They are a pair of friends I was about to describe as self-consciously weird, but I think that might be a bit too harsh. The more I think about them, the more I realize there is nothing self-conscious or contrived about them. They are fiercely their own people, often painfully original.
That they have unkempt hair and long, scraggly beards is a given, but they also wear exclusively home-made clothing — no designer couture for these guys. Not owning cars, they walk, bike or hitchhike in order to get around.
I met them in a Spanish class I’m taking downtown. They and their wives are planning to backpack along the Andes. Because of course they are.
Since this was a dream, the meeting place for our Spanish class kept changing. We had classes on the floor of a retail store and in the stairwell of an office building. Notably, we never met in an actual classroom, which for some reason never struck anyone as odd.
I should mention that it became apparent that neither was a big fan of bathing. This became all too evident when the meeting place for our Spanish class was particularly small. It was also noted when — for reasons that were never quite clear — they biked over to our apartment and sat down on the couch to watch TV with the kids.
Then the scene shifted to a birthday party, during which the two friends and their wives were splashing around in a small pool. One of the woman gave the other a basket decorated with a home-made bow. In the basket were hand-wrapped bars of handcrafted soap. Immediately it was abundantly clear that an invisible line had been crossed.
“I don’t know what to say,” exclaimed the birthday girl, not knowing what to say. “I mean, is this even allowed?”