Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Senior Sex(less) and the City: #16
We’d met once about a year earlier, so we hugged warmly. Old friends in singles group world. We were eating at a restaurant where the fare was a bit tricky. My buddy—a somewhat solicitous man—asked me if I’d like some help with it. I asked him about something he was eating. Here, he said, try some. I couldn’t eat my potatoes; did he want them? We exchanged. Later, a friend asked me something about my date. Date? I assured her that I barely knew the guy. But it made me realize how easily I’d fallen into that old-married-couple interaction with this man. Odd how emotionally attracted I am to that calm, masculine energy, that ruggedness, yang to my yin. A cowboy quality.
I was reared in Nebraska. Reared in the city, but still, a part of me knew this man, knew that he knew horses and dust and how to cup a cigarette in callused fingers, flicking the ash like a small gunshot. I knew he could mend a fence and casually lean on it as he pulled the hat down to shade his squinting eyes. I could feel without touching the dryness of his hands and the stubble on his chin.
And he sensed, in turn, that I have learned to sniff the air around people, easy to spook. He knew to move smoothly, self-assuredly, not too suddenly, so I don’t bolt. He quickly had me—a separate species, really—eating out of his hand.
But helpful very quickly seemed to turn…patronizing. Is there a time in life when condescension is ever truly appropriate? I can’t think of one. Even my father was never patronizing, bless him, as the truly great never are. Those little digs cut like spurs.