I am at Marie and Winter's house, a 3 bedroom adobe among a group of varied dwellings clustered around a sandy drive, where I am parked, just a few miles south of the historic down town. These two lovely young women like to take in travelers through Couch Surfing, a great web site via which travelers from all over the world share their homes with each other. Last night, my first here, the girls hosted Atlas, a documentary film maker, David and Felix, blokes from England on a whirlwind 6 week tour of the states before they settle into conventional life in London, and three local transplants to Santa Fe, Gaby with an open a, as in ah, here four years since coming from Arkansas, Hoku, a native of the area, and G-G, also a native who's parents are local artists. Hoku attempted some card tricks. I picked a card, but suspected a force via a slip cut (magician's lingo for a technique with which I have familiarity from my own teenage wizardry), and when instructed to return the card and shuffle with Hoku's back turned, I instead slipped the card into my shirt pocket. Atlas saw me and we silently giggled over our instantaneous conspiracy. Hoku of course could not find my card, and I felt terrible and mugged a bit as I took it from my shirt pocket. Hoku then, somewhat hesitantly, attempted another miracle, and this time I resolved to cooperate and exude wonder and bafflement, except Hoku lost track of what he was doing and the trick petered out with no conclusion... I felt foiled at my attempt to help him out, so I asked for another, anticipating that the third would be charmed. Hoku forged ahead bravely, and somehow I selected the same card as before, and I marveled at that out loud, but he seemed as bewildered at that coincidence as I was. Finally, he brought this last trick to a conclusion and we all laughed and smiled, with some awkwardness lingering in the air. Soon, I played a few rounds of darts with G-G, only managing to get one or two into the target and not the wall, and Hoku stepped in and threw pretty good shots in rapid succession, which seemed to put him back in good standing with G-G. Boys are weird.
Marie and Winter work a few jobs each, at pizza places, plant nurseries, and so forth, to make ends meet. Marie, the older at about 30, and with a resemblance to Jennifer Anniston, holds the lease for the place and is the driving force in the group, without seeming matriarchal. Winter, in her early twenties, with large brown eyes and the kind of lower lip over which wars were waged in earlier times, is exploring her powers and also learning to paint. She also plays drums; her kit is set up in the living room.
I also met a neighbor in the compound, Sherry, who restores tapestries. We had a drink at 8 or so, I showed her my blog, she showed me the line up for the Kentucky Derby, which she and her brother soon started discussing at length on the phone, and I went back to the party at Marie and Winter's.
Morning now. I made eggs, sent out some Couch Surfing requests for Taos, and I'm going with Winter to the Puppet Parade here in Santa Fe.
I used to live in New York City. I designed homes for the tycoons of Wall Street; Park Avenue, Scarsdale, Greenwich. It was great fun. And, after years of saving up for a down payment, I was just about to buy my own little place in Fleetwood, half an hour north of the city, when the economy fell apart. Architects are like canaries in a coal mine when the economy slows, and true to form, there were massive layoffs in firms all over the country. Devastation of the profession. So, I decided to try to find something else to do for a while. I bought a 23' school bus and I'm on the road to see if I can figure out what that might be.