Stickman Readers' Submissions August 9th, 2013

Is Love Chimerical?

For me it is the longing and parting, the passage of time, and the ache of recollection. Why can't I just be a cold and insensitive ass? Of course, many people will tell you that I personify "cold and insensitive." The quintessential pompous ass.

I love the sense of not knowing that travel puts me into, and I think that's also what love is all about.

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For me, the challenge or the question that I've worked out is: how do I turn the initial infatuation into a permanent relationship? Whenever you meet somebody and the sparks fly, or you meet a culture and the sparks fly, the question is: How could we begin to live together? How can I work around what's difficult about that person and how can that person work around what's impossible in me?

Trying to make a life long commitment, rather than just a romance. To me, the romance is sort of the first act of something that has to go through many acts, probably.

I think in some ways love is a matter of compromising endlessly, constantly making adjustments with the person you're in love with. But it's also a matter of being uncompromising in your protection of or commitment to her in the larger world.

I think the excitement and challenge of love is learning how to work around another person, to put the pieces together, given that they don't harmonize in every particular way.

I tend to appreciate spiritedness, complexity, and ambiguity. And a great gift for simplicity. A mix of energy and serenity. With great calm and self-possession, and never getting externally frustrated. Synchronizing with some larger pattern. Full of life and color and expansiveness.

I think all of us in our lives want to live with somebody that we understand and are on the same wavelength with, and yet want to be sure that we're always being shaken up by the differences.

The paradox: I see the blend of romanticism and monasticism in myself.

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Whether I was rapturous or foul…I have enjoyed lovelies that effortlessly flowed with the vicissitudes in our relationship. Always affectionate, loving, and with a great sense of humor. And that is the ache of recollection. A few girls I will never forget.

In Japan, in the month of August, the cicadas come up from underground only on the final day of their lives. It makes us sad–because it makes us think of their dying–and then we realize that we too must die. And a few of us, realize that we never allowed for the blossoming of a lasting love in this life.

Lemon Grass

I descended upon Thailand quite literally from the heavens, deus ex machina from an alien world of affluence.

It was my first walkabout as I departed President Park en route to the Emporium to reconnoiter serviced apartments. Lunch at the Lemon Grass. The Lemon Grass is a farang trap, but I enjoyed every moment.

She was sitting at an adjacent table with a gaggle of lovelies and a polished farang. Although not as polished as me! The farang seemed to command the eternal fealty of his minions. A mustachioed impresario perhaps. But I was not deterred.

She appeared to be an office girl. She was a quasi stunner. Maybe a shrinking violet in this place of wildly blooming orchids. Possibly half hooker and half ingénue. She gazed at me with large beseeching eyes. Flashing me an earnest smile. I proceeded to engage her in desultory conversation.

Was I harkening to the siren call of caprice? Capriciousness is my Achilles heel. Or possibly my greatest asset. Spontaneity my raison d'être. Why not encourage the illusion?

Finally, with lugubrious reluctance, I pulled out a Dickensian ledger and entered her name, residential phone number, office number, and then suggested dinner that evening at a fashionable place on Soi 23.

Men actually do fall to their better impulses. "This," said Emmanuelle, is a place where doing nothing is an art. How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward! And decadence can be so decorous.

Maybe it was her beseeching frailty that captivated me. The skirt. The Chinese component. And the alabaster skin. Aesthetically sophisticated. Ineffable aesthetic refinement. She transfixed the evanescent. And as the soi-disant serendipiter…what else is there?

It was the antithesis of Wordsworth, in a book of the Prelude, when he learns that the crossing of the Alps, the highlight of his trip to Europe had come and gone without his noticing. I am always fully immersed in the moment.

And I could not think of any downsides. My antennae carefully tuned in and alert to any undercurrents. I thought, "Give it a go and this might be a lovely friendship, or more. In the context I do not think it peculiar for this lady to be interested in me, and I think I can take it at face value, while keeping my eyes open."

It was a lovely ten day romance.

Pure Recklessness

I am at the Sheraton Grande. Again. I love the hotel atmosphere and the pool on the third level.

Gazing out of my 8th floor window, overlooking the pool, I spot a corpulent, balding, sea lion swimming with a black haired lovelie. I immediately take the lift to third level. I intend to occupy the Indonesian hardwood Chaise Lounge nearby. I thought "maybe I can pick up a few pointers from this leviathan in the pool squiring a heartthrob." They splashed about and looked perfectly harmonious and gleeful.

I will never forget the perpetual grin on his face. Pure ebullience. And I thought, "good for him." He had been transported. And he was in the moment and enjoying himself completely.

After a few hours, and a few Changs, I returned to my hotel room. I detected a problem with the bathtub drain.

A female butler and engineer were promptly dispatched. The engineer corrected the problem in less than two minutes. The female butler tarried. I guess it was a chemical thing. I never swim against the current.

The door to the room was still open. Which is a requirement for hotel employees. She looked at me with construably imploring eyes. We started kissing each other. We are now lying on the bed. The door is still open, yet our position in the room conceals our carnal impulses. My hand goes up her skirt. She is willing and compliant, yet nervous and somewhat verklempt. I penetrate her never regions– digitally. (Later I discovered that she has a Thai husband.) We abruptly conclude our prurient aspirations, and she returned to her work station.

Two days later, on her day off, I took her to Lemon Grass for lunch. We spent the day together. And I met her furtively, and sporadically, during the entire trip.


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