Mixsonian Larry


Work and Friends

Work was going really well, I was spending most workdays at Harris Composition and had made several friends there including Craig, Paul, Eric and Kevin who all were employees of Harris (I was a contractor working though Elias’s company).  We were all about the same age, all were programmers and spoke the same language, well the same computer language anyway, Paul was from England and spoke with a British accent and sometimes I wondered if we spoke the same English at all, but they were a good group of guys and we often were hanging out and doing things together.

In the February Paul and I made business trip to Germany for Harris to work on a newspaper system that Harris had installed there. The newspaper was in a small town in the southern part of Germany and Paul and I were the about the only people in the small, but quaint hotel which reminded me of a hotel in a movie.  There wasn’t much in the town, there was a pub, a bakery, a small store, no fast food, so we had meals at the pub or at the hotel’s restaurant.  The first evening we entered the hotel restaurant and were shown a table. Paul and I were the only ones in the restaurant.  The waiter quickly arrived at the table, a smartly dressed older gentleman, and gave us menus, said something in German and left us.  The menu was all in German which neither Paul and I could read so we couldn’t figure much of what was on it.  Paul figured out that one item was pork which he decided to order.  There was another item on the menu which I interested me, but I didn’t know what it was.  When the waiter came back, I  pointed at the item and asked what it was.  The waiter, not speaking any English, understood that I was asking and told me what it was ….. in German.  He looked at me and knew I didn’t understand a word he was saying, so he holds up a finger indicating “wait a moment” and goes back to the kitchen and returns with a bottle of wine and shows me the label which had a stag with antlers on it.  Ah! I understood, the menu item was venison which I proceed to order.  It was quite good

We finished up our work early and had free day so Paul and I went for a drive into the country, it was beautiful, small villages, view of the mountains, with classical music playing on the radio.  To return back to where we were staying we took the Autobahn, the German equivalent to the Interstate in the US, and I was amazed at how fast the cars were going.   I looked down at the speedometer and I was going 90, then I realized it was in kph, kilometers per hour, I was only going 56 miles per hour. I did speed up to 115 kph which was 70 mph and still cars were passing. When I was driving, I saw a Porche going the other direction passing all the cars like they were standing still.   As it passed, I look in my rear view mirror and see it hit a guardrail and shoot up into the air, turning upside down, doing a full 360 degree roll to land right side up.  It was like some stunt in a movie but real.  Because we were going the other direction, I quickly lost sight if it in my mirror and couldn’t tell what happened to the car, but I’m sure it did not keep on going.  Yup, going 70 in the little rental car was fast enough for me.

On the way back to the U.S. from Germany Paul and I first flew to London where we spent and additional day.  Paul was from London and still had an apartment there, or flat as the British call it.  The flight from Germany to London was short so we arrived late morning and then took a cab to Paul’s flat where we dropped off our luggage and then Paul took me on a car tour of London.  It was frightening.  I knew that in England they drove on the right side of the road, what I called “the wrong side of the road”, but I had never experienced it before.  It felt strange to get into what I considered the driver’s side while Paul drove sitting on the right.  Paul knew the roads well, having lived in London for many years before coming to the U.S., so he drove quite fast and every time we made a turn, I cringed for it seem we were headed into the path of the incoming cars. I think I wore a spot in his car’s carpet stepping on the imaginary brake pedal.  The roundabout was the worse, I had never seen one before and Paul turns into it, going what seem to me, the wrong direction, looped around, changing lanes, weaving between cars, all at a considerable rate of speed.  It was frightening.   As we zipped in and out of traffic Paul would point out sights, “that’s London Bridge”, “that clock is Old Ben”, “that’s the river Thames”, “that’s Buckingham Palace”, and so on.  I think we saw all of London it two hours. At least looking at the sights I wasn’t looking at the traffic. After a couple of hours of driving around, with my nerves a little shaken, we decide to go to a pub and get something to eat. 

Paul being a local, knew a quaint little pub near by his flat so we stopped and went in.  It was like out of some movie, old looking, dimly lit, all wood, booths, a bar with shelfs of liquor bottles behind it, a dart board hanging on the wall with a couple of patrons playing a game, a fireplace at one end with an inviting warm fire in it, it was quite cozy.  At Paul’s recommendation we both got a pint of beer, or “bitter” as he called it, a nice dark amber color.  It was quite good.  Again, at Paul’s recommendation we order fish and chips, which Paul thought I would be surprised when it came with fries which in the UK they call chips, but I had been to Long John Silvers restruant back in the U.S. so I knew that “chips” were really fries. What did surprise me was that they gave you mayonnaise instead of ketchup. After dinner we went back to Paul’s flat where we spent the night and flew back to the U.S. the following morning. 

