Elucidate meaning: to throw light upon

It helps, in this story, if you’ve ever seen the poster of man’s ascent from ape. It starts out with a creature walking on its knuckles and each successive image it becomes a little more upright, going from 4 paws to knuckle dragging (I dated HIM) to arched over and then slowly up to homo erectus.  I don’t think that’s actually a term I just made it up.  Man upright.  How far off can it be?   A few years later someone added to it, showing a man slowly more and more bending over, carrying things, weighed down by modern life until finally he was hunched over a computer keyboard, much as I am now. Ha ha ha ha ha.  But the first image is what you need to bear in mind here, the guy about half way through the chain, kind of hunched over, not quite man, not quite beast.  Keep that image in mind.  It comes in handy later.

So back to what I am forced here to call reality.

I used to have an apartment which was a great place, a little garden off the master bedroom, also accessible by a life threatening set of spiral stairs off the kitchen. It was a great place for summer BBQs, dinner under the Japanese Maple, that kind of thing.   If you were hungry enough you took the challenge to descend or you had to sleep with me, most people just took their chances on the stairs.  Who can blame them?

So one night, after a particularly fine evening I cleaned up, balancing plates and glasses up and down the stairs and then happily crawled into bed. Confession: I sleep in the buff.  I’m not sure when that started, at first it was nothing but underwear and then it became not even that. I don’t really understand pajamas. We start them when we are very young and need the warmth. First the swaddling thing they make you do to babies. To make them feel like they’re still all snug and curled up in the womb.  Why? They’re not. Shouldn’t they start dealing with reality at the outset? You’re here, womb is over, stretch out a little, next time you’re confined like that will be a coffin, enjoy the ride in between.

So after that swaddling thing we pajama them to keep them warm. Those things sometimes with the feet on them. We had to learn the hard way that those little plastic bottoms on the feet so they won’t slip sure can capture any night sweating and phew! Babies can get some stinky feet. Who knew? This is the kind of thing no one tells you. Or that a little baby can be a pretty sexual creature, subconsciously of course and they can get pretty musky stinky pretty fast.  There are all these books about procedures and how tos but none of the ‘maybe you should think about this before diving into parenthood’ section.

Anyway, kids grow up with pajamas and then they get older and they keep putting on clothes to go to bed. We don’t live in a castle where there’s a log on the fire for about an hour and if the serf who’s tending your room falls asleep the room temperature will drop to colder than outside.  We don’t have canopy beds because we need to close the curtains to keep in the warmth.  We have canopy beds with little opaque lacey things hanging from the 4 posters because Pottery Barn says it looks cute in a farm house. So what’s with the clothes? Not for warmth.  You need warmth, turn up the heat. Put on another duck down quilt, make sure the flannel sheets you own have 2,000 thread count (Restoration Hardware, page 237). Clothes? What? So they can get all wrapped around you each time you toss and then some more when you turn? Those nightgowns, don’t tell me those aren’t instruments of torture.

One might say I need to gird my loins. Frankly, you should be using your loins in bed, where else do they have any other purpose? But if you have issues with modesty then maybe a t-shirt. Maybe some boxers. What’s with the Laura and Rob Petry pants and button down shirt with a pocket? A pocket? I don’t have outdoor clothes with a pocket. That’s a conspiracy against women so you’ll go out and buy bags. Pockets match automatically but bags…you need one for every color outfit. You think that’s some fashion mistake? Think again my friend.  No women’s clothes have pockets but those goofy pajamas pant suits….THOSE have a pocket. What for? To keep your loin girder in?

So it’s clear my position about night clothes. I sleep in the buff.

