They were right. I did look like a homeless, depressing version of Willy Wonka. I was wearing a knee length purple coat that usually gets commented on for making me look like the Joker or Prince, but this time I was also handing out free samples of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Gum that I grabbed from the free samples box at work. By “free samples box” I mean a box of free samples came in and we’re not going to give them out, so I thought I’d bring them to the street. Not that I believe in the product, but I definitely don’t believe in waste. Ironic considering the absurd amount of packaging I kept having to hand out with each piece of gum.
I have a beard.
Later I was introduced that way at the Moth – and though it still takes some getting used to to recognize that my most distinguishing feature is distinctly masculine – they are right. I do have a beard. It’s not a trimmed beard, or a stable beard, or a beard that any self respecting human being would don in their attempts to look attractive. But it’s a beard. It’s distinctive. It’s what helped me change my Willy Wonka look into the much more interesting manic depressive hermit/hobo Willy Wonka look that attracted the comments of others.
They were right.
I fell in love with a girl once in as much as I don’t believe in love but saying love now makes this story more interesting. I fell in love with her because she was really good at describing my writing. We had made out. Then we hadn’t talked for a while. I shouldn’t have been in love with her because we hadn’t talked in a while, but I was focusing on what happened two sentences ago. I was pulling off one of my stints of homelessness but friendfullness at the time and was crashing on friends couches before I moved back to Maine. The weather was just warming up in Minnesota but I had to carry any layers I thought I might need that day because I had no home to go back to and change. I was wearing the same knee length purple coat that I had been allowed to take from my high school costume closet that I described earlier. I also was worried about my inability to brush my teeth because of my lack of a sink to go home to so I was carrying a toothbrush in my mouth in case some spare water graced my mouth with its presence. I also had just bought a cane because it was $2. I was now attempting to learn cool cane tricks I could do casually as I walked. “Attempting” being the key word here.
I didn’t have a beard.
I had half a beard.
I had shaved half my face while leaving the other half fully homelessized. That’s when I ran into the girl I loved for her ability to describe my writing well and her willingness to one time make out with me. With a toothbrush in my mouth, a cane spinning wildly around my extended arm, a purple coat wrapped tightly around most of my body, and pubic-looking hair growing on half of my face I said “Hi.”
I didn’t go well.
She had described my writing as “chewing a fully wrapped Starburst without the satisfaction of feeling like a good kisser.” I live like I write.