The next part of this story is hard to tell because I liked Daniel and he was always the perfect gentleman and host while I was there. Although known as “The Geriatric Pussy Hound,” to me his conversations with the ladies were totally polite and respectful – friendly inquiries about lives led and lives to come. What red-blooded male, especially one in his mid-70s, should be excoriated for preferring his female patrons for conversation or for favor of an ice cream cone?
It was just after he bought Flower Girl (my name for her) an ice cream that I re-joined the conversation. Plopping myself down in the sand between their hammocks, I horned in on the joint he had just rolled for her – still unaware of The Rule. And, of course, marijuana being the truth serum it is, he soon came to realize we were not brother and sister. We were talking all things nothing like brother and sister when he steered the conversation towards Chicago. Chicago is his home town. He use to meet his dates by the Lions in front of the Art Museum. Chicago is one I can do too: “Yah, both my parents are U of C grads; I was born while my dad was still getting his masters.” Flower Girl smiled and wanted to hear more. Daniel figured I wasn’t going away, and apparently not wanting the competition, just up and left.
Alone I had a chance to ask her how old she was and told her I thought she was closer to 29, she was so sophisticated. See, just like him, trying to impress the ladies.
Later that night (still my first day) I heard about The Rule. After the sunset I was “curbing” with my men friends, Mike, Bo, Spence, Joe and Eric, and telling everybody the glorious details of my first day, but when I got to horning-in on the joint, one after another started exclaiming what a faux pas that was and to expect to find my stuff by the curb when I got back. “No,” I said, ‘it seemed all right. We didn’t make any quick exit – just finished his joint and watched the sun set.” No lo creo they said. Nobody had broken The Rule and not been thrown-out.
Shortly after that I was started on another blunder. I noticed a group of Mexican men had gathered near where we were sitting on the curb drinking beer. They seemed to be doing the same thing we were doing, so I said “Donde estan las damas?” Mike immediately got up and left, followed quickly by most the others. I realized the men were responding in Spanish I could barely understand that there were women available for a price. In terrible Spanish I tried to explain, “No, No! Solamente una pregunta acerca de las damas normales, su amigas, not las prostitutes.” Where was a Spanish dictionary when I needed it?! Bo and Joe had stayed to head-off serious trouble and said come on Andy; let’s go. “Just another gringo faux pas,” they later joked.
Tomorrow: Not Everything is Great