heeheehee…when i’m out and about, i’m never lonely. i don’t know if i put out the, “if you talk to me, i will most certainly, not only talk back to you, but i will listen,” vibe…or what, but it’s true.
sarah, always hated that about me. when, kelly and i, had the shop, in the middle, of the portland saturday market…all of the interesting, counter-culture people, knew my name, and sought me out.
one of my very favorite, counter-culture friends, was portland, oregon’s…very own, “elvis.” (his real name, i will not reveal). he is a portland celebrity…performing (playing guitar and singing) at saturday market, on street corners, at voodoo donuts, record stores, anywhere, and everywhere.
i first became acquainted with him, in 1993, when i worked as a corporate, framing trainer, for michael’s stores. i was still living, in san diego, at the time…and, i was sent to retrain the framing crew, at the old, “oregon craft and floral store,” in hillsboro, oregon.
after work each day, i would venture out by myself, drive to the middle of, portland…park the car, pioneer square, and start walking. i would walk everywhere, see everything, or try to.
one day, i happened upon a wonderful sight. it was a curiosity of unbelievable proportions…colors everywhere…moving parts…barbie, and doll heads…on the outside, it was the an, art-o-matic gallery…put in a quarter, receive a piece of kitsch.
it was called, “where’s the art gallery, and twenty-four hour church of elvis.” on the inside, was something both thrilling and terrifying. strange combobulations of doll parts, with stuffed animal bodies…taxidermy animals with googly eyes…”aliens emerging from space ships…weird, wild, wacky stuff.
on the outside, there was a doorbell that you could ring, anytime of the day, or night. and, a very strange woman, a “performance artist,” named stephanie g. pierce…who owned and currated the place…would appear at the door, unlock it, wait for you to move…yank you the rest of the way in…and, quickly lock the door behind you.
she would beckon you forward, and if you didn’t move fast enough, she’d yank you again. she would keep you looking forward, distracting you with crazy stories and kitsch…until something, or someone, was directly behind you.
her face would turn white, she would get a terrified look, and shriek running from the room. she screamed, “run for your life,” at the top of her lungs. it was a very realistic performance, which terrified me to my very core…the first time that i experienced it.
i wasn’t about to go blindly running out, into a dimly lit hallway, until i determined what it was, that i was running from. i turned quickly, and my left eye, couldn’t believe, what it was seeing.
an imposing, giant of a man (close to six-nine), dressed in an old, skintight, stinky, musty, black, and gold jumpsuit…with a cape…the thickest, coke-bottle glasses, that i had ever seen…sporting a grimace, of fuzzy, furry, green and yellow, jacked up teeth…and a really slow deliberate speech pattern, along the lines of billy bob thornton’s, “sling blade,”character, carl. (viola…elvis).
i didn’t know whether to follow stephanie, and run…or, to take my chances, trying to get past…that goliath of a man. what i did was look into those coke-bottled eyes, and saw instantaneously, that he meant me no harm.
what i didn’t expect, was for him to latch onto me, in an embrace so tight, that it took my breath away. but in that moment, he told me that i was, “pretty,” and that he was going to make me, his queen one day.
once i got back to san diego, i told my sister all about my experience. the whole thing left such an impression on me, that i didn’t just want to go home, and, “let go of,” my new found, counter-culture, performance artist, “friends.” so, i didn’t.
my sister and i, would call once a week, and talk to whomever answered the phone, either stephanie, or elvis, or both. we would talk for hours, often times, laughing, until we cried.
i think that we were all four lonely, on some level, seeking out people to connect with, in ways that we just couldn’t with others. within the comfort, safety, and security of our, “secret society of four,” we were all at ease with who we were, as individuals, and to each other…and, we were all peers letting our, “freak flags,” fly high.
anyway, when kelly and i, owned the saturday market store, elvis made a beeline for me, and we were two very, old souls reunited. we would chat away, for large chunks of time. we would share stories, laugh, and hang out.
looking back on the situation, i think that, sarah, didn’t understand what importance conversation, interesting discourse, and sharing…held for me…how it thrilled me, and filled me completely.
reflecting on it now, i don’t think that i even understood it’s importance to the survival of my psyche. talking, and connecting to others, staying busy, filling units of time with things that interested me…all kept me from languishing, in loneliness.
i think that it’s the fact that i never consciously made this connection, that i was never able to explain it to, sarah. and i do believe, that even if i had figured it out back then, i would have never been able to explain it in these terms.
but, here i am now…much older, much wiser, and much more self-aware. my use of language, vocabulary, and words…more honed with knowledge, and discovery…eureka, i’ve got it…better late, than never…and, there you have it.
(guess what…there’s even more. part four, and molly…hopefully, by friday.)