Aug 25, 2010 | Santa Fe, NM
Aug 25, 2010

I was leaning on a lamppost in the plaza, watching the native vendors sweep away the dust.

A ragged, bearded, sunburned man was sitting in the gazebo with a weathered-looking woman beside him.

"How you doin', brother?" shouted the man.

"Good, and you?" I shouted back.

"Feelin' alive!" said the man. "Feelin' alive!"

"Beautiful morning," I said.

"Sure is, brother," said the man, who later introduced himself as Ewok.

"Hey, come on over here," he said. "I won't bite."

I went on over.

"I just wanted to see what that necklace is," said the man, pointing to the one around my neck. "It looks like it could be a sunrise."

"It's a shell from an Australian island," I said. "I've been wearing it for about ten years."

He reached into his shirt and pulled out a fistful of pendants, holding up a blue glass orb for me to see.

"This here," he said, "you see this? This is my universe."

He held it there for a while, bobbing his head up and down, and then he suddenly shouted, "WELCOME TO MY UNIVERSE!" and he slapped the woman on her leg and burst into a crazy laugh, going "HaHaHaHaHaHa!"

"You wear that every day?" I said.

"Every day, brother," he said. "First thing I put on in the morning when I get out of my tent."

He held up another one. "See this silver shovel?" he said. "Know what kinda shovel this is?"

"No, I don't," I said.

"It's a Masonic shovel," he said. "A freakin' Masonic shovel."

"Wow," I said.

"Friend gave it to me," he said. "I ain't no freakin' Mason!" And he laughed the crazy laugh again, "HaHaHaHaHaHa!"

"Hang on to that one," I said. "Could be handy in a bind."

"I know it," he said. "Freakin' Masons everywhere."

"You guys just passing through?" I said. "Or you been here a while?"

"We're on our way out. A guy here owes me money and I could really use it. You see, I am President and Chief Executive Officer — and Chief Financial Officer too, so dear, I guess that makes you Secretary," he said, turning to the woman, and then turning back to me, "— of Broke-Dick Motherfuckers Incorporated!" Then he slapped the steps and went "HaHaHaHaHaHa!" again.

I smiled and so did the woman.

"Let me show you something," he said, and he went rummaging into his bag.

"Where is it?" he said. "Where is that freakin' thing? Oh shit, I think I lost it. I think I left it when I went to get coffee and someone picked it up. I'm always freakin' doing that. I hate it when I do that. Oh, no, no, no — here it is, here it is..."

He took out a small plastic bag with turquoise earrings inside.

"Found 'em in the plaza," he said. "Someone left 'em behind."

"Lucky," I said.

"Not lucky," he said. "I found 'em cause I'm always looking."

He opened his eyes real wide and looked at me.

"Most people never look," I said.

"Most people look," he said, "they just don't see."