“Love Ya’, Man!” John punctuated the end of the conversation. He noticed that he liked to end every conversation on a light note – often in laughter – but always in at least minor happiness.
“You ain’t getting my Bud Light!”
The response was a typical one, given in the same manner as John’s farewell – casual acknowledgement that carried some small token of respect while not crossing any boundaries in the mind. ‘Funny,’ John thought, ‘that it appears that most of the characters in my life actually shy away from saying anything meaningful about any relationship, but I suppose that is a reflection of my own indifference, or maybe it is just a reflection of the mind’s inability to express that which it doesn’t fully understand, anyway.’ John had often thought that his entire world was somehow a reflection of his intention for it – every conversation a mirror of what he held in his awareness – so any ‘boundaries’ must actually be in his own mind, and any ‘crossing the line’ would necessarily be the very lines that he drew. ‘How could it be any other way?’ John mused. ‘It is, after all, always my own interpretation of what I am hearing from the characters in my dream, and even what I hear coming from my own character in my own dream.
“You’d give it to me if I asked for it!” John called out to the retreating back. He smiled. ‘What am I really asking for? Is the “I love you” a solicitation of approval from ‘outside?’ Maybe I am just attempting to push the lines in my mind around a bit, to loosen them so that I can loosen up my character – to risk going where I haven’t gone before – to undo my limited experience of what “love” means. I suppose expressions of “love” on a construction site necessarily have to be limited by the environment. There are certainly some lines that I have no desire to cross! But is “love” to be limited by the very perception of an environment?’
The phone rang. John picked it up absently, “John, here.”
“How’s the weather in Vegas? This is Catherine, of Indios, Inc.”
“It’s beautiful, here, Catherine! Blue skies, bright sunshine, a light breeze – and how about in your neck of the woods?” John noticed that his description of ‘beautiful’ was predicated by the environment in his mind as much as by any ‘actual’ meteorological considerations.
“Same, here. Maybe spring really has sprung?”
“And it’s about time! I love it!” John smiled at his introduction of the word, once again. “How can I be of service to you?”
“I was calling to verify the shipping address.”
“One Zero One Zero Eight Desert Lane, Las Vegas, Eight Nine One Two Two. Send it to my attention. What am I getting?”
“It’s the Operation and Maintenance manuals that were requested.”
“Ah, yes, we’ve got to have the operating manual so we know what we’re starting up!” John laughed lightly at the obtuse inference to something other than a ‘How To’ manual for a submersible sump pump. “Do you have any O&M’s for life?”
“Hardly. But I wish I did.”
“You mean I have to keep making it up as I go along? This is getting really old!” John laughed, again – partly at the truth behind his statement, partly at his own cleverness in turning something simple into a reason to laugh, partly at the acknowledgement that he was once again “crossing the lines” of “normal.” The voice on the other end laughed with him.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a manual for life? It’d sure make things easier!”
“Ah, that would take all the fun out of it! Then how would we keep our mind busy?”
“Oh, I could think of other ways to stay busy.”
“I suppose we all could! Meanwhile, let’s pretend that we already DO have the manual, that it’s imbedded inside us somewhere, just waiting for us to open the book and start reading!” John couldn’t help smiling at this idea in his mind, at his expressing this idea seemingly for himself, as some sort of reminder that there was an element of truth in it, and, of course, because, once again, he had pushed the lines of ‘typical conversation’ across some imaginary boundary towards an exchange of an idea that truly might serve them both. Then his cell phone rang.
“Hey, gotta; go – another line is ringing! Can’t wait to read the manual of life that you’re sending! Love ya’!”
“Nice talking to you.”
“Call me anytime, and we’ll compare notes! Bye!”
John hung up the land line, and reached for his cell on the desk.
“Yello, this is John, how’s the weather there?” In John’s mind, a tune from the past started playing. ‘Everywhere I go, I always take the weather, I take the weather with me…’