Mixups in my Mind showed up at the farm this morning. I had forgotten that Joe Dirtbag had given him a wishy-washy dispensation to stop by for brief visits after evicting him, a dispensation that we can hardly hope to enforce because Mixups has such a piss-poor sense of social boundaries. To my relief, I was able to subtly persuade him to leave after only ten minutes or so this time. I had a small pile of paper trash awkwardly balanced between my arms and torso. I had been on my way into the winery building to immediately start a fire in the stove with this trash when Mixups had delayed me with–what else?–a string of mixups. By his reckoning, Joe Dirtbag had told him two weeks earlier that he was welcome to stop by and move old piles of dirt around, an activity that he self-charitably construes as “gardening.” I flat-out told him that he didn’t seem to have accomplished anything with his previous gardening efforts, had been disruptive on a number of occasions, and had broken a number of glass items, including a pickup truck window and the front glass panel on the winery stove. His response: “Well, that can be repaired.” He also insisted that he was trying to “manifest [groovy shit, but expressed in too convoluted a fashion to half-accurately reconstruct].” A lot of people around here are trying to manifest shit–their term, of course, not mine–but what they are actually manifesting (“doing” in normal English, if I’m not mistaken) is quite often noticeably less groovy than what they are manifesting in theory. Mixups in my Mind has violently manifested the Ragin’ Canajun’s wheelbarrow thirty feet by air, among other things. He’s one to hurl things. This is one of the reasons why Joe Dirtbag evicted him.
In a stroke of exquisite timing, Mixups walked off the property just as the Ragin’ Canajun was arriving. I was relieved that Mixups was clearly on his way out when RC drove in because I didn’t want a shouting match or, God forbid, a fistfight. Mixups tends to get loud and agitated, and RC had told me that he was sick as hell of both Mixups and Psychotarp. The Ragin’ Canajun confirmed my belief that Joe Dirtbag did not in fact want Mixups moving dirt around: “The conditions were, okay, you can come by to visit, but you aren’t allowed to touch anything.” In his previous random dirt-moving, Mixups in my Mind had killed a number of rare nettle specimens that the lead community garden organizer had collected in the wild out of county and transplanted to one of Mixups’ “gardens,” assuming they’d be safe there. They weren’t.
The Ragin’ Canajun told me that he had tried to get Joe Dirtbag to approve a contractual clause barring Mixups and Psychotarp from the property, but got nowhere with it. He’s “trying to bring people here who are groovy, not fuckjobs….When I try to bring my friends down here, Joe Dirtbag insists on thinking it over for months, like, ‘Yeah, I really want to make sure I know these people,’ but then crazies like Mixups and Psychotarp show up, and he gives them the run of the place….One of Joe Dirtbag’s only conditions was that we are not allowed to grow marijuana here, so these guys go out and plant a marijuana grow by the shed. They had gotten a bunch of marijuana plants that they planted, but then they wandered off for a week and forgot about them, so they were just a bunch of scraggly shit. If I did that, I’d probably be evicted, but Joe Dirtbag heard about them doing it, and he was like, ha ha, like isn’t it really funny that these guys tried to plant some pot.”
The Ragin’ Canajun also told me today that Mixups and Psychotarp had cut holes in the perimeter fence (maybe why there have been deer running loose inside the fence at times when I’m unaware of anyone having left the gates open) and randomly dug up ground cover by the stream, in violation of a riparian conservation easement that predates their arrival by years. Mixups is even more counterproductive than I had realized: “I could really use his help if he’d do exactly what we told him. Like, you like moving shit, here’s a bunch of compost that I need moved. But he won’t fucking listen. We once put him to work filling potholes, and he made rings of gravel around all the potholes. He told us some story afterwards about why he’d made the rings.”
It turns out that Psychotarp became even more troublesome than Mixups at the end of his land squat: “I was like, it’s cool if you want to be weird over in that other corner of the farm, but when you get right up in my face, you need to shut the fuck up. I told Psychotarp to leave and that if I saw him on the property again, I’d call the sheriff.” That’s why he suddenly left the property. It wasn’t an inscrutable internal decision-making process, but a rational interest in not being given the bum’s rush by deputies. Mixups’ chronology of his own farm privileges was pretty tangled. There’s no way that Joe Dirtbag gave him his blessing to dick around with dirt piles this month, but, as the Ragin’ Canajun put it, “I think he has conversations with himself in his head, and imagines that JD gave him permission, or maybe he gives himself permission. I don’t fucking know.”
When I spoke with Mixups this morning, I asked him if he had a place to stay. At first he said that he had a stable place in town, but then told me, “I shower very seldom,” and made a number of incoherent comments vaguely having to do with his housing situation. As far as I can tell, he does not have a place to stay. He was wearing a worn, stained old T-shirt with a hole just below chest level that looked like it hadn’t been washed in several wears. He claimed to be “doing chores” for a restaurant, but this work, according to the Ragin’ Canajun, who knows the restaurant’s owners, is unsolicited bullshit puttering around that results in a single bin of comingled recycling being left in several separate piles on the driveway. Mixups will stop by and angle for work, and they’ll tolerate him for a bit, but barely so, before asking him to leave. This dude is so fucking crazy that he truly considers the random piles of crap that he leaves on other people’s property improvements when they’re really just messes. By one of Mixups’ accounts, his troubles are the result of an accident in which he rear-ended a big rig and went headlong through the windshield. That isn’t how you become floridly psychotic, though. He has also said that he nearly came to blows with another homeless guy on a beach in Bolinas, but a pint-sized Indian medicine woman showed up in the nick of time, babbled some shit, did some handjive, and brought peace down upon both of them. Her blessings must not have included lucidity.
I ended up missing both Easter vigil and morning mass on account of the logistical and financial clusterfuck that is warm homelessness. Mixups in my Mind and Psychotarp are cold homeless, so I guess I got to commune with my people instead, or with one of them, in any event. There used to be state hospitals for their kind, and there used to be regular paid work for my kind, the kind that isn’t too fucking crazy to properly shovel gravel into a pothole. It may not be coincidental that both of these have been hard to come by of late.
Maybe I should try harder to minister to these nutters. That would be the Christian response, certainly. But all I can think to do by way of ministry is to tell them to get off my lawn, and if I’m the only sane person trying to give them some help or guidance, they’re up shit creek. Besides, we can’t let these dipshits, no matter how little responsibility they’re capable of bearing for their own condition, drag our businesses down with them and drown us all in their dysfunction.
Amen, I say unto you, I know crazy people, and it can fucking suck.