Ramen Noodles In a Bag (on a sidewalk with jim)

July 24, 2018

I drove up to Nashville to start on an outdoor mural project. The project is called Off The Wall Nashville. It is located at 28th and Charlotte on the west side of the Music City. I had a few issues on the way up from Atlanta, including foreign objects lodged behind my brake pads on the painted van I drive. I had other issues too but those aren’t as worth mentioning. This hunk of metal in the wrong place created a wildly metallic screeching sound. The squeal coupled with the fact that my van is painted in an odd way made for strange and somewhat laughably entertaining and embarrassing ride around West Nashville. I pulled the bill of my yellow ball hat down way low so no one would see me. Now, thanks to some nice Nashvillians, the screech and the squeal have left town together and I am here to paint. I think they rode on out to Memphis bickering with each other on the back of a dirty old semi.

I began this painting project and now am in the midst of it. I always enjoy the midst portion. I have met some nice folks so far. The Nashville Transit Bus Driver stopped and I got into the bus to tell him what I was doing. Two police pulled over a lady Uber driver in front of the wall. I met a traveling family from Philly en route from Oklahoma to take photos and see all the states. Random folks have come by and shook my hand and asked me things like, ” Did you do all of this?!” I said, ” Yes.” Then I get out my dish soap and wash my hands on the sidewalk.

Today I met a man named Jim Anderson. He is 82. He walks a lot and lives in Nashville. He told me he used to deal cards in Las Vegas for 14 years. He used to drink in the old days too but now he laid the bottle down. He laid it plum flat on its side. All the drink ran out. Whether it was Puerto Rican Rum or Siberian Vodka or a fancy type of Rye Whiskey I do not know. But according to Jim, it poured on out and ran down the table leg and across the floor. The Puerto Rican Siberian Rum Whiskey kept on running and tumbling and ended up in a crooked creek and then a swindling stream and now it flows to this day in the Cumberland River. I heard it was laid up on a big sandbar somewheres — just laying out in the sun and taking it easy. What do expect an old bottle of booze to do?

Maybe Jim didn’t tell me all the facts about the lack of drink in his life. Maybe I made that part of the story up. Heck, maybe I need a little drink. Anyway, Jim now goes on two daily walks and writes poetry and songs. Sometimes he finds guys like me painting on the sidewalk. Today as I was painting on my ladder and he came by and we spoke. He recited me one of his writings. I was impressed. We spoke for a while more and then I got out my blue paint and climbed back up my ladder. I sure wish I could have recorded all the words to his poem.

I first saw Jim last night as I was sitting on the sidewalk eating cold ramen noodles and lima beans out of a sandwich bag with my fingers. He came walking down the evening road in my direction. He smiled and told me he liked my hat. Any fella that would be nice to you after they saw you eating ramen noodles and lima beans out of a bag with their fingers must be an okay type of fella.

See you tomorrow Jim.

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks