Marisa has been on tour in Europe and she transited through my home in her usual way: calm, quiet, organized, steady. She is a dose of commonsensical reality, an anchor and ballast all at once. We had our usual conversation about mortality and she was delighted to point out that she has been proved right. We’ve known each other more than a decade – and this is in fact amazing.

I still take the position that there is no time to waste, and she still believes there is enough time to accomplish whatever is needed. We walk next to canals and rivers and oceans in different cities, states, countries, talking about books and places and people. I don’t want to go back to Portland, and I don’t miss the old times. But I do miss Marisa (even more when she is here). We’re friends: simple, true, and dear.

The only truly puzzling thing about this great friend is the fact that she is a freak magnet. How can a person so self-contained, so eminently and abundantly watchful, attract so much drama?

I do not understand – I walk through this neighbourhood without talking to anyone other than the occasional lost tourist requiring assistance. Certainly I would never pick up a street drinker intent on commenting on my appearance. Nor, if I stepped around such a person, would the encounter escalate.

But with Marisa, it did, to the extent that I found myself in a shouting match with an angry gentleman of the road who screamed that I was, quote, a middle-class cunt.

I was prepared to break his fingers, but this sorry excuse for an insult was wholly unexpected. I could only laugh, blow him a kiss, and walk away.

I am essentially a guttersnipe, a street fighter. If my surface has changed so much that a potential adversary cannot see that fact, can instead perceive me as middle-class, I have changed more than all imagining.

And Marisa is right – there is enough time for anything.


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