When I Went To Lunch With Blaze And He Got Two Sides Of Fries

He told me that I was serious and that I used to be all about having fun. Interesting, because I don’t think of that pre-Boston year (post Amy break-up) as fun. But now my life was about growing up. He was damn perceptive, this Blaze. We went into a book store where a lady told him to keep writing. We were walking back to the car after lunch (two sides of fries) and I pointed to a bookstore across the street. I told him I should try to buy his book, EPISODES: My Life as I See It. That was no problem for him, his mom’s friend worked there. Inside, this friend urged him to keep writing as a young girl searched the store for EPISODES. I echoed that shit and said that he was like more important that 99.9 percent of the writers who get paid regularly to write. Fuck it, he’s better that 100%. Who the hell is more important a writer than Blaze Ginsberg? I have no clue.

I was a bit protective of him when I went to his house, at the start of our day. His mom was a writer too. She waitressed into her thirties but now made $ as a full-time writer which is the dream. The protective part came when I asked Blaze about his book at her house and she hissed “Don’t just grab the book off the shelf, Blaze.” I wanted to kinda say to her Hmmm, maybe it’s not a big deal, maybe I really wanted to see Blaze’s EPISODES, Relax lady. Sure it was my fault that I never got around to purchasing it online when I was in Boston because I was an extraordinarily flakey pothead, but that book was important shit and I wanted to see it.  A little intimidated by the son, hey lady? Blaze was the shit. I still haven’t read his book because I’m a fucking loser even though I know it’s probably the best thing on the planet. It’s his life in episodes, as in TV episodes, based on sitcoms, loosely- or based on the sitcom format. I don’t know, I’m not even going to begin wondering how brilliant it is, I just have to read it.

In Boston, I asked him to write something for my blog. Later, I went to edit it, “chop it up,” you know, play editor like a big boy, cuz Blaze was the only writer I could edit. I was about to chop certain words and things that I didn’t think worked but sure enough they did because he used like the 2nd and 3rd dictionary definitions of words, words whose first definition’s I was unaware of. And I’m not talking refrain and refrain. He was a brilliant writer, probably the most brilliant little modern piece I’ve seen and when people nudge him to write he just insists he wants a more normal, steady job. Something regular. I asked him if he knows anything about the finances of his book. Maybe he has enough in the bank from EPISODES that he doesn’t need a normal job. He could write, you know, what he was born to do. Do this world a service Blaze! Show ’em who’s boss. Who’s really mentally challenged or whatever? He knew nothing of his finances. I was suspicious about his mother and the rest of his family. Protective over Blaze. But everyone is protective. It’s easy to be protective. His mom was protective of him when I went to pick him up. She didn’t have to meet and chat with me, but she did.

The original plan was to go to the beach. We went looking for a spot and while we were driving around the lot I observed a supremely hairy man getting in or out of his truck. He was a stocky, hairy fella. I laughed a bit. Told Blaze that perhaps a man like that should trim himself or cover up if he plans on parading the coast. I was stretching for conversation, one of those things I knew was stupid as it was coming out of my mouth. What an asshole I am. We kept driving around the parking lot. I was in my mom’s hideous huge white Dodge Durango. I expressed disdain for this sort of activity, driving around, looking for a fucking space in a busy parking lot. I didn’t even have a license at the time. Blaze’s mom would have been furious had she known I had no license. I hated the DMV. I was home six weeks or so before I got my license.

Eventually Blaze suggested that maybe the beach wasn’t gonna happen. I was cool with not going. I looked at his arms an noticed they were pretty damn hairy. The striking difference between Blaze pre and post-Boston was his look. He definitely looked like a skinny boy when I left for New England. He was 20. He worked at the grocery store in the same shopping center as my Starbucks. He wore his pants really high and of course his name was Blaze. I chatted him up when he came in. He entered the coffee shop mostly bored, looking to satisfy something- hard to do in a Starbucks when you don’t drink coffee. But there aren’t too many options in grocery store shopping centers. He usually settled on one of the stupid over-priced fruity sodas. His disdain for his bagging job was far more articulate than my disdain for my job. I thought he was so cool and he acted nonplussed, which of course made me pursue the friendship more. I  put in the effort to be sincere. He doesn’t give a shit that I have an autistic cousin. I’m sure everyone has an autistic something or other. He’s probably sick of people wanting to believe THEY are the insider, THEY can relate. He’s probably sick of the patronization. I kept at it and eventually we were pals. Pals enough that I talked to him a handful of times during the six years I lived in Boston.

