Sunday, May 14, 2006

Somber Sunday Reflections of.. The Way Life Used to Be. Reflections of.. The Love Dana Delany took from Me. On China Beach.

When I lived in Boulder, CO, I knew a man named Robert.

He looked nothing like Dana Delany. Not unless you really stretched it.

Let me backtrack a little. As a young artisan, I rented space in an area known as "Naderville," the cheapest rental area in the city proper, on the outermost extremities of Boulder County. It was known as Naderville because the owner of the property, an Arabic/Persian/Greek/Something man named Nader SomethingOrOther, was worthy of such nomenclature. He didn't give a fuck what the people were doing in his Warehouse Space, as long as they paid the bills. And, in his coolest gesture, he refused to sell his downtrodden but extremely valuable piece of property to the city of Boulder, basically telling them to take their 6 million dollar offer and fuck themselves. He was going to milk every last penny out of that property, investing nothing further, and sell years from now for $20 million. God bless him. They wanted high value condos and tract housing; he wanted to maintain the only piece of commercial/industrial real estate in the county situated next to the only strip club in Boulder Country proper, The Bus Stop Lounge. Which, of course, buttressed the last stop on the Skip, the bus route running up and down Broadway, the heart of the small but wonderful city.

The Warehouses were cheap, spacious, dirty, rat infested, with no Zoning laws, or, at least, completely ignorable Laws, filled with musicians, mechanics, and primarily and of course, oddly enough, Glass Blowers. We were all making contemporary tobacco accessories, and frequently thoughout the day we would meet to compare, contrast, and utilize the very products we created. Meetings of minds, foundations for a hoped for but not often attained future excellence, replete with progress and realized potential. Indeed, potential we did have.

One such fellow glassblower was Robert. Robert was a long time tour head, as they are often described. He had been on Grateful Dead tour, Phish tour, Widespread Panic, whatever else tour, selling glass, weed, all schedules of drugs, you name it. I can only speculate his hallucinogenic intake over the years of his life. He was around thirty, about five foot eight, but with an enormous gut. Not fat anywhere else, just the gut.

Once or twice a year Robert would completely lose his shit, and he would have to go away and spend time in a mental institution. He would return, taking his lithium, pledging sobriety. For the next two weeks he would give away all the weed in his studio, all his dirty pipes, He was an extremely talented glassblower, with an unparalleled ability to wield dichroic glass in the flame, and when sober a truly funny guy.

He's not dead or nothing, but the reason behind this tale is the following story. When I moved to San Diego two and a half years ago, not two days had passed when I got a call from Robert. It was all garbled, and it was around 11:30 or so at night, and I didn't take the call, just heard the voicemail. I couldn't make out what he said. The next day I called my buddy Jefferson, a fellow glass artist, and he told me the tale.

As a LampWorker, you use Oxygen and Propane (or natural gas) and mix the flame down through your torch. Robert had been having another bad swing, and decided to gather all seven of his propane tanks and stack them in a pyramid in front of his studio. He then poured some sort of inflammatory substance around the pile, and before lighting it, decided to call the people in the complex, those of whom he liked, to warn them of the impending explosion. The third or fourth person he called took him at his word, and immediately called the police. They arrived, found an incoherent, raving man, and took him away, inevitably back to his traditional summer destination, the mental hospital.

Robert hadn't realized I had moved; he had called to save me from his own inferno, and for that I am grateful. Today, after a long weekend of glasswork and smoking, I began to see my own inner Robert, and it is an ugly, but not too distant vision, one I hope to never realize, but merely keep in the distance, as a reminder of what could be. Ah, the sacred but overabused herb.

But, as you know, Dear Reader, it's already here, reflected in the words you read - Me Minge, oh, me dear dear Mingey, Oprah never got time for her Minge. Mingey!

From Tucson to Tucamcari, Tehachapi to Tonapah.


Blogger Candy Minx said...

That was a really cool story, thanks. Hope you're supplementing your diet with lots of natural source vitamin C and B, dude.

Thats an incredible image of Robert phoning people to warn them, I can see him red rimmed eyes staring at his tanks lined up like a firing squad.

Take it easy over there buddy and don't be too hard on your self, or maybe be harder. Hugs.



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