letters
to an unknown audience
-----------------------
~
L'Chaim/  /October 01, 2002

I love these men: these balding, bespectacled men in their little cars, which they bought used in, say 1993 (probably the second car he bought himself, after one ill-advised mid-70s Fiat and, before that, parents’ and uncles’ hand-me-downs), driving from place to place with political bumper stickers (bold but not incendiary). He holds on his face something not a smile, certainly not a grin, but something like thoughtful contentment: perhaps not enjoying the moment outright, but imagining that when he gets home, he'll have a chance to check on his arugala, trim the orchids, or that when he gets to his drumming group he'll be interested to see how Bernita is doing with her new job at the elementary school, or whether Jacob has found any more photojournalism work, or if either of the two have any new insights into Go tactics.

He drives alone. His car is spacious without being large, and it lets in lots of light without being hot. He has a variety of unusual hobbies, none of which require much capital (not sky-diving or anything like that). He has a number of loving relationships, little knots of people with whom he shares his thoughts and for whom he is a good listener. He has changed jobs every few years, never quite having a specific career, but always tending to find things which are both challenging and yet not too stressful—not more stressful than what he can stand, anyway. He has done manual labor and he has done counselling; he has done creative work and he has done mechanical things. Each fall, he thinks of a new small seasonal activity: pressing leaves in wax paper, or cultivating bonsai, or learning to kayak. He built his own toolshed, and hopes to someday build a house.

Probably a recent girlfriend left him, because she was moving to Australia, and he was sad but accepting. He has met a few women recently whom he is excited to get to know, and there are one or two men in his life that he might be interested in knowing romantically. He is concerned about national politics but not despairing; he is active in local government and has considered running for city council, declining for what he sees as his lack of charisma (though there is a woman who is secretly very charmed and wishes she could get him to run).

He drives alone.

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