Upon my return a few months ago, I noticed that his hairline had receded quite a bit and he’d gained weight. His stubble was thicker and, like I said, his forearms were pretty damn Hairy. Again, I’m an asshole.

When we left the parking lot, we decided to go to lunch. A girl he had a crush on worked at a mediocre Mexican restaurant on La Jolla Village Drive. Blaze always had crushes. We ain’t much different. Maybe I’m fuckin autistic. He told me once that he didn’t wanna date an autistic girl or special needs girl and he hated it when people suggested otherwise. Made sense to me.

Sadly, his crush wasn’t present at the Mexican restaurant. He never gave up hope though. He was looking pretty much the whole time. His gaze was always above the table, out toward the front of the restaurant, around toward the server’s station. Ultimately I realized that his crush wasn’t only the reason for our lunch venue, but perhaps the whole day. I don’t remember how this crush began. I think he had simply fallen for the waitress a couple of months prior while eating there. He ordered two sides of fries. Chips and salsa were free. I had eaten and was broke so all I ordered was a coke. We were our waitress’s nightmare. The table was full of free chips and cheap fries. Whatever. This was Blaze, he was cool as fuck. Autistic. Our bill was like 12 bucks.

I asked Blaze if I was different from before I left and he said with a lot of expression that I sure was. Oh man was I. He told me that before, I was all about having fun but now it was all about growing up. Everything was so serious now. He was good. Blaze was good. It was all perception, mood, body language and he was dead-on. Most other people would have said the opposite because their analysis of me would have been based on what my current plans were. Upon coming home it wasn’t about going back to school or what I was going to do for a real job, but I talked about my “writing partner” and writing screenplays. Silliness. I was still frustratingly silly. The opposite of getting serious. Before I moved to Boston, it was all about “getting away.” I was still in my twenties. To me, at the time, it felt serious. Or in retrospect, I like to remember it as serious. My break-up with Amy sent me into a depression and life was all about picking myself up and getting things in order to move to Boston. I think of it as a serious time. But Blaze said back then I was all about fun. Having fun. Now I was so serious. For me, life was now all about GO GO GO and growing up, he told me.

They made a banner for me. My Starbucks coworkers. A Goodbye Aaron banner. I already felt old then, at 26. They were like 20. A couple of them were still in high school. But I drove around with them, a Honda CRV, where you can put the back seat all the way down so that you’re just looking up at the sky as you cruise around. Clouds jerk right and left and the tops of trees pop in and out of view. I enjoyed that. Damn. Why so serious? Shit got real I guess. Blaze knows. Blaze knows.

Read The Holy Cinemas of California and the other one about Blaze. Also, his website.

Just Another Brief Conversation With Blaze

BLAZE
Hi Aaron it’s Blaze

AARON
Hey man.

BLAZE
I heard about those attacks in Boston. You’re right next to that. I want to make sure you’re okay.

AARON
Oh, thanks. Yeah, I’m okay.

BLAZE
Are all your friends alright?

AARON
Yeah…thanks for asking. How are you?

BLAZE
Ummm, pretty good. I saw a bunch of busses in Torrey Pines the other day and I thought it was a load of people here to see Jesus.

AARON
Oh, no way! They were looking for Jesus?

BLAZE
No, I just thought they were.

AARON
Oh.

BLAZE
So yeah I saw a bunch of tour busses full of these people here to see Jesus and I thought of a speech I’d give them.

AARON
No you didn’t.

BLAZE
Yeah I did. So I thought of this speech and I thought I’d give it to you and you could put it on your blog.

AARON
If you write me a speech from Jesus I guarantee you that I’ll put it on the blog.

BLAZE
Okay, good. You know what? I’ll do that right now, I’ll hang up and email it to you right away.

AARON
Okay. Thanks Blaze.

BLAZE
Well Aaron, I’m glad you’re alright and I hope everything is okay in Somerville. Tell your friends that your friend Blaze says hi and I will go write that and send it right away.

