Monday, March 2, 2009

Oregon State

So now I'm in a library, I've been in lots of libraries lately.

Corvallis is a really nice city, everything's going really well, and it's only been raining one day since I've been here. Today there's a beautiful blue sky and sun. Everything seems pretty fine except I STILL CAN'T FIND ALEC.

I found a listing for a Dr. with Alec's last name in the phone book, so I called him and left a message yesterday, I hope he knows him. I think I'm going to give him a couple more days before I head back south.

When I finally leave I'm going to go to the Sacramento area, then San Francisco bay.

In the meanwhile, I met a woman named Denise here in the Corvallis public library. We got to talking and she showed me a couple places I could go to get food if I need it and a place to sleep, which was so sweet of her. I have all my packing gear so I'm ok if I'm on my own for the night, but I still really appreciated how much she wanted to help me out. She's living in a shelter here when she can, but they don't let her stay if it's over 40 degrees out that night.

I ended up talking with Denise for about 6 hours day before yesterday, and it turns out she's wanted to write a biography about her life. What are the odds I said, that we would meet in a library, me wanting to write, her wanting to be written about, and to top it all off, I almost forgot my big writing pads so she reminded me, before I had even met her. Her life is fantastical, and the stories are very real. I'm looking foreward to this. I can't quite draft a whole book on public computers, so I'm going to establish an outline by hand and take quotes.

Yesterday however, Denise never showed up at the library, so I read a book, wrote a bit and finally went to a big sunday church dinner. Denise eventually showed up and I left the table I had set my things at to eat with her.

After dinner, an old man, 6' 5" tall, with a long white beard hair came up to me, he had the sort of hair you could tell hadn't been cut in over a decade and an eye that was a little bit crooked. He had been at the table I'd left to eat with Denise, and in a friendly way asked if he had scared me off. We got to talking, and he showed me a board/card game he had developed in the 70's called the glass plate game. The game is easily the most thought provoking I have ever seen. Basically, it guides a conversation to various topics (city as artifact, joy, symbolic handles, death etc.) and maps how the topics relate to one another as they are discussed. You need to play it to really get it, but there's no winner or loser, just disussion.

I ended up going to Border's to play this game with him for a while, Dunbar is his name. He has lived an extraordinary life, he is a 75 years old gay man that lived in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Fransisco through the sixties to the mid seventies. He talks quietly because he cant hear how loud he is, but it's well worth the extra attention to listen. Ultimately, he let me stay in a spare room he has in an apartment right next to campus here. We ended up talking until 3 in the morning last night, and now here I am, a couple blocks away, Dunbar is somewhere in the Library too. I think we're going to watch Zeitgeist and discuss it today, as well as making a deck of the glass plate cards on his printing press. You've never met a more youthful 75 year old.

My buddy Dunbar.

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