Saturday, June 16, 2007

at your fingertips

some folks you find speak a mighty good line
they charm you all away
they take you along on a sweet sweet song
then they steal your heart away
but blessed be the one who can understand why
people have to act that way
'cause if I knew I wouldn't even want to sing

but have a little peace
just a little peace of mind
give me some peace
peace of mind
-- jim messina

yesterday i had my first facial.

to be precise (because it feels necessary at this juncture to be precise about this experience), i had a "deep cleanse, tone, exfoliation, steam, extractions, application of custom mask, moisturizer, and a massage of the hand and arm."

okay? are we clear about what transpired? can i get my story in now? thank you.

anyway, in advance of my birthday and father's day, my wife hooked me up with a spa treatment.

it was deeply deeply gratifying as a paid-for hour of intimate and uninterrupted attention can be. as far as i know.

while i was laying there, savoring the gentle-yet-firm manipulation of my overly impressionable sensibilities, it occurred to me that the feeling one derives from such exchanges never lasts very long.

i mean, the before and during is great. the esthetician (we'll call her "annalie" because that's her name), hovers over you, speaking softly, soothingly, in a way that you rarely hear outside a room lighted mainly by candles. you can feel her breath on your face (i believe she had a vanilla latte for breakfast), which has the effect of heightening your senses to the point that you can actually discern the swirly contours of her fingerprints.

i may not know biometrics, but i know what i like.

i'm straying off point here, which is that the after-glow of these too-brief interludes is pitifully short. as the last, lingering touch slips off your skin, your inner infant cries out for more, not wanting to leave the birth canal.

even so, it is possible that with some mental distraction techniques and compartmentalization you can take a few halting steps during which you might still feel one with the universe. and because it's so good, so right, you fight to carry the effect with you forever, and you do -- if by "forever" you mean "until you leave the parking lot and a police car pulls in behind you, and you hope the officer doesn't ask you if you've been drinking because it kinda feels like you have, even though you haven't, because it's ten o'clock in the morning."

poof. just like that your bought-and-paid-for peace of mind is flayed. and that, really, is the gist of this entire digression. for it is peace we seek, because it is peace we lack, if i may inaccurately paraphrase james earl jones in field of dreams, (and i very well may).

we could spend the rest of our blogging lives enumerating the ways we lack peace, and about 9 minutes counting the ways we find it. maybe less. with the exception of a few prescription medications, a few more non-prescription varieties, and some really good cabernet sauvignon, there are damn few means to find your bliss and hang onto it in a meaningful way.

the religious among us say jesus is the way, or buddha, or muhammad, or alicia witt. but let's face it, some of the least peaceable examples in history are provided by rogue advocates of some religion or another.

no. there are too many ways to sail off the edge of the earth, from a peace of mind perspective, too many examples of the timeless warning, "here there be monsters," alicia witt notwithstanding.

if, in fact, it is peace we seek because peace we lack, it occurs to me that after millennia of searching, humans were not meant to achieve a mental steady-state of serenity. if we were, we would have done so long ago.

so we pay for fleeting moments of it, we search longingly for glimpses of it, we google the digitized aggregation of it. and, occasionally, we experience a moment so perfect, so transcendental, that we breathlessly chase after it no matter how foolish it makes us appear.

i had a facial on saturday.

and in a secular, hedonistic kind of was divine.

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