Normally, I don’t care a bit what other people think of me.
Yet the other day, I was outside the general store in Terlingua talking with a neighbor about my recent troubles with Derek, and the neighbor was assuring me that he had my back in case it ever happened again. If the only thing that will get a drunk to realize he’ll get an ass-whooping, he said, “I’m the biggest bully out there.” The guy used to repo vehicles when he lived in the cities, and I would imagine he had to have been involved in his share of altercations. I’m glad to have him on my side.
“I’m a pretty non-violent person,” I said. “I had plenty of opportunity to shoot, cut, or stab the kid, and the thought never occurred to me.”
“Yeah,” he said. “That’s why I’m saying this,” he said. “I can get up to your house a lot sooner than the deputy. Just call me if you ever need help.”
Then an extraordinary coincidence occurred. Derek walked by with the co-worker with whom he’s now staying. I greeted him as if nothing had ever happened between us, and he greeted me, but kept walking into the store. “That’s him,” I said to my neighbor.
“I met him just the other night,” he said. “This gives me another chance to size him up.”
My neighbor speculated: “Based on what you’ve told me, you’d take in another released inmate.” And I responded that I would.
“A lot of people have asked me questions about you,” he said.
“Oh yeah, what kinds of questions?”
“Why you’d be interested in helping guys,” he said, and I immediately surmised that these questions doubt my own sexuality. (That’s one reason why I’ve asked Lone Heron to take over after I die, so she won’t have to put up with this crap.) I should have said that most of the people charged with juvenile parricide are male, but I didn’t. Studies have shown that boys are 81% – 84% of the juvenile parricide population. It is highly unusual for girls to engage in this kind of aggression.
But mostly I was exasperated that so many people think with their crotches and assume that everybody else does, too.
“By the time that people get out here, they’re in their 20s and 30s,” I said. Old enough to decide for themselves.
When I was a kid, I could cop a feel in my mom’s convertible at 70 mph, but I have lost all interest now that I’m in my late 60s. Maybe some visitors are offended that I do not find their bodies irresistible, but I couldn’t care less. Anyway, I would be into girls if I wanted my life to be any more complicated.
But I don’t.
99° and Clear, Thunderstorms Late in the Day