Saturday, November 15, 2003

Just Maybe, She

I met her at my birthday party as a friend of friend, which was the perfect gift for someone wandering into their mid thirties alone. I wish I could describe her better - how do you capture the way someone walks into a room or a small smile? I need something better than "a total hottie with brains."

Perhaps she has faded from memory a bit because I haven't seen her since. A pediatrician, she lives in San Diego. I boldly got her email address at the end of my party and wrote a few times. She replied once, but I haven't heard back after the last couple of letters. Just maybe, she might simply be too busy with the monster schedule of being a doctor. Just maybe.

Not long after getting that lone letter, our mutual friend asked if she could borrow my parents' place at Inverness for her birthday with the pediatrician coming up for the weekend. This once sounded like a brilliant idea in the same category of getting the cute girl in geometry class to study together. But that wound up being only about side angle side congruent triangles instead of love ones

Our friend is a swimmer on the same tri team as me. I have roped her into doing a few more runs and she lets me know about swims and openings at her boyfriend's art gallery.

She decided she wanted across Tomales Bay and back, which should be slightly less than two miles. I have heard that falling in love is taking a plunge, but I really don't think they mean that literally. I mean two miles in shark-invested, November water is something out the "Princess Bride" not "Love, Actually".

Most of falling love has changed since junior high. Its feel has gone from the instant fluff of wine coolers to the deeper passion of Guinness and the girls aren't half a foot taller than the boys. I still hold on two principles that remain - a) Rock Lobster is a great song to dance to b) the hardest voyage you will ever have to do is to cross the gym and ask someone to dance

Perhaps it was this danger that led to my odd statistic of the summer that I swam from Alcatraz more than I went on dates. But I thought she was worth it. There are people who move you deeply. They are the catalysts of both wars and art, and central to what makes us both inspired and humbled. If only she had written more than once. But maybe, just maybe her computer crashed and she couldn't email.

This is where I insert the training montage. For a few weeks the alarm clock would go off at 5:20 am and I would wonder down the hill for swim classes at the YMCA. These were taught by a nice Russian who would keep barking at me "Grab beach ball. Grab beach ball." as I stroked through the hour session. I still have no idea what this means, but I do know the perfect Christmas gift for him

I dropped eight pounds and shopped for new coats at the Republic of Banana.

I watched reality TV shows for lessons and learned that a) Never trust a shaggy blond hippie called Johnny Fairplay b) Make sure that you get the hot tub moment for your alone time, and c) Life would be much better if you had five people coordinating things for you.

I booked spa treatments for both the swimmer and the pediatrician for this afternoon. Tomorrow the swimmer is bringing up oysters for her birthday and I will take up red wine. I will do my best to keep my shirt tucked in and to try not to laugh through my nose

Ultimately there is a difference between Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho. Don Quixote truly believes that the windmills he charges are dragons. Sancho knows that they are just windmills and it is a lost cause, but figures it would be an adventure anyway. I know that after this weekend I won't have much except a couple of new coats and a little less weight. But on Sunday morning a couple of hours after dawn as I swim across the bay wondering how many other fish there are in the sea, I will think "maybe, just maybe."