(Fresh tomatoes eaten off the vine and married men offering to blow you in saunas … yes, they are connected.)
There’s a garden here where I am house/pet sitting right now, a garden FULL of tomatoes. I went outside tonight with a metal bowl, the kind my aunt Sissie used to have, the kind she and I used to take outside on summer evenings – like this – and fill with tomatoes from Pop-Pop’s garden. I was known for eating fresh tomatoes like potato chips. I’d eat them until I was sick. I’d eat them until all the acidity gave me sores in my mouth. I’d indulge in the sensual pleasure of them until I was forced to stop, by circumstance of season ending, or someone forcing me to stop, or crippling myself with mouth sores or stomach ache. This is an apocryphal story in my life; when it has come to the rushes and the surges and the urges and the yens of the pleasures of fruit, hanging there for me to pluck from the vine and devour- I have never had the slightest bit of self-control.
And long have I longed to again have a garden where the fresh, sort of dirty, hot off the vine taste of just plucked tomatoes could pleasure me each day, bursting in my mouth, all runny, potent seed and firm but pliable flesh, delicious and delicate and yet, somehow, so vitally alive, new, a promise and urgently calling, pleading, made to be swallowed.
I spent forty-five minutes in that garden, and I missed Sissie – which I do every single day – and yet, felt as if she was talking to me, because here I was for the first time in years in this sensual, tomato indulgence after what happened to me this afternoon.
It’s Sunday. Despite my protestations and a rather lengthy, whining argument with myself in which I complained that I was exhausted from the long, difficult weekend, and it ought to be a day of rest to which I countered; “Well, you rested Friday.” Not willing to surrender, I responded, “Not fair! You know I was moving between two houses and trying to watch both of them and a total of eight animals that day.” But, I have no mercy, no pity, and so snapped; “Yet you managed, somehow, that night to stay up until five, drinking wine and watching an American Horror Story: Asylum marathon – oh, and, uhm, again, last night. GET YOUR LAZY, SLACKER-ASS TO THE GYM BEFORE IT SAGS ANY CLOSER TO THE GROUND.”
So, I lost the argument with myself (I almost always do) and groused and grumped and harrumphed my way to the gym – which, by the by, is five minutes – TOPS – from this current house/pet sitting gig, so I have even LESS of an excuse to skip it. Which is how I found myself on the recumbent bike, from which vantage point I realized I could see a total of fifteen television screens transmitting at least ten different streams of programs and information. At which point I further realized that the sound by which I was being assaulted had absolutely NO CONNECTION to any of those programs, but, rather, was an entirely unique music and specific-to-this-gym ad programming. And, that not being enough, some of those people NOT plugged in to any of the audio-feeds from the available screens, were playing their whatever they were playing – loudly enough for bleed-out from their ear-buds.
It was A LOT of input and stimulation coming at me. This,of course, doesn’t include the stories I make up about all the people there. It is impossible for me NOT – after years of being an actor, singer, acting teacher, director, writer, and crazy paranoid, dysthymic bi-polar-ish nut-job – NOT to hear the voices in the heads of EVERYONE I see – and with all those voices (and stories) and all the music and the tv’s and the noise of the machines and the weights and people actually CONVERSING (of which, there are, in fact, VERY FEW) – by the time I am done working out, I really, really, REALLY need the peace of the sauna.
And so, into the sauna I go. Most days, there is no one there. I have discovered – and am always tweaking – very specific times of day to attend the gym when it is the least crowded, when the locker room is not full of business-y men on lunch break or overly-eager teens in pre-sport-season-team-tryout-training, and thus, USUALLY, I have the sauna to myself.
Now, it’s important to preface the next part of this story with a backstory. Early on in my gymming, when first I used the sauna, I entered it wearing my glasses. The heat from the sauna melted the protective coating on the lenses of those glasses, ruining them, and forcing me to purchase new ones to the tune of more than 400 dollars – I am blind in a particularly difficult to adjust way – and so the bi-focals I require are quite pricey.
THUS – I now do the sauna thing without my glasses. This means that my vision is blurry at best. I can see your shape and know you are a human, but the subtleties of your facial expressions and the intent of your body movements are – for the most part – lost to me. Which is fine in the sauna because – as I said – I am usually alone, and, when I am NOT alone, it is clear from my closed eyes and semi-recline in my favorite corner, that I am discouraging conversation. I never say hello when I walk in if someone else is there, nor do I say hello when I am in there and someone else walks in. I mean, I DO respond if they offer a greeting – but I don’t INITIATE conversation.
