Of all the weird experiences I’ve had in this life, one of the weirdest was “falling in love.” After all these years, I still don’t really understand what that one was all about. . .
I remember this one sunny summer day back in 1994, 24 years ago. I was hanging out at my vending table in front of Codys Books. Just another mundane day in a seemingly endless expanse of mundane days. When this young woman stopped by to say hi to me.
She was fairly new to the scene. She had just started hanging out on the Telegraph street scene. This young hippie chick in her late teens. She had been following the Grateful Dead tour. And now she was chilling in Berkeley for a couple months in between hitting the Rainbow Gathering in July (there was a whole circuit back then). And we had met a couple times previous and we were just at that stage where we were starting to “know” each other. So she stopped by to chat for a spell.
She was tall and willowy. And her body seemed to sway and dance all the time, even when she was just hanging around talking. And she was wearing this skimpy little halter top — this piece of cloth, basically, that she had wrapped around her chest. And this long flowing hippie skirt that she probably pulled out of the Free Box. But her most significant trait was this big beaming smile. This almost brainless, not-a-care-in-the-world smile. Like she was beaming with ecstasy and bliss and waves of pleasure, and that all was right with the world forever and ever (part of it was probably the good speed that was going around back then). And these beautiful translucent eyes that seemed to always reflect the sunshine. She was kind of cute, OK?
So we shot the shit for awhile. She had sort of a goofy, playful sense of humor, like life was an amusing lark basically. So she was fun to hang out with. And she also had a “spiritual” side — she would occasionally make portentous statements about “Mother Earth and the moon and the sky” and “good vibes” and “Babylon, man.” And that was amusing to a bitter old cynic like me.
So we chatted for awhile. And then she bid me farewell. And went bopping down Telegraph Avenue. And I didn’t think any more about our casual exchange. Until a couple minutes later. When I noticed she had stopped at this other vending table down the street. And she was chatting happily with this big, handsome, dashing hippie dude that ran that table.
And now I’m straining to see what they’re doing. I can only catch partial glimpses of them through all the crowds of people hanging out on the Ave. But they seem to be having a great time together, talking to each other.
And then I noticed he was giving her a back rub. She was standing with her back to him and he was massaging the back of her neck. And for some unknown reason this got me really upset. I even started to tremble a little. Which was a weird reaction. Because I barely knew this person.
So I kept staring off down the Avenue. Until I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. In this very agitated state. Until she finally frolicked on down the Ave and disappeared from sight.
And just like that, I was obsessed with this person. And would be obsessed with her every day for the next two years.
Like I said. Its weird..