Warm New Years Eve day, like in California, but I'm living in Ohio. Goodbye 2010. I loved every minute of you.
Decided the dog and I should send this year off natural-like, but not at our usual park. It was sure to be full of seekers of meaning, blended families in truce, sneaky lovers, and health nuts reflecting deeply on this last day of . . . UGH! Just let me be outside without the schtick.
The Adventures of the Last Day of the Year began when I noticed a pregnant woman sobbing on the side of the road with an infant-in-car-seat-carrier and a 2 year old. She was standing next to one of the last dirty salt-road-ick piles of melting snow, there at the entrance to the Bread Store. I hollered assistance to her, but she waved me off and so I went inside to get my day old wheat loaves. 'If she's still there when I come out, I'll insist on helping her in some way.' Instead - she was gone. Like a new year's apparition.
OK. So I turned off onto the side street looking for her, but ended up in an old industrial park. The kind that in 1979 was probably the trendiest place on earth to work, if you had to work at an office/warehouse-y type place. Lobby ferns. Receptionist with Rolodex. Smoking permitted. Most of the buildings, however, had huge AVAILABLE signs out front, with chained driveway entrances keeping out the long gone employees. Imagine the forsaken landscaping, randomly buckled asphalt sprouting growths, foolishly discarded hamburger wrappers hung up in the weedy fence, a 'dumped by a brother-in-law' sofa way back in the back where nobody will ever notice, near the former employee break area -- you get the picture. When I go walking around a place like this, I always look for 'the body'.
What I did find: pecans. At least I thought so. Hooray!!! And as many nuts as I could load into 2 grocery bags. That took almost an hour. I was feeling so very happy and lucky, yet wishing I knew for certain if they were really pecans. But who would I be able to ask out here in this deserted industrial park? Especially on New Year's Eve. Nary a soul. Maybe over there.
Across the road was what looked like a photo/digital processing center that definitely had its glory days behind it. And parked on the side was this really nice candy blue Ford F-150 truck -- a sign that somebody had to be there, current. I pounded on the double glass doors. Soon, this small older guy appeared. I guess about my age. Feeling that I should ask him something legit for interrupting him like this, I came up with 'Do you convert 3/4" video tape to digital?' He replied 'No, we quit doing that years ago.' How bout did he didn't know if those were pecan trees. He didn't know what the heck they were. He doesn't pay much attention to such things. So I thanked him and walked with the dog back over to the woods skirting the property that circled his building.
I noticed he didn't go back in the door. I figured he was dumping trash or something. Next thing I hear: "Fuck! Fuck! fuck! Goddamn Fuck. Shit!" and I see him flailing about. So I'm thinking 'oh boy, this guy's a nut case. I better get out of here.' But then I saw that he had blood literally pouring out from the top of his head like a fountain, and it was running down all over his face.
It went like this: while stepping forward to view the tree I inquired about, the door locked behind him. Inside were his keys, cell phone and a machine was running (some job he was doing). So when he went over to jimmy a loose back window, instead he caught a metal protruding thing that sliced across the top of his scalp.
Being nowhere near my vehicle and with a very slow moving geriatric dog, all I could do was take charge "Sir, just sit down and I'll run for help. Put your hands on top of your head and apply pressure. Seriously. Don't move."
He did and I ran like hell, first dumping off the old dog back at my truck, then running on breathlessly, criss-crossing the forlorn lawns of industry looking for anyone who might still be on the job.
Hard breathing, yet driven. 'Onward. >pant< No point dropping dead here. >pant< >pant< Gotta help this guy from the photo processing place, bleeding like bloody hell. >pant< >pant< How crazy to turn the wheel of inquiry with a guy I met two minutes ago and this happens.'
I felt the limits of my chest, my lung capacity, a too-filled torso. Had to override concerns about the latest bad foot malady. Thirst, suppress! >pant< It's December 31, yet I'm hurling massive weighty sweat grenades off my steaming heap of middle aged body. Fucking smelly armpits, in my favorite thrift store cashmere sweater. Dammit. Quit with the stupid thoughts. Focus on that poor man.
About three expansive buildings over, finally. Two warehouse guys behind an 'employees only' steel door, thank GOD! Turn the stainless silver doorknob, "Call 911!!! >pant< This guy's head is >pant< gushing blood >pant< please don't make me explain, etc."
All appropriate emergency vehicles responded as quickly as you can imagine and Gary (found out his name) was taken off in a tidy ambulance.
Questioned by the officer. All he wanted to know from me was if it was a break-in. Was this a crime? "No officer, bla bla" I went on. He didn't know what kind of trees they were either.
Later I found out from my friend Mr. Internet that I had stumbled upon the best little old wild nut out there: carya ovata, aka the shagbark hickory nut. Tough to crack open but oh what a sweet treat!
Happy new year everyone. Especially you, Gary. I'll circle back to check in on you next week. And to get more nuts. Hopefully the squirrels have left me plenty. And hopefully you still have your job.