Monday, June 20, 2005

Smoking Pumpkins

I've been trying to decide whether to join the swarm of journalists now in Bolivia or go to Alaska and chill with my friend Tanya from high school. Probably I will do both.

But Alaska first.

I have been promising Tanya for centuries that I will come and visit her and her land in the wilderness.

Tanya and I used to sneak into the bathroom at Sehome High School in Bellingham Washington and smoke cigarettes. Like just about everyone else. Only we went to the boys' bathroom, blowing smoke blithely into the air while these poor males would come in, go 'huh' and leave, figuring they were in the wrong bathroom. Her with her round shy face and her big Alaskan pumpkin-colored jacket and me in some kind of LA coordinated green miniskirt thing that allowed me to freeze my ass off in the snowpacked Bellingham winter.

We spent most of that year staging strange and random events like this, eating bad food in the cafeteria while we spoke in invented languages no one else understood, sitting under the school desks instead of "at" them, leading demonstrations of six of our friends against high school functions that seemed perfectly acceptable to everyone else. I guess we thought these were revolutionary acts.

Later that year I got kicked out of school for spending all my time organizing events and never going to class and Tanya went to a foster home.

A psychic told her she and I would be friends for life, that we would be old ladies together.

Well honey, I said last night on the phone, we have to admit that we're getting there. Maybe I better move my butt up to Alaska to visit you while I can still move it.

We had a lot to talk about last night. Downing Street memos. Torture. Despair. Why isn’t Bush impeached yet. Why are Americans so numb. How can we take all these layers of numbness off.

You eventually got rid of your big pumpkin jacket, I said, maybe there’s a way.

Yeah right, she laughed, but you never learned that you can’t wear miniskirts in the snow.

My cell phone cut off right about then, because I had exhausted the long distance minutes I had paid for. So I put some more money into my account and then when I called back discovered that I had eighteen dollars more than I had put in.

Money appears from nowhere when you really need it. Like rain, old friends, small and spontaneous revolutionary acts.

1 comment:

tanya said...

There was something strange about seeing Lisa after lo these many years of telephone calls, notes and letters - but oh, so rare appearances upon the others' doorstop.

My Big Pumpkin Coat in High School was so very necessary back then. I was only hiding in it because I was so vulnerable with my openness and trusting ways. Through the vagaries of life, the organic process that creates callouses and tough skin, I began to wear a more invisible armour, to find a more effective repellent using eyes and stance and response. My intellect
became accustomed to quickly categorizing persons encountered, rather than to explore them fully and to open them up with my charm. Sadly, and I was aware
as it happened as if beyond my control, I became dismissive.

Both purposefully and helplessly, I dampened my charm and my light because it seemed so many wished to drain me or use me or take a little of my fairy dust for their own. I saved it, conserved, withdrew. Even so, I remained open and honest, that talisman of honesty both my weapon and my Achilles heel, and my pledge to God, spirit, and life. Only in my 40's did my openness get squashed so thoroughly that I finally had only honesty left to me.

Oh, Age, that despoiler of innocence! Innocence held Lisa and me as we talked about life and meaning and God and the World and politics and psychology and the
whats and wherefore's and ins and outs of all things in this world. Lisa was the midwife of my intellect, the first person I could talk with about anything and everything, for whom all things were as interesting as I found
them. I believe we were so swept up in our explorations we never had time to nitpick or backstab or badmouth or find any evil in ourselves. We were like pure light back then, in many ways. She was golden, and I blue, like the sky.

So how strange, to see her again after so many years, her light still golden, that glow and charm still so vibrant in her face and smile. I observed her, with my new cynicism, that orange coat now a permanent carapace on my being,
and longed to throw off that which had grown into my skin and find myself again with her tripping the lightly fantastical freedom of our youth.

We found it some. We were happiest together walking the woods and finding interesting minutia that drew both our heads down to the ground or off into
the distance to examine and comment on beauty. We spoke much of Spirit, and though both now on different paths, we have both wandered around that curclicued highway system - by bus, thumb, train automobile and on foot in
various stages of exertion - that we know well each other at our essence - for we are Seekers.

My only regret over our visit was my complete inability to again be open. My light has turned from that light blue of the cloud-skipping spring day to the
darker, deeper blue that holds more within itself. She was able to eloquently tell me how much she loved me. And I can no longer express with appropriate
eloquence, in mere and everyday speech, how deeply and completely I do and always will love her. It is just too deep to say. I need a more operatic voice!