Friday, February 2

Dear Jim,

It’s going to be 70° today. That’s too hot. I’m sitting at Starbucks under an umbrella. My head is covered, but the table and my arms are in the sun.

This Starbucks doesn’t seem as busy as it used to be. I don’t know if there is too much competition or what.

It must be a horrible company to work for because the staff turns over a lot. I would think the managers get tired of interviewing people.

The other day I was sitting in a window at a different Starbucks. I saw two freight trains within twenty minutes pass by Sac State. It was great to have a vista of them and the trees in the distance.

I could sit there all day gawking. It always amazes me how little curiosity or awe people have. Hardly anybody looks out the window.

While I was sitting, a college guy came over to ask me if I would watch his stuff while he went to his car. I didn’t want to, but I said yes. So I put my book down and my eyes on his laptop, drink, jacket, and bag.

After two songs he still was not back. I turned around a few times to see if he was coming.

Ten minutes and he was still gone. I thought maybe he was part of an experiment by a Psychology or Sociology Department to see how long people would continue to watch someone else’s stuff. So I stopped watching and started reading. Finally he came back.

Then a staff member about my age came over to me. He was relaxed and could talk with anybody. He made me feel good and he made me aware that I don’t have that easy-going non-threatening manner that would be helpful to have in these crazy fear filled times.

He asked me what I was reading. I showed him the cover. It was in Spanish. He said the simple title perfectly. I was embarrassed that my accent is not as good as his, then he said he speaks Portuguese but not Spanish.

He was impressed I was reading Spanish. I told him I read it pretty well, but I usually need a dictionary. I said for this book though, I’m not using the dictionary because I pretty much understand it. I said at home I’m reading a story about contemporary Mexico, but there is so much slang a paper dictionary is not enough. I told him I use an online dictionary, but sometimes that does not work so I Google the word or phrase.

He impressed me. He wasn’t hurried or worried. When I work I usually hurry and worry. I’m trying to be calm and not worry, but the more improvement I make, the more overwhelmed I become because there is a lot of tightness inside that can’t wait to get out.

We are a tight society. Don’t you think? I was thinking of all the nice coffee shops there are. The companies try to make the shops fashionable. The staff tries to be cool. But everybody sits in tightness on their computer, never talking to the guy next to him or looking out the window at the sky or trees or the stranger passing. I’m tight too, but at least I look out the window and make eye contact.

There is always music on at the coffee shops I go to. But even though it’s supposed to make people feel good, it distracts them from what’s going on inside and it encourages people not to look at or talk to the people next to them.

If a woman came in with her kids and started dancing with them, or a young guy came in with his girlfriend and they started dancing, the manager would tell them to stop. That’s what I mean by a tight society. “We might get sued if you fall.” “We don’t have a dance permit.”

Last night was a full moon. I could see it through the blinds, but I was too agitated to open them or go outside to watch.

After noticing it a few more times I finally said, you’ve got to calm down and look at it. So I opened the blinds to look. It was incredible. I could see the face of the man in the moon. All the craters and mountains.

It was peaceful and beautiful. I realized how disconnected I am from what is important. I didn’t look two minutes, but it was important for my soul and my mind that I did.

I’ll never forget the time we were walking down the big street in your neighborhood. The moon was out and so were a lot of people. I said ”Look at the moon,” but you had already seen it. You said it always amazes you that when you walk when the moon is out, that you are the only one looking at it.

The other night I was going to my Spanish meet-up group. I hadn’t been in a long time. The full moon was up and the air was cool with no wind. It was incredible. I kept turning my head to look at it. I wanted to stop and watch. The weather was so good I could have sat in the park I was passing by for two hours. But I wanted to get to the group.

The meeting wasn’t so great. I understood more than I ever did, but I still have a hard time speaking, especially when I am tired like I usually am when I go.

I told dad I regretted not watching the moon. It was a Summer night in January. If this was thirty years ago, I would have raved about the moon to the group. But I didn’t even think of it.

One night when I lived in the South Area I got home from a dance. It was Summer and there was a full moon. It was incredibly beautiful. I was incredibly lonely. It was too beautiful to go to bed so I sat in the driveway watching it, wishing I had a woman.

It would have been great to sit on the lawn with a woman I loved and not say anything, then go inside later to fuck. It’s too bad our society does not have public service messages on the night of the full moon, telling men now’s the time to hammer your wife, and telling women it’s a great night to be pounded.

Well Jim, I wish I were married so I had someone to share my lunacy with. I wish you had had someone who saw God in the crescent moon like you did.

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, September 8

Dear Jim,

It´s a beautiful Friday morning in Sacto. The killer heat is over, but it is still warm and the breeze is nice.

I´m outside at a table at my favorite coffee shop. At the other end is a minister who almost looks like a priest. His collar is different than a priest´s collar. He is talking with a guy he seems to have just met. Whether the meeting was arranged or not, I do not know.

I wish I had men to talk with. Last night I went to dinner with my neighbor, my friend.

He introduced himself to me when he moved in three years ago. He´s from Vietnam. We go to dinner once a week.

Last night he wanted me to watch a movie with him that he had already seen. So I did. He could not figure it out.

He brought his laptop over to watch it. He sat on the floor against the bed. I sat two feet from him in my beach chair as we looked at the laptop sitting on my folding chair.

It felt natural. I could have sat with him all night. I wish I felt a male camaraderie with other men like I do with him.

At work men never talk with me first. It pisses me off and breaks my heart.

It´s women who talk to me first. I appreciate the outgoingness of one woman. Other women talk with me because they know how to build relationships. They know I do not fit in. I appreciate their maturity, their adultness, to reach out to me.

The guys at work talk to each other, but they don´t talk to me unless I talk to them first. Even though they enjoy each other, I don´t think of their relationships as having male energy. I think of them as having gay energy or women energy.

The movie we watched was about a woman who cheated on her husband, got dumped by him, was not forgiven when she asked to be, then got dumped by the new guy. When she was asking for forgiveness and explaining herself, he husband said, ¨I would have listened to you then, but I do not want to hear it now. You lost your gamble.¨

I saw so much of myself in her. Her indecision. Her inability to find or make her place in the world. Her painful longing.

The expressions on her face were incredible. I don´t like movies, but I could have watched her forever.

I felt her pain, the pain of her husband too. I don´t think she had the confidence to get her life together after the divorce.

She was distraught throughout the movie. It sounded like me. Her lover said, ¨You´re in a permanent state of restlessness.¨ Just like me. Remember the letter you wrote about telling your colleague about my wanderings? You referred to me as a restless American, but in a good way.

She was telling her lover that she always has a dream of being in an airport and not being able to get out. Her lover says, ¨You mean you missed your flight?¨ She says, ¨No. I just can´t get out.¨

I´m reading Don Quixote. He is a fool just like the woman in the movie. She wanted romance. Don Quixote had a romantic image of himself – saving the world, being a hero. He saw things that were not there.

I see myself in everything that I have been reading and watching. Like you used to say, ¨Direct address. Direct address.¨

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko