Staying Out of the Pool
When I was newly arrived in California, a freshman in college at the University of California, Santa Barbara, my trips to Los Angeles passed inevitably through the city of Oxnard.
Oxnard in the late 1970s was still basically a farm town, with a downtown that seemed to consist entirely of Mexican restaurants, the odd liquor store, and used car dealerships. Because with some of the world's deepest topsoils, Oxnard was in the business of farming vegetables. It was not as bleak as King City, 250 miles or so to the Northon Highway 101, but it could probably remember being that bleak. The highway went right through downtown, and as you crossed that one main intersection and got amongst the fields an earthy smell of onions would assail you. Right off the highway not far from where the onion odor began, there was a movie theater. One day I noticed that the movie theater was advertising three movies: "Don't Look Out the Window!" "Don't Go in the Basement!" "Don't Go in the House!"
I can't tell you whether those were the exact titles, but they were close to that. Basically around that theme.
L.'s account of a phone call with a potential date reminded me of those movie titles.
You may wonder why I stay out of the pool. Wonder no more. I'm brave in some ways but I never know how to get out of these types of conversations, and at the time they are depressing, because you think somehow you must deserve this sort of crazy, that this is life's assessment of what you've got coming. I have a friend, T., who for a brief while was given to using the expression, "If the Universe wants it." Well, my whole trouble is that if I "got into the pool" so to speak, I'd probably start thinking that the Universe wants me to date guys like this. And then the Universe and I would quarrel. Our relations are fraught enough with tension as it is.
I suspect there's something wrong in my thinking there, but I can't quite put my finger on it.