"A blast from the past"...I pretty much hate that expression. Yet, its the closest I can come when trying to fit two people, two unique individuals into the same blog post. Backing up. Understand that over the years I meet a lot of people. A wild a wooly pageant of characters, unsavory types and freaks. These are usually my favorites encounters over a given year. And over the years I try to stay in touch with the best. Some that are deserving of continued contact fall through cracks, victims of the distractions of daily life that pile up into weeks, months, then years. Some I struggle in desperation to keep the pulse going. Concerted effort is sometimes required. Rarely have good ones completely slipped away under the dark waters of time. There is one out there in the Rocky Mountains that I will continue to try for a few more years before giving up. For the moment, I send semi-occasional missives and wait patiently for a reply.
John and Charles are two of them, the people that I will stay in touch with as time wears away at my life. Returning from the first foray into Latin America, a.k.a. the motorcycle trip thru Central America in 2008-09, I met John and another guy named Tom on the road in northern Costa Rica. We were all on a schedule to get back the U.S. so we rode, every day for 8 days through 7 countries, stopping for gas, food and to sleep. Our tires rolled over 3000 miles until we closed on the US/Mexico border and went separate ways. Corporate team building exercises try to mimic the intensity of this kind of situation in canned off-site events. Good luck with that.
Johnny B dipped on and off my radar for the next few years. He dropped out of contact for reasons of his own, and given glimpses of his complicated time over the past few years, I don't feel slighted, not one bit. Because its so off the wall modern I will mention that at one point we were reconnected because I gave him a picture that he used for a nom de plume Facebook account...which Facebook used to suggest as friend for me. I hope you can follow that. So, it had been 4 years of digital contact and I figure it time to catch up with my out of touch Florida boys. When you are already gone for over 8 months, what is another week or two on the road? After a stop in Gainesville I pointed the moto to Deerfield Beach.
Johnny doesn't realize it, but he is made of the stuff that they make movies about. Yeah, he is that cool. " I don't wanna die without any scars." (Fight Club) comes to mind.
Charles goes way back to my early teen years, then connections jumped every 5 years. Before I knew it 10 years slipped by since I was in northern Florida and pressed the flesh, wasted a few brain cells and reconnected with Mr. Counts.
As cantankerous as he is deep, Charles is a soul to be reckoned with. Whatever he is into at the time almost certainly annoys me. It is only later that I realize how 'fashion forward' he is and that quirky the thing he was into is now breaking everywhere...but much later. When the final apocalypse comes and dark and turbulent waters are flooding everywhere, Charles go out into the chaos, strip naked, press his palms together and chanting ancient words. His body will simmer and glow, then radiate blue light. With a loving gaze he will connect one last time with those around him, then rise up into the air and shot off into space, to be received, with more sparks of life fleeing the dying planet, by the mother ship. Yeah something like that could happen to Charles.
I got to see him in Gainesville on entry in to Florida, then a second visit as I headed north, stopping in Daytona/Deland. From there I had a couple days to get north and a few old friends to check in with.