Jeff Smith 12:01 p.m., March 29
- Community Blog
- Grrrrr...acies Penalty Box
Just Another Loose Thread, Running Through OB...
Nobody grows up saying, "Mommy, mommy... When I get big,I wanna stitch and weave seams of Reality together."
No one I know aspires to become a thread, aimlessly wandering through the fabric of conditioned Existence. That is, no one but lucky I. Karmic paths are real brah. So lets sew an O'becian quilt.
STITCH #1: After sleeping all night on the edge of a culture, I awaken beside the Pacific-O. Carefully, I walk along Sunset Cliffs Blvd. It's early dawn and without fail, he's never missed a day in my seven years here yet, it's 'Bicycle-Billy'. Just imagine a puffier Billy Crystal pedaling an old rustic cruiser with a bike rack on the back and a plastic blue milk carton securely bungee corded on the top.
'Bicycle Billy' wears a grubby tan ball-cap, a filthy pair of gray warm-ups and a sticky plaid red & black flannel shirt. His sleeves are always down, as well as his head while he's pedaling. Which is why I walk carefully. He wears these big gnarly gloves and in each one is a small plastic shopping bag. He sorta drapes them over his handle bars. He's never spoken to me and I don't take it personal because he never speaks to anyone. I've gotten close enough to observe him at the Recycle Center behind Rite-Aid. I'd say obsessive compulsive with a GreenPeace charm. This man is a no nonesense 'canner'. He only hits the stream of blue lidded public garbage cans running from Point Loma Ave. to the end of the Cliffs parking lot overlooking South Garbage surf break. The bottles go in the blue crate and the cans & plastic in separate plastic bags. He's more consistent than the postal service, making 3 runs a day, morning, noon, and night. Maybe he is retired postal. He certainly looks like he could go it (postal) if pushed far enough. Billy lives in one of the nicer homes over looking the ocean on Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
STITCH #2: Upon needle-pointing my way into the fringe of town, I walk past OB Donuts. Three gentlemen, the same three gentleman every morning, discuss the morning's dose of propaganda. A tall pear shaped man with slick dark hair to his collar and a gray fedora on has the source of it all folded and tucked in between his arm and body. His hands are always stuffed in his pockets. He sways back and forth like a pendulum. I call him the 'Humpty Dumpty-ish Mad Hatter'. The much shorter, older fellow, is a local legend and said to be in his 80's. He still surfs 'Luscombs', another surf break just north of 'Garbage', after his coffee. He has a nickname, but as I said he's a local treasure, so we'll leave that alone. The third amigo is probably somewhere in his late 50's. He's stocky, carries a peppery air and a Portuguese heritage. He always seems mad about something. I call him the 'Portuguese Man of War'.
STITCH #3: Ol Thomas-Thomas... 'The Nemesis' or 'Catman-Doo', whichever one speaks too you. This blessed but ornery man is a homeless vet who suffers greatly from chronic hip pain and delayed stress syndrome. He's usually OB Donuts fourth customer every morning and then he shuffles over too the side of Rite-aid and takes out a couple cans of Purina cat food, gourmet. The cats, usually around 15 to 20 are always meowing away and waiting for him in the middle of the sidewalk. He'll open the goodies, slowly bend over, and set the cans down all in one agonizing tai chi movement. Then he stands in the middle of the Purina Massacre sipping his java and talking to the invisible. The 'Nemesis' aspect comes into play with Thomas's hatred for skaters, bicyclist or basically anyone using his sidewalk. He has swung a cane at me more than once but now he uses a walker, so you can almost always whiz by without incident.
STITCH #4: I call her Lola Luna because that's the store she used to have permission to sleep in front off on Newport Ave until Jerry the Cop ran her off. Lola's special, so she gets a poem...
