A Time and Place for Everything (or, Not the Time or Place for This Thing)

surpriseSo, there I was, enjoying dinner at one of my go-to neighborhood places. I was happily tucked in a corner reading a novel on my Kindle; a lovely early work of Michael Ondaatje. Lulled into a complacency as the novel’s story unfolded—in Ondaatje’s wonderfully lyrical way—I was mildly surprised when I found myself in the midst of an erotica scene.

Now, stumbling into an elegantly crafted erotica scene in a book you are reading is something you don’t want to do when you are in a public place. But, if you happen to stumble upon such a passage while reading in public, what you really don’t want, is someone to silently walk up behind you and gently touch you on the shoulder, as my waiter did.

“Everything OK? Need anything else?”

My skin ignited the instant he touched me. Every tiny hair bristled as the surprise of his skin on mine rolled all the way through my body, down to my toes. I could feel the otherwise still air move over me, as if a very soft breeze wafted through the dining room. I recoiled and shot him a surprised look.

“Sorry! I was trying not to startle you!”

I waved a dismissive hand and muttered, “No worries.”

“Anyway, do you need anything else?”

DO WE NEED ANYTHING?!, my mind screamed. AAACK!! ARE YOU KIDDING?! HE’S KIDDING, RIGHT?!

“Nope,” I said, “I’m good,” shyly shaking my head.

GOOD?! YOU’RE NOT GOOD! WE DEFINITELY NEED SOMETHING! WAIT! WAIT WAIT WAIT! HE’S WALKING AWAY! CUTE WAITER GUY IS WALKING AWAY! AAACK!

Stop it, I hissed in silence to my frantic hormones, as they continued to jump up and down on my reptilian brain stem. Not the time or place.

My brain and hormones fell silent, but kept buzzing about.

Anyway, I reasoned, desperate to calm my nerves, he’s actually not all that good looking. And way too young. Stop it!

The hormones cooled their tantrum. My skin desensitized. My brain, now cajoling, urged me to take a long draw off my glass of wine; take a deep breath.

(sigh)

I skipped to the next chapter.

 

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