Sunday, March 17, 2013

CRIMINAL JOURNAL: March 17, 2013

‘Fess up, it’s Sunday, and in an hour, my Unitarian Universalist Covenant Fellowship will be meeting here at Glenwood Coffee & Books. Good to have “Confession” before the Unitarian Mass. (My ordained minister wife, Liz, says Unitarian Communion is . . . Coffee.)*
     Since this is a Criminal Journal, I might as well go ahead and confess my crimes.
     I gave up . . . Romance! . . . Two years ago. I was crazy about A– at the time, and I told her so in some indiscreet letters from Martha’s Vineyard (where I had no business being, although I wasn’t acting criminal. That everyone on Martha’s Vineyard is a one per center criminal is another story, houses there being in the 2-3 million dollar range.)
     A– wasn’t interested, of course, and I think I was only pursuing her out of habit. Same with E–. I wasn’t in love with those women. They were just young and pretty and available, so I went after them. I decided that since I was now a dignified 75 years of age, I had to stop doing that (fun as it was). And, surprisingly, I was successful.
     I remember a visit Oscar Zurer, an old friend from New York, paid me way back in the early 1980s. I was 50 then, and Oscar was recently retired at 65. He told me that the most surprising thing about growing old was he was hornier than ever and [he used a very rude word for fornication] _____ing like never before. I was surprised and shocked. But it’s true that The Old Adam doesn’t seem to be much different than The Young Adam.
     So I’m cruising along, happy in Neutral the past few years, thinking nothing of it. Not a single thing for a Criminal Journal to be concerned about. Enter M–.
     What was it about M– that would break the celibate priestly vows of a happy fella’ like I’ve become in my old age? Why is it a hundred people enter your life, and you’re as good as gold. Then, wham! This one catches your eye and tugs at your heartstrings?
     About three years ago, I was minding my business in the old premises of The Community Bookshop, before Andrew The Bad found my new 1310 Glenwood Avenue site. In comes this Guilford College underclasswoman and does some serious browsing. Happens irregularly. I think everyone likes a bookshop, but there are some people that really love bookshops. Obviously this young woman was one. There was something about her. I was really taken. Struck, you know? This was in my feisty days before my Vow of No Romance.
     What’s so strange is even in those Rough & Ready Days, very few
*Well, she ain’t my wife anymore. Her first sign of the Dementia that’s placed her on the Fourth (locked) Floor of the Woodhall Assisted Living Facility on High Point & Holden was divorcing me.

women moved me in that way. There had been K– whom I was crazy about for three years, then no one really, only two mild flirtations in the next few years (half-hearted interest in A– and
E–, whom I admit were movie star beautiful). M– wasn’t movie star beautiful. She was a quiet, serious “co-ed,” obviously well-brought-up, dressed conservatively . . . I have no idea why she, rather than a hundred others, just gave me that frisson.
     I chatted her up. Her nature is unnaturally quiet. Had an exquisite smile, somewhat shy and hesitant, but full-blooming once it got going. Yes, she was like a voluminous tropical flower. And she seemed to respond to my interest. She and I made a date for that weekend.
     But she never showed up. We had exchanged phone numbers and email contact info, but when she just never showed up with no communication of any kind . . . Well, to hell with it, I thought.
I was moving into my “No Romance” post-75 years anyway.
     Four years go by. I’m doing real well. Behaving myself. No Criminal Journal. Not a single miscue. Then M– walks into the bookshop again, the new one here on Glenwood Avenue. Yeah, about a month ago. And you know what? I felt the same way. I had behaved myself perfectly for a long time. I was through with Romance forever. That went out the window in one second.
     M– came in with an older friend, turned out to be her landlady. She had graduated. Didn’t look any different to me. Exactly the same. And I felt exactly the same. When she came into the bookshop a week later, I made a “date” with her. Sure enough she broke it. But, this time with her contact information, I made another date. She broke it less than an hour before she was due.
     Foolishly, I then made a real though casual “Saturday Night Date” for a movie and dinner at the bookshop. She changed it to a Monday Night, the one day of the week we’re closed. I warned her I had really poor taste in movies, didn’t like good movies at all, only liked “Romantic Comedies.” “Me, too,” she said. (She was just the same as ever, real quiet, spoke very little, very quietly.)
     This time she actually came. And, after I put the film on–Amy Irving in “Crossing Delancey Street”– I put my arm around her and held her hand. But she moved as far away from me as she could on the narrow futon in my room. Removed her hand, and when I asked if I could hold her hand, she gave me a look of disgust and pulled even further away. I thought, “Surely,  a Saturday Night Date, watching a movie, gives a fellow the right to put his arm around a girl and hold her hand?” Evidently not. So it comes down that I hit on her? Seems such an innocent thing to me. I wasn’t trying to seduce her. I was just hoping to hold her hand, like in the Beatles’ song. But here I am, outed into my own Criminal Journal!!

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