Back in the early 90’s, an older woman I worked with suggested that I move out to Los Angeles with her. The way she phrased the suggestion made it sound like an entirely platonic and benign idea: she knew I was spinning my wheels in school, and that life pretty much sucked where I was (for the record, I would sooner eat ground glass and wash it down with boiling pitch before going back into retail sales), so a change in venue might give me a new opportunity to get my life on track.
The reality of the offer? While I cannot know the woman’s thoughts, I did know that she was highly promiscuous, and liked her men young–she was a “cougar” long before the term was invented. She also hung out with the rough company, and I doubted my ability to swim the same waters as her crowd did. But the idea of pairing up with such a willing sex partner was very tempting–doubly so, given that I was a virgin still. I spent many sleepless nights considering that offer.
Ultimately, I said no. Had I gone, she would have tossed me aside within a month, leaving me alone in a large city without job skills, friends or family, twenty-five hundred miles from familiar territory. Then again, perhaps that’s exactly what I needed–to get dumped out of my safety zone and forced to deal with the world around me. Lord knows, cancer has certainly done that now–and there is no more guarantee that I will survive this than being poor and alone in LA just before the ’92 Riots.
It’s a hard thing, to recognize which way to jump.