I’m a difficult person to be friends with because I prefer to do most things by myself. I jotted this in my notebook at Barton Springs yesterday on a stunning early spring (in Austin spring begins around President’s Day) afternoon. The water was blue, the pool nearly empty. A perfect opportunity to suggest to a friend, let’s meet at Barton Springs. Ah, but that word, meet, and its troubling implications. Meet suggests that we’ll show up somewhere at a predetermined time, and presumably remain there, together, for a somehow at least vaguely understood spell. Also a presumption of interaction. I prefer to show up when I feel like it– maybe I decide to wash my hair first (well, not before Barton Springs), finish a chapter in a book, or re-walk my dog– and I like to be able to leave when I want to leave. I must acknowledge how sickeningly privileged this may sound, and yeah, I have it better than a lot of people, but I live simply. I am privileged to manage periodic chunks of time to spend writing, thinking, procrastinating or swimming because I have organized my life like that at the expense of things like husbands, stability, a retirement plan, a wardrobe of elegant clothes. I do splurge on books, though, when able.
It’s more like me to say, I’ll probably be at Barton Springs sometime today with a book; if you feel like a swim, we can spread out towels near each other and enjoy the feel of warm sun on our bare legs. And if we do have the semi-planned serendipity to overlap on the weed-grassed banks, maybe we’ll also end up, together, in the outdoor women’s changing courtyard (though only if we feel like changing at the same time… and if you’re a woman), marveling at the concrete overhangs, snapping photos of the etched rivulets with our shitty old phones, feeling the sun warm the cool damp places from which we’ve recently peeled off our warm still slightly wet bathing suits. Baptized, desiccated, ecstatic. Calm and electric, smelling of moss. We’ll hug with authentic joy. It may be a year until we see each other again.