On this particular night, as it was summer especially, I crawled into bed, heavy sigh of being finished and after laying there a bit realized I had forgotten to turn off the gas. Not the flame, but I’d left the gas valve open. New York is one of those tricky places about grills.  While you can have a coal grill, you know the kind where if you threw the hot coals onto the grass in the park it’d go up in flames and good bye Central Park. That’s ok. Also you can have a gas grill, but not the gas.  You’re not allowed to buy propane in NYC nor are you supposed to bring it in a canister over any of the bridges or through any of the tunnels.  It’s like pot. You can have it, you just aren’t allowed to buy it or grow it. If you can figure out that then you must not be too stoned. Me, I’m a gas smuggler. I’ll go fill a tank and then throw a blanket over it, like some kind of illegal immigrant hiding in the trunk of my car (no, I’ve never done that but frankly I don’t have a problem with that if genital mutilation is at stake) and you pray, please don’t let today be the day I get rear ended.

So an open valve doesn’t mean another premature trip to the hardware store to refill the tank, it’s an entire death defying procedure to ensure next time you light up the grill for 10 hungry friends it doesn’t go sputter sputter, who knows the number to Rays Pizza?

So lying in bed I thought, shit, go turn off the valve. I’ve already probably lost 15 hamburgers worth of gas. But it was 2am and my clothes were already neatly put away..…..that’s a lie. They were strewn in post BBQ exhaustion all over the floor but equally hard to reassemble. I thought, who cares, it’s the middle of the night, the grill is right outside my door, I’ll just reach my hand out and turn off the gas. So I opened the door and the grill was just outside. Just outside my reach.  But I figured, so what, I’ll take one step outside and give it a quick turn. Who’s going to see? It’s 2am, pitch dark out, what’s the difference. So I took a step outside, kind of hunched over in the ready position to reach, grab, turn, withdraw and BAM!!!! I forgot! Motion sensors on spotlights in the back yard for protection.  There I am, butt naked, Neanderthal like (refer to opening paragraph), hair falling all over the place (that’s any given moment on any given day) lit up like Christmas, or the nightmare on Elm St, depending on your perspective. Was I surprised? After the first 2 second shock, not really. After all, this is me we’re talking about. I have come to expect these things.

I heard the next day the old man across the alley had dropped dead in the middle of the night while crossing his living room to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I assume he glanced out the window, just as one does while crossing a room and was shocked into eternity by this Altered States type creature outside his window. Even New Yorkers have their shock value limits.

Ok. Another confession

I made up the part about the old man. It just seemed like a fitting ending. I’m sure the old man across the way is just fine. I know the old lady upstairs is.

Me, I still sleep in the buff but my new garden has no motion detectors. Safer for all concerned.

Shifting Gears

I’m taking a dating hiatus.  I can explain why later when the mystery is solved but in the meantime I’m just going to rant and rave a little for a sanity sake. Sanity being a relative term.  So here goes: 

First off, I want to apologize to the people from Kansas. I don’t actually know anyone from Kansas, nor have I ever been to Kansas. I’m not even sure exactly where it is except left of NJ and right of California.  I’m one of those people whose brains are like the old New Yorker cover where there’s a map of the world and you can see New York as far as 12th Avenue and then there the Hudson and New Jersey, then some gray and there’s Chicago, a little more green and there’s LA over there somewhere .  remaining is Texas in the south and Florida is where your parents live but in general the rest is kind of green prairies and maybe some mountains where people ski and the Mississippi otherwise …. There’s Europe and Asia. So While  know Kansas is in the middle there it represents for me a place from which people come, but not many people go to and it therefore represents the idle of America, perhaps even middle America but it may not be at all like that. In fact, I think I once read they have good barb-b-cue but that might have been another state in the middle that you wouldn’t suspect as having good bar-b-cue but there you go. Surprises all around. So in short, any derogatory references I make about Kansas aren’t really about Kansas it’s about average people who come from somewhere other than the 3 states you find on the New Yorker cover and average minds and average thoughts so, again, my apologies to Kansas. I’m sure despite being in the middle you’re not average at all.  Just in the middle. It’s like in school you have to learn the difference between the average and the mean and 30 years later you’re still not sure what it is. Middle America – same thing.

