Truckin’ across the USA. Dropped off a load in Denver and told the dispatcher in far-off Ft. Wayne, Indiana I had a cousin in Boulder.
Hadn’t seen her in years so it was time to do so.
An earlier phone call to her set the plans and away I went.
First visit to Boulder so I was eager to view new territory.
Found a place to “hide” that BIG trailer so I could wander Boulder unimpeded.
Cuzz was still at work so I sought a laundromat to catch up on the laundry chore.
Poking around Boulder I noticed the large number of college student-age humans wandering around. Not surprising due to the university there. I kept an open eye for anybody resembling a Nobel laureate but they must have seen me coming and ducked into handy alleys or hid behind dumpsters. Maybe those folks didn’t wear their laurel that day.
Ah!!! Lo, a laundromat with room to park my bob-tail truck. A plus. Only one person inside using the facility. Well, it was a weekday and around 11 AM, not the typical time for an area awash with college kids and laureates to perform washing duties.
Toting my duds inside I followed the ritual, for me. Separate clothes-type; not me. Colors; you gotta’ be kidding. Dump duds into machine until full, add a bit more then proceed until no clothing remains.
Guesstimate detergent needed, add, then a bit more to ensure an ample portion is present and hope that the suds overflow isn’t too excessive.
Commence quarter dropping until the dern’ machine starts.
Oh, wash type and temperature? Regular and hot. Cuts through the crud and if any of the garments aren’t “man” enough to survive then the “fittest rule” will weed out the weak.
With the machines merrily humming and doing their designated duty I leaned against them and looked at my fellow launderer; a male in what I guessed to be his 30s. Perhaps a non-traditional college student? A professor? A mass murderer? Or, could it be, a laureate!!!!!! No laurel upon his head but… who knows?
It was rather obvious but despite the ever-present this and that my upbringing and life experience taught me to judge BEHAVIOR. Thus I didn’t really care his skin pigmentation level allowed the guy to evade a sunburn just a wee bit easier than me, generally.
As he stared at his clothes bouncing around inside the dryer I spoke; “Howdy.”
Looking at me, he squinted slightly and appeared to ponder briefly before replying, “Howdy.”
To avoid a horde of these things: ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” , known to some as quotation marks, and not recalling the exact words spoke for most (but not all) of our ensuing conversation, I will generalize our approximately 1/2-hour breeze shooting.
A generalized conversing followed. Where you from? Seen any laureates around? Explained what I meant. Is that your semi? Yep. Then spoke of ins-and-outs of trucking and living inside a truck for months at a time with no house of my own anywhere.
Share sad state of this and that and the good this and that and agreement that politicians suck.
Oh my. He was from Berkeley, California. Told him I was from over the hill, around 15 miles away.
Talked about our “local” affairs. The recent-past era of turmoil and rage due to the Vietnam days of not so long ago.
A very pleasant talk we both enjoyed with the shared background and chance meeting even though there were no laureates present.
Then, three passing coeds looked through the window, stopped, pointed, and excitedly ran inside shouting, “Mr. Mahal, Mr. Mahal!!! Can we have your autograph?
Mr. Mahal agreed and the excited gals quivered with glee and obvious near-convulsive joy. Squealing their thanks the three cuties hop skipped and jumped out the door.
Of course I had to mention what I had just witnessed… I woulda’ thought you lived in the LA area, I spoke casually.
Nah, I prefer the Bay area. Don’t blame yah’. Let me guess, you’re performing here. Yep.
I offered my hand and we shook. Our mutual hands, not our bodies akin to a dog shedding water.
I noticed my clothes needed to enter the drying device and shortly after Mr. Mahal (aka Taj Mahal) had clothes to fold. Fun fun fun… yeah, right.
I asked a few questions about the life-style of an on-the-road musician but declared I did not want to intrude; that I was an inquisitive guy and this was an opportunity to learn something new but, of course, he was free to ignore me.
Taj didn’t mind. He tossed at me experiences and feelings about his life-style, as I had done with my long-haul trucking.
Interesting! And informative.
When the last crease was smoothed and it was time to boogy back to his hotel we shook hands again, wished each other luck and… before he departed, handed me a business card and said to call when I was in Berkeley and if he was home maybe we could meet again, perhaps lunch or sumpthin’.
Sure, knowing I would never do so.
“HUH?!,” I can envision the reader of this entry uttering.
If I have to explain my reasoning I wonder if you would understand. I also believe I had “read” Taj Mahal’s action properly and believe I had.
He was operating out of politeness and I believe his never hearing from me indicated his guess regarding me had “hit the mark.”
Mr. Mahal, if you are out there and read this I hope all is with you!!! I enjoyed our visit!!!
Then he walked out the door, bag of clothes slung over his shoulder.
Later that day, after poking around Boulder, with nary a siting of a laureate, neither laurel nor non-laurel-clad, I headed for my cousin’s abode and spent a couple days.
A fine time had by all.
Though the hour (seemingly) dancing to the long version of Rod Stewart’s “Hot Legs” added greatly to my general despising of dancing.