Monthly Archives: September 2011

Maybe I don’t wanna hold your hand as much as I thought I did

Just when you think you have everything set straight in your universe, something comes along to screw up your preconceptions. Maddening that is.

Recently I bought the 27 cut CD of the Beatles’ songbook. It was a good price, and I thought it would be a good thing to have. The selections cover their career as an ensemble from their lovable moptops beginnings to that ‘Long and Winding Road’ somewhat acrimonious endgame.

I thought it would be a nice thing to have. I mean, I have tons of Beatles vinyl from days of yore, but I felt a handy CD compendium would be good, for the car, for example.

I always liked the Beatles very much though, in truth I was more of a Stones man, both as shit-kicking brilliant musicians (‘Keef’ rules!) who were never afraid to bend the rules of convention. But, the Beatles were, you know, nice. At least McCartney was nice. I was a Lennon afficionado and he was often less than nice, and that’s what made him an original and my fave-rave. George (the quiet one), as is recently revealed in a new biopic, was far from being nice and was such a philandering cocksman that he makes Mick look like a choirboy. Who woulda thunk?

Anyway, that previous passage takes me far from the point I wished to make. As I said, I bought the Beatles songbook and have enjoyed playing it. Most of the cuts are well-considered, though there are others I would have deemed more pivotal. But, it’s a good enough listen.

Yet, not as good as I thought it would be. Indeed, I daresay that eventually I found it kind of bland. You know, one of those moments in time that are perhaps better left lost in the past. Or maybe it was just the mood I was in.

On the other hand, and compounding my confusion about my past musical tastes, a few weeks ago I watched a PBS special on Simon and Garfunkel. It was one of those tiresome but necessary PBS fundraisers that are interrupted every 20 minutes for a bit of shilling, but the footage was still immensely watchable and listenable. Indeed, far moreso than I would have suspected.

Years ago, when my first wife and I split we had to go through the kind of emotionally-agonizing exercise known as ‘dividing our stuff.’ Not an agreeable task for the faint-of-heart, which we both were at the time. Anyway, our rather extensive record collection was part of the mix. I decided that since she liked more ‘folky’ stuff than I did, she should take the stuff in that genre, whereas I’d take the R&R and blues stuff. It worked at the time so the S&G went in her direction.

But, when I watched the special I realized that I actually really missed those guys and liked them far better than I’d realized at the time. Art’s wonderful voice on Bridge Over Troubled Water brought it home to me and I actually felt a bit misty with it. They may have been a bit trite in their poetics, but the nostalgia evocation was stronger than I would have suspected.

Just goes to show you.

Now I want to get my hands on some S&G to make up for it.

I’m not saying there’s nothing out there, I just don’t believe there’s anything out there

A recent national poll in Canada showed that while assorted residents throughout this vast country are firm in their beliefs that extraterrestrial ‘aliens’ are already here and doing their dirty deeds with all and sundry, nowhere was the belief more pronounced than in my part — British Columbia.

Could this have something to do with BC being the pot capital of Canada, and that the infamous BC Bud approaches near lethal levels of THC? Or, is it just that we’re weirder than the rest of the country? Anyway, here is how the poll played out:

78% of Canadians believe in the existence of life elsewhere in the universe.
More than 52% believe that some UFOs are alien spacecraft.
Only 12% of people who have seen UFOs actually report their sightings.
More than 57% of Canadians believe there is a military or government cover-up regarding the existence of UFOs.
Older Canadians tend not to believe in UFOs or cover-ups.
Younger Canadian adults are more likely to believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life.

I’m afraid I have to cast my lot with those geezers who tend not to believe in UFOs or cover-ups. Not that I’m ‘old’, y’unnerstand, for I’m very young at heart, but I have to confess that I am, at the very least, skeptical about the matter.

Ever notice how UFO sightings always seem to take place before a couple of good ole boys sharing a jug on a riverbank in Moose Groin, Saskatchewan, or Tuskalooskawatchi Crossing, Mississippi, rather than setting down in Times Square, Washington, DC or some other place that you think might entice ET leaders.

