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Since Survival
by Johnny Bravo


Brought to you by the makers of ROAD RAGE, a fictional story

I was watching tv with my girlfriend the other day and she made an observation about me that I'd never actually heard somebody vocalize. It was nothing revelationary to me, this observation, I am aware of myself like any sane person on this earth. It is easy to know one's self, it's a lot harder to admit it to others - the truth, the dark side. Then again, people can live in denial. To "Live in Denial," means that a person denies the truth from himself, or herself while living a life that is actually a lie. "I'm not a drunk, I don't take drugs, I'm not a thief, etc." It's usually plain for everyone else to see. I can't understand that. The truth is always evident, it changes sometimes, but it's still evident. I always thought denial is something you say to other people. That is, someone accuses you of something that you did and you deny it! That's denial. There's no psycho-logic to that. It's called 'lying' in layman's terms.

There's no denial in my reality, if for only my lack of foresight and honesty with those I know. My actions never contradict my own beliefs about myself. I know I lack discipline and the ability to commit to anything for a sizeable duration of time, but I don't deny this. I don't deny myself the knowledge that I can be a weasel. I tell lies to cover up my actions. I only deny the things I do at night with money that I hide from my wife and girlfriend if ever I'm questioned. And I deny these truths from my family and friends by never bringing it up. People can make observations about me, tell me I do all kinds of crazy and harmful things and I can deny doing them. I do it all the time. That's what I call denial. That other 'living in denial' thing, that's for crazy people. For people like me, it's called lying. Nothing more, nothing less.

So, my girlfriend made an observation about me. It was nothing new to me, no revelation, as I've mentioned. Still, it was a little startling, that is digesting the mouthful, what with what she said, and with, the way she said it.

My girlfriend is Korean. I'm American. She lives in the foreigner district of Korea known as Itaewon. Or as I call it, the non-yellow ghetto. This is truly the only ethnically diverse place in this country and it is located right in the middle of Seoul geographically. It is actually the best place, geographically, to live in this city because it is not far from anywhere. It is also the only area in Seoul to boast multi-cultural cuisine: Thai, Middle Eastern, American, French, real Chinese food, you name it. There are even Halaal (the Muslim equivalent to Kosher) butcher shops. There are black markets, which are not covert operations but established businesses - the only place (outside the US army base) to buy tortillas, filo dough, pepper jack cheese, certain canned goods and other food staples found anywhere in America, but unheard of in Korea. In Itaewon, you can find live music nightly without any cover charge, as well as dance clubs that cater to Westerners, Russians, Filipinos; there is a Japanese shopping district; there are two used bookstores, there is even a Mosque. The downside is there is a large red light district that caters to US army personnel, or any other westerner with a hard on and money to blow, which gives Itaewon a drunken party district reputation.

Here, the rents are low because most Koreans don't want to live here. The reason is, too many foreigners live here: Westerners, Africans, Middle Eastern, Filipino, etc. Actually, the real reason is - the US army is headquartered here.

My girlfriend is a non-city girl who'd moved to Seoul about 4 years ago to go to college and begin her adult life. She grew up in a rural environment on the West coast of Korea, the beach town of Taean. This small town gave her small town values and a limited worldview, but in her eyes was a spark as if she knew there must be more to life than what a small town could provide for her. And the real Korea is like one big small town. She was never happy in Korea. Korea is a country that gives men the advantage in so many ways and any woman who is not a staunch careerist or humble acceptor of her place as wife and mother finds herself looking for more. Actually, it makes her look for a way out. And English ability eventually becomes her ticket out. She came to Seoul, studied fashion design at a college while living with one older sister and her husband. She moved out, then dropped out of school and soon found herself living with her other older sister and husband. She worked at stupid low paying jobs, and when I met her she was unemployed and in a bar getting drunk by herself. It was love at first sight, for her. She was lonely and looking for a way out. For me, it was an easy conquest. I was unhappily married and looking for an affair. So when she was giving me the eye in this bar, it could've been a beautiful thing. Like, wow this girl likes me and I'm totally attracted to her, I really want to meet her and see what happens. That's not what happened. Actually, it was more like, wow, this girl is interested in me, I'm going to bang her tonight.

I did, and it just went on from there. One lie after another until the lies became a reality.

