Thursday, February 18, 2010

Patchwork: Br. Ezra Explains His Angst

Angst! It isn’t just for teenagers.

At 43 I find myself occasionally experiencing bouts of angst – an existential crisis, as we sophisticated adults like to refer to it. Along with angst comes boredom, depression, anxiety, regret and a plethora of lesser, but still largely unpleasant emotions. Most of the time I can shake it off and go about the business of living my mundane life. But, sometimes, like this past week, I can’t ignore its screams.

Terminal boredom! That’s what I call this angst when it gets so loud that I can no longer ignore it. The little voice inside my head – Rabbi Stephen – reminds me that this is a perfect time to practice. In fact, he insists, this is exactly what practice is all about. Now sit your Goya ass back down on your meditation cushion. Crawl back to it on your belly if necessary, but get back to the cushion and practice.

I do just that. I sit. I close my eyes. I become mindful of my breath.

Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in…

Breathing out, I am aware that I am breathing out…

I am not a Buddhist. But, I do practice Zen mindfulness meditation. My teachers are the venerable Thich Nhat Hanh and the late Shunryu Suzuki with a dash of Shambala via Pema Chodron and her teacher Chogyam Trungpa, the great Rimpoche of crazy wisdom and lover of busty English school girls. Rumor has it that he married one and that it scandalized the community he was living in at the time. Good for him.

Big boobs and an English accent – what a thrilling combination – my skin gets all goose pimply and my nipples stiffen as a naughty English Catholic school girl comes sauntering up to me, her hair brushing against my face as she leans over to whisper naughty invitations into my ear. Her perfume washes over me and I get a nice view of her ample cleavage.

But, I prefer my women to have more modest bust lines. She obliges and her breasts transform to meet that desire. She straddles me and starts to gently gyrate her hips on my lap. Her undulating belly and breasts press against me in a slow erotic rhythm as she dances to the tribal beat of my thudding heart. It is very hard to meditate while receiving a lap dance.

Rabbi Stephen clears his throat:

“Ahem; Ahem!”

My naughty school girl leaves the room.

Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in…

It occurs to me that I have never visited a strip club. Not once. When I was younger I was to shy, to embarrassed, to enter one. Several girlfriends and an ex wife later I am no longer really interested. You sort of grow out of it. It’s the same way with pornography. After awhile it no longer holds any real appeal. I know that isn’t true with all men, but for me the little electric charge of erotic thrill no longer travels from my spine to my skull at pictures of naked women. I still enjoy looking at naked women. I just don’t get aroused like I used to. That makes me sad.

My downstairs neighbor – a former stripper – with small breasts and an ass so tight you could bounce a quarter off it thinks its funny I have never been inside a strip club. She thinks I am a one of a kind. Last night she told me she is attracted to my teddy bear physique. That’s what she called it – a teddy bear physique. It’s a sweet way of suggesting that I am a husky guy.

“I guess I am still a girl at heart,” She told me, “I still sleep with a teddy bear when I am alone.” She winks playfully at me.

She tells me that she likes that I don’t objectify her. I blush a nice deep crimson. I love staring at her butt. I want to bite it. I tell her that isn’t entirely true. I don’t tell her that I want to bite her backside, but I admit that her attributes as an attractive woman are not lost on me. In my minds eye I have seen her naked. In fact, she is sitting next to me right now completely naked.

She is one of those women who talks with her hands. She touches your chest or your arm during conversation. Her hands are strong, but still very feminine and I want to hold them and feel her caress me with them. How do you not objectify? Are men doomed by an internal impulse to scatter their seed and to objectify all potential mates?

Not that she is a potential mate. She thinks of me as a teddy bear and I am a committed monogamist. I am proud of the fact that I have never cheated on anybody. No affairs. No accidental hand jobs. No near quickies in a supply closet. When I am in relationship I am faithful. That courtesy has not always been returned. I sigh at the lost sexual opportunities that I wasted when I was younger, thin and better looking.

An image of a friend of my parents who left his wife and family for a younger more exciting woman when he was in his mid forties comes unbidden into my mind. I had been a college freshman at the time. Suddenly our house was filled with books on men and mid life crisis.

Midlife Crisis!

That’s it! I am having a midlife crisis. I am 43 how could I not be having a midlife crisis? If I make it another forty three years I will be 86. My father died when he was 63. I may not have that much time. But, even another 20 years is good. I can get a lot of living done in that amount of time. Hell, if I play it right I could get a lot of living done in the next 5 to 10.

Greg is sitting next to me a huge shit eating grin on his face. My stripper neighbor is sizing him up. Greg is as thin and athletic looking as I remember – stripper bait.

This is a vulnerable time for a man. Midlife is where we confront the reality of our mortality and the fact that we are getting older. It’s a time for a man to examine his life. Gain some useful perspective and face reality. It seems imperative that we give some thought to the legacy we will leave behind when we finally die. What will people say about me? How will they remember me?

An unexamined life is not worth living says the philosopher. So there will be no sports cars or fancy rides that make people pat me on the shoulder and say, “I am sorry to hear about your penis.” There will be no trading in the girlfriend for someone younger. I am not sure I could keep up with someone younger anyway. I like to be curled up with a book by 10 PM.

It used to be wine, women and song. Now its beer, the old lady and T.V. – a bumper sticker I saw almost 25 years ago. I love my girlfriend dearly…even is she is a constantly bitching and upset about things. That’s the mistake people make in relationships. No matter how much you love someone. No matter how compatible you are with your lover they really can’t make you happy. There is really no such thing as “you complete me.”

You complete me…

It’s nothing but a conspiracy cooked up by the evil geniuses at Hallmark and Hollywood who want to sell us a butt load of greeting cards, flowers and candy or get us to plant our ass in the theater for the next great feel good movie of the year. Love to these bastards is an emotion to exploit so they can sell products. Sex is good for sales too.

You complete me.

Fuck you.

I get tired of perpetually single people bitching and whining about wanting “a partner” or wanting to be in “a healthy relationship.” Most of them fail to see that they are the reason that it they are single or constantly breaking up with someone. The really dangerous ones are members of the multiple spouse club. Theirs is a strange pathology.

Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in…

Breathing out, I am aware that I am breathing out…

I have never understood that deep loneliness that seems to compel people headlong into relationships. I have been happily single and I have been happily hooked up with someone. I tend to go a long time in between relationships. I think I might be happier single.

My girlfriend has come crashing through the door of my apartment. She is stressed out and her bosom is heaving. The beginning of another panic attack is evident in the deep sighs. Most of the time I can empathize as I am prone to panic attacks too. But today, it just annoys me.

It’s setting my teeth on edge.

Sometimes I want to scream:


But, that would be cruel.

And I do love her…

Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in…

Breathing out, I am aware that I am breathing out…

Rabbi Stephen walks over to me and in the grandest Zen tradition cuffs me hard upside the head.

“Patchwork,” He declares in an imperious voice.

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