Then, of course, the aliens themselves either go into people’s bedrooms and sexually interfere with them, or take these same people on the mothership, and again sexually interfere with them. I mean, why would somebody who traveled light years across space be all that damn interested in our plumbing? Wouldn’t our brains, such as they are, be more to the point in terms of scientific interest? And why are aliens so damn horny?

Now, I say all of this, despite the fact that I think Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a terrific movie, and despite the fact I’m a big fan of Dr. Who (well, of the yummy Rose, to be honest) and despite the fact ‘I have actually seen a UFO!’Really, I have seen one, but I still don’t really believe in them. I am a literalist about the abbreviation UFO. It stands for ‘Unidentified Flying Object’. That’s all, a thing that flies that cannot be identified in conventional terms. It doesn’t mean it’s some intergalactic starship chock-a-block with randy aliens looking for skirt.

At the time it happened my former wife and I were camping with friends on a little island near here. This was about 25 years ago. It was a beautiful and starry night, and the four of us were lying on the beach, drinking beer (probably way too much, but we were young and foolish then) and marveling at the wondrous sky. Then we saw it. All four of us saw it. A light moved in a straight line across the sky. A plane or satellite, we thought, even though it was moving much more rapidly than the average aircraft. Then, about half way across the expanse of sky, it zigged rapidly to the right. There was no glide into the zig, it just went immediately to the right, and then beyond our field of vision. We were fascinated, I must confess. Was it a UFO? Well, it was certainly ‘unidentified’, was indeed ‘flying’ and may or may not have been an ‘object.’

That considered, there is also a mathematical consideration in all of this. We are an inhabited planet in the universe. The universe is infinite. Ergo, there must be an infinite number of planets that are also inhabited by some sort of creature. Surely we’re not so important that we are ‘it.’ Makes sense, and the late Carl Sagan bought into that idea.

But, deep in my heart of hearts, I still don’t really believe in them. Do you?

 

Don’t you be sweet-talking about fall in my earshot!

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold

Autumn is ‘icumin in, lude sing – “goddamn!”’

And I mean that. The damn Virginia Creeper, normally vibrant and pleasing in autumn hasn’t even turned to its incarnadine best yet, but it feels like November outside. Gale-force winds and pelting, pissing rain. You see, we had virtually no summer out here on the coast this year, and now it is prematurely turning ugly.

Of all the four seasons I will readily attest that autumn is my least favorite. And when it comes early, as in this year, it’s like being kicked in the meteorological cojones (less painful to be kicked in the metaphorical ones than the real ones, I’ll agree). Admittedly, a ‘good’ autumn, with nice vibrant colors is agreeable enough, and such an autumn can be endured, but rarely cherished. It cannot be cherished because it’s followed by the evils of winter. As spring is rare prime-rib and summer is garlic-buttered lobster, autumn is the ‘liver’ of seasons. Not unspeakably awful (I quite like liver with bacon and onions) but rarely inspired.  It all begins with the Labor Day weekend. No matter how long we’ve been away from school, with Labor Day comes the feeling that it’s all over. That was it. Summer, that blessed season, is gone and, to take liberties with Shelley, “If autumn comes, can winter be far behind?”

We fool ourselves with autumn. We fool ourselves because the season is a chameleon. It’s a two-faced tramp of a season. One day it is bright and crisp and sunny, even after a frosty morning, and the leaves are swirling about our feet, and the kids in the park across the street are playing touch football or soccer, and all seems relatively right with the world. But, the next day the southeast winds announce their presence at 3 a.m. and by the time of arising, the rain is pounding horizontally against the front window and the gloom never reaches the candlepower of a summer twilight. And then one day, in November usually, the days of the southeast winds mass together in a continuum, and sometimes there is sleet mixed in with the rain. True autumn has begun.

Meanwhile, the trees and Virginia Creeper have by then been denuded of those lovely colors and all is dull drabs and browns and the only consolation that manifests itself is that at least the lawn needn’t be cut. Perversely, this realization only leaves me with a longing for the first cutting of springtime because when that happens I’ll know I’ve made it through.

