When I was a very young man I was very young, even for my age. I felt like an imposter in the adult world and I felt like most people saw through my charade. What I really wanted, more than anything else, was to be left alone. The time I spent with myself was the best time of all and when I could take a walk on a very cold day or a moonless night, without anyone else near, well, that seemed to be heaven.
But the human world wasn’t made for those on foot back then and getting around traffic was sometimes a problem. I did realize, however, that if I navigated into a place where foot traffic was problematic at best, I was more likely to be alone. There was a crowded beach in Brunswick Georgia that had a narrow road leading to it. Across the road there was a marsh and where the marsh was furthest from the narrow road were large granite rocks that had been dumped as part of the seawall. A human being had to cross the road, walk in the marsh and then climb on rocks to get there. There was a wide flat rock, suitable for sitting, hidden in the shadow of other rocks there. That was my favorite place at the beach.
The marsh was such that there was no place to wade, no good fishing, just a very shallow tidal place where crabs and sea birds fought for supremacy as they had since the beginning of time. There were traffic noises and the sounds that came from the people at the normal beach, but there were also real nature sounds; birds and waves, the lapping of water against the rocks and the never ending waves. I watched as life and death played out their parts in the tidal pool and I hid a copy of Frank’s Herbert’s “Dune” under the rocks. It was wrapped in a plastic bag, safe from the water and the rain. As far as I know that book might still be there.
Sometimes I would lean back against the rocks, close my eyes, and feel the Sumer heat take me. I could lie there for hours, safe in my stone cocoon, and when I returned to the real world I would tell my drinking buddies that I had met a girl and we have wandered off from the party. No one really cared. I was invisible to those people who knew me. I was far too thin, far too shy, far too far out there and no one really knew what to think of me, including me. I really thought I was insane. I had resigned myself to being committed to an insane asylum just as soon as everyone figured out how far gone I was. The only thing that was holding them back was the last few people around who were playing deep left field a little deeper than I was.
I knew a guy whose brain was so fried he would go out into vacant lots and collect empty whiskey bottles for whatever was left in the bottom of them. He would pick up a dozen or so bottles, mix the remains into one bottle and drink it. That was pretty bad. But then in really desperate times he would dig empty beer cans and bottles out of trash cans and drink what was left in them. That was truly nasty. Everyone avoided him like the plague but every once in a while he turned up with pretty good pot and so he attracted some positive attention. Everyone knew he would steal anything with alcohol in it at any time so no one left beer lying around. The truly stunning part of all this was I met his ex-wife one night and discovered he had two kids. Drink had driven them away from him and when it did he dove into the bottle with every intention of never returning. I figured they’d get that guy before they came for me.
I was on the rock in the marsh one day and it was a great day for it, too. The sun was warm without being overbearing and there was a very good breeze. I was reading “Dune” again and wondering what it would be like to live in a desert when I heard voices. I didn’t think anyone would be climbing the rocks so I just sat still and waited. I was very surprised when a small boat appeared in the marsh with two people in it. Damn. My world had been invaded.
There was a man and a woman in the boat and the boat itself was a piece of work. It looked like one of those homemade flat bottom canoes that are never free of standing water in the bottom. They were popular with the locals for crabbing and shrimping but I didn’t think there was enough of either for anyone to try their luck in this mud hole. But it wasn’t seafood the man was after. He was trying to talk the woman into sex and she wasn’t going to have sex in that boat, in the marsh, so close to the beach, in broad daylight. I stayed perfectly still and waited.
If someone were to shoot a training video on the art of seduction this guy would have made the “Top Ten Ways to Get a Woman to Freeze Up and Say No List” First off, the water craft wasn’t very stable for what he was proposing. The two of them in the same side of the boat made it tip precariously and caused the woman to yelp and complain about capsizing. Honestly, if she had moved to the middle of the boat, hung her legs over the side, and he had mounted her, I still think they would have had some issues. But she wasn’t moving at all. I think she realized as long as she was where she was he had to stay away from her or at least at reasonable distance. He was trying to get her to drink more beer, which she saw though, and he was trying to talk the place up as their own private love cove, which sounded ridiculous, and he was trying to keep his balance while trying to fondle her which was comical. He finally stopped to trying to bargain with her and came up with this, “If we can’t have sex what can we do?” kinda sly way of asking for something else routine and at that point she was ready to jump ship. She said she had to pee and really, there was nowhere around that could happen. The man finally had to admit defeat in all areas and paddle them away from my marsh and his libido.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that being overaggressive with an indecisive woman has the same effect as rushing towards her with a chainsaw and screaming about Satan living in shampoo. Now, unless you’ve kidnapped her, which means you don’t really get the entire point of dating to begin with, a woman who is with you is thinking about it and your job is to keep you from talking her out of it. If a woman wants to do it in a boat, in a moat, like a stoat, she’s going to help you facilitate that. If she tells you she thinks it’s impossible what she is actually saying is no. If you ask a woman if she would like something terribly chocolate off the dessert menu may get a response that isn’t fully yes or no and you have to figure that one out. But asking her for the seventh or eighth time will assure you that the tab isn’t going to include cake. The same applies for sex. If she’s thinking about it and wants you to pursue her a little she’ll be playful about it. If she says no and looks nervous about being with you then head towards shore; it’s over. Some guys do not get the idea that a woman might be interested in sex but not interested in sex right damn now. It’s actually a compliment if a woman would like to get attached emotionally before she gets attached physically.
I stayed hidden on my rock for a while then got up and left. I was pretty much convinced of my own invisibility at that point in my life so I wasn’t surprised they didn’t see me. Honestly, it startled me when someone did notice me at all. I wonder if I ever saw the woman again if I would recognize her and I wonder if I asked her about the guy if she would remember that day.