months. The only exciting/traveling thing to happen was when, upon leaving Portland for the first time in two months for the fine greenery of Olympia, I was a participant in a bike incident that resulted in a broken and bleeding junk that lasted for going on two weeks now. Beyond that, I have been playing music and reading, all day, every day.

Oh god, books and music. My life is a culmination of dreams.

Here, look. I’m on a local history binge. The black exclusion laws of Oregon! The rampant kidnapping of sailors and loggers from the Portland waterfront! Dear god, an entire city of working class was built and destroyed in a matter of six years in the 1940’s!

This vignette by Steward Holbrook made me laugh out loud a couple of times, in how familiar some of the illuminated characters are. Young, cocky, clueless dudes have not changed so much in the last hundred years. I decided you needed to read it too. I’m a fan of giving/reading excerpts and thusly being encouraged to go acquire the whole thing. Multnomah County Library has the book this is taken out of, Wildmen, Wobblies and Whistle Punks , by Stewart Holbrook, and it is one of my new favorite books, on the legends and stories that permeated the Northwestern corner of the United States at the turn of the last century.

Disclaimer: If you’re coming from a PC space, it’s written in the 1927 about men in the 1800’s. Also, if you in some way ‘own’ this piece of writing, and decided that it would be better publicity for your book for me to take this excerpt down, let me know.

And don’t be too intimidated by the vernacular. It should mostly make sense, though I threw in some semi-helpful links for words that confounded me.

Whistle Punks

When I first went to work in a logging camp in the Pacific Northwest and heard mention of “whistle punks” I thought the term had reference to some mythical animal like the swamp wogglers and  side-hill badgers of the East, or to some fabulous character of the Oregon timber. But I soon learned that whistle punks were very real, and very, very hard-boiled.

In the west any boy in known as a “punk,” just why I haven’t learned. Whistle punks are officially known on camp pay tolls as signal boys. They are the youthful loggers who, with jerk wire or electric toots-ee, give the signals for starting and stopping to engineers of donkey engines that yard the big Douglas fir timber, up and down the West Coast. They are automatons, standing throughout the day in one spot and yanking the whistle wire once, twice, or in combinations, in answer to the hook tender’s orders. The hook tender has a log ready. He shouts “Hi!” The punk jerks his whistle line and the whistle on the engine snorts. The engineer “opens her up, ” and the log is brought in to the landing.

Despite his lowly job, which compares in dignity with that of the water boy of construction gangs, the punk is a well-known character in the Northwest. In Tacoma, Washington, the “Lumber Capital of America,” a newspaper used to have a daily column headed “The Whistle Punk.” I hold the punk to be well worth a column.

When placed alongside the average whistle punk, the so-called tough kids of the Bowery and the gamins of Paris are like so many cherubim. Punks are the hardest kids ever; or, at least, they want to be. They are so tough the won’t even read the Police Gazette. To hear one talk you would suspect that he liked for breakfast nothing so much as a keg of iron bolts soaked in gasoline, wood alcohol, and snuff.

The vizor of the punk’s cap is worn smooth where it has rested over an ear. His best Sunday conversation sounds like extracts for Rabelais; and when he is going good can outcurse any cockney that ever mentioned the King of England. When he spits, it is what learned men term a cosmic disturbance…Yes, the punk is hard.

The toughness of the punk is equal only by his bellicose precocity. He is what an Englishman calls “a little bounder.” Although he is but eighteen years of age, the punk often calls the camp foreman “boy” and gets away with it. When the foreman has occasion to bawl out the rigging crew, the punk adds a caustic razzing: “Who tol’ you guys you was loggers?” Of an evening when some of the old-timers are doing a bit of stovelogging around the big heater in the bunkhouse, the punk horns in with some of his experiences. And his talk, when they will let him talk or when they cannot prevent him, is well interspersed with those short but expressive old Anglo-Saxon words of less than five letters. The subject of his logging tales is always the same: how he told the hook tender to “go to hell,” or the timekeeper to “make ‘er out, damn her.” I have heard twenty-odd different punks tell exactly the same story in precisely the same words, and I am forced to the conclusion that the formula has been secretly published and circulated among them.

As a gambler the punk believes himself the genuine, one-hundred-proof Hoyle. He is the kind of wise youth who tells the world he knows when to play ’em and when to lay ’em down. But he seldom has enough money to interest the camp tinhorns; otherwise someone would have to write a new song about the punk who broke the bank at Monte Carlo.

The punk’s literary tastes are simple. He likes The James Boys in Missouri and The Life and Battles of John L. Sullivan. In his suitcase he has a pamphlet clandestinely purchased from a news agent on a railroad train. It concerns the life and works of a frail yet beautiful lady known as Mayme, no last name given. It was never entered at the post office as second-class or other matter. He also reads the “comic books.” Occasionally he will, in a blatant voice, read aloud the asininities of that popular family of morons answering to the names of “Min” and “Andy.”