Another backstory (and digression – I am so sorry but, well, it’s just who I am):
My lack of initiating conversation and contact has to do with many things but the PRIMARY reasons are: 1) I am INCREDIBLY shy and awkward when talking to people. Just NOT a social animal. And talking to people I don’t know (or, even, people I DO know) makes me uncomfortable to the point of physical illness. And; 2) From a VERY early age I was called names indicating that the general population – particularly its MALE element – knew me to be OBVIOUSLY same-sex inclined, and so, the few, torturous times I had – in youth – to spend in places where men were dressing, undressing, partly naked – were places of GREAT FEAR AND DANGER for me – I did NOT want anyone thinking I was cruising, ogling, etc – and this has carried over to the gym. So, in locker room and sauna I try NEVER to look at anyone – and – honestly – even if I did – without my glasses I can’t REALLY see them anyway. So …
Imagine my annoyance today when I had JUST gotten into the sauna after what had been a particularly grueling workout – by which I mean I was a pouty bitch and had a REALLY REALLY difficult time making myself do the correct number of reps at the correct weights, and TRULY difficult time forcing myself to go the speed and level of difficulty I needed to go on recumbent bike to get my heart rate to a reasonable place, and then, oh my, on the treadmill – every two seconds I was trying to convince me to give it up and go – which, in the end, made me incline it WAAAAY more than I usually do and speed it up WAAAAY higher than my normal – and so, in the end, my heart rate was near that “you’re too old and need to slow down” warning place. BUT I DIDN’T.
So, sauna. No glasses. And, bam, within two minutes of my getting in there the door is opened and in comes I guy I could SWEAR had just gotten onto a treadmill near me when I’d been finishing – as in – he was just arriving as I was nearing the end of my two hours of torture today – because I’ve seen him before. He’s hot. Mid to late thirties, dark hair, not cut – as in – the model abs thing – but, that reasonable body – as in, his stomach is a bit convex but reasonable – and – anyway – he wears a wedding ring. So, he’s married. And, he’s in his sneakers, shorts, t-shirt – I mean, he isn’t even sauna clothed so – what? Confused. Well, okay, some guys like to sauna BEFORE they work out – I guess – to loosen up. Okay. It’s cool. He’s hot but I’ve seen him there with his wife. Yeah, I know, I pay attention. I write backstories. IT’S WHAT I DO. So, I think nothing of it.
But still, I mean, he DID just get there. I know from upstairs. But, whatever. It is what it is. I sit. Two minutes. Silence. He speaks.
“So, it turned out to be a really nice day out, right?”
Really? The Weather? Nice day? I mean, were we supposed to have a Tsunami or something?
I reply. “Yep.” And back to my slouch. Time passes.
I hear him, sort of, well, breathing heavily. I glance – really surreptitious – and, it SEEMS – now you know I am blind without my glasses – but – it SEEMS that he is – how to put this – well – MANIPULATING himself through his shorts – and looking at me –
Now – ANOTHER BACKSTORY – I am NOT attractive. I have spent my ENTIRE post-pubescent-sexual life WISHING I were – in fact – the kind of person to whom people came onto in saunas – but I am just NOT –
But, it seemed – well – he was – and, I’m not going into detail but once he knew that I noticed he made it quite clear what he was doing and what he wanted and he touched me and – HERE’S THE THING – I said,
“Is your wife here?”
And he said, “She’s away for the weekend.”
And – honestly – I thought about it. But I didn’t. And, this is NO MORAL VICTORY – believe me – I have NO HIGH GROUND HERE – I mean, at first, I was EXTRAORDINARILY excited that someone found me – me in a towel – attractive – BECAUSE I AM NOT – but me – being me – (see above – crazy paranoid, dysthymic bi-polar-ish nut-job) it took me about one tenth of a millisecond to say to myself “HOLD ON – I AM BROADCASTING SOMEHOW THAT I AM BIG HUGE DICK YEARNING SLUT WHEN I HAVE BEEN SO FUCKING CAREFUL NOT TO DO THAT! – and, yeah, I was out of there.
Sensual, sexual fresh, sort of dirty, hot taste of just waiting to be plucked, bursting in my mouth, all runny, potent seed
and firm but pliable flesh, delicious and delicate and yet, somehow, so
vitally alive, new, a promise and urgently calling, pleading, made to
be swallowed – NOPE, not gonna happen.
And, I think Sissie was happy about it, and so, tonight, she walked me out into the garden. I have – thus far – eaten about twenty baby tomatoes and god knows how many regular sized ones and will soon be stomach achy and sick – I’ve no doubt – but – I had to do it. I had to do something.
I am so lonely.