Marin City, CA
The rain was coming down hard and fierce, and I made for the awning of a 7-11 for shelter. There I met a young black kid named Eric and his dog Triptor. They were headed north, towards Arcata.
“I could use a road dog,” said Eric. “If you wanna roll with me.”
I told him I’d travel with him as far as Marin and then we’d see.
We walked together and I was sorta glad to find him and also kinda regretting it. He started telling me his life story, in a very animated and aggressive fashion. He complimented every woman we walked past on her beauty – sometimes striking the right note of courtesy and sometimes being downright rude. On the whole, his energy was all over the place and I was finding it difficult to maintain my normally serene (ha!) state of mind. But I felt it was important for me to get to know him, even if it made me uncomfortable.
He turned out to be a deeply thoughtful, spiritual, and politically conscious person. He confessed that he felt a lot of hurt inside; he felt he’d done his best to be a good person – he even moved out here from the east coast help out a friend, and after he did, the friend ended up screwing him over and turning him out on the street. So he was on his way north to work on a cannabis farm. He was a strong young man, a warrior, and being with him helped force me to be more grounded myself.
After we reached Marin City, I decided I needed to continue on alone. I could see the disappointment on his face, and I felt really bad, but again, had to go with my gut. I hugged him and wished him luck and thanked him for teaching me some valuable lessons.
The rain was still coming down, and the churches I went to were all empty, so I found shelter at a Panda Express and treated myself to a hot meal, which lifted my spirits. Then got an email from Leonard back in Sausalito – he told me to crash at that squatter’s apartment to avoid the rain. I tried to politely decline, saying I didn’t want to backtrack, but he insisted I should come back and that he’d treat me to dinner. Honestly, what won me over was that he was really trying to be generous and I felt I needed to accept.
I walked back to Sausalito, and the rain stopped, mercifully. I returned to the apartment. The stench was overwhelming. I tried getting into the top floor of the building but it was locked. I really really really really didn’t want to stay in this place.
I left, sat down in a park, and wrote Leonard an email, thanking him for everything, but that I couldn’t stay in the apartment. It just gave me a bad vibe. I didn’t mind sleeping in the dirt, but the place was totally filthy, and I just didn’t like the energy of it.
I walked to the restaurant where I was supposed to meet him and grabbed a table. A jazz band set up next to me and began a set. They were pretty good. My waitresses name was Sonia; she was from Siberia. She saw my hiking bag and got excited. Said she was working to earn some money, but soon she was going to be traveling across the country on her bike. She was very beautiful.
Leonard showed up and tried to convince me to take the apartment; he said if he could get me to the top floor, the smell wouldn’t be so bad. I refused as politely as I could. I could see him get exasperated: “I just want you to have what’s available!” I was really feeling guilty, but I stuck to my guns.
“So what’ll you do?” he said. “‘Cause it’s gonna rain.”
I told him I’d hike back to a church in Marin and set up my tarp shelter for the night and just wait it out.
He thought for a minute and said, “Would you sleep on a boat?”
I blinked. “A boat?” I said.
“Yep. I got a boat down by the pier. We had a bad experience the last time we let someone sleep on it because they had a dog, but you don’t have a dog, so I think it’ll be fine.”
I told him that sounded great. He left and came back with the 5-year-old girl he was babysitting – her name was Christy and she was incredibly precocious. She grabbed the tip jar of the jazz band and walked around collecting tips on their behalf. When she heard I was sleeping on the boat that night, her eyes got so wide and she said in disbelief, “YOU ARE???” It was hilarious.
Leonard gave me some money earlier to get a drink, which I did (a strawberry smoothie). I tried to give him back his change, but he refused it, saying I would need breakfast in the morning.
We drove down to the pier, and after a finding the door to the cabin locked, we drove back to his house, got the key, returned to the boat, and I was able to get in.
As I was climbing in, Christy said to me, “Daryl…so if you’re sleeping on this boat, do you not have a home?”
“Well,” I said, “The earth is my home.”
“Does that mean you sleep outside sometimes?” she said.
“So Daryl, if the earth is your home, does that mean you sleep in the water too?”
“Do you have a home, Christy?”
“And do you sleep in your toilet?”
She laughed. “Noooo!”
“No, I don’t sleep in the water,” I said.
I said goodbye to them and thanked Leonard profusely for his kindness. After they left, I closed the hatch and looked around.
“I’m in a boat,” I said to myself. “Okay.”
I slept well. And funny thing was, it didn’t rain at all.
Woke up this morning and it was very cold, but finally got warmed up by the rising sun. I packed up, and decided to leave my third and final power object behind: my rattle. I left a note for Leonard, thanking him and explaining why the rattle was there.
Hiked back into Marin City, where I am now using the library’s computer. Today I think will be a long day of walking as I make my way into Strawberry, CA.