Thursday, May 17, 2007


My friends Christopher and Rachel and I drove back over the Golden Gate
Bridge after spending a day hiking to a beach at the foot of MountTamalpais. We were cranky from the tension of it being the end of a summer, a
long one, in which I'd been leaving for months, on my way to Houston,
TX via Orange County, California. The era hadn't ended yet, but it was
ending, and we didn't want to talk about it. The tension ensued because
our age, then early 20s, was a time when we had no idea what we were
doing nor where we were going next. And because we wanted to speak our
minds to one another, we talked a lot about the meaning of life and
stuff like that. And our earnestness helped us tolerate each other's recklessness.

I was obsessing about a man, a sculptor named Chico, who made robots and installed them in the Exploratorium Museum, where I worked designing an ever elusive group vistor
program, answering phones, and sorting mail. Rachel worked in Group
Benefits there. She and I were there together on days when the public
wasn't, when people like SteveBuscemi were visiting because his wife, the artist Jo Andres, was in residence at the museum.

Christopher and I are close friends from college in Los Angeles,
and when we were in our early 20s, we lived in San Francisco as
struggling young writers, the two of us. And although we weren't living
together (I was a nanny in the Richmond district), we hung out every
day together as friends, struggling young writer friends. And although
Rachel and I worked right next to each other, we never really talked
until the day Chris and I happened upon her wandering alone through the
crowd at the free BonnieRaitt and Jackson Brown Day of the Dead concert at City Hall. From that day, we three were one unit.

And while I was in love with the two of them, and while they were (and still are) two of my best friends, they were SO not supportive of my obsession with Chico, the robot sculptor. And in retrospect, this is how best friends should act -- concerned about you! -- when you are acting all stark and nearly raving mad. And we're crossing the bridge, and I'm chattering on about how I hope torun into the robot sculptor in Seattle, because I'm going there soon to see my friends Ed and Lee and maybe we'll go to his art opening.

"Does he even know you're gonna be in Seattle?" Rachel asks.

"No" I say.

"What are you? Like Fatal Attraction?" Chris says.

"What. Maybe metaphorically." I say.

"Christa! The world is NOT A METAPHOR," Rachel says.

"But it is to me," I practically whimper.

And it was. And I knew then, as we rode together over the Golden Gate Bridge, that living according to the ways and means of the metaphorical world would not be an easy thing.


Lee said...

The world of metaphor is the one that holds true meaning. Few people have the courage or the innocence to live it.

eflows said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eflows said...

By the way -- beautiful piece of writing, that post.

Pinky said...

My starkest memory of the robot sculptor is sitting behind him at the Castro theatre, making small talk between the organ music and the main feature. Jason and I had a bucket of popcorn, and I remember watching the robot sculptor dip his long fingers into it to grab a handful. I can still see the grime under his fingernails, and the impish smile on his scruffy face. Jason and I didn't eat any more popcorn from that bucket. Germ transmission is not a metaphor.

Oh, and remember I met the robot sculptor long before I met you? He was a TA at UCLA, in a contemporary art class that I ended up dropping. Chico stood at the door to the studio one day and collected assignments as we all walked in, and all the art majors were handing him sloppy scrawls on pages ripped from spiral notebooks. So when I handed him my paper, he said, "Ooooh, typed."

MaGreen said...

this is lovely, too. i love reading your writing.

cake said...

i love this story, and...i just have to mention, i was also a nanny in the bay area, after college.