Saturday, October 19, 2002

The People I've Met...

Why is it that the people I've met and talked to for about an hour and never seen again are better than the people I actually know? Some examples: In grade school I used to hang out all the time at Chris Town Mall. I used to bring $5.00 and somehow I was able to have lots of fun on those $5.00. We would take the bus up 15th Avenue. Usually, sneak into the movies. It was so easy then. All you did was stand on the outside balcony and wait for your friend to open the door. At a multiplex. Imagine. I know they must have plugged up this security leak by now.

Once in the 6th grade we met an 'adult.' So strange. We were always meeting kids but never adults. He was wearing a leisure suit. He was very short and had 'wings.' Kind of like feathered hair. He looked a little bit like Dustin Hoffman. He talked to us about his life. He was there trying to get a job. He had dreams but wanted to start selling men's clothing. Even for the late '70's he was a bit out of fashion. Bell bottoms were out. He had blue polyester bell bottoms. Then he told us that his wife had a heart condition and they were living out of their camper eating boxed macaroni and cheese. We all agreed on our love of macaroni and cheese. Eventually, his wife showed up. She was also abnormally small and had the same kind of gnome-like features (but pretty ones) that he did. She didn't look sick but she did look delicate. She gave us a gentle smile.

The thing is that I am 100% sure that I am actually older than both these people now. Maybe a lot older. Scary thought.

Then there was the Filipina woman I met on the bus on my way home from work in Oakland. We talked about her growing up in the Phillipines, about how she saw Americans as Peace Corps. workers, about how they always liked the Americans but were angry with the U.S. for using the Phillipines as a big army base.

There are lots more people like this. The thing is I meet these people all the time and never see them again. They seem more interesting, more compelling than the people of my everyday life. Sometimes I make an attempt to get to know them somehow. I leave them a phone number or an email. But they always vanish and I am never able to test whether their depths go on or if I got the best part.


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