Wednesday, May 14, 2014
GLEANING GOLD FROM A GRUBBY GUY
"GOLD" IS INTERESTING INSIGHTS, FACTS OR EXPERIENCES.
When I saw this cart behind the Yuma County Library I knew I wanted to find its owner. I learned later that the bag contains clothing and camping gear---the cans contain food and soil nutrients for his "gardens".
The "tires" are home made--consisting of strips of inner tube wound round and round the metal rim. The advantage is that they never go flat.
I go looking and find him getting water in a bowl from a faucet.
He sits down and begins to scrub his dingy pants. He noticed my curiosity and explained that he was making himself a little more presentable for the library.
I carefully engage him. Turns out he is quite responsive to my questions---explaining that the jar contains a nutritious drink he makes for himself from orange and lemon rinds--thrice boiled to remove the bitter taste. The other container has a strong tea.
The case also contained commercial fruit strips. He gave me one. Not bad!
The notebook contained a project he was working---inventing a new game.
His glasses---wired together.
Then he moved himself to the shade---waiting for the library to open. It was easy to photograph him because he kept his eyes shut. Self consciousness of my focused attention, I supposed---but not self conscious about the general public's perception of him sprawled thus on the sidewalk. I admire that quality. He spoke freely all the while.
Inside the library some hours later I check on him and ask a few more questions. He has pored through a stack of magazines and several reference books. He explained his game theory and told me more details of his life.
Showed me the rules to his new game called DIM.
He told me he eats only every other day beginning at sunset. That he is a vegetarian and that he "cultivates" several gardens around town on public land. Following his directions I found this one behind the Oncology center. He said he collects those cactus fruits when they are ripe--rubs off the spines and soaks them in water to make them safe to eat.
He said he also eats flowers in season.
And saguaro fruit when ripe.
Here is one of his gardens growing in that same park.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: THIS MAN HAS A LIFE! That is what amazes me. Said he did not get food stamps. He has a cart to maintain, several gardens to tend, food to gather, rituals to observe, games to invent. pleasures like the library to enjoy. All by himself, he has invented a life. He lives in 5 different places---staying only a few days in each--lest he be discovered and asked to move. He did not seemed stressed. No interest in his family--no set of friends. A loner with a seemingly calm mind and a busy schedule.
This story alone is gold---but wait---there is more: He told me that most games are "wrong" because they are wrongheaded-----that is they seek to destroy one another---like chess---and Risk etc. He said that a "right" game is one where players seek to OUTGROW one another---accumulate greater worth. He said the games we choose to play is a clue to our life strategy--whether to win the game of life by diminishing our competition or to focus solely on elevating ourselves. He said that playing games inculcates values and that's why it matters which games we play. He has invented 4 games---he has named DIM---NOK---KEEN---AND SUN.
Are you impressed that such an odd character has evolved so profound an insight.
Reminds me of an old poem: "UP FROM THE MUD AND SCUM OF THINGS
SOMETHING LOVELY SOMETIMES SPRINGS"