For those of you that are not sure what is happening, here’s the basics: I seek out authors and they either tell me a story or we have a discussion while we have dinner, go for a walk, or some other leisurely activity. While this is happening, I tend to take notes about what is going on around me. This is a report of those notes and what the author and I have discussed.
I have been asked once or twice if I am really “talking” to these authors. I assume air quotes are used for those who have written in. I am here to tell you yes, yes I am and that they are often getting as much out of me as I am of them. Take that as you will.
Also, this entry is late. Normally, I try to get these “walking” entries (as I call them even when they do not involve walking) out on a Saturday, but this week was a little different. You see, this week Mr. Thoreau and I decided that it was simply too cold and there was too much to do during the day, so we met at a local bar for a greasy cheeseburger and a pitcher of beer. My recent vacation from alcohol has made me quite the light weight in the imbibing department, but with someone I am considering a friend I was quite sure I would be fine. I was indeed fine, but after walking home in the bitter cold after consuming beer for over two hours I was in no mood or form to write. So here we are, as Sunday edition of “-ing with an author.”
When we left off talking last, Mr. Thoreau was just about to start in on his bean garden. I have been on pins and needles for the last two weeks to hear about this garden. Last week I talked with Mr. Hardwick about living life. He was also curious if Mr. Thoreau was able to “fuck start” his bean garden. I am here to tell you that Mr. Thoreau’s bean garden has been so throughouly fuck started that I blush to tell you the details, so we shall move on.
Also, at this time we were getting seated, ordering food and drinks, and greeting the fellow bar enthusiasts. Everything was confused, especially when the bartender announced he was our pusherman for the local Girl Scout tribe. Wondering if he meant to sell me a small female with rudimentary wilderness skills, he assured me that he was only selling cookies for his child. I remain dubious.
Mr. Thoreau, always the hound, pointed out a lovely blonde woman being seated across the bar from us. While I concurred I, too, would not “kick her out of bed for eating crackers,” I could see the wedding ring and the diamond, as could the crew of the International Space Station were they inclined to glance our direction. That our Girl Scout pimp bartender also greeted her with a cheerful “Hey there, Sexy Bitch” also left doubt in my mind as to her possibility as a sex mate.
As Mr. Thoreau continued discussing his bean garden and how it grew all on its own without his intervention, a sports competition began to be discussed around me. I noted that one team who was disliked was repeatedly discussed in negative terms, especially concerning their team colors, green and gold. The phrase most used was “looks like somebody highlighted a bunch of assholes.” While the team’s uniforms were garish, I also believe the color balance on the television was off.
Mr. Thoreau ended his bean discussion with a treatise that boiled down says that while we can cultivate and give proper environments for items to grow and prosper,beans’ll grow any damn where and the ones that grow in the wild are just as good as the ones that grow in the garden. Hell, they may be even better because they grew in the wild and are exposed and shared by everything, man and beast. The beans are people. It’s a metaphor.
I have written at this point “like a hooker paid.” I can assume that someone near me was happy about a job well done.
Just as we are settling in to a new topic, a shift change occurs. A new bartender, not just to us but to the bar in general, steps in to replace our shiftless Girl Scout pimp. She is delightful, fielding questions from the drunks and at one point stopping a bunch of hot water from pouring in a sink. It was more dramatic at the time, trust me.
The new topic we discuss is villages. Mr. Thoreau gives me lengthy explanations of the surrounding villages during his time at Walden. He enjoys the company and camaraderie, but dislikes the institutions that are in place to “keep the peace.” Were I able to convey the concept of “The Man” to Mr. Thoreau, he would have no doubt damned him. Mr. Thoreau is a big ole hippie 150 years before this was a thing, and I am just now realizing this.
Then he starts ranting about the ponds. At this point the drink has started to affect me and my notes become more erratic as I notice more about the environment around me and less about the individual histories of the ponds other than Walden Pond. Words such as “reading the book” and “strange” are in the margins of my notes and I have no memory of what they reference.
I do, however, remember the remarkable poetry that Mr. Thoreau is able to describe the ponds with. Like many of his contemporaries, Mr. Thoreau has a talent with natural description, weaving a picture of both time and history and color with his words. He “uses his tongue better than a twenty dollar whore,” as Mr. Taggart once said.
The last thing that Mr. Thoreau and I discussed before leaving was the practice of naming. Mr. Thoreau’s position argues that natural objects should not be named for people, as people did damned all to create them, but by a physical feature or quirk of the location. I agree and argue thusly: Naming things after people implies that the thing is like the person and is therefore mortal. A natural place will always outlast a person every time. The only exception should be if there is a story attached to the name. I back “Flint’s Murder Pond” over “Flint Pond” every day of the week.