i notice and relish the details of people. if i have ever watched you in person from afar, you should know i commit to memory your details. you are my secret friend. i think i am addicted. in fact, i know i am.
secret friend loves of my past include: pickup truck drivin' good ol boys who wore confederate flag t-shirts and had a bumper sticker reading Lee Surrendered, I Didn't; too serious sweaty dancers named salsa fight guy dressed in black, scarves and eyeliner; dirty seattle bike messenger lesbians and their amazing muscle legs; a yellow sweater vespa riding italian man on spanish holiday in search of someone to help them practice english; a scientist who believes hobby degrees (ie women studies) are a waste of time and anything which can't be scientifically proven doesn't exist; a sorority girl who was supremely happy to invite me to her King Tut And The Egyptian Sluts costume frat party; and a woman who not only wore the color peach every day, but also decorated her entire house in the same shade, after a sales girl in florida told her it was a nice color on her - 20 years prior. oh to be there, to have witnessed more. i could have spent years being perfectly content...listening. watching. waiting for everything to play out. i would have given up all my long underwear for more time. and if you know me - that's serious talk.
these secret friend impressions make my life. get me through the day, through the years. obviously yes i am more in love with them then they are with me, and that's fine and expected - half the time they don't know i exist (and frankly im not even going to try to compete with a King Tut and Egyptian Slut party). so there. though most of these encounters have never blossomed into full friendships, or they are intensely short lived, my heart lights up all the same. whether my attention was first attracted by their accent, smirk, story about their mother, dark comment, sigh, crows feet, or the way the warm their hands in front of the car heating vents as they drive. i love my secret friends and their truth.
for me, that's the ultimate deal maker. their sparks of truth. any truth- whatever it may be for just that moment. the glimpse doesn't need to be constant and ever present, doesn't even need to be on purpose. i don't have to like, or agree with it - for me its courageously beautiful and fascinating all the same. i am not saying i want to sit in a circle with you and listen as people divulge into the slough of life, as we cry, do trust falls and make lists of our shit. no. i can't handle that. i want the subtle, the unrehearsed and organic. i don't like parts that float to the top. i want the murky stuff that sinks to the bottom and and gets stirred up.
so yes, i am addicted to the murk. it's what i crave and actively seek out. little crumbs leading to some part of a back story. the why. why do they (and we) do the incredible things they (we) do. i find it fascinating...the truth of it all. maybe i obsess since i struggle with my own honest expression. my own murk.
brief (and not so brief) examples.
the other night i took the 73 bus back from work. i sat close to two younger gentleman both wearing long black trench coats, unkept patchy beards, and australian adventure hats. one brown one black. they were good pals, sitting next to each other, discussing a shared story from time spent in some alternate universe i wasn't familiar with. some location where they enjoy zorb. i couldn't decipher if zorb was a reference to their leader, or an activity. [got home and realized it is quite the activity]. anyway, black hat with glasses finally says to brown hat with red bow-tie, Hey, so i have finished that last chapter for my novel. You wanna hear?. brown hat replies, sure, and i become nervously addicted. From the inside of his trench coat, the author pulls out a small pocket size journal - covered in bright blue oriental fabric speckled with pink cherry tree blossoms. Where shall i begin?? oh yes...he smiles at himself and embarks. his voice and cadence swell into an homage for voice over guy from the Days of our Lives. firm and reassuring, wise and whimsical, but with some bitterness thrown in.
"Those of you present for the feeding, i have a hidden gift for you. As planet Delpheriax selflessly provides our nourishment, I implore you to do the same for others. I pray you not to harm 3XY and his clan. Instead, leave them be. I shall escort them to the galaxy beyond the 3rd sun. Yes they have destroyed our earth clones, but what happened to compassion? Have we not learned from the crusades of Borthum and Bob?! The decision is my gift to you. Take it with substance, the healing shall begin..."
i couldn't decide which i was more in awe of...the fact that brown hat writes his novel in small $3 asian inspired fabric bound journals, or that he decided to read his prose allowed on the bus during 6 o'clock traffic - all while two seats down juanita chastised rico on her cell (something la ultima vez, puto!). She was very very angry. he was very very proud. it was like 3secondheat, i just couldn't get enough.
a more endearing example occurred last month while my mom and i visited my brother max at berkeley.
