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8OmnibusThursday, November 10, 1983
Talking to Juan Valdez, the original coffee man
By ELIZABETH ELLEN
he sat, pondering his dog's bore
dom. His dog Sarah was there, too,
Fiction is arrayed pictures, frag- and she was perhaps forming the
ments of lives lived, known and concept of boredom in her mind,
imagined. Or maybe, she wasnt.
in a dank and dim coffeehouse, For after all, the gift of verbal
ization was beyond her expe
rience. And aren't all concepts
formed in terms of words? He just
didnt know any more.
Bathed in the glow of a neon
Jesus, he sat, contemplating ger
rymandering to violate the prin
ciple of one woman, one vote.
Jesus, plugged into the wall socket,
burned a cool green because Jay
had cared enough to change the
bulb. Jay was just that kind of guy:
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PUBLIC ENEMY TOMMY CONWELL AND THE YOUNG RUMBLERS THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS
FISHBONE MIDNIGHT OIL BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE OMAR AND THE HOWLERS KASSAV- WILD
"FOLKWAYS: A VISION SHARED-ATRIBUTE TO WOODY GUTHRIE AND LEADBELLY" HI
he was from Arkansas.
Zoroastrianism appealed to the
coffee drinker as he went up to
the counter for his free refill of
the luscious liquid. The man pour
ing the coffee reminded him of
Juan Valdez, except there was no
burro in the vicinity.
But he really couldnt get into
the Zoroastrian scene (neither
could Juan Valdez for that matter)
because he was already both a
Quaker and a practicing Buddhist.
This was one man with a Friend
in Pennsylvania, in fact several of
them, and Friends in South Dakota
and Death valley. The Death Valley
Quakers he knew were of the
denomination's ascetic branch.
Funny how animals symbolized
cultural phenomena to him. He
asked Juan about it, and the little
coffee man replied, "Woodstock
embodies the counterculture."
Juan meant, of course, snoopy's
feathered friend. But the thinker
recalled that when his father read
"Peanuts" to him as a child, his
father always called the bird
Now that he had his coffee, he
headed back to the table and
stopped to chew on the flag, just
to show respect. Saluting never
became him. The green light dis
tracted him for a moment, and he
tripped over Sarah, who imme
diately snapped out of her
A woman from Frog Level, N.C,
slithered into the chair across the
table from him. She wondered
aloud whether there was any
truth to the statement that all
Western philosophy was merely a
series of footnotes on Plato. Not
thinking much of Plato or his damn
"Republic," the coffee drinker
looked disgusted. He also looked
A purple eon glow would have
suited Sarah better, but Jay could
not find purple bulbs. The thinker
and the woman from Frog Level,
N.C, agreed that gerrymandering
was a sleazy practice and that
chewing bubbiegum was a vile
habit. She didnt see the resemb
lance between the man behind the
counter and Juan Valdez, though.
When the coffee was all gone
and the mug was stained with a
brown residue, the thinker left. He
walked beside Sarah, who was
feeling rather cynical, and won
dered whether his father knew
someone named Thomdyke.
Back at his apartment, he was
jolted out of his reverie. A dart
stuck into his dartooard pinned up
a note threatening him with
excommunication from both reli
gions if he didnt shut up about
Plato, instantly, his little world, so
recently crystalline and cfeansed In
'a ebb! autumn rain, reeked of sour
tniikr-' - .,.....