The Age of Aquarius: A Very Good Year
The temperature was perfect. For the past hour I had been slaving over the stove, making the perfect sh'diffe, and only had a few steps to go. Now that the temp. was at 450 degrees, I added the rosemary and salt, while the....slam! I slipped on some water on the floor, and on the way down my arm caught the pot handle, sending its beautiful contents (luckily) away from me. Why, why, why is it that whenever I deliberately do something ordinary, something goes terribly wrong?
To help you understand further, I will take you back to a time in life where dreams paved the way to reality. This mystical era was a time in my life where I was on the brink of manhood. I am talking about High School, the month was January, a very meaningful month as it not only stood for my Aquarianistic qualities, but as I was to soon find out, there was another with whom I would be linking my love like the stars twinkling above.
In fact, "twinkling" is the perfect word to describe my love; it was almost un-noticable at the time. Yet the beams of love were beginning to glow brighter, the rays were aligning, and I was about to connect in a very real way with someone special.
In a bit of cosmic mischief that has not quite been explained properly, this special person was also born an aquarius. This is my story; it all happened while I was in High School. At a time where many of my patterns in life were established, but at this time it was to mold a fine line between the “safe” and the “unthinkable”.
To begin, my relationship with girls was not at its peak, as preferred honing my cooking skills during free hours. Before the age of 16 girls were never a problem for me because up until that time I never had to date any of them. Interaction was kept to a minimum for whichever reason, but it ultimately came down to an awkwardness that was avoided at all costs. This mentality set up a safety or comfort zone. It was a way for me to avoid girls, even at a cost of culinary reclusivity, which was not necessarily good for my character or my social life, but it did work and it kept me at a very secure distance from any female interaction (avoidance of talking, walking, and working with females).
This tinge of fear that developed is now a mystery to me in my maturity as I look back and see that change that had to take place as my path of celibacy skipped tracks and I found myself interacting and even finding success in the dating world. This pleased me. However, at the time it was not easy. I had to first start looking at girls from a viewpoint of interest, which I had never had, then I had to make contact, another scary adventure that is heart pounding with each attempt, then I had to engage in conversations and even try to find common interests. Fast-forwarding through the technicalities of finding my compatible woman with whom I began to date, I will now focus on a new path that became my pattern for dating.
Dating was new to me and I relied on two things: my kitchen prowess (which only went so far), and the knowledge of others. I was told that on the first date that I had to be a gentleman; I had to open doors and make lovely conversation. The second date was the one that was reserved for the romance. Understanding this I tucked this information away and then worked on finding a way to use it.
Despite my amazing egg rolls, girls tended to either love me for my brains or my brawn; two things for which I have always been attributed. Knowing this I had to use the first date as a means to figure out which was the source of their attraction. The second date therefore, was the one in which I had to see if that original attraction was enough to get them to like me and if the magic was there then I would be free to make a move. My first steps into the dating world were difficult, but luckily, with a bit of counseling, this second date ritual was about to begin.
I had found the girl. And as destiny always plays a role, she was born the same month as me and thereby sharing many of the same qualities and attributes as myself (though she despised egg rolls). It was our second date and to set the mood I took her to a Monster Truck Rally. The trucks were great and to show her my environmental side, we used public transportation to get there and back. Since it was our second date, I had to test the waters to make sure she was ready for a kiss. That is why on the way back while we were on the TRAX car I went ahead and put my arm around her. A second or two went by, but she felt the spark and scooted in under my arm, it was working. If I ever had any doubt that she would not want to kiss me, it vanished from at that point. I knew it that it was not only going to happen, but that it was going to be my first real kiss.
The doorstep scene.
I pulled into her driveway (we drove the car at the TRAX station) and walked her to the front door. It was January, it was our month, and I knew that the gods would work in my favor, but for one reason or another, I started to get scared. Everything was right but I began to avoid the goodbye, which I knew would lead to the kiss. It had always sounded so easy, but now that the moment had arrived, I was beginning to get nervous. To remedy the situation I just talked and talked until it got colder and colder. Finally, she said she had to go in and for me it was the moment of truth. She said thanks for the wonderful evening and moved closer as I motioned for a hug. After a moment of hugging our bodies pulled away, but I still held my hands on her hips and looked towards her until I thought our eyes had met, and then fixed my gaze on her lips and zeroed in for the kiss. I made my move and was halfway there when her head suddenly shifted to the right! I didn’t know what to do, this wasn’t supposed to happen, I knew I was supposed to kiss her, it was the second date, everyone had told me this was the date to kiss her and I wasn’t going to fail them now.
