Because I have lived in the Bay Area my entire life, have taught many, many people in the Bay Area my entire career, and have been involved in hundreds of public events because of my writing, it's hard for me to go anywhere and not run into someone I know. Try as I might to be inconspicuous, who rounds the turn but my former girl scout leader. Sneaking into a bar? Who is there but my old pal Gigi, calling out "Busted." Wandering with my boyfriend in Muir Woods? Who is there but my oldest of oldest friends, who doesn't even live that close these days. But there she is in Muir Woods with her entire family. On the first date Michael and I had, we met on College Avenue and walked the street to find a restaurant. During that short jaunt, I ran into two people I know.
"Hi," I said. "this is my match.com date Michael. And no, no thanks. We don't want to join you just yet."
Michael wondered if I was nuts.
It cracks me up, actually, to live a small town life in not a small town or "a" town but several, as these sightings occur in Oakland, Berkeley, Lafayette, Orinda, Mill Valley, San Francisco. My actual life (and not just virtual, and that availability is another story) seems to be available just about all the time, to everyone. Once I was buying a pork bun on Clement Street, and a former student was there buying a Peking duck with her friends. What if Michael had been my "mister" and not my boyfriend? Gigi would have loved it--I really would have been busted. At the movie theater, the BMW service area, the beach, even in Michael's office--there is a former student, who wants to catch up on mythology.
I especially love to run into former students when I'm naked at in the gym locker room. That is always a fun scenario.
But really, all of this connection is a blessing, really, a true validation of my existence, when such validation is hard to find at times. My past comes up to me in a waft of memory, and I grab on, remember my oldest of oldest friend and I running around the neighborhood at night, both of us clutching a bottle of tequila. I remember girl scouts, walking to St. Stephens church for the meetings. I remember the student, his amazing mythology presentation, his laughter. I am reminded again and again of who I am and what Ive done at a time when my brain wants to let go of the past due to overload.
Here, the world says. Think about this.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org