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  • I had dinner with a girlfriend the other night. She and I have a few things in common: We share the same birthday. We're both writers. We're both lefties. We've both had a shitty past few years. And we're both getting it together now and feeling good. It was a great seeing her. She was radiant.

    After we parted, I took Picard out for his evening constitutional. It was pretty late on a weeknight in the mission district of San Francisco, the only people out seemed to be twenty-somethings weaving their way home from the bars. I saw two young women walking toward me. They were adorable, holding hands, engrossed in a quiet conversation. It felt tender and sweet and intimate. I don't know if they were lovers or just friends and it didn't matter; what mattered is you could see there was love between them. It was pure. I was sort of swept away by them.

    There were also two young men walking just ahead of me, also, I'm guessing, twenty-something. They were not adorable, just average looking. Maybe less than. Doughy guys. All beer, no gym. Nothing about them was notable, until we they passed the girlfriends -- who were too engrossed in their own conversation, their own reality, to notice the guys noticing them. This must have upset the guys, because when we passed, one said to the other, "Probably fourteen year old lesbians." At that moment, the only thing notable about them was that they were dicks.

    I don't know if they were annoyed that the girls they were noticing didn't notice them back -- and thus they had to cut them down (in their mind), or offer the only "logical" explanation, "The must be lesbians, why else wouldn't they look at us?"

    I do know that it pissed me off. I was caught up in my own "version" of these girlfriends, and these mooks came along and polluted my perfect stolen voyeuristic moment. I didn't want the moment to end on that note. So I took the moment back. I went after the girlfriends. I... had no idea what I was going to say, I just knew I wanted to remember that walk in a lovely way, not focusing on the snarky lads with mean things to say about people who they've never met and are minding their own business.

    I chatted up the girlfriends (Picard is a great ice breaker when I want to approach a stranger). They were indeed tipsy. They were a little bitchy when I asked to take a picture. But then I said the magic words, because when I told them I'm a writer, they instantly warmed up to me (as usual, Picard had already won them over) and wouldn't stop talking. The only thing that could have made the encounter more perfect is if my own girlfriend from dinner were still with me for this encounter. That might have been like entering a lovely parallel universe, encountering these younger versions of ourselves (one blond, one brunette) out lighting up the night; still unacquainted with disappointment, but yet to learn that girlfriends only get better with age.
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