Alright, so I only made it to one. And I chose the closest and easiest one. But my overnight trip to Eugene to visit Tom D and Shawn Brady was eventful enough and satisfying, like a cold glass of water.
Tom and I go back to when I was waiting tables in Tucson. He’s the one who first told me about working in national parks, including Crater Lake, where we both would spend a season a couple years ago. It was a crazy time for me. Shawn Brady and I met working at the lodge toward the end of the season. Tom is staying with Shawn in Eugene for a few weeks. He never stays in the same place for long, usually chasing an strange opportunity god knows where, but more commonly chasing a beautiful young woman.
I hadn’t seen Tom or Shawn in maybe three years. We spent the evening toasting over old times in the park. Crazy lost souls and shells of humanity, fugitives from the world. Drunken naked nights and days atop jagged summits, decorating the burial ground of a dead volcano.
What does the future hold for these characters? Shawn’s chipping away at a degree in live music and magic mushrooms. And Tom wants to settle down. 34 years old and he decided it’s time to make a family. But for now he’s about to live on a cruise ship for 5-months and probably longer. But eventually, “I’d like to save up 40 or 50 thousand dollars and get a — ” wait for it…
“You mean,” I asked, confused at the direction the conversation took, “a buckyball?”
“Yeah. Structurally, they’re very efficient.”
Apparently you can get a very large one for not too much money. He even knows where he wants to put it.
“Near Bend. I’ve been looking at property. I looked at a real estate Web site, and the girl on the ad turns out to be a girl I went to elementary school with. So I think I might be able to get a good deal.”
This pack of girls, some from Shawn’s softball team, others visiting from San Francisco, were lingering at the Jackrabbit Lounge most of the night. Tom and I were playing Big Buck Hunter (which, for a pacifist, Tom is a savage at killing digital deer) when this girl below was modeling for her friend in the background. The model was truly beautiful, strikingly so. And the friend may in fact be a good photographer. But they were horribly pretentious. “If you could see this through an artist’s eye, you’d appreciate the beauty of this composition.”
“I showed her my driver’s license picture from when I was 19,” I said to them the next day. “She told me, ‘You look so different. You were so fuckable then.’ I said, ‘Fuckable then?'”
“What about now?” Tom said.
“I know! That 19-year-old piece of shit never did a thing for me then. Now 10 years later he’s stealing girls from me,” I said.
“You got cockblocked by your 19-year-old self.”
“Yeah. I did. Skinny piece of shit.”
The next morning, Tom was off faxing some stuff to the cruiseline. Shawn and I were waiting for him to get home so we could get breakfast (vegan biscuits and gravy) and then go hike. I was laying on my side and saw, under the couch, the first two seasons of Wings. “Wings? Whose Wings?”
“Yeah I know. Who the hell likes Wings?”
We watched four episodes.