So I did what I had to do. As I saw her head move towards the door I instantly adjusted my time and speed to match hers and made contact . . . but I was too late and my miscalculations landed my kiss on her chin/cheek/left corner of her mouth. I had failed miserably; a simple ritual such as kissing a girl on a second date had lead to my humility and embarrassment. I did the only thing that I could think of and so I ran, got into the car and drove home in silence. The shock was terrible and I even contemplated a return to celibacy, but ultimately I was amazed how such an ordinary ritual went so terribly wrong.
This is what went stalking through her mind during this event: "It sure is getting to be quite cold out here. If he's all through then I am just going to head inside. He seems a bit nervous. How long has it been since he has been on a date? Do you think that I am the first girl that he has ever taken out? He did mention that he was an Aquarius too. That would make him......Huh?......What!?.....Did he just try to kiss me! I am so stupid, turning away just when..... Of course he was stalling, he was building up the courage. You silly girl. You had better smile and say goodnight: (Smiling sweetly) 'Goodnight Juddy.' Nice work, he looked a bit sklewy, but he knows that you are not angry. I wonder when he will call me. Amazingly, despite the awkwardness of the moment, it really is amazing that such an ordinary thing turned out so well! He tried to kiss me!!"
Or at least that's what I hope was going through her mind. Anyway, little did I know that something was about to go terribly right for me.
The empire of my life had been proceeding forth with such brilliance. The Universe was bent on providing me with every opportunity that my especial existence merited. Allow me to explain myself.
To any outside observer it would seem that I have been living quite a normal life. Two loving parents, kind brothers and sisters, a couple of spunky dogs, and even an immortal parakeet. School has treated me well, girls have been of constant association, and I have always had enough of everything. All of this seemed very normal to me, as it does to you. Yet, beneath the surface, lies an altogether strange motivating force. Under the veneer is an enchanted life.
This mystery was first unveiled, ever so carefully, two years ago. There was a competition at my university for the student that could cook the tastiest breakfast. I had interned over the summer at a five star restaurant, so I knew that I definately had the most experience and potential. I determined that I would win. So I prepared, cooked, garnished, and served my special dish: Two eggs, some carefully grated cheese, seasonal parsley, ripely squeezed ketchup, and a perfectly mixed Nesquick. In fact, I was quite adament in my appraisal of the Nesquick--for it was mixed "by waterfall," just like the chocolate of Willy Wonka. Then my heart dropped. For I saw, as the other dishes were brought before the judges, that someone had made an Afternoon Delight! There was no hope of beating such a fantastic and, I admit, tasty treat.
Actually, I didn't despair. In fact, I redoubled my determination to win the competition. That was the precise moment when the universe demanded obedience and the cosmos worked for my favor. My eyes followed the server that was carrying out the Afternoon Delight. As she rounded a corner, she suddenly caught her apron on the button of a very well dressed man from the northern portion of the Iberian Penninsula. Consequently, in annoyance he uttered a Spanish obsenity. And even though the French-trained server managed to hold onto the Afternoon Delight, an Argentine gentleman (of the Gusman Family Crest) suddenly stood upon his feet in a fit of Iberian-induced anger. A bit of fisticuffs broke out among the two fine men, and, unfortunately, the Afternoon Delight was savagely used by the cordial Spaniard to whollop the Argentine man of grace upon the head.
All said and done my perfectly cooked eggs and waterfall-mixed Nesquick were the only dishes that survived the ensuing mayhem. And, thus, I was declared the winner of the competition!
But this was simply the first time that I noticed the universe's interest in my well being.
Later on that fall, I became the first chef to intern in space. Talk about the cosmos aligning.