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On the way to work.
August 27th, 1999

I had a conversation over lunch today on a topic that has crossed my mind on occasion for most of my life, particularly after I turned about 35 and realized that I was not destined to settle down into anything resembling a normal family life. The question over lunch was space. How much space does a couple need? When you're a bachelor and you're not living with anyone you've got a lot of space. More interestingly, when you meet a woman who throws a spark, you find she seems to have similar attitudes about all this. I think everyone has an internal radar like mechanism that kicks in when you meet a potential partner and runs a quick neuroses scan, searching your psychological databases for a fit.

And it ain't just looks (although looks and money, like petroleum jelly, facilitate). Oakland City Center. It's that down deep radar probe kick the psychological tires for tread that makes for the heat. Takes about a millisecond. A fit for a Sole Proprietor seems to be someone who suddenly needs to visit the library when he mentions a movie or a weekend at the Ritz (room service, hot tub, massage, fireplace, soft lights, ocean breeze, takes American Express). Actually, a weekend at the Ritz will usually win out over the library unless you've been there within the last month. This isn't a complaint, this is just how it works. The Sole Prop has his own library of books. Some who need companionship no matter what will remarry one month after a divorce and sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn't, and others, who may fantasize about life on a lonely island in the middle of the Pacific, will divorce one month after a divorce and never look back.

There are no hard and fast rules, Prop. You're borderline making a fool of yourself here in print. "Normal family life"? What's a normal family life? Husband and wife, two point three kids? Husband and wife, no kids? Wife alone with kids? Husband alone with kids? Wife and husband, three other couple's kids and a grandmother nobody's too sure about? Wife and a husband who never talk? Wife and a husband who never talk below a shout? That's not fair, of course. I know all these couples and although their lives are not written in a fairy tale book, many seem to make out just fine, thank you very much.

I haven't touched on the trans gender, trans species universe because it's a place I know little or nothing about, although I suspect they have their own history of grievance, disaster and doubt. It's just that when you grow up at a time when the Nelsons (Ricky? Ozzie?) were the one size fits all model for middle class kids, you tend to take it for granted you're going to follow that path. Except you don't. And that turns out to be OK too, although you always have that little voice occasionally whispering your name in the dark: "Bullshit".

The banner photograph was taken while walking to work yesterday morning. Shot one today of the same building in color with the sky reflected in the glass. The man in the hat was photographed at the Oakland City Center waiting for a band performance to begin last week Thursday evening.