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CONFESSIONS OF A TRANSITION MAN

November 22, 2017 Leave a comment

I didn’t intend to be a transition man.  In fact, I didn’t even realize I am one until one woman called me that.

“You’re a terrific transition man,” she said.

“What do you mean,” I said. I was getting dressed.  “What’s a transition man?”

“He’s the guy who helps a woman make the transition from her unsatisfactory life to a better existence.  It might be to change jobs, or change homes, but most often it’s to change relationships.  It could be from a marriage, boyfriend, roommate, even lesbian lovers. In view of your skill with your tongue, I’m sure a lesbian would find you satisfying.”

“So your transition has been your split from the truck-loving Ralphy Boy to what? To me?” I said.

“No, definitely not to you,” she said.  “Your destiny is to be the wonderful, gentle, safe bridge from frustrated sedentariness to life and light, and I will be grateful throughout my life for what you’ve done for me.  Thank you forever. Stay safe, be happy, and carry on your good deeds.”

And she left me like that, sprawled on my bed, where we had been lovers for weeks.  I watched her go, her behind and legs disappeared through the door, and I was left to contemplate her words.  I felt slightly hurt, but not much because our agreement had always been that we were not to pursue any long-term relationship.  It would have to be that way, because I was 64 and she was 39.

I thought about our initial contact.  I was doing something on my computer when the ICQ called for my attention. Someone named Judith wanted to say hello, so I typed back ‘hello’.

We conversed from time to time over the next few weeks. We became lovers. Judy went on to a semi-permanent relationship, had kids and built a career.

I went on to be a Transition Man for several other unsatisfied ladies aged from forty to sixty-five.

On one occasion one of the ladies showed up at my office2 years later. She must have done some research to learn where I was working. She’d been a plain, shy spinster about 40 years old, and I had liberated her. She swept into my office looking unbelievably happy and pretty. She wore a long leather coat with fur trim. She took my hands in hers and looked into my eyes.

“Thank you,” she said, and turned on her heel and swept out of the office. I love to imagine what a happy life she moved into. She’s a good person, and deserves the best. She had been a low level office worker in her father’s department until she took me home with her that day.

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Symbiotic Sex

November 21, 2017 Leave a comment

We have seen videos of sharks swimming along with a gaggle of smaller fish eagerly eating bits left in the shark’s teeth. The shark keeps its mouth is open so the tooth-pickers can do the job it needs done. It’s symbiotic: the shark gets its teeth cleaned, the smaller fish get fed and not eaten. They are parasites that are welcomed by the ones that need their help.

I believe symbiotic sex happens regularly in human society. Imagine Eileen, an attractive office manager enters a quiet pub at the end of a punishing Friday at work. The whole week was a misery, not only because of the office problems, but Charles had dumped her six weeks ago. She was badly hurt by the breakup. The apartment now felt dark and empty. Charles’ closet was empty, his chess set was gone, and Eileen is painfully lonely and longing to be held closely and gently.

Eileen expects to meet some of her co-workers for an end-of-week winding down. She looked around over the tables and along the bar stools. Her friends were not yet there. As she searched, her eyes met the eyes of a man who sat at the bar. He started to smile but she turned away too quickly to see it. It was one of those situations when there is a strong emotion in an instant, with no logical reason why.

Eileen strode through the busy tables to an unoccupied table near the back of the room. She sat with her back to the wall so she could see the entrance when her friends arrived. The man with the eyes was no longer at the bar, and Eileen shook off the uncomfortable feeling he’d given her. She checked her phone for messages and learned that her friends decided they were too tired to join her and headed home.

Suddenly, the man with the eyes stood at her side, looking down at her. He appeared to be seven feet tall in a crisp, conservative suit.

“May I join you?” he said. The words rolled out smoothly and deeply.

“I-I’m expecting friends,” she lied. He sat down opposite her.

“I’ll leave when they get here. My name is Roland O’Donnell.” He extended his hand. Eileen hesitated, and then put her hand in his. His was warm, dry, and steady; Eileen feared that hers might be limp and damp. Roland made Eileen feel vulnerable.

“Do you work around here?” said Roland.

