I once dated a girl for a few years in a rainy city, and we got along great. We loved each other. This was the one, I thought sometimes. Other times I didn’t. I loved her with the love that I knew back then. It was limited, I had a very negative outlook on life. Things happened that altered the course of both of our lives. We separated. I bought a bus.
Since the Big Blue Bus has appeared in my life , I have seen an abundance of Love coming my way. All the smiles I see on peoples faces when they see the bus, the kindness of strangers (I consider everyone a friend I haven’t met yet.) the natural beauty of America, the love I share with my family and friends. Bus Life has been really good to me, and I enjoy spreading the Skoolie Love. The more love I see and feel, I’m realizing I knew NOTHING of love back then. The more I also realize that she knew EVERYTHING of love back then. She is PURE LOVE.
I woke up abruptly in the morning. Last night my mom and I parked the Bus along the street in front of a Church, near Long Beach, California. We slept well, although it was humid and cars drove right past us all night. What woke me up was a dream I had. In the dream I received a text message from Rainy City Girl (RCG), saying that she is with someone else and would prefer that I never even think about contacting her again. She was on my mind the entire day before, so it makes sense that my dreams, my subconscious, were influenced and made me dream of her. I was in a funk. What does it mean? Get in touch, or forget her? It was time to have coffee and banana bread, time to hit the road!
We drove off, first heading to the Arbor Road Church (separate blog to follow) in Long Beach, then headed over to the Santa Monica Pier. Wow! Absolute wow! Santa Monica knows how to have fun! Exercise equipment (The ORIGINAL place of Muscle Beach) on the whitest sand, with some of the bluest water, AND a theme park on a pier! Roller coasters and all. My mom was blown away at all the musicians, the cute little shops, places to eat, it was all so positive and fun.
We decided to grab some coffee and figure out dinner later. As we walked down the pier, I saw that there was a dude rocking out, playing a Bob Marley song. We both look over, and see its Rock and Roll Jesus. Literally Jesus, rocking and rolling. Long Hair, beard, crown of thorns, a sheep stuffed animal, red scarf and a comfortable long robe. And Jesus sandals. We walk by, and I wondered if he knew any Bob Dylan. At this point in time, he plays a little something that goes like this:
“Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down”
My main man Rock and Roll Jesus breaking it down with “I Wont Back Down.” Petty would be proud and honored.
I stop walking and watch, thinking of my forever friend David. We have gone to three Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers concerts together. (He has been to more). Orlando, Tampa, and at the Gorge in Washington. I took a video of Jesus jamming, and sent it to my friend. I love that man. He was my first friend in 5th grade, and has been with me through it all over the last 20 years. I cherish him more than I could possibly put into words. He is my heterosexual life mate. So here I am, at the Santa Monica Pier with my mom, who has been wanting to go to the beach for a long time, and we are having so much fun. I’m reminded of great friends and wonderful memories. The sun is shining, the air is salty, the music is sweet. A couple blocks up the road, we found a really nice parking spot to stay over night, so that is also one less thing we have to concern ourselves with. Life is great.
At this pier, I am also reminded of March 17 of last year. I was with New Life Girl. I asked her to be my girlfriend at the end of the pier, since we would be buying the Big Blue Bus together in the morning. We already planned a life together on the bus, but our relationship was not official yet. That night, under the bright lights of the carousel, and the smell of fishing from down the pier, I asked her to me by girlfriend. For a while that worked. Then it didn’t. We went our separate ways a few months later.
My mom and I walk back up the pier back toward the city, and she mentions to me “With Jesus’s long hair and beard, he looks like he could be your brother from another mother.” We both laughed for quite a while. She was right. I wanted to chat with him, and waited until he had a pause between songs. I introduced myself, told him he plays magically, and that I love what he’s doing. He’s a 29 year old from Wisconsin who plays music down here, traveling city to city. He wants to play music and make people happy and spread love and kindness. I told him about what I’m doing, driving a Skoolie around spreading Love. He gave me a free CD for being so awesome and genuine, and for approaching him the way I did, with love and kindness. It was a surreal moment.
I asked him if he knew any Dylan. He said he knows only one, but he barely ever plays it. He looked down, strummed to himself, then looked up at me.
“I think I got it, you know the Big Lebowski?”
I says “Yeah..”
