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Thought and dream have so much in common, don't they? Yesterday a neighbor crossed my mind. She's a lovely blonde lady in her mid-thirties with two young kids who often walks her dog on Saturday mornings. But I hadn't seen her in several months. And she used to walk with such regularity. Last night as I was falling asleep I wondered where my neighbor had been. I had seen her dog and her car so knew she hadn't moved. Why had she disappeared? Were her toddlers such a handful as to forbid her getting away even for a stroll?

As if in answer to my query, today while I was coming home from my morning run I saw her along the road pushing her infant in his stroller. And I thought, did my thought beckon her? Or did I have a moment of prescience, whereby I had been able to glimpse into the future, as though my question were a foreshadowing of the encounter to come. She acted like she didn't recognize me, and we've exchanged pleasantries several times. Some encounter.

Thought is very much related to dream, which is a more elaborate, detailed, vivid idea of the mind. Last night I dreamed of David Zimmerman. Davey is another neighbor. I have known him since his parents moved onto the street when he was 8. He's now in his late thirties, a married father of two who a couple months ago moved his wife and kids out of his parents' house and into their new home in Arizona. Last night I dreamed Davey had returned home to visit, and in the dream I saw him in his parked car and we waved and said hello. Would you believe that when I came home from grocery shopping I saw David's car parked out front his parents' house. Sure enough he had come home, and I watched him enter his car and drive away. Visions of the future. We didn't wave because I'm sometimes shy and pretended not to see my childhood friend. He's such a sweetheart though.

Speaking of neighbors. On Friday I got together with Michael and his wife. They live up the street and around the corner from me. Michael develops properties and Jenny works for her sister's small business and also raises their 8-year-old son, Asthon. Jenny, who is Korean, comes out of the house and rubs her belly like I'd imagine a Chinese Buddha would. No sooner did I wonder whether she suffered indigestion than she delivers the news that she is five months pregnant with their second child. And here Michael never even told me, although we've hung out more than once since they discovered she was carrying back in December. Typical guy, Michael feels more comfortable discussing politics and business than "touchy-feely" shit. Jenny laments that he hasn't even rubbed her stomach yet and she's more than half-way to term. 

Not expecting to get a very detailed response, I asked him about the circumstances surrounding the conception, because it's what neighbors talk about if you live on my street, at least if you converse with me. "Dunno," replied Michael. "But it had to have been one of the couple times we had sex in late 2016." Sex happens pretty infrequently at the Bates estate. I try to comfort them with the statistic that for most married couples, having sex just once a week correlates with the highest levels of marital satisfaction, so once every couple months doesn't leave them too far behind. This is me pulling studies out of my ass in an effort to be kind. "Yeah, well I'm still not positive it is mine," Michael replies. "It" is a boy, and Michael was joking. He and Jenny are doing just fine. She didn't nag him once the entire time I hung out with them. 

Before I left we considered names for the son-to-be. They may name him Adam, after me. But it got me thinking how important is the moment of conception, and yet few parents give it any thought. Often couples can't remember when they conceived, because the child isn't planned, or they were drunk, or they have sex so frequently that it could have been one of a handful of times, or so infrequently that they can hardly remember having sex. And if couples do remember copulating, they're uncertain about the atmosphere surrounding the event. But this is crucial. 

We talk about bringing heaven to earth. At least I do. Heaven needs its angels. I'm talking about enlightened souls. The only way angelic beings will deign to favor this "veil of tears" with their presence, the only way the high-minded will be coaxed into the womb is through an auspicious union. Much has been written on the soul's journey, and how disembodied spirits choose the circumstances of their birth. They choose their parents based on the level of consciousness, and this level of consciousness manifests in how loving a man and a woman are to each other. The higher the consciousness, the more love they share. Beings of lower consciousness, those with the mentality of brutes, are driven by lust and desire and selfishness, and therefore choose parents who demonstrate such tendencies. While the enlightened sort choose couples whose love is pure. 

Another neighbor, a mother of two, confessed to me that she decided to have her second child, a daughter, because her marriage was on the rocks and she wanted a second kid before she and her husband divorced. She was nearing thirty and the thinking was "If I don't get pregnant now, this may be my last chance to be a mom again." So she got pregnant. And got divorced. She and her ex-husband are always at odds, and her daughter, product of this disharmony, and constant source of strain, has been in and out of psych wards ever since. Last I checked at least. I hope in the intervening two years things have improved.

In an ideal world, and that's the one we're striving for, couples are so in love that they desire their feelings to last forever, and a child, token of their affection, is an assurance that their love will at least outlive them. A child is an embodiment of love, or any other emotion you feel when you conceive, not all of them savory. Whatever you feel at the moment that you bring life into the world is reflected in the child, who is a perfect personification, snapshot of that moment sperm united with egg. 

So feel love, tenderness, affection, purity. If you want love to flood the earth, feel it in your own heart, and shower your beloved with all the sweetness in your soul. 

Where has all this preaching got me? When I was a kid I thought for sure I'd be married at 28 and have a kid by 30. I, who am childless and unbetrothed, was wrong on both accounts. This time frame was my mother's suggestion so maybe it didn't count. I did get my then-girlfriend pregnant at 30, but only by accident. And I sometimes wonder what type of being me and Shannon would have ushered in. Our relationship was on the rocks at the time, and the sex was of the make-up variety. Hey, it worked. We stayed together for another year, despite getting an abortion. One thing's for sure. Since I am 5'9 and Shannon 5'2, our child that never was would definitely have been longitudinally challenged!

My mom had me as a gift to my father, who had strained, almost non-existent relationships with his two children from a former marriage. She desired me as the first grandchild for her parents. Her motives were pure, to give pleasure to her loved ones, and I personified these feelings. My life has been dedicated to the happiness of my near and dear. If I ever had a kid I'd want to birth love incarnate. A being whose purpose is to uplift the consciousness of humanity, which is what my mother desired that I should be. I  can't help it if nobody reads!

But if you are reading and are trying to conceive, do so consciously. Make love, not lust. Light candles, burn incense, play soothing music. Say a prayer and visualize a being of the highest extraordinariness, if that is even a word.

Walking home with Michael we speculated on the personality of his child-to-be. Michael is the rugged sort and sometimes is irritated with his son, who he thinks is a bit too prissy and squeamish. Ashton is sometimes afraid of my dog, Max, whom he outweighs by 50 lbs. In the last few years I've watched Michael become a bit more wild and unrestrained. He works with thugs developing properties in East L.A. and has to let it all hang out to show who's boss. Many tenants do not like his hard-nosed approach, and sometimes leave dead animal paws and ominous messages in black wax on his door. Michael then brings his battles home with him, taking them out on a box of beer. He usually wins, if victory means finishing the six-pack. I tell him to love others for the God within, even if he has to evict them. A person is less likely to despise you if he doesn't feel disrespected and looked down upon. Michael calls my theory contrived. I didn't ask him the definition of contrived but I reckon his answer would be different from mine. And I read the dictionary. Who's right, who's wrong is what all the world's problems boil down to. We need a race of superhumans, which means we need more love. Read: cuddling over copulating. But still deposit your seed.

"Don't worry," I tell Michael, who wonders how he'll manage two kids when he can hardly handle one. "I'm sure your second son will be a chip off the old block. He'll go round for round with you, be your partner in crime. Together your two boys will be a complete picture, and make for a very satisfied dad." Why is it that only cliches came to my mind at the time? Maybe because Mike is a former athlete and athletes speak in cliches. Anyway my friend liked what he heard. I hope things work out for the best and know they will. Unless his son is anything like his namesake. The original Adam was quite the rule breaker. But I turned out okay.


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