“Yes. Just around the corner.”

“I work upstairs in this building. Are you hungry? Would you like to get something to eat?” said Roland.

They went together in Roland’s car to a small, obscure Chinese restaurant on a narrow lane off a wide thoroughfare. They shared their sad stories of lonesomeness and heartbreak.

Their meal complete, their stories shared, Roland drove Eileen home. She invited him in for a nightcap.

In the morning, she made breakfast for Roland and herself. They chatted amiably, and when Roland left, they thanked each other for satisfying their mutual needs.

My First Steady Girlfriend

November 15, 2017 Leave a comment

I hope the teenagers of today have some of the fun we had in the 1950s. I can’t call our group a gang, because the word gang has come to denote troubled youths. We were a middle class group of friends that met at high school and at occasional school dances.

I don’t remember how I got to be coupled with Rochelle Schwartz. She was not the prettiest girl in the bunch, but she was pretty enough and had a nice figure. She was a good girl, as most were in the fifties. It was the era of flared felt skirts supported beneath by something called crinolines. We were steadies for a few years, during which we were never intimate. We were only about 15 years old, and light petting was the maximum among the ‘nice’ kids.

Rochelle was often known as ‘Schwartzie’, because there was another Rochelle in the group, Rochelle Zon. Zon told me, when she was 13, that she was going to be a doctor. She was a petite, pretty girl and yes, she became a successful doctor. Schwartzie played the piano and she won several talent contests, and later became a piano teacher.

Some of the most enjoyable times in my life, I shared with Schwartzie. For one thing, I was too young to drive, so we went on dates to movies or house parties on public transportation. Schwartzie’s father ran a small smoke shop. That’s what they were called before ‘convenience stores’ came to be. Her family lived upstairs from the store, and streetcar tracks ran by the front.

I lived in an upper-middle class neighbourhood about 20 blocks away, so I took the bus and streetcar to pick Rochelle up for a Friday night movie date. It was fun to meet her Dad in the store, then take Rochelle out the front of the store and board the tram together and have our evening out. Even when Rochelle was baby-sitting to earn money, I sat with her. Television had not happened yet, so we talked a lot, did homework, and just enjoyed being together – without sex.

Coming home after a party, dance, movie or babysitting was always fun. We’d get off the tram and she’d take me into the store, in dark after hours. We’d cuddle and kiss goodnight in the store, and I’d choose a car magazine off the rack and leave. I heard Rochelle married an accountant and moved to a small city a few hours away. Ours was an enjoyable relationship from beginning to end. I met her son recently. He was boldly gay, and almost identical to his mother in movements and speech.

We Are Not The Ultimate

November 3, 2017 Leave a comment

Neither oligarchs nor the homeless are the ultimate. The surgeon is not the ultimate, nor is the rocket scientist and astronaut. You are not the ultimate, nor am I. We are all a mere plateau on the evolution of our species. We will be like Neanderthals compared to the beings we will evolve into.

We hustle through our busy lives, thinking only of ourselves and those that matter to us. We rarely think about the relative meaningless of our existence compared to the importance of the artists, musicians, engineers and chemists who live among us. How puny is the importance of the real estate developer compared to the importance of the one that has mastered transplants; hearts, kidneys, livers, and some day, everything.

We trudge through life, seeking work, seeking income, seeking ways of life. Some people who possess wisdom spend their work life in agriculture. It’s a tough, risky life, dependent on weather and seasons and more or less all of nature. The payoff, other than an income when it goes well, is that one is never in a meeting room, never at a desk in a room that has windows that cannot open. When he is toiling mightily, the farmer is in the field, smelling the fresh-cut hay, hearing bird songs. The farmer is also not the ultimate.

We might be wise to remember, as we climb through life, that we, and our achievements won’t amount to a hill of beans in the fullness of time. Ahead of us is infinity. Ahead of us is eternity. These two unimaginable concepts represent endless time and endless space. Within those vast parameters, people will evolve into the long predicted large head, small body as the ways of life evolve.