I live near Central Park. Central Park is a great place, a haven really in the madcap bedlam of New York. Someone told me recently it was the most visited park in the world, or maybe it was the United States, I don’t remember because either statistic seemed improbable. More than the Grand Canyon? More than the park with the Presidents heads? Of course, these parks are largely closed in the winter and Central Park seems to have an endless stream of visitors but I wanted to know who was counting. There’s no admission fee or turnstile to get in or out and did that count the people who lived here because I walk my dog 4 times a day in the park and if that counts as a unique visit, or a visit at all really, then the numbers can’t possibly be right. So was that aliens, as in tourists, visiting or was that just foot traffic in general because I think if you count foot traffic then you have to count the herds which move through the great western parks because they’re like residents who create daily foot traffic too and if you’re going to measure apples you can’t throw also in oranges on one end and not the other.

In any event the herds on the northern plains are probably at least as intelligent as some of the foot traffic in Central Park and there’s a reason I say this. Apart from having my dog fertilize the park on a regular basis, I use it for pleasure. I run or ride my bike except the latter isn’t always so pleasurable. The park, see above, is a pretty busy place on a nice day no matter how you count the foot traffic in it and while most New Yorkers are used to having people around you can therefore count on them to be relatively aware of people around them and the human herds as they move. If New Yorkers aren’t moving aside for you or seem to be aware of you it’s not because they’re not aware it’s because they are ignoring you because they don’t feel like it, or are having a bad day, or had a screaming 2 year old on the subway for the 40 minute ride from Brooklyn to Central Park and they just don’t feel like accommodating you or anyone else any more, they’ve just had it.  However, there’s a look of someone studiously ignoring you, it’s a cross between daze and slightly squinched eyes and if you say EXCUSE ME loud enough or enough times they will get it and step aside or move or growl but move anyway. Most times. Visitors however just haven’t seem to have left the ‘ I’m the only person on the planet’ mindset at home and the amount of oblivion they bring with them is staggering.  Imagine, it’s a sunny day, you’re on your bicycle and someone starts to step off the curb directly into your path coming downhill and they haven’t looked. They have just stepped off the curb and decided to cross despite the fact that bicycles are whishing by them with the sound of a flock of bees, yet they just continue to cross despite the fact that you’re yelling, Heads Up, or Coming Through or whatever it is you normally say to normal people who would normally at least pick up their heads to see what the commotion is about. But these people are in a ‘park’ so the thought of it doesn’t cross their minds. However, I think to myself, they must have curbs and streets IN KANSAS so don’t they know to look before they cross streets there? I mean they HAVE cars in Kansas, you can tell they do because most people who come from communities where there are cars are somewhat over weight from going from car to restaurant to car to fridge to car to mall to Applebees to bed, as opposed to New Yorkers who run for subways, jog for  buses and do the 2-step to catch a revolving door before the next rotation (which you don’t have to think too long about to realise is completely insane) and are therefore usually in pretty good shape.  So when you see these tourists not look to cross a street, albeit a park street, it just makes you wonder. 

So I don’t bike on weekends. I run. Now I have broken bones all over my body so I was told – rather threatened – by a physical therapist that if I ever ran on pavement again they would hunt me down and re-break everything they had fixed so in New York the challenge is to find dirt. Of course, around the reservoir there’s a lovely little narrow dirt path and back in the days when the city was a scary place and no one went in Central Park north of 72nd Street, the reservoir was a great empty path to run around in daylight. Now that the city is wonderful and safe it has become a tourist haven for people to stroll around and take pictures of ducks (because ducks in water is something you really can’t see elsewhere) and generally meander. It’s a nice place. So long as you’re not trying to get any real exercise. The problem with running around the reservoir is that other visiting people walk 3 abreast around it, or if you’re from Kansas 2 abreast is usually all that can fit, but still it takes up the width of the lane because it IS a very narrow lane. Granted. You have flown from Kansas or Ohio or South Dakota to come to the city and god knows your tourist dollars help keep down my property taxes (which keep rising so one has to assume less so) so we do want you to have a good time here and after all, coming from the middle of the country to a large city what you really need to see is grass and water because that’s the best of what we have to offer here in the big apple and lord knows you can’t see that where you come from. But when someone yells from behind you “on your left” I’m pretty sure that means “I am on your left, you should step to the right”, not “go to your left because I didn’t say ‘go’ I said ‘on’. Even in Kansas they know the difference in prepositions and even in Kansas people play sports and on your left means a man on your left, throw the ball here. Or I am coming down the ski slope on your left or a car honking from the left means I am on your left, you should stay where you are. So it always befuddles me that when running around the park and passing people who are leisurely strolling around looking at ducks in the water that when you say “on your left” they consistently step directly into your path, onto their left creating the inevitable crash. And might I add when you weigh 107 pounds and crash into someone who’s got the heft of a light truck, well, I don’t think I need to elucidate who ends up on their ass.

