Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Seeing Kirk Again
"We've known each other since we were 6 years old," he told her, smiling, happy, jubilant. I'd heard the same joy in his voice when we connected earlier by cellphone. Old friends. We hugged as only old good friends do when we met on Granville Island. I'd taken the little ferry boat from West Vancouver. Anticipation.
"I'm at the ferry dock," I told him over the phone. "I"m there too but I don't see you." I looked around for something he'd see instantly. "I'm standing by the two beautiful women." "I see you, now," he said. Little changes. I could have used a dozen architectural landmarks and he'd never have found me. He's human that way. "It was the aesthetic," he said. "Yea, right!". Dirty old men.
Non stop talking till we found a restaurant without a line up. There are that many on Granville Island. On Canada Day. Fireworks in Coal Harbour. Here outdoor muscicians, multitudes. Line ups for food on a holiday evening. Cat's Social House. Great ambience. Vegetarian for him. Steak for me.
I tell of my sailboat. He tells of his Big Sur place in California above Malibu. Cellphone pictures of the mountain views. "Right along the ridge at the fire line. I'm 11 minutes to the beach driving down the narrow winding road. Three hundred motorcycles drive that winding road each weekend just to be up there. That's one of my "pet" geckos. " The last time we got together he told me Angelina Jolie lived down the drive. Now tonight he tells me of his own story of love of dancing and hanging out with old rock and roll musicians at a little Friday night California bar. "They play the Beatles". I remember getting their first album and later the two of us going to their Help movie.
Then we're trying to fit dates to experiences together. "Strawberry Mountain Peace and Love Festival was July 1972." he tells me as we go back memory lane. "I'm sure because that was when God was supposed to appear above Boulder, Colorado." I thank him because I couldn't quite figure out when my first wife and I had gone over to Europe. Now knew it was the fall after we were all together at that festival.
"I was in India later that year. A bunch of us hippies rented a bunch of 747 jets to get to a festival there . Guinness recorded it as the largest non military non emergency air lift until that time."
We'd gone on to the Vancouver Latvian Song Fest before flying to England to buy bicycles for the ride across Europe.
"I loved her, you know. My first wife. We were passionately in love. But just kids." And we talked of women. We always talked of women. "Because the women I married were dancers they made fun of my dancing. To them I couldn't dance. Now I just love to dance and almost every Friday somebody says they like my dancing. I just let loose. You know it was the Wise Eye Coffee house I first let loose dancing." More memories of the Wise Eye Coffeehouse I'd started with the YWCA girls.
Amy, the waitress told us she'd been a gymnast and studied theatre. "We were in the provincial gymnastic championships." I said. "Three of our team went on to win national and international medals." he said.
"You did theatre, too." he said
"Yes, the Manitoba Theatre School and University of Winnipeg Theatre Department." The memories surge back. Gyms and green rooms and forgotten friends.
Then we talked of India. Slum dog Millionaire. Wasn't it amazing how Bombay has grown. "I was there when they still had a 40 watt lightbulb swinging over their main intersection". "We lost track of each other for a few years then Bill wrote me from India." he said.
We'd connected when I got back. Then we talked of our different times in Israel. Him on the kibburtz, me as a pilgrim. He was shot at farming.
Later he and she reminisced of southern France. She lingered pouring coffee and chatting with the customers. I thought of Paris, drinking champagne and eating baget in the early morning hours by the Champs Elysse. They talked of Marseille.
"I"m going back to Minaki end of next week." Minaki. Summer holidays, pickerel fishing and mosquitos. Macdonald's House Boat Stories come to mind.
"We're going motorcycling in the Okanagan."
Too soon the meal was over. Night had fallen. We heard fireworks in the distance.A Gordon Lightfoot song played in the background.
Walking outside the children's store I looked at the time and said, "the last ferry left at 10:30." "It's 10:40. I can give you a ride back." As we walk we talk of mutual knee injuries in the previous year, mine a meniscus, his a patella. Discuss back pains. His got better after he was laid up with the knee injury.
