Sunday, April 17, 2005

Ockham's Dawn

It is just past four thirty in the morning, and I am on the other side of the planet.

I am listening as the imam—or more likely, a tape recording of the imam’s voice—chants the call to morning prayer.

The mosque is about five miles away; there is a grove and a stretch of beach between it and my hotel. The chants reverberate off every vertical surface, bouncing back in echoes, layering the imam’s voice to fill the still-dark sky.

I am awake, waiting for the sun.

I managed to arrive without jet lag, thanks to Marcus’s sage advice that I adjust to my new time zone during the fourteen-hour flight. He and I have shared this route before; his advice worked then, and it works now.

From my bed, I look out over my balcony to see the stars fading over the gulf.

I sleep with the balcony doors open. I am lulled by the sound of waves and the occasional taxi. And before dawn each morning, I hear the iman’s call.

It grows louder, longer in its syllables. Another voice joins in. Another. The voices mix and meld, crash against the waves, gently waking everyone who hears, calling us away from dreams.

The faithful rise to pray. I linger under the blankets.

Work has brought me here. I took care of work rather quickly on this trip, allowing a few days to myself.

I have chosen to spend those days alone, pretty much.

I have attended functions and networked, as I should, but by and large, I am taking advantage of being in a place where sun, food and sleep are available in as great a quantity as one wants, a place where sex is unlikely and booze prohibited by Sharia, the Islamic code governing how life should lived.

No bacon either, for that matter.

I have time, in this other extreme of life, to be alone with myself, away from my children, my friends, my lovers, my city, and the attendant cares of those people and that place I care so much about.

Wake early, rest in the afternoon, stay up late. My circadian rhythm was easily reset to local time. Never miss a sunrise, never miss a sunset.

In bed this morning, I am lucid and calm as I mentally sharpen Occam’s Razor.

William Ockham was an English philosopher with a simple proposition: given the choice between two viable theorems, the less complex one is preferred.

His philosophical Razor trims away the excess.

His Razor can be applied to life.

I have had ample time to reflect on the quality of the time with Madeline and Marcus. I have blogged about the sex—this is a sexblog, after all—but there is more at play.

The relationship I share with Marcus is clearly ‘til death do we part. We’ve loved each other for a couple of decades; we can manage a few more before crossing the finish line. He is a secure guide wire to the best of my past, the certainty of my future.

Meeting Madeline, both online and then in person, was entirely unexpected. Our long conversations established a mental connection; now, easily, our bodies follow suite.

This leads me to wonder if perhaps one day I will prefer to relinquish the new-found freedoms of living by my own dictates in order to share life with someone else.

This future happens no time soon, I’m sure, if ever. I am still too bruised by having so many years of monogamy, love and compromise squandered by my ex’s impulsivity.

I am not already planning a future with someone I have only just met. But the what ifs? are a novel sensation after a year and half of locking doors and latching shutters as I shut down the home of my marriage.

A spark of optimism is rekindled.

The experience also raised the bar.

My life is generally open and expansive. If my life were a meal, it would be a buffet, served family style. Everybody eats when they come to my house.

But after the banquet, some people should go home. Others are invited to linger. For them, I pull out the private stock of aperitifs and dessert wines.

Those who enjoy the buffet and commend the chef may find themselves invited to the inner sanctum. It’s not an exclusive club, just . . . selective.

Pity those who ungraciously pick at the buffet, making undue demands on the chef’s generosity. Can this be made with fewer spices? Are these sneeze guards secure? Can I get a doggy bag?

These boorish few may find themselves shown to the door, where Mr. Ockham stands by, ready to roll up the red carpet and click the velvet rope into place.

Spending time with friends of such caliber as my oldest Marcus and my newest Madeline challenges me to look again at those at the periphery, to keep in check the demands they make of me.

I am the most nurturing of men. I want to take care of the needs of others to the extent of my ability.

But when that desire to nurture is abused, Mr. Ockham intervenes. Take care, he warns me; you are too easily drawn into the wells of other people’s needs.

Far better, he suggests, to take care of those who can take care of themselves. They give as much as they take. They eat their fill from the buffet, and yet it is instantly replenished.

They take care of me.

