Embracing the voyage across the sea, I brought my copy of Anthony Burgess’s Nothing Like the Sun, a novel about young Will Shakespeare, a glove maker’s son, bored with his party buddies in Stratford and moving on to much more exciting things. I was glad I’d read it before, because my vacation was too much of a distraction to actually focus on any of the words I was reading.
Really, it’s a beautiful work, very sexy, poetic and lyrical, but I had to keep rereading paragraphs, pondering the most minute phrases. Like, what body part was he talking about when he referred to her “black flue”? I think I know. I’m pretty sure he was talking about giving it to her up the old chimney if you know what I mean.
Anyhow, the first opportunity I had to read was on our flight across the ocean. But how could I read a poetic novel when a hot young Israeli chick was flirting with me the whole time in her sexy broken English? Burgess’s words just couldn’t compete with my trying to explain to her what the word “goo” means.
Do I have something in my eye, she asked, leaning into me. I gently scraped her eye with the tip of my finger. No hair, just a little goo, I told her. I don’t know what you’re saying, she smiled and fluttered her eyelashes at me. You know, like snot or boogers, and I made a gesture like I was picking my nose. Sexy, right?
When our meals came, my plate held a pile of gelatinous mashed potatoes, and I didn’t think about it until later that this was the perfect way to communicate the meaning of the word “goo.”
As I tried to sleep, I knew I could make out with her if I wanted to, start my vacation on an exciting note. But it was enough for me to think, as I take this trip to celebrate my 40th birthday, hey, maybe I’ve still got it.