A Prime Number Kind Of

at the doors to Musee Rodin, Sara in purna ekahastasana

at the doors to Musee Rodin, Sara in purna ekahastasana

A short dialogue between Sara and Rodin’s Door, herein considered “The Gate of 30”:

Me: Knock, knock, 30, anybody home?

Who’s there?

Me: 29.

29-who?

Me: You know: like the prime integer?

Oh.

. . .

Me: Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Me: 29.

29-who?

Me: Door, are you getting Alzheimer’s?

No solicitations.

Me: 30!  Come on! Knock-knock jokes have protocol!

Is this a joke?

Me: Knock-flippin-knock!

Yes?

Me: Anybody home?

What’s “home”?

Me: Oh Puh-lease don’t get all ornery and ontological!

But the door just stands there, being a door, stubbornly present.

The kiss, the palm of God, Eve curled in a ball trying to shape-shift into rock, various hair-pulling entanglements of Eros—these carved and half-carved witnesses hold their breath during our exchange, like good statues.  In return for a work-space, Rodin left everything he had to the state, including his sex drive.  Perhaps it was the latter that kept the massive door so exquisitely shut.

My offering today will be a deposit on a sheet of paper into the dirty and suave Seine river of a list of things I release as I turn the corner of this decade and enter the cavity of adult-adult-hood.  It’s rumored that Joan of Arc’s ashes were thrown into same river after she was burned at the stake—was adulthood that much of a bitch?; so too, Paul Celan, poet who made silence talk, sunk with a stone to the bottom of his own accord.  My obstacles will keep company with the fierce and laconic alike, somewhere between God-convinced and God-estranged.

But to enter my next decade: my Plan A always involves pacifying Ganesh, notorious and sanguine elephant god riding atop mouse (smart voiture in France where personal taxis are expensive), who presides over doorways.  He needs to be given something sweet or, even better, something outrageously sweet; perhaps imported junk cereals and local wine, the Carb and the Sugar, America’s longtime sweetheart.  It is important to curry favor with Ganesh because the first obstacle one encounters is the problem of tripping over the threshold itself.

I can’t say I thought of this particular Ganesh offering myself; it was shown to me.  For the swan-song of my roaring, howling twenties was watching my lovely employer and my lovely boyfriend share a 14-dollar box of Captain Crunch paired with a Muscat wine for a rapid lunch, following the recommendation of a You-tube, populist oenophile.  Like what you like, sayeth this wine expert, of the bring-the-grape-back-to-the people ilk.  Rather than defending your taste according to oakiness and bouquet, personal inclination is your new index.  I suspect this causes as much relief as the burn-your-bras craze did in its time.

The method of reclaiming one’s fiefdom of taste?  Swish the first sip of wine around in the mouth and spit it out (into a vessel); take another sip, this time to be swallowed.  Eat your Captain with relish appropriate to sugar’s tyranny, as She bathes in BioLait.  Feel your blood run with artificial flavors—being “natural” is not a state we can pinpoint anyway, it’s just another abstract noun run amok—so why bother choosing products which claim such naturalness for themselves?

What do you taste in the wine? M asks J, with reverence appropriate to the occasion and a curious grin.

Honey, J says.

My honey.  We gather it from Life, that upside-down tree, the cosmic arbor inverted, nectar flowing downward.  No wonder we’re all so confused all the time!

A and I sit by the Seine in the PM, near where the large boats dock that give tourists the winding water-route experience of Paris.  The day is queasy-looking, gray, chilled; the sky feels like it’s about to sneeze. In the almost-rain, the stone statue of a Duke in disrepair beneath the bridge looks quizzically at the left bank, as if he’s wondering when all this happened.  A, watching the water break up patterns of grease, pulse with stringlets of algae, move in patterns of muted green and blue as the wind interrogates it, says: it’s so beautiful, things happen, they change, they dissolve, and it the water can’t hold on to any of them, it just keeps going.

Aw.  We agree; life is like this too.  Eating Captain Crunch must make one overly grateful to have a digestive tract that’s a mover-and-shaker.  Ganesh is not an aesthete; sugar cereals will do, yes please, or anything else that makes this ride through life veer closer to the sweet than to the bitter.  Rodin’s one big door may be closed to me, but thirty is about to open.  The Seine massages its dead and opens its throat to its living lovers, bel canto.  It smells bad down there, for sure, but that’s part of what keeps it convincingly real.

Me: Knock-knock!

Who’s there?

What a damn, damn good question.

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3 Responses to “A Prime Number Kind Of”

  1. Ellie Says:

    Happy Birthday Sara! How special to be spending your birthday with family and loved ones, experiencing life to the fullest! Hope the year ahead brings you smiles and joy galore!
    Love,
    Dave and Ellie

  2. rickyb Says:

    Yes, Happy Belated Birthday, dear Sno! Like Rumi, you’ve been knocking on the wrong side!

    much love,

    benjam

  3. moatis operandi Says:

    happy birthday dearest one. can’t wait to join you in a couple months!

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