Interview - 2000

Writing and poetry
From the 1990's

by Richard Van Ingram

Portion of an Interview With Mike Amundsen, Framer with RVI 1990-93; Color Hypothesis, Vol. 10, Issue # 67; Copyright 2000, Whirligig Spindle Press, Athens, GA

"Hey - it was, like, ten, eleven years ago when I first knew the guy. He was sometimes real quiet for days - something was really on his mind, y'know? Then for days he'd talk and talk and talk, fast, about everything you can imagine, from God to Croatia, from Die Bruke to Michael Jackson, from the Apocalypse to the Edsel. It was like something in him was broken and everything in his head came out in an unedited flood. He'd be all excited with plans for saving the world one week then convinced everyone was heading for hell the next - and he didn't care.

"He was like a seismograph in a real bad earthquake, right? Bouncing way up and way down with little stretches of flat line time in the middle. It was bizarre.
Probably the weirdest thing I remember is when he fell for this girl at work. You've got to remember, he was married at the time, but something in the poor bastard snapped when he was around this girl. She was very pretty, a redhead, green eyes, warm, tanned skin - smart. Who wouldn't want to be around her?

"Anyway, it was like some old memory in him had been shaken awake, a memory of being young and being around a pretty girl with the future ahead of her and no preconceptions about life being real limited - his wife, I think, was pretty limited in her thinking, as I recall. She was pretty much obsessed with money and social status and the fact that Richard had neither.

"Well, this girl seemed to actually like the guy even though she was like 17 or 18 and he was 22 or 23. It wasn't a sex thing, I don't think - she just enjoyed talking to him. They took their breaks together, ate dinner together, talked about anything and everything nearly every day. She liked his hair and beard, which were ridiculously long back then - said it reminded her of the 60's and she was really onto the 60's and all that.

"Two years it went on. I think the whole mess really got to the guy - he quit eating and lost a lot of weight. He drank a lot. He drew pictures of the girl, maybe wrote about her, I don't know. Once he said she was the only reason he even came to work. Or was it got out of bed? Anyway, he was losing it. No, I'd say he pretty much lost it there. His home situation was horrible, he wanted to run away and not look back. Once, he told this other guy we worked with something about just cashing in a paycheck, grabbing his credit card and taking the girl to Paris. Nuts, man - he was nuts. I don't think he ever asked her because I think he knew it was nuts, too.

"But she wasn't nuts. She was young and smart and had a life to live and a world to see on her own, and in her own time and way. Maybe with someone more like her age and way more stable, y'know? She graduated high school - he went to the graduation. Felt bad for weeks after it. Real bad. She came to say good-bye to him at work. They hugged for a long couple of moments and then it was over.

"She gave him her address and phone number at college - he called a couple of times but sensed things were probably too weird to go on like that. She told him she had met an artist guy there that reminded her of him and they were going out or hanging out or something. He said he knew she'd moved on - as if she'd ever really been "with" him in first place - so he threw away the number and the address and that was that.

"Someone said a couple of years ago that she'd become a psychologist and had a practice in Washington. State or D.C. But I don't know if that's true or not."

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