Tuesday, August 25, 2009


He squatted down next to my chair and got his face very close to mine. The intense eye contact was overkill, given that he was simply taking my order for a glass of pinot gris and pulled pork. It was my birthday, he bought me a piece of key lime pie with a candle in it, and took a bite of it using my fork. As we were leaving he handed me his number on the back of a waiter’s check. His name was Shawnee Cloud. He was raised by hippies somewhere in California. He was 27. He was my second 27 year old in a week to ask me out. My friend Lynda told me I was her hero. She had been out with me before and seen two very young guys hand over their digits, once at the hardware store, then later at dinner, and now this. So why am I so discouraged.

I just want a boy my age to play with. A cool middle-aged guy who still has some life in him. Who’s not weighed down with all the crap that’s happened to him, like an ex-wife, cardiovascular disease, or his inability to make successful art.

Where are the good middle-aged guys? Are they with all the 27 year old girls that the 27 year old guys aren’t dating? Are they all married? I know of couple of them in my neighborhood, the ones that never seem to date anyone. I never see them with new platinum bands on their left hand ring fingers, or women with unwashed hair on a Sunday morning at the diner, or even a half a smile on their face. Have they given up on love? Sex? Holding hands? Do they watch the Playboy channel, or order “Girls Gone Wild” on VHS? Or is the History Channel their porn?

I haven’t given up, Lord knows I should at least give it a rest. Most of my single friends have resigned themselves to the fact that men are, well, “difficult”. They don’t spend a lot of time focusing on them. Me, I like dating. I am enticed by all its inherent bumps in the road. I’ve dated commitment-phobes, sociopaths, fringe criminals, and psych ward detainees; they’ve all lost their luster. I know that “normal” doesn’t exist, we’re all somewhere on the curve of “crazy”. But are there some reasonably sane men out there that are actually trying to have sustainable intimate relationships with women? Would I know what to do with them? Is there a stable man that could keep my attention? Do middle-aged single people ever hook up and live happily ever after? I saw one couple in an Eharmony commercial. Where do the all meet? In church? At The Learning Center? At a BDSM mixer?

I went out for my birthday, wondering what this year would hold. Would I meet a guy who would capture my heart? My imagination? And also pull at my vagina strings? I blew out my candle on my Key Lime pie and made a wish. 15 minutes later I got the number from the 27 year old raised by hippies. It’s still sitting on my dresser, crumpled up, I took it out of my jeans pocket along with some loose change. I haven’t thrown it out yet, but I haven’t called. It actually says “text me”. A nice middle-aged guy would have said “call me.” More likely he would have said, “why bother” to himself, and gone home and watched The History Channel. All I need is one middle-aged man with the balls of a 27 year old. Big Pharma, are you listening?

Monday, August 17, 2009


A half a baseball-sized lump suddenly popped out of my leg, but had now almost disappeared into the amoeba of yellow/green skin on my left shin.

I dropped my scooter the first week I had it. I was teaching myself how to ride in the Ikea parking lot, I took a turn too wide, hit the break and grabbed the throttle toward me in my panic - I crashed into a curb, the sea grass planted there softening my fall. At the time my knee was slightly skinned, I got off easy, I thought. My scooter wouldn’t start, I could smell the gas - I knew it was flooded. I finally gave us both a breather, went in to Ikea and had a lovely breakfast overlooking the parking lot. There stood the scooter alone, all triumphant at 9:30 in the morning. I knew everything would be alright. It was a right of passage to drop it. Well fed on powdered eggs and turkey sausage, I went out to see how she was feeling, she started right up and we continued to ride for another couple of hours. They say “when you fall get right back on the bike.” This time it wasn’t a metaphor.

When I woke up the next day, I had difficulty walking. I had a nice limp going. Day three post drop I was sitting at my computer and felt a strange tightness on my left shin. I peeled back my pant leg and saw the half a baseball.. My girlfriends had warned me, begged me not to do this. I was wondering what it would have looked like if I had dropped a 600 pound motorcycle – glad I started small.

I would do it all over again. Buying the two wheels, taking the fall, temporarily screwing up my leg. It’s been over a week, and I’m getting better everyday. The baseball is more of a hard-boiled egg. My circles in the parking lot at Ikea are perfect, my figure eights are spot on. My heart is no longer in my throat in heavy traffic. This is what happens when you get right back on that bike.

When I was a kid, I had a bad fall on my bicycle. I chipped my front tooth, the right side of my face was taken over by a giant scab. I was full of fear after that. A couple of decades later on Fire Island, I went over the handlebars missing a turn, I walked that bike back to the rental house on the beach, shaken. A year later, I bought a mountain bike, my first day out someone opened a car door in my path. I gave the bike away the very next day.

Now, you couldn’t get this scooter away from me, no matter how hard you tried. Throw it at me, the baseball, the drunk driver honking and tailing me one night on Henry St., almost forcing me off the road. The homeboy that pulled a startling swerve around me to run the red light. The car service driver full force on the horn, coaxing me to pull across into heavy oncoming traffic. The anorexic cyclist who decided to take his chances, speeding across my path as I rounded the corner in a pee in your pants near miss. None of this makes me want to turn my keys in. My past fears are no more. My fear now is of life passing without the thrill of riding on two wheels - the “wheeee!” sensation traded in for an AARP membership card. It’s not about risk taking behavior. I’m stopping at yellow lights, enrolling in Motorcycle Saftety school, purchased a full face helmet - in spite of the fact that feels like a plastic bag being slowly tightened around my head. I do want to live – emphasis on LIVE. I want to fly on my scooter, maybe one day ride a motorcycle, own a Harley, BMW, maybe even a Moto Guzzi. By then I should have an AARP card in my wallet - I'm hoping it will get me a sweet deal at the Ducati dealership.