Friday, March 6, 2015

The Idea of Order

I couldn't get out of bed this morning.  Sleep clung to me like an embryonic sac.  Now I am rushed to set the house in order before the Wrecking Crew arrives.  There is much to do and little time.  This is no way to begin a vacation.  I want simply to relax. 

Life got weird yesterday.  I was forced to choose between two things, and of course the choice I made seems perhaps the wrong one this morning.  I remember being in a similar situation many, many years ago, and in the end I ran away to Key West to be away from it all.  I lay on the cement sea wall at Mallory Square (this long before the carnival ships and circuses that are there now) under the moon and the stars, the boat lights twinkling in the channel where the sailboats swung at anchor, the air rich and thick, thinking about two women.  I was alone, I thought, as was everything around me, and my heart swelled inside me until I knew that my chest could literally not hold it, and I wept and wept there where no one could see me, a solitary figure in the dark. 

The next day, I met a girl.  She was a true beauty, a small blonde who was half hippie, half rich white girl.  She had just returned from India where she said she had gone to beat a heroin habit.  She was sitting at a table next to ours on the beach, shirtless, drinking a daiquiri.  A man and his wife obviously from the great white north walked by.  The man's mouth was agape and he couldn't quit looking.  The girl said something snarky that embarrassed him, and I, hero of the common man, took umbrage. 

"Why would you do that?  He is from Iowa.  He's never seen a girl sitting at a table on the beach drinking a daiquiri before in his life.  By tomorrow, his wife's titties will be sunburned and they will believe they are in paradise.  But today, he is just a fellow who has never seen a nice pair of titties sitting in the public sun.  You're a mean girl."

That night, she was riding around town on my handlebars leaning back into my chest smelling like patchouli and softly whispering things that thrilled me.  She stayed with me in my cheap hotel room and we made love in a way that I still remember.  It was one of the most romantic things that has ever happened to me in my life. 

But this morning, it doesn't feel as if I will ever be that lucky again.  I have a doomsday sense about me.  It always feels like you've just been in your last rodeo.  It is not always true, and sometimes a girl ends up on your handlebars smelling of all the beautiful hippie herbs in the universe.  Sometime or other, though. . . .

I have a week off now.  Perhaps I should drive south and find some seawall to lie upon.  I could try to remember Wallace Stevens' "The Idea of Order at Key West."  I remember what it means, of course, the creative act of ordering the world, of making meaning.  I am just afraid I would remember "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by that hideous Mr. Elliot instead.

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