Monday, March 05, 2007


I have never been too fussy about where I could sleep.
I have slept on bamboo mats and hardwood floors.
I slept on a water bed one time and didn't like it.
I slept on the grass at Harvard and at the University of California.
Harvard was really just a daytime snooze, and when a campus security guard woke me up, he pointed to the sign that said STAY OFF THE GRASS.
I thought the sign meant something else.
I spent one night in a house in Florida where it was wall-to-wall people.
I spent my night in the bathroom and wrote poetry.
In the morning I asked a guy named Space Cowboy:
"What time is it?"
He wiggled his finger to follow him.
I did.
He opened the refrigerator door.
Then he opened the top freezer door.
He took out an alarm clock and said:
"Time is frozen."
Remember the scene in Easy Rider where Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper smashed their watches?
I purposely went watch-less to make my experiences back then seem more timeless.
It worked.
But back to the places where I've slept.
I slept on the side of a mountain in Aspen the weekend that I hiked to the Conundrum Hot Springs.
I remember the sad, creaking sounds of trees as they swayed in the wind.
In Central City I went on an overnight horseback ride with a girl from Chicago.
Our guides were real cowboys and her friends.
After I rolled around most of the night on a rocky mountainside, one of the cowboys fired a rude rifle into a beaver pond to wake up the sleeping campers.
I woke up alright and was real annoyed by the noisy reveille.
Another toothless cowboy cooked steak and eggs.
Water for coffee was dipped out of the same water where drinks had been kept.
I think it was this water that made us all sick, but it could have been the food.
The main guide of this cowboy crew asked me:
"How was breakfast?"
I replied:
"Not too good. I just threw up!"
He was not happy with that news.
I said a few more truthful words, and Mr. Honcho said:
"Why don't you say that in English!"
I did.
I told him,
"Occupy you!"
Of course, the first word was not occupy, and it began with the letter F, but its etymological meaning was still the same.
The girl from Chicago jumped between us (he was holding the rifle) and said, "Boys, don't fight."
We didn't, but it was a close call.
Just before I went to Afghanistan to teach English at Kabul University, I slept a few months on a hardwood floor in the Pearl Street apartment in Boulder.
I slept here in order to pay less rent than the other tenants.
One winter in Boulder I rented a barn for $25 per month.
This is when I had a cat named Frieda and her children that I named Rufus and Snowball.
They would happily come and go from the barn, jumping out of the window just above my bed to leave and return---at all hours of the night!
Frieda ran away for good after I scolded her for bringing a dead squirrel into the barn.


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