I arrived in Seoul about the same time as she did. Her English when I met her in the bar was virtually non-existent and after a year of being with her, I would say her English had improved a lot. Not by leaps and bounds, but by steps. She would hear a phrase, ask me to repeat it, and instantaneously commit it to memory. She, at this time, had no trouble standing face to face with foreigners and comfortably trying to communicate. Usually being successful. That seems the biggest problem Koreans have learning English - interacting with foreigners. An irony most evident is 'how does a Korean woman live with an American man for almost a year and, even though the man is an English teacher, by trade, how does she not greatly improve in her English?' She did, but that is not the irony. That is the proof that language is a need to know subject of learning. The irony is - how does the American not greatly improve his Korean ability, after being with her for a year. He's lived in Korea for 4 years. He is a teacher of Foreign Language, by trade. He should be trained reciprocally how to learn a foreign language. Should be is the operative phrase, but again, language learning is a need to know subject, and maybe he didn't really need to know how to communicate in their language to enjoy the fruits of their country. To get back to my story, I need to make one more clarification.

I say that I was watching tv with her. I don't say 'we were watching tv.' That is because tv for me is a very singular experience. When I watch tv or movies, on video or in the theater, I am alone. At least I try to be. Other people are usually an inhibitor to my enjoying the experience of television or film. For this reason, I prefer to watch tv and movies alone. And if I'm not alone, for-ex in a theater, I am overly pre-occupied with my company's well being (I always pick the movie) or, in the case of tv, I usually end up annoying my company by changing the channel continuously. That, or completely ignoring them and even shush-ing them from time to time, as any word is a distraction from the main event. This is how I watch television. I soak in as much as I can.

I consider myself an expert on television, my area of specialty being the sit-com, because that is the purest most appropriate form of entertainment that is on television. There are only a handful of genres of tv entertainment, even though there appears to be more. News - it has blossomed from straight reporting to glitzy, scandal-ridden news magazines and infotainment, every branch of information having it's own venue. I mean, news reporting has ramified into each and every possible spectrum. Politics, government, local news, unusual - they all have their audience. Each has its own time slot. Sports have graduated beyond televised games, complete with replays and commentary, to entire shows, which are comprised solely of replays and commentary. The tv drama has bloomed into 1 hour, 2 hour made for tv movies, and mini-series. The talk show has permeated our lives with incessant oddities ala Dear Abby letters and such, or celebrities on display. The variety show has always had a variety of ramifications and still remains fresh but it rolls with the times and technology and it, by definition transcends a pure genre - it is variety; (at the time of this writing, 2003, reality programming didn't exist) Yet, the sit-com has stayed virtually unscathed. It was practically the first kind of tv entertainment, "Honeymooners, Ozzie and Harriet, etc." and it is still going strong. The interesting thing is that sitcoms rarely change. The only real variation in modern times is the emergence of shows, which are recorded live. This is but resurgence, since most of the early sitcoms, for example 'The Honeymooners' were taped before a live studio audience. The fact remains - the sitcom remains the most syndicated type of programming. In 2003, reruns of Simpsons, Seinfeld, and Friends occupy so much airplay, it should lead a tv watcher to wonder, why isn't something better or different occupying such prime (not prime time, but still prime, that is - 6-8 pm) tv airtime slots? The sitcom's popularity as a format invites new characters and settings into its aged genre constantly. The sitcom is one of the most enduring forms of entertainment. This could be a testament to their enduring genius or the short attention span of most tv watchers.

I am old enough to remember prime time showings of All in the Family, Mash, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Taxi, Cheers, The Brady Bunch and a bunch of other shows of the late 60's early seventies. I'm not old enough to remember prime time showings of 'Gomer Pyle' or 'Leave it to Beaver'. And I never witnessed the crossover to color from black n' white in shows like ' I Dream of Genie ' or 'Gilligan's Island' but I do remember that at certain times in the late 70's before the onslaught of cable, Get Smart aired on a syndicated channel 6 times a day. KCOP channel 13 in LA, which incidentally, went off the air at 2:00 AM at that time, showed Get Smart from 12:00 to 1:00 both AM and PM, at 2:00 in the afternoon and again at 6:30 in the evening. I never understood the point of that but I've definitely seen every episode.

