MISS MOOX + wonderful


Who is the most interesting person you've ever met?

By far the most interesting person I've ever met is a friend of my ex-boyfriend's. We travelled to the town where he grew up, and Dave's house was a requisite stop. Of course his name wasn't Dave, but it will be for this story.

Dave lived way out in the middle of nowhere, in a dump of a house placed in the midst of fields and trees and woods and ponds and streams. His kitchen bore an incredibly exquisite pattern of blue-and-white linoleum, almost like Persian art, from the 70s. I told him that I wanted to take his linoleum. Though worn in spots, it was glorious.

When we arrived we were greeted by a fierce, barking, stiff-legged Chow dog who glared at us like he would like to take off our heads. Dave's friend Mike, who seemed to be perpetually there, showed off a nasty purple-and-red wound he'd received to the thigh from this dog. We walked a long circle around his chain.

The dog was only the firstfruits of the menagerie. All over Dave's house, all over his yard, chained or cooped or caged or roaming free, were an astonishing number of animals. Groups of semi-feral bunnies hopped and scattered as we approached, disturbing their grazing on the lawn. Another dog and two or three cats permitted us to pet them. Baby quails huddled under a heat lamp in their sawdust-bedded cage. Tom turkeys and guinea hens stalked the grounds. A peacock perched high up in a tree. A long snake curled sleepily in its cage. Overwhelmed, I gave up trying to count the species or number of the hoard. It was like Isaiah’s vision of the peaceable kingdom.

Dave himself was quite the character. Short and grey-bearded, with an almost perfectly round, swelling belly and long, hanging arms, he bore an uncanny resemblance to a gnome. In fact, he cheerfully informed us, that was his nickname. He wandered around shirtless, in only an aging pair of gray sweat-shorts and sneakers. He was undoubtedly the hairiest person I have ever seen. Great rugs of hair covered his shoulders, chest, and arms, blending in with the long gray beard that covered his face and the top of his chest. The beard crept over and obscured most of his face, like untrimmed ivy. He even had a tuft of hair sprouting from the end of his nose. None of this bothered Dave. He was one of the most laid-back characters I have ever encountered.

Dave hospitably welcomed us and offered us beer. Beer, marijuana, and home-made corncob tobacco pipes seemed to be the main occupations of the house. Dave and his friend Mike drank can after can of Budweiser and deposited the empties into a bulging garbage bag in the kitchen. Dave showed us his system of smoking: he rotated through about four or five handmade corncob pipes, smoking one and then laying it on the end of the line, then smoking the one at the other end of the line. In this way he always had a cool pipe to start with.

In a lone conversation with Dave when he took me upstairs to show me something, he earnestly extolled the virtues of marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms. “It’s natural,” he explained. “Plants. Perfectly natural. They’re good for you.”

Despite Dave’s eccentricities, or perhaps entwined with them, he was obviously an intelligent person. He had or once had, I’m not sure which, a good job in the city involving computer engineering or programming. He was something of a lay inventor, describing to us his latest creation. He was generous, open-hearted, warm, accepting, and supremely laid-back, even when referring to his ex-wife, who’d left him for another man. His lone daughter, who with her boyfriend operated a tattoo parlour and who demonstrated their art all over her person, obviously adored him. One couldn’t help but like Dave, once one got over the astonishment of his surroundings, his physical person, and some of his habits. He was truly one of kindest and most intriguing people I’ve ever met.

Entering and leaving Dave’s place felt almost like those stories where children accidentally stumble into a strange, alternate magical world, experience adventures, and come back to the real world. It was a time, space and reality warp, this crazy kingdom populated by dozens of animals and eccentric people, and ruled over by a gentle, hairy gnome who drank beer, smoked pot and homemade corncob pipes.

So that was Dave. Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever met?

Update: Happy Christmas to everybody who visits this blog! I'm off to visit the family for the week, so I will probably not be in Blogland for some time. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

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