Full Title: Know Me — By Way of Explanation: A Narrative of My Life in Tucson as it Relates to a Hiking Group, Musings from a Writer in the Desert
One of the ideas behind being a creative writer or artist is never to explain yourself to people who don’t get you. Like many things these days, I find myself looking at that idea anew. It feels like few people understand the creative mind anymore, and there’s so many false assumptions that seem to be taking root again. Everyone is putting everyone else into a cage, and I think it’s high time to break out of pigeon-holing with some open communication.
A false picture has been portrayed of me by some here in Tucson within a hiking meetup group. Hiking meetup groups are odd things because they mix ideas of making friends and dating with the activity of hiking in recreational areas and the backcountry—things that don’t mix well. Anyway, I joined the hiking group to hike and find some friends and that worked for a time, and I have some friends there. Of course, others were there for dating reasons, and apparently they thought I was there for that too.
Except I wasn’t. I used to work at a university where I taught TV production to young adults, and I also conducted van tours to Grand Canyon. Upon arriving in Tucson I was working alone at home, and I thought sharing my knowledge and hiking experience with a group would fill a void of those lost interactions with college student and tourists. So I joined, made some friends and went hiking. Simple enough.
There were two women in the hiking group who seemed thick as thieves looking for their men. I noticed off the bat that one of them might be a bad person for me. Our first interaction involved her trying to mother me, which I politely refused, and then she made a snippy remark as if I accused her of something. The other pulled me into a situation to help her with writing papers for college, a professional arrangement that seemed to have personal ulterior motives.
I sometimes think musically, and a line from an old Heart song became attached to these two: “They talk hen to hen. And they talk about their men, and practice all their tricks for them.” I’ve always been more of a “Straight On” kind of guy, so I mostly humoured them and focused on other connections. I met two other women who seemed more of the straight-on type, both happened to be Asian with similar backgrounds. Little did I know that I was walking into the middle of some strange hoodoo between these four women—all of whom were adopted as children.
Flash forward a year, the two hen-to-hen women are no longer friends, one of the asian women disappeared from the hiking group calling me a stalker, and the other didn’t want to hike with me anymore. There’s been all kinds of jealousies and gossiping involving me, bodily dimensions, porn references, and I come to find out that the two gossip women were purposefully trying to force the other two out of the group or away from me with false characterizations. After the one woman left the group, there was gloating and veiled excitement for the successful power-play. The only problem was that the person I was ‘supposed’ to end up dating after that didn’t spark anything in me. Nothing happened. Nada One. This killed the hen-to-hen friendship, I suppose.
I let the gloating behavior be, not caring to speake to it because that wouldn’t have brought back the closer friendships that got supplanted by lesser ones. So now here I am explaining myself because the ideas of me as a predatory person seemed to have taken hold with some, and yet people seem too feeble to say anything. Totally disappointing because if I had a friend who got accused of stalking, and the woman left the group, I would confront the guy with a WTF happened? Only one person did that to me. The fact that no one else cared for me, or for the woman who left, has me wondering, who knew what when? A friend would have confronted me, but there was total silence that spoke volumes about integrity.
Somehow I thought this writeup was going to be funner than it comes across. I think it isn’t because it’s too soon to make hay of this, and too late to save face. There was an idea of writing a ‘Tucson Book’, perhaps called ThunderBird Talking, but it seems impossible now because there are too many issues of cutting it too close to reality (just like my ThunderBird Walking book once had). I think it’s time to let go of that idea for a book and focus on other things.
Strangely enough, all of this has convinced me that Tucson is where I’m supposed to be for a time. No place else is calling, and while life here isn’t exactly robust, it’s passable. Maybe I don’t want to go some place else and face a whole new dramatic arc. After a self-imposed exile, I’ll go back to the group and pick hikes much more carefully, trust my intuition more and smile more, and call it a life.