Monday, December 11, 2006

Otis Gunn

I talked to my buddy Otis yesterday. Otis is an interesting, eccentric individual. I believe he is about 56 years old. I met him a little over two years ago at the New York Pizza Show.

Otis spends winters in Quartzsite, Arizona. After at least a couple years of planning, he has recently finished equipping his pizza trailer, which I believe he calls "The Pizza Wheel." He keeps it stationed near the flea market in Quartzsite, and he sells slices and pies to the flea market's visitors. Like me, Otis taught himself everything he knows about pizza.

You don't think that is very interesting, huh? Well, dig this.

If you met Otis, you'd likely think he is poor or not very well off because he is a very humble kind of person. He is a regular dude with a heavy Macon, Georgia accent. You'd never suspect that Otis is a millionaire. At least that is the best description I can come up with. All I know is that Otis has more money than he needs. I suspect he is a multimillionaire, but I have not asked him about the specifics. In fact, I know more than I ever wanted to know. Y'see, when Otis came to Columbus earlier this year, we went to Mac's Cafe for dinner and some beers. Well, the beers really opened Otis up, and he started talking about things that confirmed my suspicions. While we chatted, he casually mentioned how he could hypothetically buy some shopping center for a couple million and try to attract this store and that store.

That was more information than I ever needed to know. That kind of knowledge is not good for friendships. And I think shortly after that event, I started seeing Otis as OTI$, even though I tried very hard not to see him that way. I think Otis felt the change, too. Consequently, our communication has been very limited the last 10 months.

I think I am over all that. Although I sure would like for Otis to invest in one of my visions--either Aimless or "Ryan's Imaginary Pizzeria"--I don't see the dollar signs anymore when I think of Otis. The fact is, I thought of Otis as a buddy--a like mind--long before I knew he was loaded. I thought of Otis as a pal even when I thought he was essentially poor.

Well, I'll be leaving California in a couple days. Once I find a ride, I'll be in Quartzsite within a few hours, as it is a couple hundred miles east of here. I plan to stop and see Otis and his pizza trailer; maybe spend the night in Quartzsite. Also, I think maybe I'd like to come back out this way in January and work for Otis, if possible.

I'd also like to spend some time with Otis in the warmer months, if he ends up doing what I think he wants to do. I think Otis plans to hit the road with the pizza trailer, working festivals and just finding towns in which he might sell some pizzas for a day or two. Otis is my Aimless kin, and I really expect him to end up as a very present character in the ultimate product.

Otis is one of the interesting people. You don't know anyone like Otis, which will be evident once you "meet" him.

Surely I will have more to say about Otis before long, and you can bet I will post some footage of him when I get home.