[continued from The Case of the Wild Goose at Strawberry Fields]
When confronted with an uncomfortable situation involving a romantic prospect, I am not myself. I’m not even human. My confidence and pride threatened, my first instinct is to freeze, essentially play dead. I’m an opossum, falling over in the path of an attractive male. If I don’t exist…he can’t see me. Not many animals are less attractive than opossums.
This affliction dates back to pubescence; I spent most of high school pretending my romantic interests didn’t exist. This is a tactic commonly used by teenaged girls. The thing is, usually they’re terrible at masking their feelings; giggles, knowing glances, and twirling hair swiftly betray the true emotion. But little ol’ me with a natural proclivity for acting? I was so brilliant at acting like I never gave boys a second thought that they never gave me a second thought. Looking back, it’s no surprise I didn’t have a date for prom.
For the most part, I’ve grown out of this. But catch me off guard, give me no time to think, and I revert back to my primordial ooze teenaged self. Charm, wisdom, and grace replaced with a ratty-looking worm-tail as I lie in the road, frozen. This is exactly what happened when I went on a wild goose chase, searching New York for a man I had had a brief connection with. Not expecting to actually find him, I was agog when there he was in Strawberry Fields, the one and only place I had thought to look. A possum comes face to face with a wild goose? Of course she’s going to play dead, those birds are scary.
The minute I saw him, my heart stopped. So I immediately pretended he was the farthest thing from my mind. I scurried around Strawberry Fields, the feeling of an unsightly worm-tail dragging behind me. I tried to regain some of my wit, composure, human-sized brain- any antidote to my opossum affliction. I snapped some pictures with my camera, taking them for no other reason than to have something to do. After a handful of truly pitiful photos, I had a revelation. I did have something to do: I would blog about this. Oh yeah, I’m a blogger, not a marsupial! I’m creative, witty, and brave- not a passive opossum! My pictures improved and I started to feel more like myself, my phantom tail shrinking from behind me.
I stopped worrying about how to approach my wild goose and just started enjoying the moment. I’ve walked through Strawberry Fields countless time, never really thinking the man it honors. How every day, thousands of people come together to lay flowers and think of his spirit captured in a single word. How every second, thousands are connected through his music. I decided to take in the scene and “imagine all the people living life in peace”. I sat down on a bench.
“Hey!” the guy seated next to me exclaimed. I turned my head. “Oh! Hi!” I said, taking a moment to place him. “It’s you from…back with the listener guy.” “Yep.” He said, and smiled. Ok, so I didn’t need the moment to place him, he was my wild goose! I had purposefully sat down next to him, pretending not to notice him, figuring I’d eventually break the ice. But he beat me to it!
“You’re following us, aren’t you.” he said, clearly joking. I smiled, taking the question far more seriously than he meant me too, “Yeah, I guess I am.” I said thoughtfully. “I’m kidding.” He said quickly, “It’s just funny how you’ll run into the same people in this city.” “Yes, yes it is.” I replied. If he only knew…
The possum and the wild goose finally face to face. We sat on the park bench, getting to know each other a bit. Right off we had a lot in common. Our past- growing up in California as only children- and present- both artists, he is a painter in Brooklyn. Recently moved to New York, college educated, the ever-present good vibes, and calm, comforting presence. His mother sat on the other side of him for a few moments and I could tell she liked me. And was just tickled her son was potentially picking me up. When he pulled out his phone to take my number and it was a sad-looking flip phone. Much like my own. I’ve long said I am searching for a man who doesn’t consider his iPhone second only to his penis…
And yet, he’s not the guy for me. Why? Because he never used the number I myself plugged into his phone. He never called me. As simple as that. Wild geese fly away and you never see them again. Possums stop playing dead and carry on with living.
It’s a great story and nice to leave it at that. I think in the past, I’ve been to drawn to the romance of meeting someone, of having that great “how we met” story. I have a dozen entries to prove it. Now I want to try to meet someone in a purely pedestrian way- through friends. I’ve never done that before. So, who wants to set me up?