When I am drunk beyond measure, quotes say it best.
“Jim, it’s the life you’ve made. Don’t try to act like it isn’t yours.”
// The Safety of Objects
Tonight, I was invited onstage to lay lush harmony to ‘Seven Bridges Road’. They are a specialty of mine, after all, these harmonies. There was hooting and hollering and a smattering of wild applause afterward. I would be both a) remiss and b) a terrible fucking liar if I didn’t tell you that the applause was a wonderful part of the person that I used to be (and these days pretend I no longer am).
It’s funny: Though I’ve always been a more than capable musician, to sing harmony used to be a real struggle for me. I could swing it, but it required a great deal more effort than I was sure it should have. Sometime long about three years ago, however, something in my head clicked –audibly– and nowadays all I can hear (much less sing) are the harmonies. Hell, I’d be hard-pressed to carry a melody anymore, unless I’m singing by my lonesome. I guess, by and large, this is an okay proposition.
A week ago spring break started. Two days ago Maxim left for Florida, taking Mathias with him. That night Memaw Ruby came to get Lili, Scout and Sam’s father came for them and Piper is the busiest seventeen-year-old you ever did see. This, if you are good with the maths, has effectively left me with a deliciously empty house for several days. I am a terrible person, because I would readily admit to you (if you’d only ask, silly) that I lap these moments of independence up greedily and would even chance to beg more of them from the universe. Just me, my drunken foolishness, old movies (“All About Eve” played at three this morning) and my favorite creamandtanandmauve-striped blanky.
I was accompanied tonight by two really attractive, slightly-older-than me women. You should know this about me: I am a goader. I will push other people around me to the heights of hilarity and conventionally unacceptable behavior. This is the one and only way I manipulate people to my own ends; it amuses me to see their folly, and it spurs me on to greater heights of assishness myself. I will never leave a comrade hanging as the biggest fool in the room. People like me are typically called ‘fun’. In days of old, we got paid to play the fool gladly. But people of my ilk were also the only ones allowed to poke fun at the King without compromising the integrity of an intact neck, also. I do not at all discount the validity or value of this most unique of gifts.
So anyway (boy, do I chase some funny-colored rabbits when I’m this hammered), I was with these two Hot Middle-Aged Laydehs (someone please, please tell me the exact onset of Middle Age, and I’m for dead serious about this) and the subject turned to that of Younger Mens. One is freshly divorced and remarked on the phenomena of Younger Man Appeal. This is both the art of being strangely drawn to men a good decade or so younger than yourself and –conversely– your thirtysomething self suddenly being the object of lust for the eighteen-to-twenty set. How do these things happen?
With regard to myownself, I’ve noticed it for several years now: About the time I hit twenty-nine or thirty, there was a sudden confluence of eighteen- and nineteen-year-old young men ready to assure me that I was a woman that they’d like to invest some time/interest/semen in. It puzzled me then and it puzzles me (though in a more amused, less frustrated manner) now. At thirty-five, I get hit on more by nineteen-year-olds than I did when I was nineteen myself…and I was a hot piece of nineteen-year-old something, let me tell you, even though I wasn’t so sure of that at the time. I like myself more now, and I’m certainly more comfortable with myself now, and I’m betting solid that those two things have a little something to do with the reining up of Boys My Junior.
It never fails, though: The very minute that I forget I’m a person independent of my spouse and my children and the life that I love yet sometimes still feel desperately chained to, some hot little fresh-faced thing will sidle up to me like he’s got the market on charm and I’m the lucky beneficiary of all the good wot his momma gave him. I laugh, I remind him that he is sweet but green, I remind myself that hard-won things are sometimes tentatively lost and I put my ass in my car to send it home where it belongs. If you’ve been ’round these parts long enough, you know that I am more testosterone than any one woman should be and it is a hard, hard, haaaard proposition not to show my underwear to any and every willing participant who could flick papers touting a clean bill of health at me.
I don’t deserve a medal, but could you sometimes manage just the eensiest bit of sympathy, ohplease ohpleaaaase?
Somewhere in me I’m convinced that Dermot Mulroney would be the perfect boyfriend. He’d leave me to the middle of my head when it was absolutely necessary and would also drag me out of there when the situation was dire. There are people in my life that are skilled enough to manage this in a clinch, but I believe that they are mostly terrible at reading the signs when it’s imperative that they do so.