After getting off of work early I decided to walk home and surprise the misses. I have putting in a lot of long hours at work and I have been missing a lot of time here at home — time that I could use to work on the cartoon, get to know Marcia, or just get to know myself.
On my way up Ralston, I approached a smallish gentleman – older than I am, and, by the look of him, very solitary in his gate as if he were focused on one thing and one thing only.
To be honest that is what I love about walking. There is a focus. Even if you don’t know your destination, there is a focus. To get from point A to point B. Point B can be a circle, a line, or a parallelogram depending on the path, but it is always point B. You may stop along the way on your walk to visit a store, a coffee shop, maybe even talk to a passerby, but still there is only point A and point B.
I approached this gentleman and smiled. It made me think of something that had just happened to me a few months earlier. I was staying at a hotel here in Belmont, while Marcia was still in Milwaukee getting things ready for the move. On my way from the office to the hotel room (see point A to point B) I was stopped by an older man talking on his cell phone. He saw me, hung up his cell phone in a flash, and told me to look at his car.
It was either a Chrysler or Chevy. Definitely a 2005, though I am useless when it comes to cars. It was cream with a bunch of bells and whistles, and looked like a puma – if said puma were a cream colored 2005 automobile with leather interior. He was about 55-60, was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and looked like his job was simply just being him. He stopped me dead in my tracks and said that his car was beautiful. I agreed, first of all who am I to disagree with a total stranger about the aesthetic value of his/her choice in luxury sedans.
After a bit of kibitzing he looked at me and said, “How are you doing? Doing better? You’re looking good? God, don’t you just love California? It’s great to be back, huh?”
And that is when I got freaked out. I didn’t know this guy from Adam. Was he saying it was good for him to be back, or was he directing that statement to himself? Had he been away for awhile? And how did he know how I looked before. If I looked good now, did that mean I looked bad before? Don’t answer that. It was all too weird.
Or was it?
Sometimes I think that Life filters in messages to say whether or not we are on the right track. Even if that track is not making sense. Even if it seems that point A has gone on strike and point B is closed for renovations, Life still gets in there and says, “This Way”, “Detour”, or “NOT THAT BATCAVE, BOY WONDER!!!” Life can also say, “Stay”, “Proceed”, or “Just hike your little fanny back to where you started and think about what you have done.” I imagine that Life sounds a lot like Ru Paul (and common sense sounds like Edward R. Murrow in an argument with Kurt Vonnegut).
But to get back to my point… this total random act was the galvanizing stroke that made me come to California. I mean besides not being offered a job in Milwaukee. It made me realize where I truly wanted to be.
And that stranger I walked by today. I didn’t say hi. I am not sure if he would have understood my verbiage. Instead I just bowed to him, and smiled. He bowed and smiled back. I forget sometimes that our greatest communicative device is not the written language or the myriad of Peer to Peer, and long range communication devices. The single greatest human communication device is the human body. Although the mind tells the body what to do, it is the body that conveys the messages. Some people would argue that it is the mind, but I say the body because without the body the mind would just sit there wanting to communicate and not being able to. And every now and again the mind has to be put in its place. SCORE 1 for the BODY!!! (***This message has been brought to you by the body council.***)
The older gentlemen’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. It was great. It was like we were both telling each other, “You’re looking good.” And so I had become that guy. That guy who for me embodied California. The reason why I wanted to move back. The reason I knew I was on the right path. To be that person that can look at another and say, “Hey how are you feeling? Are you doing alright? You are looking really good?”