The conclusion I have come to is this: I think since New York is so safe these days the closest thing they can come to being mugged is being crashed into by a person in jogging clothes, since muggers are always described as being “last seen in a dark jogging outfit” (makes sense, easier to run away in) and no one wants to go home without a being mugged in New York story so they create one for themselves to tell their friends at home. In Kansas.

 

Forethought or Foreplay?

Women, because they discuss everything to death and back again (see Dave Barry “She Drives for a Relationship : “The next day [she] calls all her best friends and talks about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail they analyze everything she said and everything he said, considering every possible ramification. They continue to discuss this subject off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions.”) we assume men do too. But they don’t. Men are not manipulative, not because they’re such
altruistic creatures they just can’t adhere to that much planning or forethought.

I’ve had this experience with more than one guy, and this was substantiated by not only friends’ experiences but an article in the Times and if that’s not validation I don’t know what is. Here’s how it goes: They meet you, they get excited. Lots of texts daily. Date follows date with phone calls and more dates. You get to THAT date. And then you get there again and again a few times. Then they get busy. Then the daily texts stop and there’s a vague
mention of something this weekend. Then a family member has a forgotten birthday that weekend and the texts stop. It all stops. And when you say, “hey, where’d you go” there’s the inevitable, I don’t think I can get into a relationship at this time. I’m having money/work/kid/time issues. You’re not the one for me. I didn’t mean to mislead you. You seem like you want something more (because you returned MY enthusiasm with YOUR enthusiasm but because you’re a woman YOUR enthusiasm must mean you want to tie me down.) And I think, in general, they DON’T mean to mislead and they CERTAINLY don’t want to be a bad guy they just didn’t think it through beforehand.

There are 2 things are work here.

One I call it the fade away jump shot syndrome. Dribble dribble dribble run run dribble dribble, down the court, set the shot, shoot, SCORE, fade away.

This from Wikipedia:
“A fadeaway jump shot taken while jumping backwards. The goal is to create space between the shooter and the defender, making it much harder to block. However, this benefit comes with a drawback. The shooter must have very good accuracy in a relatively short amount of time. The naturally lower shooting percentage and inability of the shooter to be able to get his own rebound lead many to believe it is one of the worst shots in the game to take. However, once mastered, it is one of the hardest for defenders to block.”

I think that sums it up.

The other factor is it’s part of the guy genetic programming thing; he sees the mastodon, he pursues the mastodon, he conquers the mastodon. Family has mastodon burgers for the week. But that doesn’t keep it from being annoying in the day and age of D’Agostino’s supermarkets. It’s disappointing and each time you fall for it you ask yourself, did I really think this guy was going to be different?

Ok, so far, sob story. I’m not about sob stories, so you know this is going somewhere.

I once met a guy …… no kidding.

I didn’t think this guy was prodding or poking for information until later, in retrospect, I think this one time was actually a man with forethought; one who had a plan. You decide.

I’m having dinner with a guy off the internet. Shocking, I know. First date. It’s going ok and start trading dating stories a little. Harmless fun, you know. He relates this story about a woman friend he has, she’s dating a guy who’s pretty high up in a large company. They’re going out for a few years, around 2 or so and they’ve travelled and been together a lot and she falls in love with this guy and they seem great. Gets to an evening when she’s pretty
sure he’s going to pop the question, I don’t know how she knows in advance. I thought my boyfriend turned husband turned ex was going to pop the question a few times before he did and was never right, but let’s just say she’s more intuitive than I was.

