It’s good to see old friends again and see them happy.

I saw one yesterday after over a year. Time isn’t dealing them out faster than I can take them. He’s up from California for the week for some shows with his band. He looks tanner and thinner, maybe taller and maybe greyer. He’s become an electrical engineer since I saw him last, specializing in solar panels; his wife does belly-dance instruction out of their home and is branching out to clothing manufacture in the kitchen. We talked over salad, humus, and a tempeh-BLT. We talked about Armenia, Anatolian history, music, the price of wood, how to live a full life. He works outdoors and his mind is his own, he says, when he works.

I asked if he had moved from where his wife was miserable to where he would be. It’s clear he hadn’t, and in his words, I’m always able make it happen for me. The self-source of happiness.

If your sense of a person is a sense of their story, and the story is more than where they are at this point, but how they have been between points, it was a good story: it made me feel good, it was believable .

The feeling was: offstage is a safe place to be. I can keep my eye off the ball if it rolls out of my court. The future doesn’t seem dangerous, and I can trust in what’s outside my cone of vision.

He gave me several cubic feet of ripe avocados and blood oranges, and a cheerful, social energy. He left happy with the wet air and land of Portland, and the green everywhere.

We met at my new favorite place to read: a worker-owned vegetarian cafe a few blocks from my apartment. It’s become my new favorite place to read. Whether there are a lot of people or just a few, I can concentrate more effectively there than at home. There’s something relaxing about it, and something homey. We’ve given them books and a couple bookcases, there always seems to be good music, there’s never a bad mood in the place. The endless refills of my tea, the salads as big as my head.

There’s the cone of attention again: the security about what is beyond its boundaries.

One Reply to “Touchstone”

  1. hi i just wanted to say i like your writing. and that last line
    “the security about what is beyond its boundaries.” is great, of solid lenient calm which is yet another one of those gentle necessities for enjoyable reading.

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