Suddenly some mysterious beautiful dark haired damsel runs up to us and says , "Tell him to give me my keys back."
"Hey man give her keys back," he shouts. Sulky fellow in white shirt further along the street looks back over his shoulder and continues to walk away.
"Would you like to use my cellular phone?" I ask. She curses us, "No one will help anymore." and runs after him.
"I didn't want to hurt him." I say to my friend.
"In your fantasy," he replies.
"No really I'd probably have had to hurt him." I'm remembering my father teaching the two of us and our older brothers how to box. Later he and I studied jujitsu together, my first martial art.
"We're alot older now."
"Yea but I didn't want to hurt him and I didn't want to play rescuing knight."
"In your fantasy. He looked strong and he was younger so he would be a whole lot faster."
"I still would have hurt him. We've still got power. Older we're more powerful. And dirtier."
"We're supposed to be wiser and avoid fights."
"You shouted at him. I wasn't going to get involved except maybe to call the police. And yea, I'm slower and haven't any stamina. I'd have to hurt him quick in the first round because I couldn't go a second. That's why I said I'd have had to hurt him."
"It's not very sexy if you have to ask the rescued damsel to call you an ambulance either. I'd probably get hurt blocking blows. I wouldn't have done more than offer a cell phone either." he said
"I told you the last time I fought this a punk who attacked me I pulled my groin muscle kicking him. I limped for weeks after that."
"I would have broke something for sure. " he said. (Later that night I replayed this scenario and remembered the girl was drunk. The guy had taken her car keys. She was trying to get us to get her car keys back. Getting involved we would have been two sober old guys ganging up on a probably sober young guy to give back car keys to a drunk irresponsible woman who was playing the sexual triangle to get her sick way. He was trying to rescue her from herself, her greatest enemy and we would have been there playing chivalry re runs for indirect sexual gratification. We didn't get involved. Maybe we are getting wise with age. Come to think of it there were alot of drunk women out that night. The angry drunk one trying to get into a fight at the next table for instance. )
"There's the Honda 250 enduro." We're outside Carter's Motor under the Granville Bridge.
"But you've got a 1200 Harley."
"I know but I want a 250 to replace my scooter for off road and city."
"I haven't trusted bikes since I crashed the last one."
"I didn't ride for 15 years after I crashed the Norton but now I love it all over again."
"I'd like to start again on a scooter."
"That's what I did."
Then we were walking down the street. Suddenly he's opening the door of this car and rummaging through the stuff on the seat. Somehow I'd forgotten about key fobs and just saw him opening this strange car and wondering why the guy left the car unlocked. Then I'm wondering why my friend is rooting about in some guys car looking for something to steal. We weren't kids anymore. So I ask him.
"It's my car." I tell him what I was thinking. We laugh.
I remember stealing the car lighter together from unlocked car when we were 13. One day every 13 year old in the school had to have a stolen car lighter. Thinking back most were probably lifted from the family cars. But we had to steal ours. A week later the car lighters were gone and we were all back to lucky rabbit foots.
"This is great car." I said as we were crossing the Granville Bridge. "What make is it?"
"It's the Mercedes I got 3 years ago. "
"Really. I love the sun roof. I've got to get one in my truck. After riding the motorcycle I feel caged."
"I got it because it's got a dozen air bags. I like the safety."
" Harley's don't come with air bags. That's why I pray alot."
Pulling up to the condo complex he said. "You still live here."
"Yea but I'm thinking of living on the boat again. After the repairs are all done. I like this place alot but they don't allow dogs and I want another dog."
And we talked about our dogs, over the years. The family pets and the ones we each had.
Then we talked about our parents. Talking about Dad I saw he was missing his. He'd talked with such pride of his father earlier. Both our mothers were dead too. We'd known each other's families since we were six.
"Next week you're still here. Let's get together for the Tuesday Night Movie."
"I'd love that. This was great. I really enjoyed tonight."
We've known each other since we were six.