Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Scotch-Guarded Hummingbird

We have ONE friend. (Over).

What? You thought I had more to add? Nope. That was all. ...

OK, fine. You want details. His name is Pete Gillis (a/k/a Sweet Pete; a/k/a Prince of Port Townsend; a/k/a Hamlet - Ham, for short). You may remember when we visited him a while back. Enough details for ya? No? Damn, you're demanding.

Well, I say he is our ONE friend because ... he is.

By way of mundane and superficial friend qualifications, Pete is the only person who calls just to say: "Hello", to say "I love you", to say "How 'bout dem 'Phins/Seahawks/Eagles"; to simply check in with us. Not to say: "I need a favor", or "Can I borrow your ladder?", or "Do you know how to fix this?" In other words, we don't classify him as one of the many "Users & Abusers" in our life. And Pete doesn't only call in response to our calls; he regularly touches base, unprovoked and with no presumption of reward [or intelligent conversation]. [By the way, Users & Abusers? In case you haven't noticed - and you probably haven't because you're all a bunch of self-centered, oblivious assholes - you've been discarded. That's right. I said it. You've been tossed aside like the rest of the garbage we defiantly refuse to recycle just to piss you off. But I digress...]

By way of intriguing and deeper friend qualifications, Pete is a thinker, a, an artist, an artisan, and a lover. A lover of love, life, the ocean, and, most importantly to him, his daughter, Frances. You should hear him talk, well, gush, about her. (We've met the little lady and, after she ordered me to remove my hat, spent a delightful afternoon under her nonpareil spell.)

Untitled poem given to us by Pete Gillis 
And Pete is really a friend to BOTH of us. You know how your mate may have a mate who isn't really your mate? Well, Pete's not that kind of mate. [Though he is a Mate]. He's the kind of mate who'll spend all day enclosing a garage, playing football, building pergolas and manly fires with the dude and then spend all evening drinking wine, reading poetry, and watching movies with the broad. And the dude. He's a poet, a sailor, a cabinetmaker ... [sorry, now I'm singing Steve Miller songs] ... Pete is the Pompatus of Love.


 The Marvelous [and rare] Spatuletail
I pause here because I know he'll probably read this and I don't want to influence his behavior. But I do want him to know how we feel. It is important, to our personal philosophy and lifestyle, that we express these sentiments outwardly, rather than simply between ourselves on any given Sunday [which is when Pete often calls].

Having said that, we always consider Pete the way scientists might observe a rare, believed-to-be-extinct species: with wonder and relief and caution. We ask each other scientificky questions like: "What is he doing here? How does he survive in this environment? What does he eat?" We try to calibrate his wingspan, but dare not touch his wings. We ponder his mating habits, but don't intervene in case he reproduces [again] and more of him are destined to roam Earth. We keep track of his busy-ness and rest cycles, keeping imaginary notes in imaginary journals. We watch and smile and hug each other with the glee of moldy ornithologists beholding the intrusion of a marvelous and rare bird.

And so, given Pete's miraculate [it's my fucking blog, I can make up whatever words I want] conception and remarkable survival, we're loathe to tamper with his existence in any way, lest we tip the gentle balance that has let him hang between our world and that of the soul-sucking, egotistical, pieces of shit over there. And, being the very smart scientists we are, we know existence-tampering comes in many forms, even in words, descriptions, accolades, insults.

But now I feel like I need not worry about that. Because after all, we're talking about Pete here. And nothing we say will actually change who he is.

You see, one of the sweet traits of his weird species is na·ïve·té. Yes, Pete is naive. And before you blithering idiots rush off thinking stupid shit, I will provide a simple explanation. People often confuse na·ïve·té with stu·pid·i·té. We do not. To wit and whatnot, while stu·pid·i·té is defined [by Merriam-Webster, no less] as the state of being stupid [I know, a stupid definition, but hey ...], na·ïve·té is defined as the state of being naive. So see? Totally different.

I can tell you need further education. When I say Pete is naive, I mean he is guileless and innocent, open and trusting. That's not to say he isn't aware of the thievery, trickery and tragedy of humanity - he is. He's not STUPID, stupid. It's to say he's incapable of absorbing and/or reflecting those negative aspects of the other species around him. It's like he's Scotch-Guarded against it. In this, he is very much Ben's brother. They're both like Scotch-Guarded Hummingbirds. Beautiful, mesmerizing, fleeting, rare. And stain-resistant.

So, I can say whatever I want about him, including heaping tons of love, praise, and respect on him, without fear of changing him into a conceited asshole or into a self-conscious waif. He's Scotch-Guarded against even praise (but not gluten, apparently).


Where was I? Oh yeah. We have this ONE friend. (Over).

1 comment:

RainCityYVR said...

I know this scotch-guarded hummingbird.
Or, erh, I knew him as Peter.
Last memory: his arms around my neck with his face & head squished tight on my neck & shoulder.


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