“I’m half artist, half business man.” I heard him say as I was clearing one of the tables on the busy patio. He sparked my interest. I took my time walking back inside but he did not elaborate. Instead they began talking about their respective diets. I was not interested in their food intake and so I took the dirty plates inside and began making stories for the half business man, half artist. Maybe he sold vacuums, but was waiting for his big break as a sculptor. Of course, he would rather be the sculptor because that is what he’s passionate about, right? Maybe he has a warehouse next to the ocean that he rents out to people for big events. It is good for wedding receptions and roller derby practice and beer tastings. There is a brewery right next door. He paints on the side. He loves to paint, but he also loves all the interactions he gets to have because of his beloved warehouse. He owned his own book store that sold only graphic novels. He wrote and illustrated his own on the side hoping one day he would be revered within the graphic novel community.
I once asked Book, “Why don’t you try to be an artist and make your living that way?” I thought it was odd that he would put so much time into something if he didn’t want it to be his life. He studied art in Texas. He was respected. He was good.
He told me that he loved antique selling, and even further that he loved his life.
He was able to fall in love with pieces of art.
He loved beauty, women, art, museums, learning, passion, inspiration, fashion, music.
He missed the days when his city was country.
He loved that curved line of a woman when she lies on her side, creating hills with her body.
He admired those artists that made up his record collection. He opened his day, having breakfast with one scratchy, sultry voice and ended it with a hard, strong one.
He also got incredibly excited when he found an attractive old chair.
He was happy. Half artist, half business man.
This man was a friend of a friend. I didn’t know his name. He said from across the table, “Taylor, you really think that we like our job?” His voice was booming and condescending. I hated him. He had no idea.
The sun was beating down on me as I walked down 25th street towards my house. I looked at the harbor. It is so clear I can see the rainbow the containers created. I dialed the number Google gave me. A man answered. “Hello?”
“Hi my name is Taylor Simmons and I just got back from Thailand where I found out that I love to write and I want to move to Portland and I looked up some magazines in the city and you were one of them and I would really like to write and I was wondering if you were hiring I’m sorry for giving you my whole life story.”
“What kind of job?”
“Any kind of job I’m just starting and would feel lucky to have any kind of job in the writing industry.”
“Well I am always looking for new writers for the magazine. You can send over a bio and any published articles. My email address is listed on the website under the editor contact information.”
He didn’t even giggle. He was completely composed. I was near tears. Google failed to mention it was the editor’s phone number. I wondered how many aspiring writers called him a day blubbering at him. I felt foolish.
I passed two men standing on the side walk ranting about the color of the house across the street. It made me dislike them.
I walked. I sobbed. I giggled. Emotions washed through me quickly. First frustration then humor then anger then content.
The house was beige. What’s wrong with beige?