Coach K College Basketball this particular amusement is called. Right now Faulk's UCLA team is playing Virginia, and the score is close, too close for Faulk to risk losing by getting swept up in a telephone conversation.
"I feel so bad for her," his friend's mother continues.
BLIT blat blong....
"I guess it's just one of those things. But the mental ward! It's the mental ward they went and put her in!"
"Uh-huh. Yeah. Uh-huh."
It was F. Scott Fitzgerald who once said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."
"Well, let's go see how they're doing," Faulk says after the call. And he means the cars, or some of them. This is the high point of his day, the small, sacred thing that makes him feel most alive. Tomorrow, after he gets his haircut, he'll do the same things he has done today. The next day, too. And the day after that one. He'll do this until something like football intervenes and takes him away.
At this moment three of his cars are being worked on at AJ-USA, Inc., an upscale dealership on Mira Mesa Boulevard. One of the cars is his new convertible. He's replacing its exhaust, tires and rims, even though they contributed significantly to the $85,000 price tag. As if chrome isn't good enough, Faulk's having the frames of the side view mirrors painted green.
On the way he says, "Sometimes I find myself, like, tripping out over things. I've lived in the South, the West and now the Midwest, and things are different in different parts of the country. For instance, the forms of the law. Out here in California, if the police use radar, you can see them from a certain distance. In Indianapolis they can hide, and they have dark motorcycles, and at night that scares me. I ride around in nice cars, and if a dark motorcycle or car pulls up behind me, I'm not going to stop, I'm sorry. He can put his lights on or whatever, but I'm not about to be pulled over. Follow me to the nearest gas station or something, but I'm not stopping." Faulk keeps shaking his head, imagining the scenario. A minute passes, and then he says, "It worries me. A lot."