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Tova Gabrielle

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If You Must Do Something Illegal Keep Your (false) Teeth in Your Head
by Tova Gabrielle   

Last edited: Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Posted: Friday, September 05, 2003

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If You Must Do Something Illegal Keep Your (false) Teeth in Your Head

Sun. 8/10/03

90 degrees; the cool breeze was refreshing way up on a cliff overlooking five mountain ranges that began in rolling hills. Hidden safely by a small golden bluff, took a relaxing bathroom break there in the kind company of the wilds, but it was cut short by a sudden outburst nearby from a fiercely proud- but fortunately passing- assemblage of bikers. After that, it was almost all downhill, with a couple of reprieves. For one thing, walking back to the car, I felt unsure of just what the holes in the ground were, and recalled my daughter once pointing out a rattlesnake head in a similar cavity on Mount Diablo.
I also noticed a long stalk of golden grass up where it should not have been. Pulling the durn thingie out, my bathing suit bottom slipped in the crack that the leaves had only partially swathed. But by the time I got to the car, my faith was renewed by discovering an excellent medicine organizer lying right there like a present or a messenger of God, on the ground by my driver's door. Things got temporarily better: once in the car, I felt completely free for once to take the time to pluck out my facial hairs—the view was magnificent!

Monday, 6.AMish

Slept in a hay-covered, dried-out river-bed, unsure if it was legal or not, but reminding myself that it’s sometimes easier to beg forgiveness than to find permission. This was one of those times. I was too exhausted to care, after a long drive through the Mojave Desert after a long search for Hot Springs. After the hot spring Fiasco (children jumping in like it was a public swimming pool and not a healing resort) I stopped in the tiny town of Kernsville for Mexican food. I found myself sitting outside near a guy: I’d called myself a vagabond and he helped me to find my self when he said this: "Yer a gypsy, not a vagabond!" His advice however, to get back to Sequoia National Park was a bit off and that landed me in Bakersfield, some several hours off-course.

Anyhow, I was woken from my sweet river-bed by some guy shouting what sounded like, "Hey- Plenty! YOU!" Raised my head just in time to knock my partial (teeth) into the endless hay to be forever lost, as he demanded, "Waddaya doin’ here? This is private property!"
"You want some money?" I asked sleepily, faking that this was certainly a normal request of a normal person in a common situation.
He did a double wince, seemed unsure how to respond then lowered his voice timidly and said, "No, just you get yourself all packed up and then you can go, Kay?"
Thought maybe he was mistaking me for Kay, whoever she was, by the change in his demeanor.

7AM same morning. I went to this amazing little café/bookstore in Three Rivers and read couple of pages of a best seller about a woman who climbed into a redwood and stayed there for two years to protect it from being cut down. I was very heartened to notice that it had the worst grammar I’ve ever witnessed in print.
Went back to hunt for my teeth. Said to myself, "you aren’t going home without them," but lacked my usual conviction, no doubt from lack of sleep, not humiliation, oh no.

After looking for a partial in a haystack, took a break; walking back to the café, felt deflated until a man came walking up the deserted road behind me, addressing me thus: "So you just up and started over again?"
I said, "wha?"
He said, "I saw you at the café. You just left everything and started your life over again?"
Even I was stunned and I talk like he does sometimes. "Uh yeah…. How did you know that?"
"Could tell," he says. "Your speech."
"My speech?"
"Yeah, your timing is off. Not like everyone else whose lives, you can tell, are run by the clock. You're like, you just dropped out of somewhere, like someone who is starting her whole life over."
"Wow," I said.
"Well I just want to tell you that that took SOME courage!" he says, offering a handshake. "You want to spend the day together?"
"I actually think I do," I said.

So we went to these amazing rocks in Sequoia park, which had, inscribed on them, what amounted to some kind of alien-looking hieroglyphics and then we got into interpreting them--it was like a dream.
Oh, and another way he knew about me that he later let me in on: "The voices tell me these things."
Turns out he lives by that hayfield I lost my teeth in, says he’ll find em with a metal detector. I’m still waiting, three weeks later.

Anyhow, Mom, I learned a big lesson from my mistakes: If you are going to do something illegal keep your teeth in your head.


ps: Mom, just kidding about the ditch: see they have these places where you CAN just camp off the road, but this did not happen to be one of them, though it looked to be so...and of course I wouldn't REALLY have gotten stuff stuck in my bathing suit.

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Reviewed by Janeen Robichaud 10/18/2003
First off, what a great title! It captured my interest right from the beginning. I love this story and the way you tell it. "looking for a partial in a haystack" may just replace the old saying 'needle in a haystack'LOL.....great write! Keep up the good work!
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