Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mike Flores: Man or Beast?

I've been thinking about this post for awhile and what to write about. I know that I want to mention what I did this weekend, and I want to talk about its infusion with polaroids (I'll save the great Polaroid debate for the next post). But I always have this problem of "where do I start?" The beginning always seems like the most logical place, but really, where do beginnings begin and endings end if the past, present, and future, are really only displaced by 1 second intervals and events becoming memories. Once a present moment becomes something remembered in the mind of the individual, it becomes the past. Once what we think will happen starts occuring, it becomes the present, which becomes the past and so forth.

I guess I'll start with Mike Flores. This weekend, I went to lovely San Luis Obispo to visit my best friend Chad. Friday night, of course, we played many a game of beer pong (and dominated for that matter), but it was Saturday that was the highlight of the trip. Every year, Pismo Beach throws one of the largest Beerfests in the county. $65 tickets and over 80 imported beers equals everyone getting trashed. But alas, tickets were sold out. Chad's friend Rudy has been trying every year to attend Beerfest but the high cost of tickets and its quick sell-out rate has deterred him from doing so. As a result, Rudy, this year decided to throw his own Beerfest. We got there around 1 p.m. and immediately sampled some fine Old Speckled Hen--a mixture of Coors light and crap. It wasn't the best tasting beer, but it a was nice kickoff. Soon, everything starts getting awesome. The world starts spinning a bit, but Chadwick and I still power through. Around 7 p.m. and a cornucopia of beers later, we notice an old Mexican rocking a war colonel mustache and an aging beer belly walk into the party, sit down, and start drinking our beer. Curiousity getting the best of us, Chad and I decide to meet this mysterious man.

Chad: Hey, what's up, mate? I'm Chad.
Mike: I'm Mike. Mike Flores. But who are you really?
Chad: Umm, I'm Chad.
Mike: No really, who are you?
Chad: Umm, I like to surf and I want to be a firefighter.
Mike: No, you're lying to me. I'm looking into your soul, and it's telling me that you're lying. Who are you really?

At this point, Chad gives me a nervous look. Mike has firmly gripped his hand over Chad's and not let go. I decide to interject. I place my hand on Mike's shoulder and say, "Hey, man, I'm Kage. You know Chad?"

Mike: Get your fuckin' hand off me. I'm not gay. I don't swing that way.

Chad finally frees his hand from the titanic grip, and we both play some beer pong. Using our detective skills, we start asking several people the question of the hour: Who the fuck is Mike Flores?

Now, I don't know if it was because everyone was pretty drunk by 8 p.m. or that Mike was on something, but every encounter we had with him was filled with drunken, racial slurs. I caught some lines about Chinese people not having rights and Italians squeezing out the grease or something of the sort, but the moment that really stuck out to me was when I asked him if he smoked.

Me: So, Mike, you smoke?
Mike: No, why, you got some?
Me: No, dude, I don't. I'm just making conversation.
Mike: Fuck your conversation, man. I ain't no queer.
Me: I'm sorry, Mike. I didn't mean to offend you.
Mike: I will knock you out right now (he said this while never breaking eye contact with me).
Me: Ok, umm, I'm not gonna say anything.
Mike: You wanna smoke? Check this shit out.

Mike proceeds to pull out a bag of what looks like weed and coke mixed in one pile of drug glory.
The first thing I thought about was the photographer from only hours before.

Surfing with a hangover is one of the greatest and worst ideas a human could possibly have. After only getting 3 hours of sleep, Chad wakes me up to go surfing. The day could not have been any better: the sun was out, the waves were huge, and the wind was minimal. Now, the only thing I can say about my surfing experience is that being out of shape, smoking lots of cigarettes, and being hungover definitely did not contribute anything positive to the experience. Needless to say, I couldn't even paddle out past the waves, as they kept pushing me back towards shore. I proceeded to go back to the sand, throw up a little, and then dug a very large hole, where some sandcrabs bit me.

But hey, you should try everything once, right? At least that's what the photographer lady said. As we were loading the boards into the truck, a woman carrying a sweet Canon camera with a fist-size lens walked over to us and started telling Chad's friend Patti how beautiful she and her polka-dot designed board were, and how she just had to take a picture. We said, sure why not, this is a random, awkward, awesome encounter, how many times do you get a photo taken professionally? Well, one photo turned into 60, and we ended up having a mini photo shoot which involved talks of our majors, her career as a photographer in SLO, and the philosophy of trying everything once. The photographer said, "Life is short. How many opportunities do you get? When you see it, take it. Don't even think twice." She made a valid point and proceeded to make us feel extremely good about ourselves by giving us a plethora of compliments. Next time I get depressed, I'm definitely giving her a call.

Which brings me back to Mike Flores. I won't lie when I say I pondered the photographer's words and debated whether or not I should smoke with Mike Flores. After all, how many chances would I get to say that I did such a thing with a random, shady man that crashed Beerfest and proceeded to creep the fuck out of everyone there? Well, coming to that realization, I immediately looked at Chad and said, "Dude, let's bounce." Mike Flores yelled out some racial obscenity about Cubans and rafts (being that I had told him I was Cuban only minutes before) as we walked away. Sure, sometimes in life, you should try everything once, but sometimes you gotta realize, if you do the things that could kill you once, well, you may not be around to try anything else again.

An Ode To Mike Flores:
1. Ayo for Yayo by Andre Nikatina
2. Creep by Radiohead
3. Acid Raindrops by People Under The Stairs
4. Addicted by Amy Winehouse or Simple Plan
5. All Apologies by Nirvana
6. All Mixed Up by 311
7. American Terrorist by Lupe Fiasco
8. Because I Got High by Afroman
9. Belda-Beast by Iron Butterfly
10. Bitch Niggaz by Dr. Dre
11. Dope Nose by Weezer
12. Mama Said Knock You Out by LL Cool J
13. White Lines by Grandmaster Flash
14. Death or Glory by The Clash
15. Drug Ballad by Eminem
16. Chinese Children by Devendra Banhart
17. How I Could Just Kill A Man by Cypress Hill
18. Who Are You by The Who

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