Magneplaner SpeakersMagneplaner Speakers

Craig, Kevin and I were all into stereo systems, I had a Marantz 80 watt per channel stereo receiver and the two giant speakers I had made. Craig was into very high end McIntosh equipment and spent like $6,000 on his system. Thing was, it was old vacuum tube based technology and he would argue with Kevin and I about the advantages of tubes over transistor amplified sound.  Kevin had a really good receiver-amplifier, better than my Marantz, but nowhere near the level of Craig’s McIntosh equipment but what set Kevin’s system apart was he had a set of Magneplaner speakers.  Manegplaner speakers were unlike other speakers, at five fee tall, three feet wide and two inches thick they looked more like room dividers.  I would over to Kevin’s house and we would smoke a joint and put on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album which had come out in ’77 and sit there stoned listening to it with the volume cranked up. 

Fleetwood Mac

Thunder only happens when it's raining
Players only love you when they're playing
Women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you'll know  

Oh, thunder only happens when it's raining
Players only love you when they're playing
Say, women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you'll know

You'll know
You will know
Oh-oh-oh, you'll know

Fleetwood Mac’s Rumor’s album was then and still one of my all time favorite albums. 

Kevin and I got along well together until a girl came between us, Danna.  Danna was also working at Harris and both Kevin and I were friends with, and both clearly liked. She flirted with both of us.  The three of us would have lunch together and she would hang out with us at Kevin’s or my house.  After six months or so she invited me over to dinner at her place one night, no Kevin, just her and me.  Well one thing led to another, and we ended up in bed and after taking a breather, the phone rang, it was Kevin.  Danna and Kevin talked for a few minutes, I could only hear her side of the conversation, when she looks at me and says to Kevin, “No I haven’t seen him.”   After she hung up, she tells me that Kevin had asked if she had seen me.   He might have gone by my house looking for me but I parked my van in the garage so he couldn’t be sure if I was there.  He also could have gone by Danna’s apartment and seen my Chevy van parked in the parking lot, but it was an apartment complex with lots of cars and a plain white Van could have been anybody’s.  The next day at work he acted a little strange, he said he called me the night before and I didn’t answer. I told him I was walking on the beach, which was true, but only earlier.  I’m sure he suspected.  

Journal Entry
January 25, 1978

Thinking of friends, people. I watched a bit of TV earlier, now just sitting here listening to Pure Prairie League. Not high on pot but on my second bourbon. I just tried calling a friend Kevin, we use to hang out together. He lives in town and we work together, or I should say we both work at the same place, namely Harris.  Kevin and I were becoming good friends until this girl Danna started working at Harris. Kevin took an immediate liking to her and I was attracted to here too.  Well I’m sure you are probably speculating what happened and I’m sure you are close.  I started seeing Danna quite a bit, I like her but not enough that we would ever be more than friends. Yes we did make love together, but that is really beside the point. As it turns out, Kevin is seeing donna now quite a bit, or least I think so for he hasn’t called me at all and doesn’t seem to want to associate with me at work, although this may be a miss interpretation by me for Kevin has few, or associates with few people anyway.

So I tried calling Kevin tonight thinking I would talk to him a bit and see what really is going on. He wasn’t home. The subject being on my mind, I though I would jot down a few notes while it was fresh in my mind.

It was the only night I spent with Danna, she started seeing more and more of Kevin until one day I came into work and he shows me a ring on his finger, him and Danna got married over the weekend.   Wow, I didn’t see that coming.  The following month they both quit their jobs at Harris and moved to California.

About twenty years later I was working for AOL and I had to contact a Kevin at a computer company in California and his name sounded familiar.  I asked him if he was the Kevin I knew from Harris which he said he was.  I asked about Danna, and he said they were still married and had two kids.  

Journal Entry
March 23, 1978

I had the thought, a pleasurable though, of being old, say 65 or perhaps 75 and sitting in the warm sun in a rocking chair slowly rocking, book and pen in hand, ready to write but no thoughts, just a peaceful contentment. Rocking slowly, so very slowly.

A tear rolls down my cheek
I wipe off with the tip of a finger
Then place it to my lips. The taste of salt
Words, do they mean anything

Updated: 04-4-2023

April Fool