By Boyd Allen

I was thinking …

Last weekend, Jessie “had” to go to a bachelorette party in Cabo. Poor thing.

I had to go to Medford to pick her up because that’s where we keep the airplanes.

Soon, the Crescent City airport will have planes again, but I enjoy our forays over the bump to Medford.

I went a day early to urban hike, stare into windows, wonder why people live where they live, see street art and get a little creeped out when strangers followed me.

A man on the town square sang classic rock. Entire songs.

I turned away to follow other voices, but his Mustang Sally trailed me for blocks.

Medford is scary-lonely on a Sunday. No cars, few people, windy gray and cold. I walked miles of parking lots and railroad tracks, empty businesses.

Then voices, and laughter.

The laughter lead me to Beerworks where a bunch of lip-pierced and tattooed bohemians smoked tobacco pipes and argued politics and art.

The women had neon hair. One had on a-long-jacket.

Jackson Creek Pizza was next door.

At times, I owned nothing and made less but could always find pizza money.

After hiking a few paved miles, my stomach was growling, and I was a little light-headed. I ordered a pizza to go and headed next door. Inside and slow-sipping a beer, I watched the crew outside.

They talked and gestured and laughed loudly, blew huge smoke clouds.

I value those who don’t fit in, the artists who look outside themselves for at least a period of their lives.

Artists have enriched my life with points of view different from my own but given in forms that made them real.

Looking for that point of view and creating the proper form do not come from contentment but create their own joy.

The men all wore black, and some sported big, Oregon beards. One patted what I thought was the ugliest dog ever – before I realized it was a goat.

Made my day.

I left when my favorite, a writer-type guy with slick black hair and a goatee got up to leave, put his Edgar Allan Poe doll into his pocket and let the sauce cups slide off his pizza box as he hugged his friends.

An old friend, George Skinner, once accused me of being a fringie, one of those types who meander always on the fringe of “normal” society. I guess he was right.

We all value home and security, but not all conversations have to lead to investments, insurance and babies.

While Jessie was toasting her new sister on the beach, I was where I am most at home. Alone and on the fringe, thinking my own thoughts and wandering back to the winters of my discontent.

Reach Boyd C. Allen at ballen@currypilot.com

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