Monday, November 23, 2015

Checkout Line

I had the pleasure of waiting at the express register behind a really handsome man a couple of days ago. Buying cereal is rarely so satisfying.

I felt a freedom and euphoria in appreciating his beauty. And at once noticed the contrast with an all-too-familiar sort of longing that has very little to do with genuine pleasure.
That other, less happy brand of desire, which was more or less all I knew in my teen years and twenties--and which has continued to get way too much air time in my head in the decades since--leaves me feeling like a dog straining at a leash, if not like a fish thrashing on the sand. It comprises equal parts of (1) impossible fantasy scenarios, (2) frustration that there’s no socially graceful (or even acceptable) way of getting his attention--at least the kind of attention I might like--(3) ancient insecurities about whether a man I’m attracted to could possibly find me attractive in return and (4) painful, ridiculous comparisons between how fabulous my life would be if only I had his attention and how unfabulous it presently is without it. I’ve always been more or less incompetent at flirting. If I were better at it, the dog on my leash might at least be a little less desperate to dash across the street through oncoming traffic.
This, instead, was more about just being glad the man between my bran flakes and the cash register was part of the world, and that I had the pleasure of a couple of minutes crossing paths with him before we walked out the door in opposite directions. What I was experiencing was desire without attachment.
I guess some people figure this out early on. I’m glad I’m getting it now.


  1. A perfect example of Chastity (not to be confused with celibacy!) as the freedom to love (admire, etc.) without possessing or controlling.

  2. Sorry if I'm trivialising, but... this post reminds me of this video, by fellow Canadian Michael Buble. It never fails to cheer: