Dreamed 2013/11/9 by Wayan
I work on a strange five-headed dream-poem, Beet.
Bike over to Borderlands Books to hear writer Malinda Lo talk. I ask Lo what she's working on now. She's cagy, afraid of jinxing it. I urge her to take her time; say "ASH is my favorite of your books because it's your subtlest--closest to your heart, you took eight years on it, and it shows."
Buy Lo's latest book of course, but I also get Robin McKinley's Pegasus, which I've wanted for some time. Read a bit before bed. Such subtle interspecies cultural mistunderstandings, some of the best I've read. And such exophilic longing! Humans envy pegasus wings, but pegasi envy human hands...
I'm in a park in Oregon. But it has huge first-growth redwoods! I thought only in California... Oh. They're fakes. Bark on frames. Potted ferns. Feels like a real forest; but the clues add up. Cameras, wires, walls, shower nozzles. I keep reverting to belief, and find this disconcerting. I'm no plant expert, but I thought I knew real from fake, living from dead!
Even the heavy shower trapping a group of us under a great tree... a calculated climax, so we'll linger in the warm giftshop to dry off... and buy. Doesn't work on me. I just feel heavy, bedraggled, messy, ugly, unsexy (much as the humans felt around the light, airy pegasi in McKinley's book!) Resent the fake park designers for worsening my plight by drenching me. I have enough trouble seeing myself as attractive without this.
I'm not the only one upset. One hiker near me might be sexy but it's hard to tell--she's so mad at getting suddenly drenched, black clouds of disgust follow her round.
At least we're all soggy saggy messes. Equal... for now.
Wander through the visitor center, dripping sullenly. In the back, I find some housepaint samples you can test. One color is... black and white. Not black or white--and. Dip a brush in, and it comes out zebra-striped! And paints stripes. I can't think of a use, but... zebra paint, ha! I try to keep my sulk, but it's hard to.
Even more interesting is the southeast corner--a raised deck with a round, full hot tub. Very full. Six girls splash, squeal and laugh. They're tweens or early teens. I feel guilty for finding them sexy, but I do. Next to them, though, I feel like a big old soggy mess...
Why do they seem so light, almost weightless, with their long coltish limbs... oh. Like pegasi.
They notice how I'm seeing them, and politely start transforming to fit my unspoken... request?
Soon, six winged fillies prance and splash. As pegasi, they're just as adorable. I long to dive in with them, but I'm sure they won't want me in there--an older guy, strictly human, in cold wet rags, ugh. So why even try?
But I hover. So tempted...
Then John, a bearded intellectual acquaintance (not quite a friend) walks up--and drags me away to have a Serious Discussion. I'm reluctant.
Annoyed, he says "Why are you wasting time on animals?"
"Pegasi aren't animals! They can talk, even change into human shape."
"So what? You're a man!" Oh. I see. Human or equine, they're still young and female--and for John, only adult male humans are people. Besides, around him they'd NEVER turn human--he sees just animals, and pegasi politely suit your expectations.
But am I any less blind? He drags me away because he devalues them... but I didn't dive in with the pegasi because I devalue me!
NOTES IN THE MORNING
FOUR YEARS LATER
Six talking female equines, to any fan of My Little Pony, suggest the six stars of that TV show. But in 2013, I didn't know the show, didn't know the Mane Six. So unless you believe in precognition reaching years ahead... Besides, these pegasi weren't mares but fillies--their model was likely Niahi, in McKinley's Pegasus. Sigh... adorable. If you like pegasi.
I still buy into early brainwashing that I'm unsexy and unworthy. It takes a lot of hot tubs to wash such judgments out of your... tail.
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