In a forest and see a deep fryer by side of a dirt road. Like a barbecue grill, but red, with what looks like a red gas container connected to the side. My mom and I decide we don’t need to take it. We go over a small tree-lined ridge and down a steep hill. We pause to lie down and take a break, on our way to what looks like a rundown railyard below. Mom is large, maybe six times my size, like when I was young and much smaller. (This dream took much effort to remember.)
During ? I had a feeling I last felt when I was in my first bedroom, in Santa Rosa, maybe 1-4 years old. Flowing through the bars of a crib perhaps. The trainman clock on the wall, the one from Germany. Indoor lighting, not sunshine, nighttime. The wooden ‘Robert’ blocks, the ones with the rainbow letters. Some of these recollections were seen, others felt.
In a later dream, inside an abandoned train car, the side has a painted-over sign reading ‘FREE AIR’. A couple passes by the end of the narrow hall and I jokingly call out “Ah! Other people! Ah!” Another train car painted orange and green has an ad for a neighborhood Irish radio station/bar, 9.53 FM — I think it’s really 95.3, but the misplaced decimal point is for charm (and to throw off lazy authorities).
The subtitle of this entry is “a fine example of the problems with revealing personal experiences in a public forum, especially as relates to sexual equality and hot chicks in the 21st century.”
So I met this girl last Thursday. Mary Catherine. She’s Irish, full of spirit and sprite and more than a little bite. Master’s degree, English lit-er-a-ture. Carried around Jane Eyre the whole time I knew her, and had the romantic inclinations to match. We met not at a bar, but walking home from one. Thank God for girls with a poor sense of direction (and the male protection mechanism that helps their sorry situation). If not, I doubt that I’d have known her outside of a hostel stairwell. As it was, we feverishly debated feminism and modern sexual equality for the next hour. This is sometimes called “foreplay.” I was the first American with whom she could hold a conversation (so she said), and she spent a year in New York. This says a lot about me but perhaps more about New York.
By round about 2 o’clock, when all the others arrived home from the barbary-coast brewery/bar, I’m content to think I had her English-lit educated, female-favoring Gaelic greymatter headily haywire, helped certainly by our intermediate intoxication. Jane Eyre is justifiably lambastable—melodramatic moth-magnet that it is—necessitating nearly not-nice opining on my part. Being quite respectable, she took umbrage (very well). XXX yakking zinged zealosly zereafter.
Did I mention we had fun? Not just with words (which we did). The kind of fun two people of opposite sexes can have after a night of drinking and sharply sparked conversation. Oh yes, there was thumb-wrestling. Of course with 6 people per room in a hostel, it limits how much fun two people can respectably have. We passed those limits. Not too much! Just enough. Enough to wake people up, ahem. But by this time it was… what, maybe 6 o’clock in the morning? And I learned that girls who still travel with teddy bears have a tendency to fall asleep when they happen to hug them. Even if they are 24 and have a Master’s. Even if it’s not the best time to be falling asleep.
We had a good time the next few days. She gave me life outside of emailing my résumé. I gave her a sense of class, romance, and a deeper understanding of the fine line between confidence and arrogance. What can I say?—I played “the American.” She played “vulnerably self-empowered and inexperienced yet highly educated 21st-century 20-something Catholic-guilt-having yet steamy-romance-needing girl/woman with an endearing foreign manner.” She played it well. There wasn’t ever a moment when the tension left. I did things I’m certain I wouldn’t have done otherwise. It was, in short, a really good thing that happened to both of us. Our last night together was eventful. I won’t write about it here, as it’s too complicated. And still too close. And really, not the kind of story I’d share with everyone on the internet. We never… how can I say? Consumated our relationship. She left, and I haven’t heard from her since.
Around this point, most men would say something along the emotions of “dammit, I was so close, but oh well.” I know better. Everything worth doing will be bittersweet in the end. She left, and I haven’t heard from her since.
Now, here’s the problem with writing this story, and its attraction. I’m exposing myself. I’ve invited full-frontal unsolicited judgement of my character. You probably came here Googling me, seeing if I’m fit to date or employ or write a book with, and here I’ve just shared a deeply personal experience with strangers. Not only did I just voluntarily share an intimate experience in a public forum, I featured my own dummy-moves doing it! I didn’t pair it with the standard-issue “that’s the way I am” or “I don’t care what you think” attitude. Maybe you now think I’m a player who plays with girls, goes for the drunk ones cause their easy. Maybe you think I’m a love-starved loser, quick-to-love. Maybe you think I’m really, really considering this whole thing too much. I’m practically inviting, nay, demanding unseen repercussions. I’m the trenchcoat-flasher who squints his eyes closed.
That’s my problem—I’m willing to share, I’m not ready to accept the consequences for doing so. I’m unwilling to let certain people (who know who they are! who’ve been named! who’ve read too much already! who have disobeyed my specific hints!) find it and read it.
This means you, Mom.
But God, it’s fun to do. And I think I may have solved my problem, in the process of spelling it out. Being explicit about the expected judgment places that judgment in the forefront of a reader’s cerebrum, thereby making it a conscious choice instead of an pre-conscious one. This is much the same mechanism detailed in Post #45. For me, it’s also an elegant (but partial) solution to the troubling axiom proposed in Post #35. I shall henceforth refer to this as:
Counter-intuitive rule #110: if you expect something to happen, then say what you’re expecting, the actual result is guaranteed to change (Heisenberg’s readership principle)