This is a follow-up to the previous awesome post. FYI- currently Red Square is testing its sound system (aka- a boombox) with torturous Spanish R&B. Maybe it’s Enrique Inglesias and his monster mole. Whoever it is, he keeps bellowing “MIRA!” Well, look here Red Square, take your Spanish sap somewhere else. I’ve got important digi-diarying to do.
So in the previous post, I referred to a top secret, highly classified story I was working on about the old man and the sea. But in this case, its an old man, a bunch of twentysomethings and a lake. So here’s the deal. There’s this fellow named Poppa Neutrino and he builds rafts out of scrap materials- a nicer euphemism for garbage. He’s been doing this for about 30 years. He sailed across the Atlantic on a raft called Son of Town Hall. He’s certifiably on another planet, and I mean that with all due respect. I’d like to buy a ticket on the commuter rocketship to his planet.
Well, Poppa Neutrino is here in Burlington. He’s decided that he’s going to live here until he dies, or until the winds change and a flight of fancy carries him elsewhere. Poppa is way too hard to explain in this blog post. Plus I’m not ready to write about him until I sit down to do the story, which will be out in this Saturday’s Free Press. I will tell you that he’s got a Santa beard, two teeth and wears Oxford semi-brogues with no laces. His constant companion is a Boston terrier named Betty Boop.
Anyway, Poppa Neutrino is sort of a messianic character and like all good messiahs, has quite a following. Here in Burlington, they’re called the Owl Party, the only political party that doesn’t claim to know anything. Apparently. So the Owl Party is planning to build a 100-foot raft on Lake Champlain that will house 30 people and have room for art studios, a bowling alley and shuffleboard on the deck. They’ve been meeting for a month and they just began building last week. Every Wednesday night they have a potluck behind Radio Bean, so I decided to go and check it out.
What a narc I felt like! I get to the potluck and everyone’s sort of artsy and counter-culture and against the man. Here I am in my fleece jacket (so stylish) and my work clogs, looking like a total dork while trying to avoid everyone’s direct gaze. Plus, I work for MSM! Ahhhh! I might as well have horns and a pitchfork. Or be the CEO of Exxon/Mobil. Or ConAgra. Anyway, I chatted with some folks, but once they realized that I was Lois Lane, girl reporter, they made some lame excuse why they had to leave. “Um, I have to, um, go darn my sock.”
During the meeting in the heroine alley, they talked a lot about the sense of community they all felt and the fact that “something big” was happening. Now, I’ve never been a joiner and I have my doubts about a 100-foot junk raft coming to fruition, but it would be pretty cool if we had people living on rafts in the lake. Poppa said that if anyone in the Owl Party became crappy, they would build him his own raft, but he wouldn’t be allowed to live with other people. I like it. Maybe we should just put prisoners on rafts by themselves and anchor them in the middle of the lake. It would at least make navigation interesting for all the Frenchies who come down from Canadialand with their lightning fast cigarette boats.
I plan on following along as they get more involved in the planning and building process. But until it’s built, I’ll just be a landlubber skeptic.
If you want to learn more about Poppa Neutrino, check out this great book by New Yorker reporter Alec Wilkinson- The Happiest Man in the World: An account of the life of Poppa Neutrino. A living legend, here in Burlington. Hurrah!