It is the camp cook, more often than not, who removes some of the offensive freshness of the punk. This camp chef is the master of all he surveys. The kitchen and dining room are his precincts, and he guards them no less jealously than he does his dignity as cook. He is supreme monarch of the mulligan. Loud, boisterous talk from the crew at mealtime, to the cook’s way of thinking should be punished by no less an operation than speedy decapitation; while derogatory remarks about the fare, or in fact any sort of wisecracks around the cookhouse, call for complete annihilation. Thus it is the cookshack where the forward-looking punk often meets his Waterloo.

Once at a camp on the mighty Fraser River in British Columbia, I witnessed – and cheered on – the freshest punk  that ever blew whistle being propelled suddenly, openly, and manifestly from the cookhouse door, and to a distance of some twenty feet beyond, all by the honest right boot on Erickson, a noted camp chef of the time. The punk was not only booted clear of the hallowed precincts, but with him at the moment were at least ten million vitamins, in the form of bread dough, plastered well over his head and by Chef Erickson. Inquiry brought to light that the punk, in his usual carefree way, had wandered into the kitchen where Erickson was making bread, and had asked him, brightly, why it was that Danes were so much smarter than Swedes. Erickson, it appeared, had been born in one of the Faubourgs of Stockholm.

The punk’s private idea of heaven is to have a trick suit of clothes with two-toned coat, a long haircut, a chick, at least $15 in his pocket, and an old car stripped of all but its lungs and rigged up to look as the punk thinks a Mercedes racer looks. Here is paradise enow!

But he can’t have heaven and his $7.00 a day at the same time, and so when in camp the punk does the best he can with cigarets, snuff, chewing tobacco, and loud talk. This snuff is not the kind that our forefather sniffed. It is a powerful concoction of finely ground tobacco known as Scandinavian Dynamite and is carried in the lip. It is the badge of the he-man.

Just plain snuff, however, is not enough for the punk who is really hard. Not at all. He first fills his lower lip with the snuff and then wads in a bite of plug-tobacco. On Sundays he does even better, which, in addition to this monumental chew, he simultaneously smokes a cig’ret. It is here he rises to heights of he. He blows smoke out of his nose and mouth, and it if were possible he would blow it forth from his eyes and both ears. If a punk ever succeeds in accomplishing this latter fear, he will become the greatest punk of all time.

The punk’s boots always have the longest and sharpest calks in the camp. If calks were made six inches long, the punk would have them. How he loves to stagger carelessly into the bunkhouse, stand still a moment until he get his calks well set into the floor, and then turn sharply on his heels in an effort to rip the flooring asunder. No really good punk stops short of a two-foot splinter. Some can split an inch board. Hard?…If they ever build bunkhouses with cement floors whistle punks will quit cold.

When a punk stags (cuts off) his pants legs, he stags them four inches higher than anyone else in camp. When he paints his slicker to keep out the rain, he paints it red! His bunk is the dirtiest on the camp. The cuspidor besides his bunk is a keg, sawed in two.

In all these things the punk is colossally he. but there is another side to the story of this most masculine youth, for, like all red-blooded men, he has a weakness. It is chocolate bars. Yes, sir, a weakness for those bars of candy so popular with children and young ladies. The choc’lit bar is his one vulnerable spot. One minute he may be telling how he would like a good meal of canned heat, or making a cynical reference to the origin and forebears of the camp foreman; but expose him to a soft brown bar of chocolate, and you have taken the wind from his sail. He is half ashamed to take it, but he is helpless.

On an average it requires six choc’lit bars daily to run a punk, with ten on Sundays. It is here that he falls down in the business of being a tough guy. For whoever heard of a tougt guy, a real he-logger, eating choc’lit bars? It is preposterous. And the punk feels it. But what would you?…Youth must be served, and no man can rise above his eighteen years.

So, when in camp I used to tire of the punk’s heavy-duty stories and tough tales and loud blats and cursing and cynical jeers, why, I would just reach out right in front of the whole crowd and offer him a chocolate bar. I called it by name, so that all might see and hear: “Hey, punk, want a chocolate bar?” He would waver a moment between acceptance and scornful refusal…but the choc’lit bar always won. This shamed and tamed him for the evening at least; he would munch his chocolate and remain quiet.

It was worth the ten cents.

The Century Magazine (1927)

Field Trip!

December 29, 2010

For those of you who don’t know, my dad is 100% blind. I have a lot to say on the subject, involving the realities created by being handicapped/alternately-abled, but that’s not what I want to focus on now. Instead I want to tell you that my dad got a new Guide Dog and that his name is Nels and that he is So Good.