We owe it to ourselves to enjoy our time through life. It might be a waste to pursue wealth or adventure. It might be too simple to work just for security. It might be worth some risk-taking, as some people do. People hunt for sport, or race cars, or play hockey and ball sports. We have limited time in which to make a life, and we can make it fun, if we want to. A person’s life could end in a split second, by unknown and unseen forces.

The Dealer’s Place

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

The only interesting thing about the dealer’s place was the people who gathered there most evenings. The time I saw them, they had gathered to enjoy “Star Trek” together. I am uninterested in Star Trek, but I lingered to observe the group. I admit that in my case, I was there to buy some grass from the dealer. The dealer was a very nice, shy guy, about 6 feet tall, 30ish, and considerably overweight. His name was Gregory.

Greg also had a small travel agency, where he struggled to make a living. He didn’t like dealing grass, but the travel agency was barely getting by. I later learned that he’d been orphaned while in his teens, and had been making his way in life as well as he could. His disadvantage was that he was not cool… not smooth. Greg was awkward, and that was probably why his apartment was ground zero for a group of socially awkward people.

The most visible person was David. He was noticeable because he talked a lot, always  with unnecessary urgency. One could almost see him vibrating, so tense was he. I later learned that his mother was severely depressed, and drove him crazy. I’m thinking, he’s about 30, why is he with Mom? He expressed shame that he worked at selling ‘diamond futures’, knowing full well that it’s a worthless product and he’s bilking people. His weirdness kept him from getting a regular job, so telephone hustling is the best he could do.

There were two females, as different from each other as possible. They were not together in any way. Sitting on a black bean-bag chair was a very pretty girl in her 20s. She was dressed in Goth style, all black, some veils, thigh-high boots of black leather and a black shawl. She smoked a joint, did not pass it around, and shrunk back into an obscure corner at the back of the room.

Every person in the room was facing the television set. I sat on a straight chair to the side. On the sofa, Greg joined the two that were already there. Next to Greg was a young woman midget. She appeared to be tiny, seated by large Greg. On her other side was Nick, a rather good looking man in his twenties. He planned to be a rock star singer with a band. He was in the process of auditioning bands. Good luck with that.

Awkward people gathered together, perhaps for safety in numbers. The midget asked me to fetch her a coke. Why me, I thought? I rose and stepped toward the kitchen and turned at the apartment entrance hall and left the apartment.

Requiem For A Friend With Benefits

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

I really didn’t expect anything special to happen; I just wanted to see Julia again. I had a delightful affair with her several years before, and we were always as much friends as lovers. She had a beautiful face. I find that faces almost always fit into a ‘type’. Not that they might look almost exactly like the celebrity, but would be that type. Julia was, believe it or not, an Elisabeth Taylor type, and really remarkably similar in nose, mouth, face shape and dark hair.

Whenever a single mom is saddled with a special needs child my heart breaks for that mom. They are trapped in a way of life that is irrevocable. Julia’s story is one that is, unfortunately, too often repeated. She grew up in a small city where social contacts are limited by fewer opportunities because of fewer people. Often, the prettiest girl in town is from a working class family. Julia’s father worked at the Ford plant and Julia was the prettiest girl in town.

Almost as if it was decreed by an irresistible force, the boy from the richest family in town wanted the prettiest girl in town all to himself. He married Julia, to the great disappointment and disapproval of his parents. Some said he did it just to irritate his parents, but I don’t believe that. Julia was not only pretty; she was an intelligent, educated professional woman with a responsible position in a law enforcement department. That rich boy might not have been able to feel a deep love for anyone but himself because of his background, but he certainly could lust after Julia.

Julia became pregnant and the marriage was all it was ever going to be: a standoff between two people, too young and not really compatible. They were together when the baby was born. The infant should have aborted naturally because she was riddled with defects. The child very soon had to be raised in a special hospital that was capable of the trying task. Her mind was not very capable. She was blind as well and generally capable of very little. In short order, the rich boy husband and father was out of there like a shot.

About a year after that, I met her and we had a wonderful affair. I was married and had two children so many people would consider me a louse. I loved my wife and desired her every day… and every day she rejected me, saying “That’s all you ever think about.”

Well yes, I was a turned on kind of guy. And I was really in love with my wife and found her very desirable. She was slender and pretty and typical of her type. Just for the record, I was not a dog myself as I learned from several women other than my wife. For no apparent reason, she decided making love was not for her.

