The Kama Sutra at 37,000 Feet

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 00:00

We were flying west to San Diego, and as I looked down upon our world from my little window, perched at 37,000 feet, I thought about what a dandy little planet that we had been given. To the north I could see White Sands shimmering through the blue haze. Just a few miles north of there would be an innocuous little 12-foot high stone marker at the Trinity Site. There, the first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945 at 05:29:21 ± 2 seconds (MWT). Robert Oppenheimer, a key figure in the development of the bomb, has been quoted as saying that as he witnessed the explosion, he thought of a quote from the ancient Bhagavad Gita. “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Hmmm.
    “I’m going to see my EX-boyfriend in San Diego” she had announced to no one in particular as she sat down next to me at the beginning of the flight. She had emphasized the “EX” by prolonging those two letters by just a beat or two with a faint, but sweet, Southern drawl. She was pretty, but overdone. Long red fingernails, a perfectly coiffed helmet of hair, fake eyelashes, and lots, I mean lots, of cleavage. You know…friendly.

    Soon after takeoff, she had reached down into her voluminous handbag (Louis Vuitton?) and fished out the Kama Sutra (okay, I didn’t see that coming). But this wasn’t just any copy of the Kama Sutra--it was tiny, about the size of a deck of cards. You know, just the sort of thing you want when you’re in a hurry, and need to brush up a bit on a few details.
    Now, to her credit, she apologized loudly in advance (again to no one in particular) if anyone was offended by the book, and she held it VERY carefully, up close to her face, and barely cracked it open as she flipped through the pages. The sense of drama was delicious (hey, I was young once).
    “I want to make it hard for him to forget me” she had said at the outset, without a trace of irony.
    Somewhere over the Chiricahuas, she grew tired of her studies and became talkative. Her EX-boyfriend was meeting her in San Diego, but he lived in Phoenix. There he had made a friend from the San Carlos Apache reservation. That friend had shown her EX-boyfriend where one might find beautiful bits of stone treasure, turquoise and peridot, lying about on the desert floor.
    She went on to explain that her EX-boyfriend not only knew the man on the reservation, but had been invited into the home of his family, and become trusted by them.
    “They have some strange beliefs,” she declared knowingly, drumming those long red fingernails on her tray table in rapid succession to emphasize her point. The stacatto clatter of those nails was like that of some pocket-sized machine gun, carried about for just such moments.
    One day a dog had appeared at the home of the Apache family. The family believed that the dog was the spirit of their deceased daughter, who had died tragically at a young age.
    “They believe some cock-a-doodle stuff!” she said, as she unleashed another volley of fingernail fire.
    Her EX-boyfriend was eventually entrusted to stay at the family’s home and care for their dog while they went into Phoenix one day to do some errands. On that day the dog was hit by a car and killed.
    “They didn’t hold it against him.”
    “Like I said, it’s cock-a-doodle.”


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