Monday, April 04, 2005

Pain both existential and physical…

First, the physical.

Thanks to our hike last weekend (told in OCMetroblog), Vicky found she really liked hiking. So, I let her pick us a hike to do this weekend. Saturday morning, we went out to Crystal Cove State Park.

We got there a little later than I liked, around 9am - I hate hiking in the heat, and were shocked to find that one of our water bottles had spilled out into the backpack. It was already warm and half of our water was gone, which alone should have been enough to tell us to leave the hike for another day…. after our deaths! But, no, we went.

Now, I've been on some tough hikes and I've been on some long hikes but should have known that any hike featuring it's own Hell Mouth was one we shouldn't have tried. The trail was incredibly poorly designed; we up straight up one ridge and straight down the other side, then straight up one and straight down another. Up and down. Up and down. No shade had been devised, nor was there any place to sit. Thankfully, though, we made it to a picnic area and got to rest. Now, this park is shaped roughly like a triangle, and we'd finished one side. With two to go, we continued. The trails followed service roads and washes, connected only by narrow tracks cut in the middle of very tall mustard plants. And it was hot. It was the hottest day we'd had in a while… and we were walking right in the middle of it with only half of our water straight up the side of one ridge and straight down the other.

Talk of getting a Jamba Juice or having an ice, cold beer kept us going. I gotta tell you, Vicky was a real trooper. Not once did she say she couldn't go any further. She knew what we'd gotten ourselves into - we couldn't stop! We had to get back to the car! And with no shade and no place to sit, once you started there was no stopping.

When we finally made it back to the car and returned to the visitor center - Refill our water bottle, please! We're VERY thirsty! - we found out that the hike, which was supposed to have been 3 miles long, was probably closer to 7 miles straight up and straight down!

Vicky, welcome to hiking.

Doing this Saturday meant that we spent the rest of the weekend in agony. (I, for one, forgot to put sunblock on the back of my neck. It's still red.)


Then, I awoke at 5:30 am this morning, which thanks to the time change was actually 4:30… dammit… from a dream that left me feeling, well, pretty bad.

It went something like this…

I was flying back from the east coast after a business trip and met this woman on the plane who… even in the dream world, I couldn't forget her. She was engaged to be married and we talked about wedding planning and our future spouses - spices? - but there was much more going on there. I was captivated. I got in the car with my co-workers back at LAX and told them about her. I'd learned her name (since forgotten) but never got her number or anything about her.

"There should be number like 1-800-WEDDING," I said at one point. "That way I could call and give her name and ask about her. She'd be listed in their database because she's been setting up her wedding, too." It was one of those stupid ideas that only makes sense in the dream… but even my co-workers thought it was a little nutty.

But then, she called me, being more resourceful or something. She was going to be coming down my way and wanted to get together on the pretense of further comparing wedding notes.

We met back at my place, which looked nothing like the home Vicky and I share. Vicky was gone so I quickly tried to set it up as more a love nest than a place where you plan weddings. Vicky had these bootleg CDs (don't ask me why) but every time I opened a case a N64 game cartridge was inside. The girl was already over and wanted to know what I was doing. I told her. And we agreed we were both very attracted to each other but didn't want to louse up our weddings and, after all, we'd probably never see each other again. So, we were both good… we behaved… until she left. Then, the fact that we'd probably never see each other again made it that much more important that we kiss goodbye.

… which was when I woke up.

And I laid there in the dark, next to Vicky, wondering what I'd just done. I hadn't done anything. It was a dream. But even in my dream I was less than honorable. I was deceptive. And a familiar fear kept me from getting out of bed, the conviction that I didn't want to cheat on Vicky - I didn't want another relationship to crash and burn because of my stupidity. And, yet, I couldn't even control myself in a dream…

The difference between paranoia and perceptiveness lies in the beholder, I guess...

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