The first thing I did when I first saw my wife was lean against a wall for support. I was drunk. (That's the part I didn't want to share with any Impressionable Youth. Impressionable youths! Stop reading this! You're not supposed to be reading! You're supposed to be slouching and grumpily mumbling! Get back to work!) She had just turned my way after stepping off the elevator that was at the far end of the hallway in which I, suddenly unalone, was standing like the Scarecrow on a bender.
I was twenty. It was 1979. I had come to San Francisco State University after a year and half spent working clean-up on the graveyard shift at the Wrigley's Gum Factory in Santa Cruz, CA.
"The wall!" I thought. "Lean against the wall! It'll make you look cool, and stabilize you!" I immediately jammed my hands into my jeans pockets and let myself slump to the right. Pretty soon thereafter I noticed how long it was taking me to hit the wall.
"Too far away!" I thought. And definitely too late. I crashed against the brick hallway wall so hard I feared a tooth or two might pop out.
Instead of achieving Cool Slumpage, I had achieved half a teepe---that practically needed dentures. But too late! When in doubt, at least look purposeful, that's my motto. Instantly my Big Hope became that the freakishly beautiful girl coming toward me would be intrigued by how cavalierly the disheveled rogue before her dared to test the very limits of gravity.
I had a sudden vision of myself as James Dean---but wearing Issac Newton's wig. It wasn't pretty.
But the girl coming toward me sure was.
And then, suddenly, I wasn't drunk anymore. The closer the girl came to me, the more "drunk" was replaced by "Welcome to your future."
Whoa! Ms. Future's alarm clock just went off!
And so I'm off to have coffee with the woman who, some thirty years ago, made me (among other things) rail against God for barely allowing me to have any say about my own life at all.
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