Love, American Style

October 16, 2011


A good Shaman knows that magic is alchemy. Playing with the cations and anions, physically and mentally. I hadn’t learned that yet, at least on a conscious level. I was getting there. Bumbling down the path. Still possessing more energy than sense, which can be hilarious, tragic, and dangerous. The good thing, though, was that I had reached the point of not trying so hard to plug the hole I felt in myself. That nagging wound that would never heal, but wasn’t all that terminal, either. Sure, I still often left the television on whenever I was home. Just in the background. To see faces, to have voices around. But I had come to a certain zen resolution about the follies of obsessively hunting for “the one”.

Not that I had given up the idea, the intuition, that she was out there…somewhere. Just that I was finally recognizing a lifetime of running into ditches resulting from blindly desperate pursuit. But all the seemingly good or bad decisions had the feel of pushing me toward something, of the mosh pit being not too malevolent. So why not stop frantically dog-paddling in circles and just relax into the current? The water is deep and wide, it is far more than its turbulent surface.

The universe responded to my mental conversion from anion to cation. Electrons flow through a sea of metallic cations. Energy flows. The universe also loves irony. You can understand how she might get bored.

Thus the stage was set when I hopped on my motorcycle that night. The same model Prince had in Purple Rain perhaps not too coincidentally, for there were still adolescent fantasies of being the Great White Prince that tauntingly danced in the mental background, just to keep things fun. A carryover habit from playing Army or Ninja while running through the woods as a kid, I imagine.

It was Saturday, and I too was bored, but I wasn’t going to push it. I wasn’t going to jump from bar to bar until almost dawn searching, pushing, trying to force the issue. Nah, man. Whatever happens, happens…or not. Try to enjoy the ride. So I thought I might hit a couple of close-by hangouts and be back home at a respectable hour.

The first place was some completely forgettable, short-lived excuse of a place for human friction, both good and bad. One of those places that was built to be something anything other than a bar, and someone thought aloud: “A couple of pool tables, some crappy PA, and we’re slinging beers, my friend!”

I dutifully clutched my beer, stood around in an outwardly cool, nonchalant fashion, and watched the show go by. Eventually a group of somewhat friends (including one with occasional benefits) decided to make the trek downtown for some real action. Declining the offer to ride in either of the cars it took to transport the entire entourage, I independently agreed to rejoin the clan at our destination, Club Dog Alley.

If that name rings a bell, you are getting to be an old fart, like me. It was an interesting place – for Charleston. The owner was from New York City (said in the manner of those Pace Picante commercials), and the place reflected that sense of urban grit you might expect. It was barely lit as your radius from the always besieged bar increased. Strange, multi-limbed, sensual forms moved in dark corners. Sinuous, Curve-esque music thumped in your chest…and lower. A place you would never set foot in again if you saw it in the light of day, but this was about willfully descending into Plato’s dark cave (Plato’s being another Charleston bar that dates you, actually).

I rejoined the group, and we claimed a small plot of territory not too far from the bar. A half-assed circle of us, me leaning back against the wall, while occasional-friend-with-benefits leaned back against me.

And that’s when it happened.

She had been there, in the group. Younger, beautiful, but hanging with the guys she knew. And I was ‘with’ her friend, you understand. But at some point we made eye contact…

Now I don’t mind telling you I have always had a thing for Samantha Stevens. Call Jeannie for the bachelor party, party in the hot tub with Mary Ann and Ginger, but Sam was a keeper. And when I looked this woman in the eyes, she twinkled. Holy shit, she twinkled! I swear to you, her eyes literally sparkled. And not so much her nose, but her whole being just…twinkled. Maybe our friend Plato’s friend, Aristophanes, was right all along. The comedians usually are. Here stood the catalyst of not just all my physical chemistry, but all the more esoteric, alchemic reactions, as well. I never wanted to be away from her again. Not in a desperate sense, more destined.

Oh, Source of mine, how you love to play with me. The moment I let go of looking so hard for her, you placed her in front of me. But the lesson/joke wasn’t over yet, it was just entering a whole new phase. Another dimension was being added which was previously not empirically experienced, but thought to have existed. But I’ll save that for next time. It’s getting a bit late…

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14 Comments on “Love, American Style”

  1. Andra Watkins Says:

    What an exceptional first line. I love ‘how people met’ stories, because of their very randomness, the fact that we almost always could just miss it.


    • Brett Myers Says:

      I think that’s the new dimension I’m alluding to. The understanding that there is neither exclusively fate nor free will, but a ‘living’ undercurrent that we can rudder our boat in. And an intuitive feedback feeling when we are on the good tack. Oh, me and my pantheism…


  2. Ashley Holt Says:

    By contrast, any seemingly-mystical “deliverence” of my destiny resulted in my chasing after some girl with whom I was completely smitten, but who was actually no good for me. Eventually, I learned to be even more cynical than I already was about anything supposedly devine. Practicality and good instincts turned a great friendship into a love affair that still works wonders for me today. But sparks? “Across a crowded room?” That always developed into a tragic farce for me. Jealous.


  3. kateshrewsday Says:

    Now that’s up there with Tony and Maria on the dance floor. Or you could just call me an old romantic.


  4. carnellm Says:

    Crud. Now I have that theme song stuck in my head. Hell hath no punishment like bad TV theme songs playing repeatedly.


  5. Gale Says:

    Ha! Brett, I think I remember that you and I had that in common and that’s when we first became friends…..I had every Barry Manilow album ever made!


  6. vkperry Says:

    That was very fun – And we’ve all been there, right?!? I can’t remember where Club Dog Alley was, Can you help me out?


    • Brett Myers Says:

      Hmmmmm. Perhaps not. 😀

      I can’t recall, exactly. I want to say it was behind what was Plato’s, somewhere inside that city block. The entrance was literally in an alley, and I think you even had to go up some metal stairs. There was no street front access, as I think it was above something retail. I really should know, as a band I was in even played there. Those times are somewhat blurry, except for certain things that tend stick with me. 🙂


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