American tv has grown every year since its infancy. The first cable channels weren't even channels. There was ON Subscription TV which showed two movies each night - one from 7 to 9, and then another from 9:30 to 11:30. You got a little box, actually a large box and there were 2 switches. On and off. The Z channel was the same. At first it was only on weekends. Friday night you got 2 movies and then Saturday you got two more movies. Sunday would repeat the movies, as would the next week. Movies like Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristopherson as Football players in 'Semi-tough' or 'Equis' with Richard Burton must have been seen countless times by couch potatoes of the late 70's. The Z channel was more advanced than the On Subscription box, because the Z box had many buttons on it. It was like a remote council that you hold on your lap. You got all the regular channels and some extras. Channels from other cities began to be shown like WTBS out of Atlanta, and WGN out of Chicago. ESPN was born along with MTV and the rest is history. Today cable in America is digital, with at least 20 new movies running concurrently. Infotainment and home shopping now fill the airwaves round the clock. There is 24 hour cable programming nowadays. Still, the sitcom is the most syndicated programming found on tv. Furthermore, the sitcom is the only type of programming that has stayed the same, without ramifications, with new popular shows repeating gags that shows 20 years ago drew laughs from. I hear people compare today's dramas like ER to a show like MASH and it's a hard comparison to make. A person could buy and watch boxed episodes of MASH, but ER? Who would do that? It's not just a 'classic' thing, it's a sitcom vs. drama thing. Sitcoms are quick and easily accessible like a one act play. Humor does not necessary negate the presence of seriousness. Look at life! And the basic unchanged formula of the successful sitcom is 2 stories that run concurrently. I was recently watching tv with my father, I was home to visit. He said that he missed the shows of the early seventies like the Mary Tyler Moore show. He said (I'm paraphrasing), "Shows must appeal to a broad audience. On a scale of 1 to 10 the intelligence of the average American is 3, so programs have to be designed to fit that mold." That is why modern shows don't appeal to him - they are too stupid. Maybe he is just too old to understand new jokes. No, the jokes are pretty much the same.

It's interesting that, according to the Neilson ratings, the most watched programming in American history has always been the final episodes of popular sitcoms.


I don't use lotion on my hands, or any part of my body for that matter. But especially my hands. I just don't like it. I think it's girly. If a guy's putting lotion on his hands, that usually means one thing, and in those instances I don't even consider using lotion. Maybe soap, if I'm in the shower, but in the case of lotion, I just don't use it. I never use accessories or plan on doing it. I just do it and it's done. It's mostly my brain that is doing the work. Something puts me in the mood, I'm alone, and that's that. As Balzac would say, there goes another novel.

It's the smell, too. Lotion's always got some smell. I can't stand any boxed scent. Any product like soap or tissue or deodorant should be odorless. Cleanliness doesn't have a smell. Actually, it's an anti-smell. No smell at all. Powder, pine, puffy puff musk whatever perfume, all that crap. It's girly. Girls like it cuz they like to be soft and smell sweet. Well that's great. I'm all for it. I like girls that smell sweet, but I'm not a girl, so I don't desire for my body to be soft and smelling sweet. I'm either dirty, or I'm clean. And it's not like I ever need to put lotion on my hands. My hands don't get that dry, I mean, I'm not a sandstone mason or asbestos abater or something like that.

Anyway, my girlfriend's got different bottles of lotion for different regions of her body, as if some skin requires different emollients, I don't know. One day we're hanging out in her bedroom. She lived in a two bedroom apartment in Itaewon 2 dong. Dong is the Korean word, which means 'district.' Her house rests near the top of a hilly street which begins at the US army base (one of them). From there you go up a steep narrow street lined with shops, restaurants, nail salons, small businesses. Towards the top of the street you have a few large houses where certain foreign ambassadors live. Basically, her house is on the other side of the mountain from the shopping, drinking, Tijuana-like center of Itaewon. But this was another world from the loud bar driven sector, more international and classy. Her house was located right next to the Jell Deli, the only shop in Korea with a real wine selection, and one of the only place to find good cheese or specialty foods in a non-black market environment. A few meters more up the hill is the Hyatt Hotel, atop the hill that is the foothills of Namsan Park.

Namsan means literally, South mountain. It is not a large park, but it's as good as parks get in Korea. Itaewon is the epicenter of Korea, it has all the ethnic diversity of any metropolis, and as I said it is the only ethnically diverse neighborhood in the capital city of a country that is extremely homogeneous.

