11 August 2009
I'm of an age at which profound and instant pheromonal attraction for the opposite sex—"the zeal of organs for each other," as Joseph Campbell puts it, right on the nail-head—no longer informs my every action. As a man, though, my eyes, honor-bound, constantly consult with my organs. When a case of genuine lust arises it is a gift to be cherished and remembered. Even those discursive consultations totally devoid of lust (and they are numerous), wandering far from where they started as a burst of photons reflected from a female form, can be amusing and instructive, even liberating, and equally to be cherished. I smile when I contemplate the time when my grandchildren will first consider "sex" and "grandparents" in the same sentence, and the time maybe decades later when they can consider it without shuddering.
Sometimes my train of thought—if I can impose a linear representation on such a random process—leads me to a nirvana moment. It is a feeling of intense rightness of time and place, of being in tune with the universe, and of peace and benign power, with infinite understanding and knowledge present before my mind's eye. Some would call it a moment of grace. It's the deluxe version of the feeling you get when an unexpected and perfect tune pops up on your car radio.
It happened last week in Old Orchard Beach. We, three couples, are on vacation, and have spent grueling hours strolling the raffish town center sidewalks, idling on our cottage's front porch, and sharing meals. It's the prime of the evening, and we're all in the parlor. Bill's on his laptop, checking in with work, Don's watching television, I'm starting to augment my body's reserves of grape-based anti-oxidants and having a desultory stab at a cryptic crossword. The women catch and arrest my eye. Cheryl, Jean, and Andrea cluster around the table, talking quietly among themselves, passing pieces of the traditional Old Orchard beach vacation jigsaw puzzle back and forth to see where they fit, laughing softly. Nirvana strikes, lightning-quick. I'm gobsmacked. This scene feels timeless, and there is something quintessentially womanly about it. My wife, an old friend, a new friend—it is bliss to realize how close these women are to my heart.