walking around town lake trail, and my imagination places me into this alternate universe where everyone walking by knows me from some event or another, and says hello, how are you doing, each in his or her own way–all friendly, neighborly kinds of hellos, but not generic ones–ones that match a person–como estas–hey buddy–hi koheleth–oh, hello–howdy–hi, good to see you–whats up–you know, how each person says hello to his or her best friends, because i am one of them in this universe.
it makes me feel very good to imagine this, and i smile a lot. because, with the exception of a scant few of them, everyone has a friend or two, and their faces will light up for those they know and trust.
in my universe, everyone knows and trusts me, but people aren’t trying to vie for a piece of me, either, because it’s not like i’m the mayor or lance or somebody rich and famous. i just happened, out of some twist of awesome luck, to become everyone’s pal. it doesn’t get complicated, either. i’m not ever forced to choose between josh’s son’s bar mitzvah, and kelly’s daughter’s piano recital. everyone respects those necessary boundaries, but we’re all still great friends. and, they invite me because they like me, but they don’t get crushed if i can’t attend.
the women smile at me warmly because they know that i am not trying to fuck them, and the men smile at me warmly because they know that i am not trying to kill them, and the kids all smile at me warmly because they know i’m a nice, decent fellow, and not some creepy pervert.
back in the real universe, the trees already love me, and i them. as i walk around the trail, if i keep my eyes and heart focused on all that is to the right of me, there are nothing but warm, beautiful souls sending me all their love. but, they are trees, and as a human, i crave the same from some humans.
the dogs all love me, too.
down at the auditorium shores, some chubby, homely lady sits on the steps between the field where they have concerts and the place where the dogs all get in the water. my dog, little buffy, runs from the water up those stairs and brushes up too close to this woman. she gets this look of complete disgust on her face, even though she is sitting in the direct line of dozens of dogs coming from and going to the water, and actually turns out to have a dog of her own.
meanwhile, a tall, skinny, tanned brunette with bug-eyed sunglasses insists on making what passes for eye contact with me, smiling for an extended period of time. why are more beautiful women smiling at me these days? what has happened? this is weird, i think. i smile at everyone, and the homely, chubby girls who used to be the only ones who smile at me, turn away shyly or frownily, while the hot girls smile at me, almost with interest, whether they have a dude in tow or not. maybe i have a little confidence back, what with the gorgeous maria still wanting to hang out with me, and smile at me, and look at me with those amazing blue eyes of hers that flash mischief behind her curly, chaotic bangs.
i don’t mind this recent phenomenon, it’s just taking a while for my brain to process and get used to it. it happened for a few prolonged periods while i was walking in sf, too.
i weigh myself at my dad’s, and i’m down to 175. i was up to 195 back earlier this year when i was pigging out and working out and hoping i could look like vin diesel. now, i just run a good short run, eat lots of protein, and do a light weights and crunches workout.
i still feel like there is something terribly wrong with me, though, so i jump back to my beautiful alternate universe, where everyone is my friend.
large beefy dudes give me light jabs on the arm, or slaps on the back as they go lumbering past. they say my name gruffly, briefly, in a manly fashion–displaying the camaraderie we all feel as men who are real men out on a summer evening knowing that it’s great to be a man. women all send me looks of love they send their brothers and sons, and to them, i am like either a brother or a son. all that stupid sexual tension we once felt between each other is gone, because i am happily married in my alternate universe, completely spoken for, and every woman knows i’d sooner jab a hot poker through my guts than cheat on my wife–so it isn’t even an issue among us as we smile at each other and exchange warm hellos.
my dog is a lot nicer to other dogs and people, too.
the homeless walking about love me, the cops love me, all races and ages and sizes and classes love me. people who smell nice love me, and people who smell awful love me. and, i love them all back. a few hate my guts, because i suddenly decide that my universe can’t be perfect, but i decide that i love them back, too.
my wife might be maria, or it might be the second russian who came to work at ahmis, or she might turn out to be gwen lilly or brenda afonse, or sarah reiss, or even olivia or vera or deidre or lucy–probably not karen winthrop–no, hell no, this my alternate reality, after all.
my wife might be doing her thing with her girlfriends while i am running with my dog, because we cherish and value each other’s independence and space, and we have no need for some kind of adolescent codependent relationship where we, at first, feel like we have to be by each other’s side 24-7 only to discover after the infatuation wears off that we really never want to hang out unless it is wednesday night or saturday morning, which are our duly appointed times for having obligatory, maintenance sex. which is to say, none of that latter part is in my alternate reality, because i am an adult, married to another adult.
it’s sunday evening in my alternate reality, just like in this one, but tomorrow i will be going to do something i am 100% passionate about, dedicated and called to do. seriously.
i will be going to my studio to paint, or going to teach blind kids, or off to dig in the dirt at some mayan ruins, or designing high fashion, or building the next microsoft, or just wandering around austin, making new friends.