Her bedroom is a small rectangular room with not much on the walls so it's very white, but off white, kind of a musty, urban white. Her pillows and curtains would be suitable for a child with the colors and balloons, rainbows and cartoon characters like Dooli, the dinosaur, who I never knew before. I grew up with Peanuts. Every thing is neatly in its place and there's not much furniture. A few low cabinets, a mini dresser, and a small bed that not only runs practically the length of the room takes up most of the space. I'm on the bed and I'm watching tv, the small color LG set that sits atop her low dresser. She just got out of the shower and enters the room wearing only a towel. First she lets the towel drop to the floor. Then she stands on it. Her body is glistening with a freshly showered sheen. She hasn't looked at me at all yet. Then with her back to me she begins rubbing different lotions all over her entire face and body, her arms and legs, calves and thighs, stomach, back, buttocks. I want to reach over and help her, rub lotion on her, but she's quick and there's no room for my indecisiveness.

Then she steps to the hanger suspended by a hook on the wall, removing from the hanger and then throwing on her naked body, her black and white polka dot moo-moo style one piece house dress. It's the sexiest thing she wears cuz she never wears anything underneath. Although her underthings are few, they are well selected. Not low quality - she likes to say about her things. This black and white smock, it's her sleep clothes. She climbs on the bed next to me. I've since stopped watching her and I focused my attention again on the tv. I started watching while she was in the shower. We're sitting up side by side backs to the wall, both reclined on the bed and she says, "Your hands, give them to me." My eyes are, meanwhile, glued to the tv screen. She had no cable, just some rabbit ear type antenna that I brought over one day. With that we are able to get the 6 networks broadcasting into Seoul, Korea. They are, K.B.S. 1 and 2, MBC, SBS, EBS, and AFKN. KBS is the Korean Broadcasts System, it's got 2 channels. MBC means Moonwha Broadcast System which is the same thing essentially as KBS. The S in SBS is for Seoul, and it has more local programming than the other 3 networks. The lowest of the networks in terms of prestige is EBS, the E meaning Educational and they have educational programming for all ages. A lot of English learning shows, as well as documentary, history, math, science, educational cartoons for kids, etc.

The 6 th and lowest end broadcast by local standards is AFKN. It stands for The Armed Forces Korea Network. It comes through clearer on cable as do all channels, but in some areas it comes in well, others crappy, and some not at all. In her apartment AFKN came in somewhere between crappy and so-so. The network is really called actually AFN, when mentioned globally. The Armed Forces Network. There are a plethora of other channels available from all over the world such as the Star Channels and HBO, as well as other Korean channels, but we don't have cable. I say we because I practically live here with her. I have my own apartment, but my wife lives there. I don't have cable there either and AFKN does not come in where my wife lives. I don't have cable purposely. I could afford it, but I get really hooked on television and could easily stay up all night flipping channels if there are enough. It's like I'm a workaholic, except with tv. Right now, Wheel of Fortune is on AFN and while those Americans living on the mainland might find game shows slightly mundane, I'm just transfixed trying to guess the puzzle before the stupid contestant. It's really just hangman they're playing, and being a English teacher, I've been known to end kid classes with 5 or 10 minutes of hangman.

She repeats, "Your hands. Give them to me." She sounded as if she were repeating it. Perhaps she said other things to me, but they didn't register. So, without looking I hand my hands over to her like she's gonna cuff me or something but instead she squirts a generous gob of goo onto my hands and begins rubbing the lotion into my pours. I'm stunned and blurt out, "What the hell are you doing, you know I don't ever use lotion. Especially on my hands." I added, "It's so…girly."

She tells me to not be so silly. How can I be any less silly? She began rubbing lotion into my hands and me just sitting there naked. I had taken off my boxers and my shirt while she was in the bathroom, the moment I heard the water stop and sat under a sheet. I had brought sheets to her house the first night I slept over as I knew that sheets were something that were not so common in Korea. It was summer and the coolness of crisp cotton sheets was a comfort that I could not live without so I brought them over along with an electric fan that sat on the floor by the door. My other apartment didn't need it; it had an air conditioner. I did mind the lotion, but I was willing to undergo anything if it meant harmonious living. There was so much to argue about, me being married and all and us being a happy couple and all. I just wanted everything to be perfect sans truth, even if that meant, enduing a lotioning of my hands.

So my hands are full of lotion and I'm rubbing them together trying to lose the slippery feeling that my hands were currently experiencing. A knock came at the door, followed by the entrance of her roommate. Her roommate was a sexy, skinny woman somewhere between the age of my girlfriend 24 and myself 32. She dated a US military fellow and had a sexy body and a pretty face but her head size fell into the category of "oversized melon" which means that her head was disproportionately too large for her dainty body. Nevertheless, people didn't usually notice this until somebody called attention to it. It is a phenomenon that is very common among Korean women.

