This bit, with its missing introduction, feels like a bridge...to the next part--the "Get out of Dodge' part. Here's my dad becoming more disenchanted, here's the funny story of the drug tank, here again is the thread; the driving fear and anxiety, the impetus to push on. I adore the image of him poncho-ed on a street corner playing a flute.
His story moves between 2 poles; the deep and revealing reflection on his core motivations and comedic, but ultimately shallow, cliche-driven platitudes. Which in some ways is very much a reflection of him--he could be the 'life of the party' with his wit, humor, and easy amiability. He could also be very deep, real, and present. But between the two, in the everyday 'hello and how do you do' way, he experienced perpetual discomfort. He was a very all-or-nothing guy. He found passion in the extremes. And I think that the middle, the sort of boring 'normal' just going about things felt kind of stagnant and revolting to him.
This is probably an over generalization--because really, as a direct result of being wheelchair confined, he was forced to spend a lot of time doing nothing--laying in bed thinking. I still cannot fathom how he made it through the days and nights and months at a time when he was stuck in bed healing from pressure sores. He was pretty damn intimate with boredom, and I think on some level must have had to make peace with it--or he would have gone mad. But having made peace, I'm still thinking he preferred, even reveled in, up vs. down and black vs. white, and that the middle-meshing-gray felt foreign to him.
You may disagree. I'm not even sure I completely agree with what I'm saying.