So she gets to his place, candles on the table, flowers, romance in cutlery and at one point during dinner he says, I have something important to ask you but first I want to tell you something because it got in the way of my first marriage and I don’t want to do that again. Ok, little bells and a few red flags go up but what can it be, she knows this guy pretty well. Well enough to want to marry. But ok, what is it? He says, I’m going to show you. He
disappears into the bedroom ….. STOP.

She doesn’t get any demerits for now seeing what was coming because you think you know where this is going but trust me, you don’t.

He comes back out dressed in a diaper and with baby stuff. He says I have a baby fetish or obsession or however you explain that. Now a little mothering can be cute and breast feeding could even be sexy if you spin it in the right direction but he’s talking being in a diaper, using a diaper, being cleaned up from a diaper, and that, my friends, is pretty hard to spin in any way shape or form. I mean that’s what your 90s are for, do we really need to go there in our 50s?

So she’s not so much disgusted as angry not at the broken engagement-to-be, not at the fact that he has a festish. Rather what gets her is ‘You wasted TWO FUCKING YEARS OF MY LIFE!!!’ I mean in your 20s you meet a guy, you date for 2 years it doesn’t work out, so what, now you’re, what, maybe 25? Two years have passed, move on. You meet a guy when you’re 49, you date for 2 years now you’re 51. A portion of your remaining days have passed – do you not know how valuable that is! Are you kidding me?

I believe it’d be accurate to surmise, they never got to dessert.

I heard this story. I laughed. I made the appropriate Oh My God really comments because, OMG Really? plus he was telling me the story in the spirit of Can you believe this guy?

But here’s where the reflection came in. You know the old “I have a friend…” line. What if this was HIS story? I mean there’s the possibility I could have said “Well that’s not so bad, what’s a little indulgence?” We could be married by now. Could he have been that cagey to set it up, scope out my reaction? I never did hear from him again. It sets one thinking. At least he spared me 2 years of my life and a closet full of Depends. I’m sure I’ll get to the latter eventually but for now, I’ll settle for basketball.

TMI

Pictures are funny things.  It so often that a photo you see at the outset is the best photo that person has ever taken in his entire life and you know that because the succeeding photos are like someone else.  Sometimes literally are. It’s fair game, putting your best foot forward, but also fair game including some back up info. The smooth guy in the baseball cap with nifty aviator glasses is a bald man with sad droopy dog eyes.  The guy in the tuxedo forgets to make mention that the cummerbund is pulled tight like a corset holding in beer gut carefully crafted from local brews over many a year.  So it pays to look at all the photos if there is more than one. If not, it pays to ask why. 

So one needs to steel oneself for whatever walks through the door and it’s not usually that best photo.  Sometimes it’s not even the worst photo it’s something worse beyond THAT so over the years one develops a good sense of humor and small amount of prayer.  I remember one New Year’s Eve waiting for a blond guy who’s picture only I had seen and in the movie lobby was a blond guy with a pocket protector and let’s just say he reminded me of one of the guys on the reject couch in Animal House and I thought, dear god, it’s New Years, please don’t screw with me tonight.  Fortunately he didn’t. Yet there have been those times when you think, gosh,  really? But you’re there and you go through with it because hurting someone’s feelings doesn’t trump rude. Point is, you never know until it’s too late.

Every once in a while in walks Mr. Looks Just Like his image and once in a really blue moon even better than and you think, maybe there IS a god or at least a Santa and your heart skips a small beat of joy and incredulity.   While that’s not to say that makes it all good, it just makes it less painful to look at.

