Silly Grins

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Out of the Blue

Out of the blue... and into the black


They give you this...  but you pay for that. 

Sometimes the tunes get all mixed up. 

I can’t remember what we’d been talking about, but that’s kind of how it came up. The news.

 “You haven’t heard what happened to Suzuki, have you?”

 “What? No.” Trying to remember, put a face with the name. 

The fist time I’d met him, he’d more or less introduced himself. His English wasn’t too bad. Not that it was good, but it wasn’t the shy kind of English some people never seem easygoing enough to try and use.

Suzuki. Just a name, like a lot of others. Except, this guy was special. He’d seen the light somewhere and had decided to follow it.

The first time I’d met him, he’d offered me a piece of the mikan he’d just peeled. I remember looking up as I reached out. Looking up. And recognizing that look in his eyes and the weathered smile.

The first time I’d met him, he’d had on a well-worn rashy, hair a curled mess from the morning he’d spent in the water. Whatever late mid-life crises had driven him away from Tokyo, he never said. Not exactly. The point is, he wasn't there. In the city. He’d made peace with that past and traded it in for the good life. The life of a beach bum.

His mini-van was definitely cheap and comfortable. Didn’t look like he was going to ever bother putting another coat of anything on it. Not a mess either. Just well-worn as a favorite pair of jeans.

Turns out his little van was his second home. His official residence was a cheap apartment somewhere "over there"... some place he hadn’t bothered to visit most of the summer. Best surf is in the early morning anyway, before the wind picks up. Real glassy. Just make you smile.

Smiling, like the first time I’d met him.

The first time I'd met him, I knew in an instant that he had it made. Fuck. Why spend a lifetime turning zombie in the city? This guy had it made. He’d given up the packed commutes for watching the sunrise over the water every morning.

“They put him away.”


“I saw him downtown. He was riding his bike and he stopped me, said he wanted to tell me something. Tell me what happened.”


“Apparently somebody turned him in. At least, that’s how it had to have happened. They came and got him. Locked him up. Put him in the nut house.”

“Wait a minute. You’re telling me that he was institutionalized? For… that doesn’t make any sense.”

“Maybe some of the regulars didn’t like what he was doing.”

“No! That’s insane. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to live like that?! They? Somebody turned him in?”

“Well, get this. He was in, for how long I don’t know. He was in and cooperated, so they let him out. I figure a crazy person, by definition, wouldn’t be able to reason. At least that’s the way I see it. Suzuki wasn’t crazy and he told me what happened last time we met.”

“That’s good news. But it bums me out about the beach. He was living the dream. Now, he’s…how is he?”

“Good. Now, he’s just riding his bike everywhere. All the time... everywhere.”

“That must be the life.”  

The last time I saw him was downtown. He stopped me. He stopped me to say hello. And the look in his eyes was just like the first time. And he was smiling. Smiling like he still sees the light. And he's still following it. This time...this time he's following it on the back of a bicycle. 

I still wish they hadn't taken his beach away. There's more to the picture than meets the eye. 

The first time I'd met him was just like the first time I'd met him. How could anyone not recognize that look in his eyes? 

Crazy? FUCK YES! Crazy about life. 

Sometimes the tunes get all mixed up.

In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain

'Cause the desert had turned to sea

They give you this...but you pay for that.


  1. whenever life, or rather, the constraints of life in Japan, became unbearable, I made a run to the sea. Life-savior, literally. Now I am gone, but I still carry that sea in me.

  2. Constraints... literally unbearable running, carrying the sea.

    Suzuki's story... only recently there was a confirmation of what'd happened. I thought they only put people away if their family so requested. Or something like that.

    Nice that you were able to find solace and have taken some of it with you.