I studied for a while, but it wasn’t for me. There were too many distractions. A guy in one subject who had a receding-hairline about six inches long – leaving just a puff of this thinning and curly hair on his pink scalp. Beautiful girls who wore their skirts too high and always seemed to drink coffee. And a gay Asian tutor who sometimes couldn’t pronounce the sound th – da meaning of da reading is dat. I’m happy now with how much I know.
I’m walking in town and nod at this hobo. He makes a noise, so I stop and chat to him. I like the hobos in town – I know most of them on this strip. The guy’s name is John. There’s also Mick the Bulgarian, Michael and Peter. Always simple names – like they were destined for the alleys. You never meet a hobo called Romulus. Or Maxwell. You can go anywhere with a good name.
John asks for a cigarette and I smoke with him. People are looking at me with him now. He doesn’t smell, but is covered in dirt and munches his top lip when he’s not speaking. There’s a small corn chip stuck in his beard, and I want to pull it out. He has beautiful teeth.
I try to look like I’m waiting for something, not that I just stopped to entertain a bum. We’re outside a sushi shop. You don’t wait outside for anything there: sushi maybe, but it’s ready-made isn’t it? So I point and say let’s walk here a sec, and we move up to a bus stop. A good waiting place. I relax against a signpost, and I look to him and the chip in his beard.
Yesterday was La Tomatina in Valencia, Spain. That’s when they throw tomatoes at each other. They use up to 240 000 lbs of tomatoes. Over 100 tonnes. That’s the sort of stuff I like to know, not uni stuff about cats.
What do you do, living in the street, anyway? I guess everything is waiting. That feeling that something’s coming, but you don’t know what and so you should sit and hang for it. I guess I know that. All this sitting around though, you’d hope what life brings next is gonna be good.
It would have been good to be there, Tomatina.