Waiting for me in my inbox last night was a letter from an old flame. How fun! A middle-aged man likes to be reminded of his reckless youth every so often and letters from old flames serve that purpose very well. But she was writing to tell me how happy she is in her marriage and her career. Hmm. Not exactly a kiss to build a dream on, but what the hell. I sent her a congratulatory reply and she responded, inviting me to keep in touch (ho-ho!), emphatic in her assurance that she was not flirting with me (what the?…) and that she maintains contact with several old flames in full view of her husband and …
Let me disclose right now that, while I’ve received postcards from people who’ve toured The Moral High Ground, I’ve never been there myself. (I have allergies, you see, and …) Since losing my virginity at the embarrassingly late age of 23, I’ve had romantic relationships (okay, affairs) with a number of married women, and though I’m told there exists somewhere a race of uber-secure, uber-mature couples whose social circles include everybody they’ve ever slept with, my own experience leads me to believe that the best way to avoid the wages of sin is to avoid what the sisters called “near occasions of sin.” Ex-lovers fall squarely into that category.
So why would a self-proclaimed happily married mother of two, successful in her career, published, polished and rocking in the upscale bosom of friends, family and community, email a man she says she was once so “crazy about” that she rebuffed the romantic overtures of an NPR personality whose voice we hear on the radio to this very day? Why would she do that? I have two opposing theories:
Door #1: She really is so secure and so happy that she’s either indifferent or oblivious to appearances. Reconnoitering from her base deep inside the marital no-fly zone, she puts out her hand and touches the face of anything that sparks her fancy. She’s unassailable because she’s truly pure of heart.
Door #2: She thinks her husband is having an affair with his secretary.
God knows I’m a cynic and God knows I’m reinforced in my cynicism every waking day, but if my mother had ever sent such letters as these to a highschool sweetheart, the sound of my father’s shit hitting the fan would have been deafening. And if that sweetheart had been a.) unattached, and b.) someone who’s company was easily avoided … well … I shudder to think.
Which is why I’ll take door #2, Monty, and I’ll throw in an email filter that shields me from future correspondence … which, in my venal paranoia, I’d only misconstrue.
And on a completely unrelated note …
Instead of going to the Kiss concert last night, I went to see “Capitalism: A Love Story” and left it feeling both affirmed and despondent. Surprise, surprise. Yet I cling to my worldly goods and my $90/month distaster recovery health insurance plan like an infantryman clings to his St. Christopher medal, even as I’m confident that Blue Cross someday will raise my premium to a level that exceeds my capacity for pretense and I’ll join the ranks of the uninsured. And then the homeless. Capitalism rocks!