“Excuse me sir but… I just need to confirm your name?”
The elderly gentleman (he has to be well into his nineties) stops short but says nothing. Clearly he heard me say something but probably didn’t quite understand. Either his hearing difficulties or his limited English coupled with my muddled tone (or both) could be the culprit in our missed understanding.
I speak again with more volume, making sure to articulate my words.
“What is your name sir?”
Standing as upright as possible, the man’s very slender frame shudders and quakes (even more than it already has been) with the effort needed to comport himself well enough to respond with the dignity and grace he is obviously used to doing, while speaking with anyone he deems to be in authority. He clears his throat ever so slightly and looks directly into my eyes.
“My nam iss… Domingo Laviticuss Rrrramoss.” The old gentleman’s thick accent is quite beautiful to my ears, rolling the Rs and extending the Ss of his name with all the pomp and portent of its biblical origin.
“Thank you sir. Careful now.”
I take my passengers’ two dollars and stand aside as he boards my Handi-Van. I’m careful to monitor his slow and shaky progress from a respectful position. Just to one side of the door where I don’t need to touch him, yet close enough should I need to offer a stabilizing hand.
“I’ll be picking up three more passengers before we start heading west. Then we will go straight to Waipahu. You will be the first passenger dropped off.”
The man nods but does not indicate if he understands me completely so I say nothing more and then…
Then this man, this entire scene, begins to fade. I awaken fully, as my mind slowly becomes aware that it was all fictitious. A theatrical production of my dreaming minds’ seamless transition into the subtle somnolence just before before conscious clarity. I experience a reflexive inward chuckle. Heh… Three days back at work and I’m already imagining imaginary scenarios complete with non-existent characters amalgamated from the myriad folks with whom I see and interact daily.
Guess I’m back.
I sit up to greet the day and file the experience. Mentally repeating it until I can get to the computer and write down the essentials before the actual memory of the image, the synaptic footprint of the scene, recedes into the recesses of my recollection. Now (oh how quickly it goes) only a memory of a memory.
I consider all the other (now near completely faded) images from last nights’ nocturnes. Those that the dignified old Filipino gentleman had morphed from.
A strange driving competition that I could never win, yet never lose. My exploration of multiple rooms that seem to go on forever. The forever forgotten words to a song I made up (while dreaming, mind you) about my sweetheart’s elderly cat, using the tune from the Beetle’s song Julia.
The tune then morphed into background music for the scene described above, about the completely made up, skinny old gentleman.
I don’t look for meaning here. I don’t try and see the old man as a human version of Julius the cat.
I only watch and listen, and record. I wait for more and go on with my day. Calling my sweetheart, getting my breakfast, reading my book…
Back to finish this.
Inspired and always…