Friday, July 18, 2003

Something to Talk About

When I am not Blogging I am doing something else. This week has been full of something else or another.

At parties I listen, a lot. I lip-sync "Happy Birthday" sincerely, with feeling. When I am not talking I am very, very quiet...

Next week I am taking a ride up to the mountains with someone I do not know. He doesn't know me. He asked about my literary and music interests. He wants to know what we might talk about; like a radio host trying to prepare for a show.

We can talk about The Spirit of Ecstasy and why Rolls Royce chose her as their hood ornament. I wonder if she appears in mythology or legend, or if the marketing department conjured her. We can talk about other things forged by hand, imagined by man, or woman.

We can talk about the cows we will see along the way, and whether it is a universal impulse to moo at grazing bovine. I might mention my life long ambition to ride a horse across the rolling hills and amongst the sage and brush, to stop beneath the oak trees and drink cool water from a canteen.

Along the way we'll pass the place where they sell baby goats, and I will feel tempted to stop and see them. The Old Highway is where my mother took us when she was buying hens. We went to The Freaky Feathered Fowl Farm, where we were chased by a pair of raggedy, mean eyed turkeys. Of course we can talk about fowl. I am partial to talking about fowl.

Books, art, music and architecture are subjects I think he would like to talk about. That's good. I won't talk about syphilis in 17th century France or American Colonial furniture.

He asked me about what I have read lately, and I had to think about that, because there have been many other things on my mind. Then I remembered, "Bird by Bird," the book Anne lent me. It was good, so was the People magazine I devoured this afternoon. Junk food for the mind. Well, I don't want to present myself as utterly vacuous; I love Paradise Lost, A Room With A View, East of Eden, Sweet Thursday, Nicholas and Alexandra, Pretty Shield, A Tree grows in Brooklyn...Dolly Parton's autobiography was honest, funny, and terribly edited, but I liked that too.

He doesn't know me, and I don't know whether I am 'what I do' or 'where I came from,' or if I am Mexico and Yaquis or the sister of a sailor, the daughter of an immigrant. He thought I sounded young. I am younger than my mother and older than my children. I am unconventional, fiercely protective, and periodically foul mouthed. I don't like mushrooms. I do like to cook for people, pull weeds, take pictures, play Christmas music, hear jokes, ride in the back of open bed trucks on dusty roads, sit in the cane grass and eat wild guavas with my husband and children while humpback whales breach in the Pacific at sunset.

This has been a hard week. It feels good to think about these other things, to consider who I am, and what I might talk about while riding up to the mountains with someone I do not know.