“Then you might know this one, The Man in Me.” Rock and Roll Jesus says to me. He then proceeds to Rock.
“Storm clouds are raging all around my door
I think to myself I might not take it any more
Take a woman like your kind
To find the man in me
The man in me will hide sometimes to keep from bein’ seen
But that’s just because he doesn’t want to turn into some machine
Took a woman like you
To get through to the man in me”
I could have figured that Jesus follows The Dude Philosophy. The song made me think of the stormy days with Rainy City Girl. Out of all the songs that he could have played, he played the one that most perfectly describes the turbulence in my mind today. ‘To keep from being seen, not being a machine.’ It took a woman like RCG, to get through to the man in me, to seek help and counseling when I was in dire need of help. We don’t talk anymore, but I think of her often.
It was a great moment. I shook hands with Jesus, and he told me to check out his friend on Instagram @theallnightdiner which is a group of musicians who roll around on their black school bus and play music. Of course Rock and Roll Jesus would know people that fancy school buses. I made a friend in Jesus/Andrew that day.
We left the pier and headed towards the shopping district a few blocks up. We made our way to the end of the street to check out Barnes and Nobles. I wanted to pick up a copy of Ken Ilgunas “Trespassing Across America” I have quite a few books to read, so I will wait for the paperback version of it. His other book, Walden on Wheels, is an excellent read, which partly inspired me to research the possibility of living in a Bus. He lived in a van during college to save on room and board. Definitely check him out!!
I sat down on one of the chairs in the store, to put on socks, as I was just wearing my shoes. It was starting to give me a blistery hot spot. I looked at my black socks, and noticed the big bleach stain on the bottom of the right one. Or the left one maybe. Who can ever tell with socks?
“See this mom, this is from my girlfriend in Rainy City. I was so mad when it happened.” My mom asks “Why?”
“She spilled the bleach in front of the washer and didn’t clean it up. I stepped in it.” She says, “So?”
“I don’t know mom. It seemed like a perfect thing to get mad over at the time. She could have cleaned it up.”
I have realized that the sock, then and now, is just a piece of material. How trivial and stupid of a thing to lose my calm over. Here we are, years removed from the moment my socks changed from all black to black with a whitish-red bleach spot, and I am reminded of all the special times I spent with her. I think of her, while sitting on this seat at a Barnes and Noble in Santa Monica. It is still very much a functioning sock, only now it has a memory attached to it as well.
My mom and I head over to Bubba Gump to eat. We sit at a table overlooking the ocean, outside on their patio area. Jay is our server, he’s also from Wisconsin, and shares my dads name. He explains the “Run Forrest Run” “Stop Forrest, Stop” concept of the license plates on the table, for getting his attention. I look around a bit to see who is sitting around us. My mom orders a fish sandwich. I eat fish tacos.
I look around on the table, which has cities and places listed all over it. All of the tables have cities and names. My left hand corner of the table says “Monterey, Cannery Row.” Some of my fondest memories of Rainy City Girl are of Monterey, California. We flew there one time from rainy city, and got a rental car. That was the first time she slept in a hostel. We went to the aquarium, which absolutely blew me away. And we saw and loved Cannery Row. These are the places and things that she remembers from her childhood. She remembered the beauty of her time here as a child, and was the reason we came to visit years ago. We drove to her elementary school. I am remembering all of these details, eating fish tacos, noticing the random city on this random table we were seated.
What am I to make of all these things? I tell my mom about my dream this morning, then the song lyrics, about Monterey. She thinks that it cannot possibly be all coincidence. The way the day came together, I believe I’m supposed to figure something out. One way or the other. In all it’s Universal randomness and chance-ness, what are the odds?
I love and appreciate Rainy City Girl more than ever.
And that’s how my mind is influenced day by day by the Universe around me. I listen, but can’t always make sense of it. Not yet anyway. One day at a time.
Thank you for stopping by, taking time out of your day to read my story. Make it a great day.
“Have Love, Will Travel.” – Petty
How bout a cheer for all those bad girls?
And all those boys that play that rock and roll?
They love it like you love Jesus,
It does the same thing to their souls.
And when all of this is over,
Should I lose you in the smoke
I want you to know you were the one.
And may my love travel with you everywhere,
Yeah, may my love travel with you always.
Baby, may my love travel with you everywhere,
Yeah, may my love travel with you always.