Of course, by the time Scorpio moves into Sagittarius territory then Christmas, New Year’s and all that overrated and stressful stuff rears an ugly hydra head. No, I’m sorry, I do not like Christmas. Oh, I like ‘my’ Christmas, and ‘our’ Christmas, but I must confess I loathe what the season has become. And New Year’s is, to me, beyond comprehension as anything resembling festivity, but is otherwise a mandated two-bit drunk in which one is forced to kiss people one would rather not, rather than getting to kiss (and/or more) with people one would delight in.

I have often wondered what it would be like to live in a place where there is no autumn. Hawaii, for example. I think it would be heavenly. Albeit Hawaii does have actual seasons and the plumeria isn’t always in bloom, but there is little drama about it. The Trade Winds and storms shift to the north of the islands and there is more rain – sometimes much more rain – but it never gets biting and cold, and if one wants a day on the sand, one merely goes to the south of the islands and the water will be as delicious in November as it was in August.

A few years ago we were sitting in an outside coffee joint in Princeville on Kauai. It was April. The girl serving the coffee offered the thought that it was a beautiful day that day and that it “finally feels like spring.” I was amazed. But it’s all relative, I guess.

Now, even though I thoroughly believe in living in the moment, I do have the consoling thought that in a little more than three months it will be January 1st and I can genuinely look forward to heavenly spring. Today I am merely trying to hold my own and carpe diem as much as possible.

Meanwhile, the Virginia Creeper needs to start turning just to lift my spirits a smidgen.

 

Some things cannot help but bring a smile

Sometimes in a world fraught with trial, tribulation and angst you run across a scene that just makes everything seem a little more right with the world.

This, taken in downtown Kailua-Kona was just one of those things. Cheered me up greatly. Still does when I ponder the picture. Not the docile canine is also secured with his own little sidecar seatbelt.

I yam what I yam — an’ at’sa good thing — I think

Periodically I am blessed with moments of insight that help explain some monumental stuff. Insight moments that are more significant than realizing I don’t look well in beige.

Maybe you get those too.

So the insight that came to me just a mere two days ago (and I am trying to be as light-hearted as possible about it because I hate to be ponderous and pedantic) is simply this: I am destined to be a somewhat lonely and insecure human being.

It was a revelation that explained so much about me in its enlightenment potential. Indeed, the revelation has the potential to make me a better human being. Not a ‘much’ better human being (no point in going over the top about it), but somewhat better human being, and at least a human being more at peace with himself.

If you are regarding this topic as self-indulgent, then be assured that it is. Why not? It’s my blog that is visited by ‘my’ friends and acquaintances.

So, it was Tuesday, I think. I was feeling at a loose-end and not particularly ambitious or motivated. Wendy had just gone out of town for a few days on a business trip, and I realized the loneliness that permeates at such a time. Nothing new in that. What was new was the sparkling insight that told me that loneliness was a default emotion for me.

The revelation wasn’t a true epiphany in the sense it was earth-shattering. More of a mini-epiphany it was, but it seemed to work. Though the epiphany be little, it be mine. With understanding there is solace of sorts because a lot of my life became clearer.

My sensations of chronic loneliness certainly go back to childhood. I had a childhood of sorts. I had parents that were the epitome of respectable middle-classdom 1950s style. Successful dad and stay-at-home mom that wore those nice housedresses like Mrs. Cleaver did. There any such comparison with the Cleavers breaks down.

My parents were emphatically not warm and cuddly and huggy. Dad was, for the most part, tyrannical and ill-temperered. Mom was aloof and ultimately escaped into a vodka bottle. And so it went.

Consequently, I didn’t have any home network that made me feel I belonged. I know I am not alone in that, but this is my story. I look at people, adult people, who unqualifiedly love their parents because they know their parents love them. I think, wow, what’s that like?

It became apparent to me from an early age that something was lacking, though I couldn’t define what it was. I did know it was something to do with physical affection – something I’d never really had and which left me with, as a counselor once explained to me, ‘skin hunger’; a need to be touched with affection.

