Catching a bus out of a Costa Rican beach town can be a trying experience. No real schedule…as many people as I ask about the next bus is about how many different answers I will get. One book just won’t do – I suggest taking two. Feeling a slippage in my wit and wisdom meter the other day, I picked out The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain and The Wit and Wisdom of Oscar Wilde. I think the text books for my self-taught course were wise choices.
I read when I’m walking…I read while I’m waiting for buses, horses, tides, and for the Philosopher Red to get out of his AA meeting. Yes, the red-hooded one has finally realized that his insect eating habit has gotten out of control. He has admitted he is powerless, and has decided to seek the help of a higher power. Good for him…and really good for me. Maybe meetings will help him identify a few other of the addictive problems he is overpowered by as well.
I thinks he’s feeling a little ashamed of himself. He has told me that I should come along to meetings with him…that walking around reading two books at a time is an indication that I have a problem. I don’t agree with that. It’s a strategy I’ve developed over time, traveling or waiting or walking with two books, going back and forth between the two. When the words and ideas begin to blend together they become a fuzzy blur…then they start to re-constitute in my imagination. The wit and wisdom stay, but they start to come out my mouth in my own words, with little indication that I am standing on the shoulders of giants, two masters of biting, one-line social commentary.
A bus did eventually come, and I hopped a ride down to Pedro’s Surf Shop, which is where the AA and NA meetings are held in this little sand box of a town, as The Philosopher Red likes to call my home for now.
So, I’m standing outside of the Pedro’s Surf Shop and Anonymous meeting complex, when an old friend, Maxie Khan, comes out of Pedro’s and tells me that the Anonymous group has invited The Philosopher Red to leave, and he’s obliged them with his absence.
I find this hard to believe, since my non-ordinary philosopher friend rarely obliges anyone, and usually breaks something if asked to leave anywhere. Then Maxie tells me he’s here to fix a broken door, pick up some damaged furniture, and smooth things over with Pedro. Maxie owns just about everything in this town.
Now I’m beginning to believe.
So, it’s off to find The Philosopher Red. I might be able to calm him down enough to mitigate the damage he will inflict on my condo, if that’s where he’s headed. Luckily, Maxie tells me that the insect addict was ranting about an ants’ nest he had seen on the way to the meeting, which gives me some relief…but how wild will he be once he gets a belly full of those ants?
I start up the road, skirting the horses of the cowboys still in the meeting. Cowboys here in Guanacaste work hard, they play hard, and they drink hard. And they park their horses wherever they please.
Hot, humid tropical countries are known for being laid back…for taking it easy…for going with the flow. This is not how Maxie Kahn operates, and it’s certainly not how The Philosopher Red rolls. I hope the two of them never get together, especially since the teenaged revolutionary Marie hijacked the red-robed philosopher’s revolution with her reincarnation of Feminists United to Suppress the Slaughter, or F.U.S.S., as they’re commonly referred to since last I reported on their activities. People here are in fear…I can feel it in the air…I sensed it as I walked by the horses. There seems to be no quarter or creature large or small that F.U.S.S. hasn’t thrown into a panic. But I carry on, as I always do. I figure if The Philosopher Red is down by the treeline rooting out a nest of ants, the easiest way to find him will be to sit down on a rock I know out by the tide line and wait…let him come to me.
That’s the Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde effect kicking in…becoming wiser – wise enough to not go after the insect-eating maniac friend of mine. And, hopefully I’ll be a little wittier when I do find him – witty enough to amuse him into not breaking up my condo, drinking and eating my refrigerator bare, or holding a F.U.S.S. action coordinating committee meeting on my porch while I’m trying to finish my books. Good luck to me.
The giants whose shoulders I stand on are memorialized everywhere, in print, photographs, or statuary, or gravestone…
I’m beginning to feel the breath of mortality…and my red-hooded maniac of a friend is the cause of this, I think. His views on determinism are not very encouraging. And, if I know Maxie Kahn, like I think I do, I’ll end up in a piece of ground that he holds the title to. And, if I know The Philosopher Red, like I know I do, he’ll be standing on more than my shoulders. And he’ll be munching on one of his insect specialties, spitting the hard, crunchy parts all over the place, making my final resting place as much of a mess as he’s made of my condo.
I should probably take a personal inventory of my positive thought process…
Pura Vida, as they say around here.