The roommate who was called Sue, half of her Korean given name, stood in the doorway wearing nothing but a teeshirt. Perhaps she wore panties underneath but I kept my eyes on the tv. I'd fantasized having my girlfriend and her roommate at the same time, even though I wasn't really attracted to her roommate. She fell into the category of green card ho but was not crass or weird. She was a nice woman. I didn't really trust her, but I kept that to myself. If I looked at her my wandering eyes might become apparent to my girlfriend. My girlfriend was tolerant of wandering eyes. I mean, I was married, so in terms of fidelity, I was already guilty of the most major offense. Wandering eyes…it was the wandering penis that was the most heinous of infractions and since I was naked, only covered by a sheet, I just assumed that keeping my eyes on the tv was most appropriate.

Sue entered with a bottle of dill pickles in a jar. They were obviously purchased at the PX since they would be hard to find in Seoul and probably very expensive. She was having trouble opening the jar and asked if I could help her open it. So I grab the glass jar and it was vacuum packed so need a good jerk. I, with my hands freshly lotioned, couldn't get a good grip on the jar and as hard as I tried, couldn't get the jar open, my hand kept slipping. Meanwhile, I could hear my girlfriend and her roommate discuss pickles.

--I don't like pickles, they are too sweet.

--Oh, these aren't sweet. No. These are the sour kind.

--Sour pickles? Really?

--You'll like them. Take one.

And that was when my girlfriend grabbed the jar from me, wiped the bottle top and with one motion, opened the jar of pickles, removed one daintily with her little fingers put it between her teeth, and handed the jar and lid to her roommate who said.

--They're not like Korean pickles.

Her roommate's eyes encouraged my girlfriend to look at the pickle with relish before she took a bite off the top. Then she left the room and my girlfriend and I were alone practically naked, me below the sheet, her above holding a large dill with the top bitten off.

--Mmm. Here baby try some.

She pointed the pickle my way and I looked away. She began sticking the pickle in my mouth.

--I don't want any.

--Go on, it's really good.

--I don't want any.

--Don't be silly.

Again with the silliness. I don't really like pickles, but in order to maintain harmony I took a bite and feigned delight.


I liked her house a lot. I lived in a more Korean part of Korea. Actually, my neighborhood was unlike any other area in Korea as well, but for different reasons. Whereas Itaewon was like a foreigner's ghetto, I lived in ghetto of rich people. They call it Ch eo ngdam dong or Samsung dong, depending on what street you're standing in, all near Apkujong dong, the Beverly Hills of Korea. I'd lived in Beverly Hills for a time in my life so I understood the attraction. Here was where Gucci and Dolce and Gabana had a store. Here, people were ridiculous. I'd often commented to friends, these Koreans are nutsy cookoo out of their fuckin' minds. Fashion is an obsession. It was a good place to work, that's the general consensus. Beyond that was simply tolerance. We (English teachers) could save more money in a month here than we ever could back home. That was the attraction. Plus, the lax work week, tax free living, rent free living. That, and the female population, or eye candy, as we like to call them. Whiplashville was where I lived. You couldn't walk down the street without turning your head back to catch another glimpse. Be that as it may, I liked my girlfriend a lot more than any of these rich hotties that walked around my neighborhood with their shopping bags as if they just left a department store. I liked her body a lot, I liked her fashion a lot. She didn't try. The girls from Kangnam tried too hard. Everything that those girls wore was scripted. Armani, Dolce e Gabana, et al. It was like they got their fashion ideas from magazines and they looked like magazines - not human. My neighborhood had so many plastic surgery clinics, it was ridiculous. I didn't like being home, not just because my wife lived there, but the area annoyed me. I liked my girlfriend's house a lot. The building was nice, but it was the style of eating on the floor on a tray, the humanity of sweat and simplicity. My girlfriend didn't like air conditioning.

In this case, on this summer day, I finished one job near my house in the afternoon. It was a really hot and humid day. It was summer and I was on paid vacation, which I spent working, that is, teaching private lessons. Koreans paid exorbitant amounts of money to North American foreigners to teach them English. It was almost criminal, but I didn't mind that much. After I finished, I didn't return to my house or stay in my office. I went to her house. I took the subway. It was air-conditioned and there were seats. After exiting, I walked to a nearby intersection, hailed a cab and rode it up the hill to her house. The cab, too, was air-conditioned. Be that as it may, I was soaked by the time I got to her door. The heat and the humidity were beyond anything my pores could tolerate.

