Chapter 22

I managed to avoid a lot of things in life.  Like harming myself on purpose, enslaving myself to a man or self-image, using ugly drugs, seeking enlightenment.  Unless you consider alcohol an addictive, dangerous, enlightening drug.  Which I certainly do.  Very frequently.

I’ve watched girls get hooked on dope, get bitched-up by men, get horrified at themselves.  And some that get by, only do it by getting Holy.  Or at least by gazing in the Holy direction.  People say Program people just substitute God for addictions.  Well, good for them.  I mean it.  Which one is not going to trash you and kill you and ruin your looks?  Duh.

Some people turn to Eastern religion because LSD or X or DOA flipped their heads.  People turn to the little pocket bibles in the jailhouse, and carry them home.  People pray their way out of the bottle.  The only one that really held any interest for me has been Enlightenment.  I don’t see many people getting much bigger piece of it than they get for the Triple Crown we heard about in Sunday School.  And just as many fakes and users and self-liars.  But I’m persuaded it’s for real.  And what reading I’ve done on the subject persuades me it’s a lot more viable concept than getting Saved.  Much less Forgiven.  I wouldn’t mind, you know?  Being in the light, wised up, serene.  Brave, clean and reverent, singing around the campfire.  But I kind of doubt I have the capacity.  I doubt many do.  Many are called, but few get called back.  I don’t think that’s because there isn’t a light in the center of things.  I think it’s that I just can’t see it.  So I don’t go out of my way to get infatuated with Light.

 

I have been infatuated with a couple of men and a couple of women.  I’ve loved and cherished a few men, women, animals, even children.  But I’ve never been in love.  Certainly not the kind of self-drowning, all-consuming kind I see and hear about.  And I never saw any of it as a permanent thing.  It’s the way of the world: you think you just love your car or your apartment or your dog or your boyfriend and couldn’t live without them.  But it turns out they pass out of your life and you do live without them.  It seems to me that people who realize that suffer less in life.  But some who know me might not agree.  I have no idea.

The only man I’ve loved for my whole life is my daddy.  I love my mother, too, but that’s a different thing.  She is kind of fading out over the years.  She was always kind of faint.  She loved us all so much she didn’t keep anything for herself.  She sacrificed herself in every way, and ended up with nothing left for us to feel one way or the other about.  I’d put her up for the first Baptist saint in a rodeo minute.  An image people could be pious about, but not really feel worthy to make any human contact with.  Burn candles to, then pray about their own problems.

But daddy only had one trick.  It was simple.  It wasn’t enough, but it was also way too much.  He loved us.  He loved God.  He loved Jesus.  He loved the Church.  He loved his flock.  He loved the world, in spite of its wickedness.  He loved everybody, no matter how they behaved.  All he wanted was to share that love, the ineffable love of God, with every living soul.  But he absolutely sucked at expressing it to anybody.

 

I was with a guy once, up in Tahoe.  He flew me in, treated me like royalty.  Ever wonder how you’d go about seducing a queen or a saint?  This guy had it figured out.  He showed me around like he was the MC for Miss Galaxy or something.  I felt like the world’s largest diamond being laid out on the best velvet and set in the purest gold fittings.  Amazing.  I don’t know that I could have stood for it much longer.  I have no idea why.

First thing when I arrived, he showed me up to this amazing suite, ordered up some favorite goodies and told me to freshen up and enjoy life.  I ended up taking a shower in the wonderful steam sauna stall with the doors open while he sat on the rim of a massage jet tub, staring at me.  I stepped out into this towel about an inch thick that you could barely feel on your skin.  He wrapped me up like a little girl and just stood there staring into my eyes.  I can hold a stare a really long time, but I couldn’t keep looking into his eyes.  He was just some ordinary middle-aged businessman on a roll, but his eyes were like the Jewels of The Imperium.  Lit up inside.  When I looked down, he gently put his arms around me and held me to his chest, sort of petting my back.  And said, “I’m completely and utterly in love with you.  I thought you should know.”

I kidded around (how else would you handle that?) and said something like, “Forty five minutes.  A new record.”

He said, “Actually, it was faster than that.”

Well, you deal with a wide variety of attitudes from men, to say the very least.  But by the time I left I knew he wasn’t crazy or bullshitting me.  You could see it all over him.  He was totally gone on me and could barely keep from skipping around in bliss.

What I figured out; the next weekend, or next month, or next iTech convention or whatever, he’d call in some other woman and fall head over heels in love with her.  Until he put her in the limo to the airport with a nice present slipped into her bag during the goodbye kiss.  What it was, he knew how to do it.  Or more like, he could let it happen to him.  He carried “in love” around with him and could stand back and let it fly out and soar around him and sprinkle him with fairy dust.   He could reach that most cherished, fragile, and dangerous feeling of the human race with any woman.  Or at least with any woman who looked, moved, and felt like the key to his lock.  He told me, “I adore beautiful women.  So I choose to spend as much time as I can around women who are adorable.  I love you because you’re lovable.”

But actually, it was because of him, not me or anybody else.

He might be the only truly enlightened soul I ever met.

Might be the world’s only whorehopper saint.

On the plane back to LAX, I sat still the whole flight, feeling really, really strange.  Very calm, but sort of tingly.  It’s like I’d been stripped and repainted.  Or “Reset” or something like that.  Cold-booted to default.  It took me awhile to put a word on what I felt.  Which was, “worthy”.  I felt born again into self-worth.  It took over a week to wear off.