Lola Luna is...
this fat old toothless bitch, a smokey two-pack weazing homeless witch who wallows hoggishly out in front of Lola Luna, wrinkled soouuy-dirty, the smell of dolphin safe tuna, she leans her fat ass against the white fence around a hostel all day... panhandlin the foreigners, sneakin sips of vodka, throwin poisonous darts every which way... listen, you'll hear her say: "Jerry the cop is a pig, Willie the shoeshine man sucks, he's overcharging me 30 bucks, just so I can keep a bag of clothes in his truck, the locals are yokels..." and yack, yack, yack goes the tarot card farmers market reading hack... even scarier, she's mundanely psychic, bumming off other homeless, a poverty in-breeder WATCH OUT!... for Lola Luna stirs the Newport Ave brew...
STITCH #5: 'Boston James'... He's a former 'winner' of The Homeless Person of the Month, featured in another local publication. When he's not locked up you can count on him posting up on the corner of Newport and Bacon out in front of Newport Farms Liquor store. If Boston James, or simply Boston as he's known to the locals sounds like a boxers title it's fitting like a glove for this 48 year old veteran of the streets. I call him OB's Smashmouth Public Relations. You see, Boston is Old School and 'iffing' you question him on this too deeply or simply the wrong time of the day (usually right after 12 noon) he will politely, (he's originally from you guessed it Boston) in between the spit and vulgarity of speech, escort you to the alley beside Winston's and punch you in the face. Boston loves him a good fight and at 5'8, 185 pounds, he's nobody too mess with, sober or not. A tall can of 'Mickeys' is usually poking out from his tattered jeans jacket and that New England baritone of his trumpets, "Bowl-uh-vawd" when he's letting you know where exactly you're getting your ass kicked.
(carefully backstitching) STITCH #6: Shoeshine Willie... I won't say much here. Winning a blog contest versus dissing an OB icon or as another recent blogger sorta implied, 'unwavering patriotism', no matter what, is dangerous 'bit-ness'. But other homeless besides Lola Luna have echoed similiar accounts and some salty surfing locals have whispered possible informant type ties to a certain government agency. Who knows, all I can say is I uniquely know this whole town like no other. From the streets through the surfer-skater-stoner community to the multi millionaires and their friends and with that being shared I'd say Willie smiles like a jackal and has never had two words for me.
Stitch #7: The Cig-Butted Collector... Ah, one of my favorites, if not the cutest. He's probably in his 80's and reminds me of one of those old fellows wearing bibs on 'Hee-Haw' who feigned cardiac arrest whenever the scantily clad beauties would pop up out of the cornfield at the end of the show. He wears a baby blue fishing hat and also a smile for days. He just walks around OB with a plastic bag, picking up cigarrette butts. I'll joke with him saying, "Cleaning up this mess one butt at a time... huh". He always laughs. I have a theory. I think he's re-using the filters and rolling his own. And based on that smile he's sporting while doing his zen-work i'd venture to say he might just be sprinkling a little Rasta goodness into the mix. God bless him...
Stitch #8 The Aussie Streetwalker... Another one of my fave's and I do not mean to imply anything illicit going on here. While it is true that this sweet Austrailian accented 50 or 60 something lady has better legs than most 20 year olds and she isn't afraid to show em with her mini-mini skirt riding up her ass, lets not judge. And just because she happens to be very well endowed in the bust region, and they jiggle out as she walks doesn't mean... It's only when she's got that horrible red lipstick smeared all over face and lips like Bozo the Clown that I begin speculating. But who knows, streetwalking all day in sunny OB wearing high heels, 'fk me pumps' cannot be easy.
And we could go on sewing this quilt forever... The micro-cosmic world may have 8 wonders but the macro-cosmic Ocean Beach has at least 8 on every corner...
More like this:
- Longtime local business closes on Newport Avenue — Feb. 11, 2017
- What's Of What With My Magic What? — Nov. 6, 2009
- Another Loose Thread, Running Through OB X 3 — Dec. 24, 2008
- Just Another Loose Thread, Still Running Through OB (Continued) — Dec. 8, 2008
- The Lovely Lola Luna — Dec. 2, 2008