AARON
I’ll do that. See ya Blaze.

It was the cloudy day of Sunday February 3rd 2013. I Blaze Ginsberg, I am taking myself to ride the city bus to Fifteenth Street Beach. As I go I see a murder of tour buses roaming the streets. I think is Jesus Christ back, I think he is?

Jesus’s speech:

Fair people of today,  I have come your way,  I have these things to say-

Hatred is not the way; you have some nerve to hate someone because they are disabled, black, or gay.

People of the Holy Cinemas of California, you have some effrontery to hate this girl because her name is Mercury!  Ye with the least amount of sin cast the first stone; let this girl be at her own.

I have come back to remind, if you want salvation some day, love acceptance and kindness should always be the way,

That is all I have to say, your Wholly Ghost Savvier,
Jesus H. Christ
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Here you can read The Holy Cinemas of California, an older conversation with Blaze. That’s where he references Mercury and stuff.

The Holy Cinemas of California

 

BLAZE

No mom. I don’t know. I can’t talk right now. I’m on the phone. What? Aaron Litchfield from Somerville, Massachusetts. He sends his love. Sorry about that. Did I tell you I took my math final? Brrrrrrr, it’s cold My body is a freaking iceberg.

AARON

Yeah, you did. what grade do you think you got?

BLAZE

I think I got at least a B. I have a good feeling. GEEZ It’s freaking cold out here!

AARON

Good. How cold?

BLAZE

53 degrees. Hey, have you ever worked with someone who reminds you of the bad parts of you?

AARON

Yes, I have.

BLAZE

This girl I work with, she cries at her job all the time. She’s 20 years old. She’s cried at least half a dozen times.

AARON

Where do you work?

BLAZE

The Holy Cinemas of California.

AARON

What’s that?

BLAZE

You haven’t heard of it? It’s this nice, big movie theatre where you just push a button and a server brings beer out to you. Mitt Romney has come in TWICE since I started working there. TWICE. Can you believe that? They’re from Mexico.

AARON

Mitt Romney is from Mexico?

BLAZE

No, the theatres started there.

AARON

Oh.

BLAZE

Anyway, the girl’s name is Mercury! Do you see how ridiculous it is that her name is Mercury!?

AARON

Yes, I do.

BLAZE

Thank you. Thank you. She’s 24 years old and she’s pregnant. MERCURY! C’mon. What would you name your children? Tell me you would never name your child MERCURY! What would you name your children?

AARON

Franklin, Phillip, Jordan for a girl, maybe. Not Mercury.

BLAZE

GOOD! It’s just asking for trouble, naming your child MERCURY. That’s what my grandpa says. It would be torture. Being around her is torture. It’s hinderous.

AARON

Torture? Why?

BLAZE

Oh, because I kind of have a crush on her.

AARON

Oh.

BLAZE

She lost her phone in a theatre once.

You had a girlfriend once, didn’t you?

AARON

I’ve had about two, Blaze. How do you like your job?

BLAZE

Oh, It’s OK. It’s a lot better than the grocery store. That was a terrible place to work. They said all the time that they cared about people with disabilities, but they didn’t. Vons is the last company to care about disabilities, THE LAST.

AARON

Why?

BLAZE

Because if they cared about people with disabilities, they’d have put me on day stock.

AARON

What did they have you do instead?

BLAZE

Collect carts. It was a total bitch. I’d be pushing like a hundred carts and idiot drivers would see me and they’d zoom forward to try to get out of the way in time like “I’m in a hurry asshole and I don’t give a fuck about you!” And I’d have to stop and struggle to get my momentum going again. You know what they should do? They should stop their cars and wait for me, but they don’t. They’re like “FUCK ALL YOU GUYS, I’M GONNA GET WASTED BECAUSE I’M MAD THAT THE CHARGERS LOST, AND I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU!”

Hey, was it hard when you broke up with your girlfriend?

AARON

Yeah.

BLAZE

Really?

Yup.

BLAZE

If I remember correctly, wasn’t she significantly younger than you? Wasn’t she five years younger than you?

AARON

Yes Blaze.

BLAZE

Well, so what did you do, why was it so hard?

