James Doolittle

February 15, 2006

Does anyone want to hear a groovy story?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 2:29 am

When I was in high school, I would often stay up until the early hours of the mornings, sometimes even on school nights. I would hang out with my friend Fergusson and the two of us would drink alcohol, hang out in local parks, and go to Royal Donuts, a bakery next to Burlingame High School (I did not go to this high school, I went to San Mateo High). On one particular occassion of this delinquent activity, my friend and I bought two cinamon twists at around two or three in the morning.

I remember having a sense of adventure without direction. That is, I wanted to do something but my imagination was too subdued to come up with any real material (nertz! I hate it when that happens). The next thing I knew, this middle-aged man walks in, eyes wide open as if he were constantly receiving electric-shock therapy, and tries to order a maple bar. The trouble is, he’s practically telling his whole life story to the woman behind the counter who’s first language is Tagalog, and who does not speak enough English to carry on a conversation. Andy, that’s the guy’s name, doesn’t know this, and as he’s rambling on he mentions the number two. The woman takes this as a sign that he wants two maple bars, and he only has a dollar on him. He ends up fifteen cents short and, feeling generous that evening, I lend him the change.

This act of generosity he takes as an invitation to join me and Fergusson. He takes out his first maple bar and starts eating it while he’s telling us about a project he’s working on and how he can’t sleep because he’s too obsessed with it. He said that he comes down to the donut shop so that he can go running at Burlingame High’s track. I asked him how much he ran, and he replied, taking out the second maple bar while only half-way done with the first, saying that he runs three or four miles every night at around two or three in the morning. Once he’s half-way biting through the second maple bar, intermittantly talking with me and Fergusson, Andy looks down at the two half-eaten maple bars in bewilderment. I told him that the woman thought he was ordering two, and that she’s a Philopeno immigrant with whom I talk occasionally, but never for very long or about very much–she could barely speak English and I do not know any Tagalog.

Okay, so the guy is a little weird, a little spacey, right? Well, he starts telling us about this project he’s working on in addition to his entire life-story. He’s a music teacher, but he’s also a composer. He’s writing this musical called “The Burden of Eden.” It’s about these office mates who are representations of leading characters in the Bible. He’s getting so into telling us about this musical that he starts singing the songs to us, in the donut shop.

After a short while, he decides that we need to hear the music ourselves, and so Ferg and I discretely debate the safety of the situation without making it clear to Andy that we think he’s a freakin’ psycho (oh yeah, that’s a smart move James and Ferg–get in the car with this old school nut you just met at the donut shop–genius!). But, like I always say, if pineaples fall on Tuesday, you’d better have a blender ready by Wednesday, so we decided to go with him to listen to his songs. For some reason, he had to go in ahead of Fergusson and me to make sure something or other was alright, and while Ferg and I were waiting outside, I whispered to him, “He’s sharpening the knives,” at the exact same time he said to me, “It was nice knowing you, James.”

Long story short, we did not get minced, he did play us his songs, and he did drive us back to the donut shop at around 7am the next morning. My friend Ferg and ate more donuts in the morning when he dropped us off. I don’t remember whether or not I went to school that day or spent it recovering from the non-sleeping that had gone on. Either way, I was in a pretty heinous state that whole day.

Today, Ferg e-mailed me a link of one of the songs Andy played for us on his piano at his house. It came from a website promoting Andy’s musical, which is playing or is going to play at theatres around the Union.

Anyway, it really threw me aback–I hope it wasn’t too boring of a story to read.

4 Responses to “Does anyone want to hear a groovy story?”

  1. Natalie Says:

    Boy howdy, what an epic story! That’s great, his bio describes him, “as always, an avid long-distance runner.” Well you know what they say about Californians and all the avocados they eat…
    Pretty groovy tune too. You can definitely hear some JCSuperStar influence there, plus maybe David Byrne? Anybody with me on that one?

  2. ayme frye Says:

    nertz! that is one crazy dude. although, i thought he might come out with a couple of sliced avocados, i did not think he would kill you.

  3. ju Says:

    effin awesome story james…

  4. Andy Says:

    wow, thanks for the free press, james–i also liked this account better than the earlier one…of course, the way that the livejournal account first came to my attention was through a malicious troll in oklahoma posting a blurb on her blog entitled “Andy Pope Dishes Out Free Drugs to Total Strangers.” ‘Least she spelled my name right.

    will have to get back to the studio and do the final mix, i listened to that tune & have some issues w/both my vocals & the musicians

    i know they’ll all like to re-do it…they’re good guys, all 20-yr-olds like yourselves, music students at SF State & College of Marin

    anyway, thx again, prolly see ya at Royal Donuts one of these nights



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