I used to park my RV in a bad area of SF. No one else wants to park there, so it's always easy to find a spot. One night a friend and I were hanging out in my RV, we lost track of time, and soon the buses weren't running anymore. She calls a cab and we go outside to wait for it.
A cab pulls up, we say our goodbyes, and it drives right past us. Wrong company. A few minutes later another cab comes, and again drives right by. Out of the corner of my eye I notice a large black woman wandering around fifty feet to our left. Two more cabs drive by, neither one the right company. It's cold outside. We start laughing at the situation.
Noticing our laughter the woman starts staggering towards us.
"Let's wait inside."
Sure enough, two minutes later there's a knock on the door. We ignore it, but she obviously knows we're in there. It's not like my RV has a basement we might have gone down to, and are thus unable to hear the knocking. She knocks again.
I open up the door.
"Why were you laughing at me?"
She's more hurt than angry, and more drunk than either.
"Oh, no. We weren't laughing at you. We were trying to wait for a cab--"
"I lost my dog. Did you take him?"
"No, of course not. We'd never steal someone's dog. We were just waiting for--"
"I'm out here looking for my dog and you're laughing at me. Both of you. Where's my dog?"
"We don't have your dog. I'm really sorry you can't find him. We weren't laughing at you. We were laughing because--"
"Do you mind if I come in and look around?"
The RV tilts as she steps in. She surveys my thirty two square feet of floor space until she is satisfied that we don't have her dog.
"There are bad people everywhere," she says, crying, "I just want my dog back. I love him. I feed him every day. You're good people. I know you wouldn't steal him. I just can't find him. My name is Margaret."
We introduce ourselves and shake her hand.
The cab comes, she leaves, my friend leaves, and I'm back in the RV by myself. It's late, so I brush my teeth and get ready for bed. Just as I'm about to lie down, there's another knock on the door. It's four in the morning.
I know it's Margaret, and I feel like we're friends now, so I open the door. A giant pit bull launches into the RV and headbutts me. Then he jumps on my bed. I pull him off the bed and hug him-- the only way I can actually restrain him.
"He won't bite you, don't worry!" Margaret chimes, "I found him."
As I uncomfortably wrestle with the dog, Margaret starts telling me her life story. She doesn't want a conversation, she just wants for someone to listen, which probably doesn't happen often. So I listen and try to subdue her pit bull for the next twenty or thirty minutes.
She lives alone with her dog and doesn't have friends. She tells me again that there are bad people in the neighborhood, but only hints at their transgressions. She tells me her name and her address at least five times, pleading for me to come over if I need anything.
She finally leaves and I get back to getting ready for bed. I write down her address so that I won't forget it.
Did anyone else think that the picture looked like a pair of womens breasts? Look really closely at it. I swear its a Gestalt picture.
Your writing is good as always, but it's too matter-of-fact, you haven't really given an account of how you felt throughout it all.
Just simply listen actively does make a difference in huge way.
We constantly craved for validation. You just gave Margaret some validation. Maybe she is change course in her life because you decide to open the door.
Good story,touching in many ways,could have been dangerous though.I was born and raised in Detroit,which makes SF look like Sunday School.I have a "sixth sense".Developed from many arrests I made,and the abillity to "size" someone up quickly..You might have it too.Sounds like she was very sad and lonely.That dog was her protector and friend,probably keeping her from going crazy with loneliness.Good man,Tynan!
@mike I left because my RV was being cased and my friend's RV was broken into in the middle of the day
Did you move out of the area after Margaret's late night visits? I wonder if there were other incidents you faced in the hood, sometimes there is just desperation in the air in these rough neighborhoods. Great people though.
I didn't like the story too much, why would you let a drunk aggressive stranger into your RV?? I'd have told her to call the police if she wanted to find her pet.
Normally I'd be very hesitant to write about a celebrity - especially one who trusted me with her personal life by moving in with my friends and I. But... this is Courtney Love, so anything's fair game. Just kidding.
Actually I don't have a moral objection writing about her because I have basically only good things to say, and also because similar stories were already published in The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. In case you missed the How I Became a Famous Pickup Artist series, The Game is a book which chronicles our adventures, written by the literary mastermind Neil Strauss, who was also a roommate at the time.
Mystery and I were in New York preparing to be on Good Morning America. Ultimately we didn't get on because Mystery's flamboyant character and dress offended the conservative and frumpy program director, and they canned the segment at the last minute. Neil was asked to write a story about Courtney Love for The Rolling Stone. He had never met her before. As Mystery and I waited for our workshop to begin we got a call from Neil. He had forgotten his tape recorder and wanted to know if we'd bring it to him.
What’s going on behind our bedroom door, wouldn’t you like to know. I’ll tell you, there isn’t much. There are a pair of nightstands covered with medicine cups, hair ties, and tissues. There are some lamps and a television but it isn’t plugged in. There are probably some clothes hanging out of drawers and about two dozen pictures lined up on the floor and leaning against the wall. They look like they’re waiting in line to be hung but the layer of dust on the top of each shows they’ve been waiting a long time. Then, there is our bed.
For the first three years of marriage my wife and I shared a fullsize bed and we were comfortable. I was comfortable because I can sleep through anything, my wife was comfortable because, well I don’t know if she was, let me ask her. No, she was not comfortable. She said a few more things, then threw a look telling me to go no farther in this conversation or she would start throwing actual things. Once she became pregnant she insisted on a new bed. I made the joke that getting a new bed was why she wanted to get pregnant, this was one of the last pregnancy jokes I made and one of the first times I saw that look.
Needing a new bed we ventured to a mattress store which is an odd shopping experience. You go and test out the display beds by laying down on them and getting up and off them. Because we were in a public place I found myself getting on and off these beds like a monk instead of like a drunk. Normally I’ll fall into bed like a robot whose battery just expired and I’ll roll out in the morning like my limbs are being pulled. Not only was I not acting like I normally would, but buying a bed is confusing.
The more beds you test, the less you can remember about each one and forget what your own bed feels like. “Is our bed soft or firm?” you ask your wife. She won’t answer because she only needs you for one things, to carry anything she buys. Eventually we settled on a king size with a pillow top and some mysterious firmness level between grassy earth and cotton ball and placed our order. Our bed was delivered and the first two months were spacious and great, there was so much room. Then my wife became more pregnant and my room in bed began to shrink in proportion to how her belly expanded. My room in the bed has a half life like the atoms the bed is made of, every so many years I get half of what I did before.
As my wife got more pregnant, and beautifully larger, she took up more of the bed. I don’t dare say anything but it’s sometimes like sleeping with a fish, which is where you would find me if I said that to her. She flips and flops and because the baby has no regard for when or where she kicks her, my wife has no regard for when or where she kicks me. She’s a proxy for the baby she tells me. Eventually I learn to weather the storm of kicks and get to sleep but only until our first child arrives.