So, I had girlfriends and I got my touching and I had sex (the ultimate in touching, or touching with benefits and a happy ending). That should do it, thought I. I should be content now. But I wasn’t. I still felt isolated and discontented in times of aloneness. So, I came to rely on the comforts of relative strangers with assorted paramours who seemed to find me attractive and charming.

And I think I was both of those things. I think vestiges of those elements remain. I’m not a bad looking older guy and I still have a certain mordant wit that has served me well. And I have some creative talents. Talents that I cultivated to take me out of myself. It all worked, to a degree.

But, there were residuals throughout my adult life. Say sweet things to me and I was yours. I’d fall in love at the drop of a hat. A new love would surely bring me the security I sought. Ha. All it brought me was an ego-trip, sex, and romance. Not bad things in themselves but it always seemed that some element was missing.

And, eventually, none of it worked. Affairs didn’t work, booze didn’t work, and success in career didn’t work. I still was left with an overweening sense of isolation.

And that was what came to me on Tuesday. That is what I am. I, through my history, am a person who cannot help but feel isolated. Therefore, my role is to work with that understanding. You know, to float downstream rather than to keep swimming counter to the current.

In that, as odd as it might seem, I feel newly liberated and much more content. It’s who I am. I could have worse afflictions than isolation. Furthermore, I am not really isolated. I have a wife who loves me to bits and lots of valuable friends. Can’t ask for much more. Can’t honestly get more, so it’s all in the way I deal with it.

 

 

No — really — I truly don’t want to know

Chatting in a store the other morning with a clerk I know quite well, but just in context of doing business with her. She’s a 45-ish attractive woman whom I like very much, as she is friendly, chatty, funny and welcoming, just like a person serving the public should be. I’ve been going there for a few years, so we know each other quite well.

“So, I’m off to Hawaii in a few weeks,” she told me one day recently. I repliedthat such a trip to one of my favorite spots sounds very appealing and even though I’m just back, I am still envious.

“Only problem is,” she blithely continued, “ I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to get done all the things I want to do before I go away. I haven’t even made an appointment for a bikini wax.”

Wait a minute, I thought. Do I want to know this? Do I want my imagination to be going below your waistband rather than just thinking how genuinely pleasant it is to interact with you? And go ‘there’ it will. You brighten my shopping day. But, what you just told me was ‘too much information.’ The old TMI syndrome that has become somewhat endemic, what with Facebook, texting, Tweeting, etc.

“So, what’re you doing right now?”

“Oh, just taking a pee. What about you?”

See, TMI all over the place.

Now, I’m not a particularly delicate soul, and I have been down certain roads sometimes too many times, and I know how most things work human anatomy-wise and otherwise. Furthermore, I am the farthest person from being prudish. But, you see, it’s a matter of seeing certain people in certain contexts. She sells me stuff. We don’t share a locker-room, bathroom or bedroom, nor am I seeking such intimacy.

Much as I decry the modern era, there are certain facets I like very much, including the breakdown of unnecessary prudish mores. At the same time, I am struck by the fact that some people just maybe go a little too far in their ‘sharing’, some other people go ‘waaaaaaaaaaaaay’ too far in their sharing. Unless I’m your gynecologist, there are just certain things I don’t want to know. I kinda like ‘mystique’, if you will.

So, I have (as a public service, you understand) divided unwelcome information into two categories. They are: Too Much Information (TMI), and Way Too Much Information (WTMI).

It’s all a matter of degree, of course. There are things I might share with my wife or other loved ones that I will not share with the public at large, no matter how fond I might be of individuals therein.  Consider, if you will:

TMI

–         The aforementioned bikini waxing and other intimate cosmetic procedures

–         Anecdotes about family members whom I’ve never met, unless there is a tale of great importance in a general sense

–         Marital woes of an intimate nature

–         Stories of your mental breakdown or suicide attempt at 17. I’m not your therapist. Not that I don’t care, but what am I supposed to do with this? Should I be increasingly vigilant with you?

