What if you found yourself in a pasture of rolling hills somewhere in New England sitting on a pumpkin at 2:30 a.m. having the conversation of your life? Naturally, you’d blog about it, but what is more is that you’d realize something spectacular was happening. You may even experience the hollow feeling of loss that it may never happen again. Then you’d take a long pull off your bottle and carry on.
These are chance occurrences. They are also a sound investment, these mega-conversation-chance encounters, and the returns are fabulous. Tantamount to an in-depth reciprocal interview, we come away with a damn good sketch of a fellow human. It’s nice to agree on things, but it is by no means necessary as long as both parties are civil and employ some good humor.
Lessons from Geronimo
The Saturday after Thanksgiving we found ourselves, not in a New England pumpkin patch, but in San Antonio at the Filling Station, a 10×10 space with one table, two chairs, three bar stools and a damn good selection of taps. Three men entered as we finished our first draft and a mega-conversation got rolling. Geronimo, a 6’6″, 300 pounder recognized my Jolly ways right off and was pleased I understood his jokes, which were indeed worth my discerning. Geronimo had a lust for work and it shown in his hands which were gargantuan thick rusted gloves with perfect human-like creases and dusty segments. He made it clear that teaching guitar did not meet his requirements for work. But still he assured me I had a place in the tribe. I could entertain with my plinking sounds and that gave me some utility. See, Mom?
Quite the survivalist, he was able to repair the choil on my pocket knife with my own nail file, both from my man-purse. Don’t ask why knives were out, or the nail file. He shared his vast knowledge of trees with us. He taught us what really happened when settlers came to America and what really happens when your wife gives birth without health insurance. I taught him about Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden. Geronimo asked if I had ever been punched in the face at which point I doubted whether the conversation was going well. But I quickly realized he was bringing me down to base level. I was thankfully being stripped of my illusions because at first I thought I might be able to take this guy.