Quote of the Day:
“You may ask yourself, how did I get here?” –Talking Heads
Many years ago when TB was in college, there was this strange night in the Delta…..
I was sitting outside at The Gin on a cool summer evening–we still had those back in those days–when across from me I noticed a beautiful girl. Now, that was not so unusual a sighting considering I was at Ole Miss, but this girl looked familiar. And she wasn’t only beautiful, she was six feet tall, long black hair tumbling down her back, lightning in her eyes, dressed to kill, with a swimsuit model’s physique. To complete the scene, I was a bit over six feet tall, unkempt brown hair going hither and yon, the redness of yesterday’s hangover in my eyes, dressed in shorts and a tee shirt, with a beer drinker’s body. In no way did I contemplate compatibility with the creature across the bar.
But I couldn’t help noticing, she kept looking over at me. And not at all because I was looking at her–I wasn’t–very studiously I wasn’t.
Before long, the beautiful girl moved over beside me. “You don’t recognize me, do you?” she asked with dancing eyes. Really, like a whole damn production of Swan Lake.
“You look very familiar,” I stammered, “but I can’t place it.”
She laughed and told me her name and that we went to high school together. I remembered her then. She had been six feet back then too, but with Olive Oyl’s body. You know how these stunning actresses always go on TV and talk about how awkward they were back in high school? This girl was like that. And now she was like them–the stunning actresses I mean.
Well, we had a great evening and at some point were joined by others–people I did not know and neither did she–but they invited us to go to the casinos in Tunica and she wanted to go, and I wanted to go wherever she went, so I guess that meant I wanted to go too. So we did.
Riding in the back seat with her pressed tightly against my leg and shoulder through the silent cotton fields of the pitch black Delta midnight I really should have had a chance. I did not have a chance, but I should have. Fortunately, I was hip to this sad fact and I never did make a pass at her and so she never got to gun me down though sensed her readiness to fire away at any provocation.
The significance of all this? It was the first time in my life–there have been many moments since–but it was the first time I sat back and pondered, “what strange forces, what seemingly innocuous decisions, what coincidences all came together to lead me to this precise and unusual moment in space and time with this particular unattainable beauty and these other three yay-hoos?”
Fast forward a couple of decades and I’m riding in a car from Albuquerque to Telluride with a new/old friend who poses the question, “You ever wonder how you get to certain points in life? Who woulda’ thought….?” My friend is a liberal Mormon–you can’t pigeonhole him–who had just begun to tell me of his near-romance with the still lovely lady I rode through the night with all those years ago. Then we had a flat tire twenty miles outside Durango. Unable to repair the tire and without a spare, we stood waiting for a tow at the side of the highway next to the blanching bones of an unfortunate deer who attempted to cross our lightly traveled road at just the wrong time some hours previous and who must have been wondering at the climactic instant of his own life why he didn’t tarry at the clover patch for just a second longer.
As we waited in the cool summer evening–they still have those in the mountains–my friend told me about reconnecting with the girl. He told me of her spirituality, that she considered herself a prophetess. A prophetess. That was cool with him because, you see, she still looks like a model. He told me about their long conversations, about helping her with some business issues, and helping her move, the gradual increase in sexual/romantic tension between them which culminated after the last of her furniture was in place at her new house. He was ready to move in–to kiss, not to live–when she slammed on the brakes. It seems the girl had divined that she must not date a Mormon–it was just too damned weird for the sirenesque prophetess.
Ok, that’s it. I know this ends rather abruptly, but that’s how the story goes. It’s just that I wonder….if the girl ever thinks to herself….”I wonder….”