Saturday, September 24, 2011

Alligators Can't Climb Trees

I have a friend who sometimes borrows my memory. I really do have a rather remarkable memory. I can even remember things that never happened. I picture my deathbed much like the movie “Big Fish” with my kids trying to find out what parts of my life were true. That’s why I love that movie. It glamorizes liars. I try to tell the truth, but the truth grows. I justify my creativity by claiming that honesty is overrated. Just because a person is being honest doesn’t mean he knows what he is talking about. If we really want honesty in relationships, it’s not what we teach our partners. How did we expect the boys we dated to become good husbands?  

My friend asked me the other day if I would remember something for her. I wondered what she wanted to know. She looked a bit puzzled and said she thinks she has a memory of spending the night at my house and going to a party and there seemed to be a tree house somehow involved. Then she looked me in the eye and trustingly asked, “Did something like this actually happen?” 

Yes, and I remember it in detail. You were wearing my red bell bottoms with the big white polka dots. I wore a pale blue pair with a big Tshirt. We both wore sandals and long straight brown hair. We were going to Mike Mayo’s party. I was going to be with Clyde and you were with Jackie, I believe. Yes, he was very adorable. Or maybe it was Mike. He was cute too. We were probably about fourteen years old or younger. 

When we arrived we went into the garage and Innagadadavida was playing on the stereo. The boys asked us if we wanted to go for a walk. We did. We walked down by the river and sat on a sea wall and looked at the moon and stars reflected on the water. My white sandals were so bright against the dark river they almost glowed. It was a beautiful night. It’s so cool having a boyfriend. Do I really want a boyfriend? How do I know if he really likes me? Do I really like him?

Then the boys asked the question. Each of them asked the same question. Each of them asked it intimately; quietly; privately. It was the first time I had ever heard the question and I must admit a pivotal experience for me. “Do you want to go and see the alligator?” I instinctively knew this was some kind of code that would lead to heavy petting. I also knew this was a great way to find out how serious I wanted to be about this guy. So we all four walked back up the dirt road and past the garage and near a pond with a big tree next to it. Without discussion we all climbed the tree up to the tree house. There was enough room for three couples. 

We didn’t expect honesty. We liked our guys to be cute and creative and a little bit sly and deceptive. But then later we decided to really rake them over the coals for being all of those things. It’s funny really. I wonder how many of us would have gone if our boyfriends said “lets go up in the tree house and make out”? I suppose Mimi and I probably would have. It was just so much more fun to pretend and make it all more naughty. We were good girls doing bad things with cute boys. I guess that’s about as normal as rain.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Philosophical Ramblings

“No one can get out” are the words I hear as I leave 7-11 after buying gas, coffee and a Power Ball ticket. Those words are strangely seductive to me and I wonder if it’s because of his accent. Indian men have always made me feel safe. It’s possible that it is simply a chemical attraction based on the fact that it is the only demographic I am aware of and in contact with that hasn’t at some point betrayed me or been accused of it by me.

A few seconds before this, he had said “good luck” to me with such sincerity, it made me want to win just so I could share it with his store. Deciding what one believes is so personal and so intimate while at the same time being universal and broadly promoted. The problem with deciding is it cuts you off from the benefits of other ideologies. Or perhaps that is a benefit. But I do believe, if only for now, that being certain of some absolute is most likely a dead end. I don’t do well with endings. It’s very possible that Infinity is still my god. Meanwhile it ebbs and flows and I am grateful for the differences in culture and habits. So I don’t really know what it is with me and my Asian friends. It’s still evolving.

With the girls it’s a sense of humor thing. They find me funny and I love how they “get me”. With the guys they just are so open that they seem to be offering some kind of protection or sanctuary and the offer is so fulfilling that I never feel the need to call them out on it. I met a lovely Indian man on a plane a few months back. We talked about philosophy and writing. I told him that I had just started blogging and he told me that he had just published a book. We traded websites and I felt like I had a complete relationship as I left the plane.   I bought his book and love it and I’m sure he checks in on my blog from time to time.

What’s not perfect about that? It’s part of who I am now. I take it with me. I bought a poster the other day with a Zen proverb on it. It said “The obstacles are the path”. I had no idea what it meant. I bought it because I liked the picture and thought it was humorously confusing. But somehow today after picking up my coffee, it makes perfect sense.  I’ll just keep rolling on and hopefully being amazed at what the universe seems to be teaching me. For now I’m in a stage of being completely amazed and excited by just what is observable. And I am convinced that it is possible to know only the tiniest fraction of what is knowable. 

So while not making less of the undeniable truth that each of us is unique; it is also true that we are certainly unique just like everyone else. That makes me feel safe too.