AARON

It made me realize how stupid I’d been about everything. Did you read ETHER 12:27? That story is about her. Anyway, I don’t know, I just drove around crying. Work was a nightmare. I tried to call in sick. That’s about the time you met me, when I worked at Starbucks, and you were collecting carts. I tried to call in sick, with depression. Stephanie, you remember her, she was just like “Are you really gonna do this to us Aaron?” It was such a struggle. I’d leave work and get in my car and just cry uncontrollably.

BLAZE

Did you get pulled over?

AARON

…What? Oh, for crying? Haha. No. That would’ve been funny. I only really did it a couple times.

BLAZE

Have you EVER gotten a ticket?

AARON

Yeah a couple.

BLAZE

For what? What did they pull you over for?

AARON

Speeding, registration.

BLAZE

So, you’ve been pulled over two times?

AARON

Oh, I’ve been pulled over maybe ten times, but I only got a couple of tickets.

BLAZE

Oh wow. How did you get out of it?

AARON

I don’t know, I would just act sheepish.

BLAZE

Do you believe in Heaven and God?

AARON

I don’t know, not really.

BLAZE

Oh. Uh. Oh, really? Hmmmm. Really? You don’t believe in Heaven? What’s your explanation for that, for not believing in God?

AARON

Well I’m agnostic I suppose.

BLAZE

What’s that?

AARON

I think it means you just admit to not knowing.

BLAZE

Oh, so you don’t know, huh? Do you think- well when you envision Heaven, do you see clouds?

AARON

Yeah, actually.

BLAZE

I do. I see clouds. And a forest with roses. It would be like the movies. That’s what it would be like. There’s a river too. The idea is that there’s no birth or death. No time. I don’t believe in Hell. Do you believe in Hell?

AARON

No.

BLAZE

I DEFINITELY don’t believe in hell. NOPE. It’s like when you’re driving and you hit the curb. It’s an automatic disqualification.

AARON

What?

BLAZE

It’s like when you’re taking your drivers test and you hit the curb. It’s like an automatic disqualification and you have to take the test again. You made a BIG mistake and you have to do it again.

AARON

You believe in reincarnation?

BLAZE

Yeah, you hit the curb and you have to do it ALLLLLLL over again. You made a big mistake, you did something totally immoral. Like if you killed someone.

I like believing in God, that we’re not trapped here. That not all we have is death, that death is the only way out. There’s not even electricity in Heaven, is there? There’s no gravity. It’s like a float. It’s hard to explain.

AARON

Eternity would be different.  I mean, we wouldn’t need to sleep. Our whole existence would be turned upside-down.We’re only supposed to live a certain amount of time. Our bodies and brains are aligned with this planet and its cycles. Eternity would be a completely different experience and it would change our perspective. We’d essentially be different people. We wouldn’t even be people.

BLAZE

In heaven, your soul is aligned with the light. But I disagree about sleep. I might want to take a nap. You don’t need stuff. Tickets and nonsense, you don’t have to deal with that stuff.

What do you think the lighting in Heaven is like? Do you think the lighting is dark like how it is at Starbucks and Vons?

AARON

No.

I don’t think so either. Heaven, it’s nice. Do you ever get the feeling when you talk to people, that they’re not listening to what you have to say?

AARON

Hmm?

BLAZE

Do you ever get the feeling that, you know, you’re talking and stuff and going along, and the person you’re talking to isn’t listening?

AARON

Oh, I’m sorry. I know I was quiet for a while, but it’s because I’m scribbling down everything you say. I think you always have interesting things to say and it would be a crime if I didn’t write it down.

BLAZE

Oh, really?

Yeah, I think I’m gonna try to write about you on my blog, try to show people that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you.

BLAZE

Really?

AARON

Yeah, is that OK? I can change names and stuff.

BLAZE

Sure, yeah it’s OK!

AARON

Oh, good. What do you think I should call that pregnant girl you work with?

BLAZE

Umm, hmmm…how about Martian? Martian would be good. MERCURY MERCURY MERCURY. There we go! Her name should be Mercury. Oh, and call the place I work “The Holy Cinemas of California.” People will search for it online forever and ever and THEY’LL NEVER FIND IT! I love it!