Somewhere between ‘Bud’ and ‘Wiser’

Boo Boo

Originally uploaded by dcwriterdawn

I’m babysitting my fur-nephew/furry godchild George. And I call him a lot of names — Giorgio, G, Munchkin and The One Without Opposable Thumbs. (The latter name has won me a few arguments with him!)

But the one name I think fits him best is “Man About Town.” Because everybody KNOWS him.

I can’t walk down the A1A without hearing a, “Hi George!” at least once a block. I have to put on my damn makeup ’cause people stop to talk. And since George’s mom is a beaming ray of sunshine, I don’t want everyone seeing my surly ass and wondering how we got to be friends. 🙂

And even if they (or, for some of them, their dogs) don’t know George, the walk isn’t complete without people stopping to pet him. He is that damn cute, I have to give him that.

People think I’m the dogwalker. I don’t even stop them and try to explain my actual career. As one of my employees noted when I took George into the office yesterday, it might not hurt me to put a bell on certain employees. It would be way easier to keep track of them. (Someone else said it, not me!)

I did have an in-depth chat with Boo Boo (pictured). I’ve run into him twice. He’s from Honolulu. He has a big story, and it’s consistent so I believe him, and I did tell him mine.

In fact, when he saw me today, he said, “I know you — you’re the girl who publishes that shit that don’t make no sense!” And I said, “I’m putting that on my business cards!”

He’s the nicest person. Has a smile and a compliment for everybody. I took this photo of him making some art for me and George — he’s using a magnifying glass to burn words into a palm leaf. On the back it has my name and George’s with a fish for me and a bone for him. On the front is where we met him.

Palm leaf

Boo Boo says he has made millions of dollars in his life as a corporate motivator. And I can see that — he’s got bright eyes and a million-dollar smile. Conversation comes easily.

He’s been married three times. Says he hasn’t seen his last wife since 2003 and they never got divorced.

He got sick of the corporate world a few years back and became a beach bum. Lost all his money and makes a few bucks here and there with his art.

What I loved about him is that he just needs enough to buy Budweiser, cigars and the occasional steak. He lives on the beach. (His nice way of saying he’s homeless.) The corner of A1A and Atlantic is his “office” where he does his leaf-burning art.

He told me a story about meeting a woman down here over a year ago. They had a long-distance relationship for a couple of months, and she invited him to come up to the northeast to live with her.

He said she fell in love with the long-haired free spirit who had had enough of corporate life … the guy who takes pleasure in smoking and drinking and shooting the shit with like-minded people.

But then, she got him into her family business and yelled at him about his hair, his drinking, his smoking and pretty much everything that she had fallen in love with.

One day, he quit the job working for her brother in law. Changed out of his shirt and tie. Lit up a smoke and cracked open a beer. She started yelling at him and he said he was going out to the convenience store.

He left and never came back. And, he says, he always finds himself back in Delray, although his heart is in Honolulu.

Boo Boo told me his real name but I like keeping his cover. He doesn’t want anyone to know where to find him. He prefers it that way. He said he’s been featured on CNN. I can’t find it but I admit I haven’t been looking too hard.

But, I just had to re-tell his story because I loved it. I love that he says he made a half-million dollars last year, and pissed it all away. That he works just enough to get what he needs. And all he needs now is a bus ticket to California so he can get home to Hawaii to see his dog.

He said they are partying down at the beach tonight, him and two of his buddies. He wants me to come. He said he was going to go to Publix and get three steaks — well, four, now that I was invited. I said I don’t eat meat (a lie. Sigh.) because I wasn’t sure if I’d go.

I’m not afraid — I just know that I was meant to meet him, for the amount of time we met. If I run into him, I do want to pay him for his art. I of course carry no money on me whatsoever. Hell, I’ll buy him that bus ticket. Or a case of Bud. Whichever. 🙂

I guess he had a wild night with some woman he met. I asked a question about her, and he said it happened somewhere between “Bud” and “Weiser.” Hah. I’m stealing that line!

Anyway, while I love me some George, I’m definitely cured of my curiosity about wanting a dog.

Don’t get me wrong — I have LOVED stopping to see all the trees and flowers that I have walked past no fewer than four dozen times in the past year. I saw black-eyed Susans and calla lillies and, thanks to Boo Boo, smelled the awesome fragrance of burning palm leaves.

I’ve stopped to smile at people, to have conversations I would never have had, to pet other dogs and wave at babies who call out “Woof-woof!” when they see my furry little four-pawed wonder.

But I’m still selfish. I don’t mind going at the puppy’s pace. But after I carried him home for four blocks because he was hot and tired and so very over our world tour, I realized that I’m perhaps not ready to be on anyone else’s schedule but my own.

I’ve lived for everybody else. It’s kind of like how my mom took care of everyone in her life till they all died off. She doesn’t know how to take care of herself now. I thought she’d thrive once all her dependents (of which I never counted myself) were gone. But she’s withered.

Not me. Once she’s out of my house (whenever the hell THAT will be), I think I’m OK with finally starting to live for me. And whether that involves a puppy or adopting a kid or, hell, walking away from it all and living on the beach just like Boo Boo, all I know is that I will have earned it and, probably, not a soul will question my reasoning.

One Lonely Response to Somewhere between ‘Bud’ and ‘Wiser’

  1. Caterwauling :

    […] I was planning to walk to Ben & Jerry’s. But the last time I shoved a $20 in my pocket to walk the dog, I lost it on the street. Never did find it. I can only hope the wind carried it over to Boo Boo. In any case, I’d rather lose it on the A1A to some random person than keep funding the mooch in my apartment. […]