Today, I met a very interesting man who introduced himself to me by the name of Sandy. Now, I do not mean to suggest that this man's name was not actually Sandy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that there was more to this man's story than he seemed interested in sharing.
Sandy and I met on the beach, over two cars pulled up on the beach (his truck and my van). Sandy spends his time sitting in his truck, looking at the entrance to the beach, waiting and watching as vehicle after vehicle gets stuck coming onto or leaving the beach. Sandy waits as these people than become stressed and worried as the thought that they may never get their vehicle off the beach begins to settle in.
Sandy, and a few other local folks, then does his best to help these people get out of their predicaments by towing them onto firmer parts of sand. If these people cannot get out, Sandy gives them the number for a local towing company to come and get them out. Sandy gets tips for helping the tow truckers get business. Sandy sits and waits for people to get into sandy situations, whereby he makes a buck or two for helping everyone out.
Sandy likes to help people, or so he tells me. He even helps me with a piece of advice, once it becomes apparent that I may be stuck. "Let air out of your tires. I tell people that all of the time, but nobody listens. People are afraid, but there is no reason to be. Let air out of your tires before it is too late." Sandy's demeanor in expressing this valuable piece of insight gives off a tone of a hidden metaphor, buried somewhere in there.
Sandy was right, I did not want to listen. I was not so sure of trusting advice from this random guy I had just met, who had just admitted to me that he makes money off of people in my situation. I had a feeling he may try to con me - he was too nice, if there is such a thing. He constantly talked about life, and didn't ask many questions. No complaining. Not normal.
Finally, I gave in and listened to his advice. I got down on all fours, grabbed a pen, opened it up and let air out. The fear of this method not working was now outweighed by the fear that I may be stuck on this beach with this guy lecturing to me all day, if I did not trying something soon. Plus, I began to realize that he was kinda funny, cracking jokes left and right. I was not so sure why I had been suspicious of him.
As I was on my knees letting out air, I shared a few things about myself, that I had a degree in Philosophy and that I was traveling. He listened, excitedly and began to share some of his favorite philosophers. A Russian named George Gurdjieff and an Indian named Osho,
"Don't read these people, man. They will ruin you. Well, maybe not ruin you but you will no longer fit into society. Let's just say they will not make you a productive American"
I felt as though he were saying this to entice me more, knowing that I want to do the opposite of what others tell me.
Sandy had had a career at a printing press at one point. A native of New York, he felt a camaraderie with me that we were both from the East and had come out West. After the printing industry "died" (along with the newspaper, apparently) Sandy spent some time as a carpenter going from state to state, getting work where he could. Sandy said he had built a life up back east, in Georgetown as a matter of fact, but he no longer wanted it. Had an old girlfriend back there. Should have married her he said.
He had been living on the road for some time now, he said it wore on him hard. Living on the money until it was all gone, then going back to work.
I got the odd feeling that Sandy was not telling me something at this point. I had noticed the blank index cards in neat bundles that sat on the center console in his truck. I have heard that it is a common technique for writers, write on the little card as thoughts come and then compile them later. Maybe I could try it. I asked Sandy if he wrote much. "Oh yeah, well, you know." The subject change rather quickly.
Who knows what this man does. My mind certainly created a story that this guy was some famous novelist or poet, writing about all of the types of Americans he sees throughout the day getting stuck in the sand.
Sandy told me that he helps people and they can take it or leave it, but regardless the advice is there. He said the first thing they teach you about rescuing people in the water is to get a firm grip around their neck with your arms so that you are in control. If you don't, Sandy says, "they will drown you with them. Be careful who you try to help. They might just take you down." Ominous words from the man on the beach. I was beginning to think I made the wrong decision, letting all of that air out.
After I had let enough air out of my tires to satisfy Sandy, I put the car in reverse as Sandy instructed me to, and made a pathway for the tires to travel. Sandy told me to floor it, and to not stop if I made forward movement.
With the gas pedal down to the floor, I began spitting sand backwards and took off, hell bent to get of that beach. The old van bounced, showing off her sexy suspension and off we went bak onto the road we came from.
Just as I turned the corner, it occurred to me that I had not said goodbye, nor had I gotten this man's name. I parked the car on the side of the road and ran back to where I had left him, with his hand up gesturing a peace sign from behind the van.
He smiled and said a few things about the van. We laughed. He then proceeded to tell me some parting words: "Cut your trip short. Go home. Get a job. Start a career. Get a pretty girl, one of those beautiful Maryland ones, and start a family. Go home. This is not for you. You had your fun, go be with your family."
Confused, I shook his hand, finally exchanged names and I headed back to the van worried that I was truly lost.