we had the fortunate pleasure of being in san fransisco the night of halloween. after sitting through a power surge of rock lobster sung by salvador dali dressed as a spanish bullfighter, we made our way back to el cerrito. if you ever have the opportunity to take the Bart at 2am, waiting patiently amongst hundreds of others, on halloween, in san fransisco - you should pack a lunch and go. pure inspiration.
after finally making our connecting train, i managed to score a seat next to Fred Flintstone. a 350 lb Cartman (who could have been identified from space) stood in front of the car, taking up the majority of the room. Bike Man stood next to him with the six remaining members of the Double-Wide Bandit Crew, and Pizzazz with her jealous girlfriend sat along the side. There was a gang of Zombie Slut Bridesmaids behind me, and a pissy Lady Gaga dressed in a belly button plunging black bathing suit, fishnets, stilettos, bedazzled ray-bans, and blond bangs. At some point, a young man in the front spotted his lost friend in the back of the car, and with dripping elation and a huge smile to match screamed out, JULIUS! JULIUS YOU MOTHERFUCKER!!! LOOK AT YOU BITCH!! I FUCKING FOUND YOU!!! HAHA! I THOUGHT I FUCKING LOST YOU BITCH!! FUCK! DAN, LOOK! ITS JULIUS!! I FUCKING FOUND YOU MAN! I FUCKING LOVE YOU!
i never did see julius, but it was worth the price of the ticket, just to see such friendship among men.
with all the amazing-ness abuzzing around me, i proudly sat next to fred flintstone, inhaling everything, being thankful - secretly wishing the train would break down at that moment - and i would be kept inside its' custom-made time capsule f.o.r.e.v.e.r.
to my surprise, Fred turned to me, smiled, and said, I should go home, and change out of this. I have to have brunch with my mom this afternoon. Fred was a young kid, sophomore at berkeley. skinny to the point of not really filling out his red/one shoulder strap/no shirt/cave man costume (but an excellent attempt non-the-less). sweet disposition. he reminded me of one of the guys in college that was a reliable, gentle soul. i said, Oh honey, im sure your mom would still love to have brunch with you - even if you showed up in that. he gave me a yeah i know goofy grin, and i went back to listening to 'Julius's friend' realize he had just found Julius all....over...again.
a minute passed.
Can I ask you something? (Fred now wanted my full attention)
Sure! (intrigued - i turned to face him)
So, i like this girl...
[at this very moment, i had to take a deep breath to stop myself from screaming at the top of my lungs, THANK YOU! THANK YOU GOD! THANK YOU!!]
...Yeah so this girl, she is just so amazing and funny - and BEAUTIFUL, so beautiful... and so we have been talking for a while, and finally last night we were alone together and i kissed her, and i was so nervous - but it was amazing...so now i was so excited to go out tonight, because we made plans - us and our friends - to all hang out tonight right? but tonight we were all together and i was talking to her girl friends and they told me she really isn't wanting a relationship right now...and so now i am so confused and i don't know what to do... i just think she is amazing and we kissed... i mean, she wouldn't have kissed me if she wasn't in to me! so i don't know what to do?! she is just so beautiful and we have so much fun together! should i just stop talking to her? should i text her and ask her how she feels about me????
[by this point in his confession, the two men seated directly in front of us had perked up and were listening in on Fred's love life. they sat with their heads leaning back, holding hands and grinning. i took a second before i gave my response.]
You know (Fred), this is what I think you should do. You should call her up and tell her you would like to meet up for coffee, just to hang out, no big deal. Once you two are there, you talk about normal stuff. once you both are relaxed you just ask her how she feels about you - if her feelings are mutual. No pressure, no weirdness, just asking sweetly for an honest answer--
--Wait, so i shouldn't text her first? What about her friends?
You know, Im sure her friends mean well, but I'm sure you can appreciate this just being between you and her. It's important to make that connection with that person face to face, not through phone or email or friends- but just real people talking. Know what I mean?
Yeah, that makes sense...I'll should do it face to face.
(and then my heart kicked in)
Oh, and one more thing (Fred). So, when you tell her how you really feel - and if she dodges the question, or is mean to you, or doesn't give you a real answer?? Well, then she isn't worth it. Remember that OK? You are a sweet guy being very mindful of her feelings, putting yourself out there - and you deserve the same respect, OK?
(Smiling) Yeah, YEAH...you are right. Thank you so much! Thank You!
the gay couple in front smiled and nodded, as to say - 'good job'. i sat in awe of my sweet life.
fred's stop came up. he, and everyone else, departed.
secret friend success.