10 July 2013

All Kinds of Kisses

Just this:

I carefully washed, peeled and sliced a cucumber onto a very pretty blue ceramic salad plate. I washed, peeled, sliced and separated a few rings of sweet onion and added them to the cucumbers. I drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the vegetables and ground some salt on top. I placed ice cubes in a glass and filled it with iced tea. I took the plate and the glass out to the back porch and set them on a small table.

I retrieved a book from my bedside table and returned to the porch.

I read a paragraph, laid the book in my lap and lifted the plate of onions and cucumbers. I carefully speared an onion ring and a cucumber slice, swirled them around in the oil-and-vinegar pool on the saucer and placed them in my mouth. Ummmmmm......heavenly.

As I stabbed the next cucumber slice, invisible gremlins swarmed between my hand and the plate. The plate bounced in the air and the entire contents slid off onto the floor of the porch.

"Damn it!" I whispered angrily between clenched teeth and slammed the book down on a chair, surprised at the intensity of my annoyance. Where did that rage come from?

After I cleaned up the mess, I arranged chunks of cheddar cheese, bagal crisps and dill pickle wedges on a new plate and returned to the porch, noting the contrast between the violence I felt when the first plate spilled and the meditative feeling of the clean-up process and second food preparation. How did that happen? Where did the rage go?

Returned to my reading, "Body Art," a story in A.S. Byatt's Little Black Book of Stories, I read:
Then Martha, like Dr. Nanjuwany, knocked at his office door. They kissed, cool cheek to cool cheek.
I read the line again. They kissed, cool cheek to cool cheek.

My cheeks felt cool. I pantomimed pressing my right cheek and then my left against someone else's cheeks. The movement felt good and the accompanying thought -- "There are all kinds of kisses. Not only lips can kiss..." -- also felt good and my mind was then flooded with effervescent pictures and sensations, imagining "all kinds of kisses":  the kiss of fingertips, of lips, of toes, of eyes. It felt like I'd never had these thoughts before and never smiled the way I was smiling.

What I was trying to explain to my friends last week was this:  When I'm asked "How are you doing?" my response is very often based on whatever is "up" for me in the moment you ask me. In the span of five minutes, alone on my back porch, I experienced hot rage, serene bliss and erotic pleasure. This is how I am. 

If you happen to catch me in the "Damn it!" phase and offer me advice or a remedy to ensure I avoid ever feeling "Damn it!" again

and I resist or reject your remedy

it's not about me being "unable to trust the advice of people who love me and are only trying to help"; it's about my real-life experience, my personal history, that makes me disinclined to embrace "solutions" for "problems" that will pass or change on their own. I don't mind experiencing "Damn it!" sometimes. On the contrary, it makes the whole thing richer. That's just me.

I long to live in a village or on a planet where even if this isn't how you experience Life, you can be OK with the fact that this IS how I experience Life and the difference between us is not grounds for conflict.