Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Imbalance of Trade

In a couple of hours I'll start riding my mountain bike north. Along the beach for a few miles, then inland, and then up from sea level to 2000 feet at the top of the range that divides Santa Monica from the San Fernando Valley. Then I'll coast down the other side in a long roll that ends in Canoga Park, where Ron works. What does it say about my own neediness that I'm willing to make this long ride just so I can have lunch with him?

It should be simple. God saw that Adam was alone, put him to sleep, took out a rib and made a woman so they could be companions. "It isn't good that man is alone." Yet from this simple act has grown dating, valentines, fancy restaurants, insecurity and guilt. I figured I was better off without it. Life was complex enough.

My disinterested viewpoint has led to some unusual observations. Men say women are frustratingly inscrutable, women say that men are frustratingly narrow-minded. Intellectually I realized that they're all wrong; the truth is that people are complex and the particular mix of components we see of one person at one time won't be the same as what we'll see tomorrow, or in an hour or so.

Accurate as that assessment may be, it seems to be little help in the real world, How does one build bridges between people? I don't know. It just seems to happen, or not. Or the bridge is built and then dynamited from one end or the other with the goal seeming to be to damage the other person as much as possible. I know my limits. I stayed out of the game.

On the way back from the beach on Sunday, I was walking beside one of the women Chris had invited to his brunch. Our conversation strayed from something I know, sand sculpture, to something I don't know, relationships.
"I've never participated very much in that."
"Why not?" she asked.
"I never learned to speak the language. I don't know how to approach women."
"You just ask them. Not in a slimy way, of course."
"How can it be anything other than slimy?"

The man knows what he wants, and the woman knows what he wants. What I've never known is what the woman wants. Looking at the couples who walk the beach it seems that women want either thugs or guys talking on cell phones. I have no interest in being a thug, and the people at work already call me too often so I'll refuse the cellular leash even if someone gives me one.

What does anyone want? My guess has always been real contact through communication, but that always seems to be redefined as diamonds and flowers. Maybe communication has gone out of style. I just don't know. Never have known.

The only thing clear right now is that with Junkyard Dog no longer in control my internal balance is changing. What's on the other side of that long-established boundary? At least that brings me back to a simple concept, one that my simple mind can comprehend: the only way to find out is to go. Over the hill to something that might turn into friendship, or that will help me learn what friendship really is. I'm glad God has a sharp machete that can cut through the thicket of assumptions and pain so that I can see the truth. Someday.

2005 March 30
Posted to Blog April 5

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