There’s a fine line between introspection and self-shame. This came to me this morning while listening to Dire Straits and sipping on medium roast. One of my neighbors slammed their door on the floor below and I thought to myself how maybe I close myself off to opportunities. That sounded introspective enough. Then again, what seems like introspection can be a front for self-shame. For example, maybe I wanted to play at the idea that a door closing could be my wanting to hear one close within myself because an opportunity is the last thing I’ve wanted and self-destruction has been my unconscious ideal. One can go on like this. I’ve never arrived at an accurate understanding of what I really want. But let’s get to what happened. I was walking my usual route to work when a portal appeared in the air before me. A man with this huge beard walked up to me and asked if I was thinking of heading in. “Have you gone into one?” I said. “Oh no, that’s not my thing. I’m too old to go walking through portals to God knows where,” he said. “What’s too old as far as portals are concerned?” I said. “Fair point,” he said. “It could pull me apart and put me back together and erase all these years inside me.” “It could turn you back into a baby held in your mother’s arms,” I said. “I could become someone else entirely, maybe someone in a past life, if you believe in that sort of thing,” he said. “I say we go in,” I said. “Just drop everything and jump,” he said. “What the hell do I have to live for?” “It’ll be an honor to die with you my friend,” I said. I reached out to hold the man’s hand, but there was nobody there. The portal also was gone. A woman with a yellow lab walked by and her face swirled in on itself like a dehydrated mushroom. “Good morning,” I said. “It is for somebody,” she said. Maybe she wasn’t there either. I had to check.