I have wanted to be you.
When I saw you down the hall at SRI I knew I wanted more of you. Fran had told me a little bit about you. Although she was living with Vic and settled in with him, you had caught her eye at work. He’s fun, she said, you’ll like him. I had come down from Berkeley early so I could meet you.
I’ve always liked tall boys and girls. And if they are computer geeks and ride motorcycles all the better.
We decided quickly to do something together that evening-I was down from Berkeley visiting Fran and Vic for the weekend. Maybe a movie?
You a stoner, a man of few words and many fascial expressions. You had a house, a small one. I didn’t really like the Peninsula, neither the trees nor the architecture or lack thereof appealed to me. But your place had a certain character. There were framed posters on the walls. I was still living like a student with pictures thumbtacked into the wall. You were living an adult life, making an adult salary, doing a job that you could do better stoned – what Silicon Valley was built on – .
I’ve always loved altered states and you had a life that allowed you all the altered states you wanted.
You weren’t overweight but there was something of the teddy bear in you. I don’t think you exercised.
There was a way you stayed inside your own life and resisted being defined. You had strong boundaries and I was a budding psychologist ready to analyze everyone.
Internally motivated, you didn’t really care what anyone else thought of you. You liked your own company and you only invited in others occasionally. All invitation were only temporary.
You were one of two geek lovers I had just before the real thing came along. You were the introverted one, Leon was the extroverted one. Together you made one decent boyfriend. But separately?
Besides, you were always pulling a little bit away. Enough to keep me intrigued.
And that first night -we never bothered with the movie. In the morning, as we passed the framed sitting duck poster in the hallway, the one I had admired, you took it off the wall, and handed it to me. The duck, so nonchalant, sitting poolside with a drink, 2 gunshot holes just above it, by Bedard.. I accepted and kept it for far too long.
I wanted your independence, your focus, that you could make time to play guitar; your lack of need for people – they were there when you wanted them, but there was plenty of alone time for your mind to expand.
Even today, 40 years later, I wonder where you are what life you chose. Are you in some Colorado mountain town, grandkids coming for Christmas? Did you marry someone like Ellie, the spritely Dead Head girl you were desiring when I knew you. Was it an Ellie that you needed?
The next year, when I visited you in that huge shared house in Oakland-there was a dining room dinner for Katie and Charles arriving back from Scandinavia with ideas for their book on Co-Housing. But my favorite moment there was early in the morning when I came down to the kitchen and made coffee, sat at the table writing, and chatting briefly with any roommate that came through. I envied you that living arrangement., erudite housemates, wooden table next to the window, quiet. You knew how to create a world I wanted to live in.
But I had to create my own.