Sunday, February 06, 2011

And for today's work, you get...a potato

Remember Harley? He's back at The Ranch.

"Hey, can I come over and help you guys with any work you have in return for some food?" Harley emailed Big Dog a week or so ago. Harley is now on social security, but he's trying to save up for a car. It's hard to live in Southern California with only a bicycle for transportation. He still has no water or electricity in his house and still spends his entire day at the library, but with his small income, he can stay at a motel every so often to shower. Which was why when we picked him up at the San Luis Obispo train station Friday afternoon, he smelled better than the last time he was here.

But I realize now what it is about Harley that drives me crazy. He is too starved for company, for someone to talk to. And because, normally, his entire social life is a series of casual conversations with strangers, he is the King of Small Talk.

What really gets me about Harley is not that he's too used to not working and a few hours is the most he can put in. It's not even that at 3pm, he's done for the day and into his first beer. Nor that he's already gone through our entire stash of beer. Nor that he won't pick up after himself one bit.

"It's his constant yakking about nothing and sucking up all the thoughts out of my mind that tires me out!" I explained to Big Dog last night. And that brings out the worst in me. It's impossible for me to feel charitable and I wind up disliking him more for making me this way. For making me want to tell him that if we are feeding him in return for labor, then today's pay will be a potato.

Oh god, I am such a mean-spirited bitch. But maybe I will be feeling more charitable at the end of this day, after a few hours to myself while The Boys go off to T's house for Super Bowl and bowls of pozole.

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