I’ve gone out with a couple of models, both recently and in my youth.  I’m always kind of shocked that someone that good looking would want to go out with me, but taste knows no logic.  I’ve found them, in my small sampling, to be rather boring – conversations that run along “so that’s enough about me, tell me, what do you think about me” kind of thing.  Still because I’m shallow and perhaps hope springs eternal, I once was meeting a model and as I waited on the street corner I pulled out my little mirror to check that I hadn’t developed any new crows feet in the last hour.There staring back at me was this hair from hell on my upper lip.  This hair has been nuked, waxed, electrolysised, yelled at and otherwise tortured to the point that I thought I would donate it to the US Military to drop as a secret weapon on North Korea because literally it would continue to grow and take over the country – it was indestructible.  To call it a hair would be generous.  It was there, on my lip, like a wart hog tusk.  Think Pumba in the Lion King.  Fortunately I was in New York, where we complain about the ubiquity of Duane Reades and CVSes on every block but when you need them, boy, to look up and find one across the street it’s like a water fountain in an oasis.  So I madly dashed in and bought a little scissors and stood in the lobby trimming my external fang because god forbid I got caught doing that on the street.  He turned up, very good looking, I was newly shaven but alas….it was not to be. He was just not the sharpest knife in the cheese cutting knife drawer so we had to part ways.  But at least it wasn’t because he mistook me for the bearded lady. Of that I can be sure.

So back to my story.  It’s actually not my story.  This is an “as told to me by …. “

So this friend of mine awaits a guy in a bar.  In he walks, super good looking.  Tall, square jaw, the whole 9 yards.  Lovely.  She practically wets herself with joy. They say a woman takes only 3 minutes to decide if she’s going to sleep with a guy. A man takes 5 seconds.  Inside her little heart is jumping with joy.  Oh boy! So they’re chatting, something seems a little off but she’s thinking, it’s ok, he’s so good looking, I can do this anyway.  Then he takes out his phone to show her pictures of his kids.  While scrolling through he stops at one and shows her a picture of his ass. 

Now some guys think it’s cute to send pictures of their dicks and I have a news flash for you.  Size might be impressive but really if you’ve seen one you’ve basically seen them all.  They’re not like tits which vary greatly in shape, hang, and of course size. Gay men, some, like a cock shot but most women I know, it’s just not impressive, again, barring the occasional “What the hell would I do with all THAT?!!” Ass shots, they can be artistic, from the side, in a tight pair of jeans even. But this guy he wasn’t showing her porn or art.  He was giving her a medical lesson.  These are my hemorrhoids. 

Pause.

Let it sink in. 

Hemorrhoids.

 Not to be obvious but there are a few things which pop into one’s head at this moment. 

First: why would someone carry around a picture of their hemorrhoids on their phone? It’s not a fun malady. It’s certainly not a pretty malady. It begs the question of what are those doing there, on your phone?

Secondly: if you did have nostalgia for bulging veins in your butt why would you think someone on a first date would be interested in seeing them? I mean it’s nice to honest and upfront and then there’s a little thing called TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!! Did you bring along your discarded ear wax too? (You know, there are certain jokes you learn not to actually say out loud for fear that …. like on Let’s Make A Deal… it is actually produced from a side pocket.)

And thirdly, and I’m sorry because this is SO obvious but I have to ask: If you’re using both hand to spread your, uhm, cheeks, then who in the name of the Almighty is actually TAKING the picture?

And what does one say to that? Wow, those are really big and bloody? Or, Oh yes, I have a friend with a similar photo hanging in her bathroom. Or, have you contacted Robert Maplethorpe about using them?

But she thought, well gee, he’s just so good looking, do I have to let this be a deal breaker? Ok, so I won’t marry him but is it still ok to take him home? Just for a night? Please, can you give me just this for once?

But they moved on to his other pictures.  Here’s one of my son.  His face.  Thank god for small favors the kid was only a teenager, not old enough for hemorrhoids and luckily not an athlete who’d had arthroscopy or anything.

“Nice looking kid” she says, yay, and kind of a no brainer.

At which point he launches into a story of driving with his son somewhere and they get into a fight and he has to pull off the side of the road and they get into a fist fight and he relays how he repeatedly had to punch this kid in the face.

Ok.

Deal breaker.

Sometimes the best story is not the one that got away but the big one you caught and while it broke your heart, you just had to toss back in.  Just had to because really there’s no way you can keep that puppy on board and bring him home.  It’s also proof that there IS such a thing as too good [looking] to be true.

The fat bald guy with the droopy eyes gives the fist pump and you have to give it to him.