By Dan Valentine
I had to toss most of my writing when I become homeless again, box after box, file after file, each filled to capacity with hand-scribbled note upon note on menus, cocktail napkins, matchbook covers, etc.
I was hoping I had transcribed much of it onto my laptop. Not to be. Tho’ I did find file upon file with other notes. Files tagged D.C., Dad, Driving, Mom, Vietnam, 1950s, Hatch, NYC, so on and so on.
(My friend swims. I take notes.)
From the Friendswood, TX. file: “Goodbye, Motel 6! It’s been real!! My bestest friend to the dogs: ‘Girls, we’re moving.’ Excited. “Yes, we’re moving.”
From the Friendswood file: “3 bed, 2 bath, heated in ground pool, ceramic tile throughout, granite counter tops, 2 car detached garage, covered porch, 14,4050 sq. ft. treed lot, formal living room, formal dining room; refrigerator, washer, and dryer, 2,111 sq. ft, built in 1969, in the Wedgewood neighborhood.”
From the file: “Woke up to hear a woodpecker pecking in the backyard, the sound leaf-blowers in front …”
From the file: “Watched (my friend) swim: one arm floating out of the water, the other following. The dogs barking and chasing after her on the side of the pool. A Rockwell painting.
From the file: “Vote for Delay signs are popping up all over our neighborhood. Delay!! He’s our representative.
From the file: “Not a place where you take a stroll. Had a beer can thrown at my head from a passing car. Couple of weeks ago, a firecracker.”
I had forgotten about that. That’s why I take notes.
From the file: “I-Hop. Dinner. Gay waiter took our order. Black, with two earrings. Name tag: Peaches. Wife to her husband in next booth: ‘And they let him have his name on his name tag? I mean, this is a family restaurant, for f**k sake!’ Idea for sit-com: Peaches in Pearland. Black Will and Grace, Texas-style.”
From the file: Texan complaining in the supermarket check-out line about how much it had cost him to fill up his SUV. Gas was getting so expensive that he’d given up driving his truck at night and was using his motorcycle instead.”
From the file: “Line for future song: Clearing brush gives Texans a rush”
From the file:
“Sign: Moving boxes. (I picture people inside chasing after them.)
“Sign on back of school bus: Watch for Children. (As if they may harm you.)
“Sign in window: Office space available. Welcome to month-to-month! Says it all about the present times. You know it! We know it! Let’s not play games! Your business is going to fail!)”
From the file: “Mosquitoes out in force.”
From the file: “For sure, Texans are friendly. I’m standing at the urinal in the Men’s room at the Olive Garden when a jovial Texan bursts through the door. ‘Howdy!–as if he were greeting a buddy at a rodeo.’”
From the file: “Idea for the perfect Texas business: Bar-B-Que Motors.”
From the file: “Mosquitoes everywhere.”
From the file: “Just returned from Veterans Hospital. Took me 40 buses. Houston. No decent transit system. And proud of it!”
From the file: “Bumper sticker seen on back of car: Vote against Metro-rail! Stop the homeless before they get to our neighborhoods.”
And so on and so on …