Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Marvin Gaye, a Homeless Guy, and Jack's Best Valentine's Day Moment

True story... Possibly my best story.  The year was 2005.  I still had hair on my head with only moderate signs of thinning.  I still drove a yellow jeep.  I still worked at the Olive Garden.  I was dateless that year, so on this particular Valentine's Day, I decided to visit a coworker at work and give her a rose because I knew that it'd make her happy.

It was a beautiful day out.  Gorgeous day, so I took the top down off the jeep and drove up to north Austin to visit my friend.  After delivering a single yellow rose and giving my friend a hug, I drove back down to south Austin and got stuck in crappy south Austin traffic.  And then magic happened.  (An awesome story after the jump.)

I was at a red light at Westgate and the 290 access road, and I was blaring my music.  Loud.  Really fucking loud.  The song?  Marvin Gaye's "I Heard it Through the Grapevine."  Always a favorite, but it especially spoke to me given the context of my dateless evening.  And when I listen to music in the car, I sing... and have a tendency to move.  I become totally oblivious to the world judging me and ignore the fact that a big dude in a yellow jeep is the opposite of invisible.

So, here I am, at the red light... being an ass.  And then a homeless guy approached.  I didn't see him coming.  For the record, I don't like homeless people.  They scare me.  After old people, homeless people are the closest thing we have to zombies.  The only times I give money to homeless people are if I have a strong feeling that I might get attacked.  Again, the top's down, windows are open, and there's nowhere to hide.

So, he comes to my window, but I'm too embarrassed to feel threatened.  He was a white dude with some stuble.  Short hair.  Underbite.  He looked like Popeye (the sailor man) if Popeye stopped working out his forearms.  I reached for the volume knob and turned it down as I was fully prepared for him to ask me for change... but instead he tells me to turn it back up.   So, I turned it up, because why the fuck not?  And he starts jamming with me.  I shit you not, he's dancing next to the car.  And I return to my state of singing.  I'm singing and bobbing my head, and he's whistling and dancing around.  Me and Popeye the Homeless Guy are jamming at the red light.  This has to go on for a couple minutes.  MINUTES.

When the light turns green, I reach to give him change because I figure that's what he wanted in the first place... and, hell, he earned it... But he says not to worry about it and scuttles off.  I drive away knowing that me and this dude just put on a show for rush hour traffic.

Though I've spent February 14th with some wonderful people, this is my favorite Valentine's Day memory.

Jack is the co-creator and co-contributer to Motorcycle Sidecar Drama.  Jack enjoys live music, writing, long walks on the beach, and chillin'.  Jack's ideal woman looks like Daphne from Scooby Doo, smells like fresh-baked cookies, and really enjoys making sandwiches.

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