Ha had another Guide Dog when I was growing up, Jesse, and that dog was The Best Dog Ever, but this dog is pretty great, although when I first met him he was doing that thing where he was in harness (if a dog is in harness it means he’s working – in this case, guiding) but he was also like IMADOG IMADOG IMADOG and he was super distracted and overstimulated, which is Not What Is Supposed To Happen when a dog is working. The only thing I thought was ‘Holy Shit, if this dog is always this disconcerted he’s going to wander into traffic and get my dad killed.’

But then Nels chilled out, and he’s really good at working and my dad loves him and my mom loves him and I love going over to their house and watching his entire body wag when he sees me. I like to sit down on the floor and hug him and press my face into his fur while he wiggles and licks my face and then he’ll prance away and jump around and comes back to do it again. It’s nice.

The other day my dad and I went to the mall so I could pick up the DMV manual (At age 22 I’m going to learn to drive…..). And we took Nels! And this is what it looked like.

2 AM, Post-flight

December 16, 2010

I’m back from Hawaii!

It’s two AM and I’m pretty out of it after twelve hours of airports. I’ll make a real update tomorrow, between getting my bike, going to the house interview and visiting my local library. Maybe not between so much as after.

Highlights from the last day include :

On the first flight the air stewardess had to ask to make sure I was older than 15 so that I could sit at the emergency exit.

On my second flight, I sat next to a two year old on her papa’s lap. She was excited and talked about Being on Top of The World while we looked over the nightscape of San Francisco.

I moved up two rows to empty seats and laid down. Before we landed the stewardess informed me that I had moved into the more expensive section and that someone from that section had already asked if they could move to it, but then I did it and fell asleep instead. I tried to feel bad for taking the extra two inches of leg room that were not mine but was unsuccessful in this emotional venture.

Anyways, for now I leave you with a picture taken of my dinner eaten in the San Francisco airport while I sat at the only handicapped table in the vicinity.

are delicious

I love my auntie very much.

December 15, 2010

After Waipi’o I hitched to Kona, where my Auntie was spending time seeing a friend of hers.

I just want the world to witness that I love my Auntie Very, Very Much. We spent my second to last day at a little beach. And that was pleasant. She was staying with an old friend of hers. Old Friend (who is the married mother of three) let me crash at her place and share the little room that Auntie was sleeping in. I am cautious around Auntie – Auntie is also a Jehovah’s Witness, and I’m pretty sure she knows that I hitchhike. I kind of doubt that she knows just how much I do it and we’ve never actually talked about it, so I usually skirt the subject when it comes up.

This is what Auntie and Friend looked like at the little beach. We ate flavored ice-things with ice cream and laid in the sun.

My last day in Hawaii was also Auntie’s last day in Hawaii. I think Auntie was totes over the beach. And I Love my Auntie. Which was why I let her take me to Ross. And to eat at Taco Del Mar.

I bought make-up. It was weird. My brain started short-circuiting after an hour in the department store. Dress For Less! Before Christmas! Under these bright lights that are slowly working their way to MELT YOUR BRAIN.

Then we went to Costco. Apparently the swim suit I’ve had since I was twelve is ‘a little too worn.’ So Auntie bought me another one. The new bathing suit is not about to turn from a one piece into a five piece, so this is a step up in the bathing suit world.

Then we went to Target. All I want to do when I go into Target is turn into a twelve-year-old girl who thinks she needs more nail polish and Take Things I Haven’t Paid For. Which I would never, ever do, but Target makes me want to do it. I didn’t do it. I bought my parents fancy Kona coffee instead, and felt like a fine, upstanding young daughter.

I also took a blurry photo of Auntie and Friend in Target for you. In case you’re ever curious just how much I love my Auntie, I want you to know that Love is standing in white fluorescent burned aisles of plastic and noise and continuing the love the person that brought you there.

Punalu’u to Waipi’o Valley

December 13, 2010

In Punalu’u, after Tilo left, I spent a day walking and swimming and drying off and reading.

The morning after I packed up and headed out. Walk, hitch, ride, repeat.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oh look! Another four day hitchhiking ride!

December 5, 2010

So when I flew to Honolulu to visit Molly, I hitched a ride from where I was staying to the Hilo airport. I was really nervous about it, hitchhiking to catch an airplane is kind of obnoxious, especially anything over an hour away. But, lo and behold, I stuck out my thumb and the first car to pass me pulled over and gave me a ride all the way to the airport.

His name was Tilo. Another one of the hippie/psychic/energy-whatevers in the district of Puna. (The Southeastern-ish corner of the Big Island.) He came from Arizona, and had a little lock of hair at the nape his nape. He worked as an engineer/mechanic at one of the more upscale eco-village things nearby. We got to Hilo early, so he showed me around an abandoned sugar factory, we chatted and got to know each other. On the way back to the airport he pulled over to a scenic spot, we got out, looked around and he offered to do some energy work on me. I shrugged, I’m up for pretty much whatever people offer. I didn’t really know what to expect.