I knew people who were friendly with Julia, and from time to time I’d hear about how she was doing. I’d learned that she’d married again, to a younger man and again became pregnant. The child was happy and healthy this time. However, it seems the pregnancy triggered dormant Multiple Sclerosis within her. The young husband took off.

I got her phone number from one of her friends and called her for a lunch date. The next day I picked her up at her small flat in an old house and took her to a sidewalk café on a small street of high fashion shops and restaurants. I knew she needed canes to walk, so I chose a place where she could get out of the car and go straight into the restaurant terrace and sit at an umbrella table. We ordered lunch and chatted.

“Why did you always welcome me into your apartment whenever I showed up at your door?” I said. “I was a married man, yet I could show up at your place at eight in the morning or three in the morning and you welcomed me with a pretty smile.” She showed that pretty smile again, across the small table at me. It was a hot July day with just enough breeze to make it comfortable in the shade of the umbrella.

“You were safe,” she said. “You were married, so there wouldn’t be any commitment problems for me. I was out of a really painful marriage and I had no desire to get into another one at that time. And you were very good looking.”

Our meals were brought to the table and we continued to chat over lunch.

“You still do it,” she said with a broad smile on her lovely face.

“I still do what?”

“You still look directly into my eyes while we talk,” said Julia. “I loved that about you.”

“Don’t all men do that?” I said.

“You’d be surprised how unique it is,” she said. “You’re a special man.”

I drove her home. The Georgian style red brick house was three storeys high on a beautiful old street of fine old homes and shady maple trees. She invited me in for coffee and I accepted.

In her flat the air was cool after the blazing hot summer sun. The heavy curtains on her first floor windows were drawn. The rooms were in dim light that spilled through the edges of the curtains. Julia put her canes aside and made her way toward her kitchen with careful steps while she used the wall for stability.

I went to her and put my arms around her and held her close. She clung to me with desperation that told me how lonely she’d been. Her mother had sold a property she’d inherited and moved to Jamaica.

I found fasteners for each of her garments and made her naked while we held each other. I lay her back on her bed.

“You have to move my legs,” she said. I lifted her legs onto the bed.

“Does it hurt?” I said.

“It doesn’t hurt,” she said. “There’s no pain.” I heard in her voice a fear that I might not continue, afraid of doing harm.

I made love with her. It was good to be with her again. She was a very good person. Pretty, light hearted and witty. I often wondered how she could be so positive after all she’d been through. She had a disabled first child and abandonment by her husband. Then she had a healthy child that launched her MS followed by abandonment of her second husband. She had a good, close relationship with her mother. She was to join her mother in Jamaica until the illness struck her and changed her life again.

“You’re even better now than you were in the old times,” she said.

“We live and learn,” I said.

We had our coffee after we’d bathed together. At last I had to leave, and we both knew that we’d not see each other again.

“Thanks for lunch,” she said, “and especially the take-home dessert.”

We laughed together and wished each other good luck. We kissed and I departed. That was many years ago and I’ve since learned Julia passed away and her child is being raised by Julia’s mother in Jamaica.

I Learned A Lot While Becoming Old

October 27, 2017 Leave a comment

If you are not already old, you have a lot of incoming information ahead of you. I don’t mean your courses or your formal education at all. I mean life. If one thinks for a moment of how much was learned about life between the ages of thirteen and nineteen, imagine how much you’ll learn in the next ten years.

You’re comparatively untethered now and can make many decisions on your own. There are some huge differences between types of people. The slow and steady ones do have a very good chance of coming out ahead in the end. If we’re talking about stability and safety as well as a decent livelihood, the steady, conservative person might well win in the acquisition of property and security.

If we’re talking about a life filled to the brim with adventures and experiences, then the secure person gets a taste of adventure and experiences, but does not enjoy emersion in the richer parts of life. One is not better than the other; it’s just a matter of which one suits the individual. In my own experience, I put double or triple energy into my life and had a hell of a time.

I figured: all we’re really given by life is time, so the more I can put into that time, the more life I can take out of it.