Upon entering, she said

--Hi. You want to take a shower?

I could have said, 'Does a bear shit in the woods?" and she would've be confused, so I said.

--Yeah. You got any cola?

She supplied me with a kiss and a towel and that was about it till I got out of the shower. She never liked to touch me, unless I just got out of the shower.

I stood naked under the cold water for at least five minutes just cooling off. She poked her head in to see if I was ok. I invited her in, she smiled like she couldn't wait for me to get out. She would've come in, but her roommate was home so she waited until I got out. Then, now, we were on her bed.

I took a sip of coke on the rocks. Later, upon entering her, I said,

--Hey. You have a condom?

The irony was that I had one. Two to be exact. In Korea, you could go to a pharmacy, buy a box a condoms, get back to your lady, start to roll the thing on you, and have it just stop, three quarters of the way up. Now, I'm not some porno guy with a huge package or nothing, but what I've said is true, so I buy all my condoms in the same place. Where I know they fit. And they come two to a box for one large coin which is the Korean 50 cent piece - 500 won. That's in the subway station bathroom. Anyone of them has a vending machine. And I had just taken a subway so had bought a pack. I asked her anyway, as if I didn't want her to know that I just bought them. She declined, wholeheartedly.

--I'm almost. You know, my mense. It's ok.

--Are you sure, you know, last time….

--Last time, I told you! It not okay. But we…anyway. Now I'm telling you. It's okay.

--I don't want…If it happens again, we're keeping it, you know.

--It won't happen. It will never happen again.

--What do you mean?

--I mean it will never happen again. Ever.

I didn't say anymore for harmony's sake. An hour or so later, we showered again together. The only way to endure Korean summers for me was to wear no clothes and shower a lot. Her roommate had left.

My girlfriend was sitting cross-legged on the single bed of her tiny bedroom. I was laying on top of the sheet. I was naked. She wore her polka dot smock. My eyes faced right to her little television, my right cheek against a cool pillow, I had to flip the pillow every few minutes to achieve that. She had on her lap a small calendar diary. I was flipping the channels when I stopped. Korean tv is largely variety shows which feature young stars doing unusual things. Many are of the talk show variety, some game show format, but nobody wins anything except stuffed animals or bouquets of flowers, like everything's gotta be cute. The young tv talents and pop stars are always on some ridiculous showing. Some are pseudo-athletic competitions. This I was watching while she was trimming her toenails. These teeny queens and Korean Tiger Beat dudes were in a large swimming pool. It was like a miniature, man made lake. The event was like this. In the large pool was a floating landing pad about 2 and half meters in diameter. A cable extended high above the pool, across the pool. Contestants had to slide down the cable holding two handlebars on a rolling apparatus. It was something out of Mission Impossible where the star slides from the top of a tower to safety. Anywho, each person had to, while hanging and gliding skyward across the pool, drop safely onto the landing pad. Not a bad little stunt.

The two teams, four against four, were singers from groups. Korea has a lot of girl groups where three or four young women sing and dance. They are all aged 17 to 21. I, of course, was intrigued, as I could enjoy this spectacle on so many levels. My girlfriend was not intrigued. She looked at me and she blurted out, "You like high teens."

That was the observation that I'd never heard before, but I knew only to be too true .

Now, at the first instant, I knew what she meant. It's obvious. I enjoy the sights and smells of young women. The sounds I can do without. By young, I mean, post pubescent, but pre-independence of mind. This is a vague delineation and one that is hard to put into words, but - look at it this way. Young girls hold hands with other girls. Then, they hold hands with guys. Those who can walk comfortably with friends and not hold hands, that is independence. And then again, it's not. So let's move on. I knew what she was talking about, but I had to laugh.

--High teen? What's a high teen?

She gave me that look. She spoke really slowly and with very good pronunciation.

--You know what I mean?

And she said something else, but I wasn't listening. Her initial statement had stuck in my craw. In short, she said, you are sexually attracted to teenagers . She was correct. Nobody knows me that well, not even my wife. But isn't the truth obvious?

As we were in her room, me naked and she naked beneath her polka dot smock, there was silence yet it was followed by the sounds of her room mate coming home. We pulled a sheet over us and sat, half upright, laughing, we heard a knock.

Her room mate entered holding a jar of pickles.

So, as the full man once said, 'what's left but desert?'


July 16 2006