It was Really Intense. From a letter I wrote to a friend;

“He would move his hands on my back and arms. He put one hand just under my clavicle and the other on my spine, my neck, my shoulder-blade. When he positioned his hands just so, I could feel – I don’t know, it just hurt my heart so hard. All of a sudden I could feel that feeling right before I’m about to cry, like there’s a wall of tears about to break through.”

Kind of crazy, right? He did that thing where He Knew Things No One Else Knew About Me, as talked about by anyone who has ever seen a psychic and actually believed in it. When I told my friend Caleb about this he scoffed.

“Just like in the Wizard of Oz, where the Wizard has the picture of Aunty Em, and is describing her to Dorothy from behind the curtain, and it makes Dorothy thinks he’s a real wizard, right?”

No, no, It was way more than that! Like having him verbally mirror my internal fears and doubts. Things I’d never said out loud. I mean, maybe he was able to read those things from the hour that we’d spent together, but if he’s really that good at reading body language, the things unsaid, does it even matter if he’s actually psychic or not?

Anyways, so that was my first interaction with him. Then I flew to Honolulu and completely lost my appetite and ability to feel whether I was full or not. The only thing I could think of (besides the fact I had gone from a real jungle to concrete jungle) was the energy work. So I called him up and made plans to meet up with him the day I got back into Hilo. I was only expecting to spend a few hours, but he invited me back to his fancy retreat space and I spent a couple of nights there. I think the only issue came during the first night. I felt like I trusted him enough, he hadn’t made any (obvious) passes at me and my preference is always a mattress over a floor, or worse, outside with mosquitoes. We shared his (queen size) mattress and all was fine until we were laying in bed and he asked,

“ Is it okay that I sleep naked?”

“…..Yes! Of course!” I tried to sound as chipper as possible about this. Which was how I spent the next four nights sleeping next to a naked forty-year old man with a  rat-rail. And by sleeping I mean tossing and turning and having weird dreams.

Look, I’m still learning how to make good boundaries for myself. I was in his space and I felt like he should be able to do whatever he wants, so long as it doesn’t harm or endanger me. And Tilo was totally fine. He didn’t try any thing. At all. But it turns out that when I’m around males, I need to have a higher level of trust to sleep easily next to someone’s naked body. And so I didn’t really sleep for four nights.

But the nights laced the days. Just another detail. We went to Volcano National Park where I watched the volcano smoke and thought about the complete lack of fire in my body. Tilo smoked weed as we walked around and a friend’s aunt called me to catch up. It was bizarre, of course, pacing and chatting absently on the phone as he lit up a bowl with black rock stretching out into the background. As we passed by other sightseers they chuckled to themselves, ‘It’s like an alien world.’ It’s a phrase that came to mind a couple of times, it reminded me of Saint Helens – where green becomes the foreign color in the sea of rocks.

We walked in the lava tubes, into the unlit part and Tilo turned off the light and we listened to the dark. Tilo turned the light back on and did more energy work and I couldn’t focus, I could only think of home. Seven more days is a very short and very long time.

The last day was at Punalu’u. It’s a black sands beach and it’s all fine and beautiful and then you go into the surf and you look back on the light playing through the water on your body and realize that the tide almost pushed you into a GIANT TURTLE. I guess they’re not that big. But when all the turtles I’ve seen were in tiny aquariums, these turtles are FUCKING HUGE. I didn’t take any pictures. For every turtle that came close to the beach, people flocked around, perching themselves precariously on rocks in the ocean until they accidentally stepped into the water, laughing at themselves and taking pictures nonstop. I had no desire to be this, whether it’s just my self-righteousness or that I think it’s kind of obnoxious to jump on and off a tour bus and take pictures and not really absorb any of the context or actually watch the world that you’re entering. (You’re right, I am just self-righteous. At least I’m good at it.) So I just watched the turtles and swam around them and tried not to be invasive (which is impossible, even sharing a piece of ocean.) It was pretty magical.

It was our fourth and last night together. In the car he leaned over me as I lay facedown and he did more energy work as he hummed to himself, occasionally giving insight as he saw it. Most of it slid off my mind. I was getting relaxed.

But then he said,

“You’re going to meet someone soon, and you won’t feel alone anymore. I don’t know if it’s a friendship or a relationship, but it’s going to happen soon.”

‘Ouch,’ I thought.  ‘I don’t really believe you.’

Internally, with those lines, it suddenly felt like one-quarter into a bad romantic comedy. The female protagonist has given up on finding love/friendship/whatever and when the psychic tells her otherwise, she rejects it.

It’s been a long time, you know?

I guess I’ll see.