–         Stories of how drunk you got at some shindig or other. Tales of the debaucheries of others are horribly boring

–         Longwinded stories about your pets

–         In-depth recounting of the plot of a movie or book (this is deadly)

–         Declaring how urgently you have to pee at the moment of conversation. Just go, then, for heaven’s sake. I don’t need to know

–         Your own political, religious, or racial views. I don’t want to hear about them and, if I find them repellent, I will have to change my assessment of you. At times it’s just good to shut-up.

WTMI

–         unless I’m in an intimate relationship with you, I don’t really want to hear about your favorite sexual techniques, turn-ons, kinks, and infidelities

–         infidelity as a category of its own. If I know your spouse or sexual partner, and you tell me that you or your opposite is fooling around, I will have to reappraise both of you

–         Your intimate behaviors with your partner and/or his/her inadequacies in that department.

–         Criticisms of a spouse or partner when he or she isn’t present. That’s both tacky and cowardly

–         Tales of abuse in your marriage. Scary stuff. So, what do you want from me? Should I call the cops?

–         Any recounting of bowel or bladder habits and woes, incidents of incontinence, frequency of movements, diarrhea attacks and so forth, are just plain distasteful (despite tasteless TV advertising). This is between you and your intimate partner, or you and your doctor

You can probably think of many, many other TMI and WTMI examples, but those are mine for today.

 

Keeping abreast of contemporary trends in fashion

In one of those domestic sociological discussions of which we’re so fond in this house, Wendy made the following observation the other day:

“You probably have a different opinion on this than I do, but I’ve noticed a lot of young women in stores and malls seem to be flashing a lot of cleavage these days.”

“Disgusting and slutty,” I replied. “What in the world makes them think that anybody wants to see the ivory-hued curve of their firm youthful breasts?”

“Now you’re just being sarcastic,” she said. She didn’t actually say “Hmph!” and utter something about males being procine in attitude about matters of delicacy, but I know she was thinking it.

“No really,” I said. “And the depravity isn’t just amongst the young women of the world. Even respectable older women, like Hillary, are showing them off.”

“I don’t believe you,” she said.

So, I led her to my computer and called up the photo that you see accompanying this blog.

“That’s photoshopped,” she said dismissively.

“No, it’s real,” I pathetically attempted to reassure her. “She sent it to Bill to help him carry on with life during the election campaign.”

“I think Bill probably found other ways to carry on during the campaign.”

I disregarded her cynicism, but the discussion did give me pause to think. I believe I mentioned in a blog a while ago about running into a young woman in a mall who used to work in a local grocery store. She was sporting such a cleavage (breast) revealing top that virtually nothing was left to the imagination. And, she was a big girl, to boot. Shortly thereafter, over coffee, I mentioned the encounter to a female friend (who was a former coworker of the endowed lady in question).

“Well,” she said, “I’m completely straight, but even I might have been tempted.”

My mind reeled with imagery at her comment, but I didn’t belabor the point.

Funny thing about breasts. They come and go in terms of vogue, but they never seem to completely lose their intrigue – except when they do. And they do.

For example, a décolleté garment intrigues because of what it ‘doesn’t’ show. What lies beneath the wisp of garment becomes the question?

Well, of course we all know what lies there, but the mystique persists nonetheless. The allure lies in what isn’t shown.

What if it is all shown in a full-tit extravaganza? Back to my comment about how they can lose their intrigue.

Around the time I was in university it was the age of the notorious topless bar. A trend begun in San Francisco (the silicone-enhanced Carol Doda was the most famous exposer there) spread to other cities. In Vancouver the club was known as Isy’s.

I accompanied a male friend there one evening. We’d go for drinks and to see the array of bare-boobed servers. And yes, many of them were striking and their ‘altogetherness’ in the upper neighborhood enchanted from the point-of-view that we were seeing the real thing in its (their?) undraped glory.

Enchanted for about 15 minutes. And then it became commonplace. And we concentrated more on the fact we were stretching our student budgets unspeakably for the sake of watered-down drinks and a chance to ogle naked tits. Scarcely seemed worth the price.

At the end of it all I suggested to Wendy that if the cleavage thing has gotten out-of-hand they could easily quell it by simply letting women sport themselves topless in public.

“Boredom would kill the fashion rapidly.” I suggested.