The rising sun clears the tops of buildings across the way, filling my room with bright orange light.

I sit up, then stand, nude as I stretch in the light.

I dress for a walk on the beach before breakfast.

William Ockham
Occams Razor


Anonymous said...

Hi Jefferson..
You don't know me.. I got bored in one of my lecture classes last thurs and started reading you blog instead of listening to the woman drone on and on about Darwinian Medicine. I just wanted to tell you I enjoy your writing a lot. In a world where everyone is too busy hiding themselves to be able to find yourself is a special gift. I am jealous :)

Jefferson said...

Thanks for the kind words, Anonymous.

Nice to know that my writing is at least more interesting than a lecture on Darwinian Medicine.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking posts you've made in awhile. Bravo, Jefferson.

Rejected_Love said... know i love to read this sounds like your weekend with her was majical..and im glad for you. i also never thought that i could actually LEARN something form a sex blog... LOL...but i have.this occmans razzor interests me greatly..i shall reasurch.

can i ask tho...are you islamic?

Anonymous said...

Wheat 1, chaff 0.

Jefferson said...

Now that is comedic genius. Thanks, Anonymous!

No, my dear Rejected, I am not Muslim. Just another agnostic Methodist. Enjoy getting to know Mr. Ockham.

And thanks Jennifer. We just walk to the plate and hope for homers.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be. A flock of blessings light upon thy back. Love you.

Anonymous said...

Its the darwinian med. girl again:) I think I am becoming addicted to your blog. anyway since you hadn't posted anything since the last time I checked lol I decided to check out what u did on my birthday.. Apparently we have the same birthday.. :)very cool Random but I thought I'd share :) Hope you are well.

Jefferson said...

Darwinian Medicine must be very dull indeed. But welcome back, fellow Capricorn.

Our shared birthday can be another thing we have in common with that great libertine Benjamin Franklin--that, and a fondness for spanking.

By all means, delve into the blog's Archives. It is written as a sequential narrative, one thing leading to the next, much like life.

You may need to get an extension on your Darwinian Medicine project though; I'm sure it takes time to get through all those entries.

But then, all you have to do is read them. I had to live them and then write them.

The Wayback Turntable! said...

Have a banana, Hannah,
Try the salami, Tommy,
Give with the gravy, Davy,
Everybody eats when they come to my house!

Try a tomato, Plato,
Here's cacciatore, Dorie,
Taste the baloney, Tony,
Everybody eats when they come to my house!

I fix your favorite dishes,
Hopin' this good food fills ya!
Work my hands to the bone in the kitchen alone,
You better eat if it kills ya!

Pass me a pancake, Mandrake,
Have an hors-d'oeuvre-y, Irvy,
Look in the fendel (?), Mendel,
Everybody eats when they come to my house!

Hannah! Davy! Tommy! Dora! Mandrake!
Everybody eats when they come to my house!

Pastafazoola, Talullah!
Oh, do have a bagel, Fagel,
Now, don't be so bashful, Nashville,
Everybody eats when they come to my house!

Hey, this is a party, Marty,
Here, you get the cherry, Jerry,
Now, look, don't be so picky, Micky,
'Cause everybody eats when they come to my house!

All of my friends are welcome,
Don't make me coax you, moax you,
Eat the tables, the chairs, the napkins, who cares?
You gotta eat if it chokes you!

Oh, do have a knish, Nishia,
Pass me the latke, Macky,
Chile con carne for Barney,
Everybody eats when they come to my house!

Face! Buster! Chair! Chops! Fump!
Everybody eats when they come to my house!

Everybody eats when they come to my house!

Chaff said...

Comedic genius? Such high praise.

Jefferson said...

Nice catch, Wayback!

Yes, it's true, the Hi-de-Ho Man is rocking this joint.

Say, that song supplies a nice long list of pseudonyms . . . don't be surprised if I soon encounter someone named Mandrake.

Grace said...

I recorded the BB Cab Calloway show, but you'll have to come and get it.

Jefferson said...

You must think I'm pretty easy if you are trying to lure me with promises of Cab Calloway.

Okay, so maybe I am that easy. Let me get my coat.

Grace said...

Rejected, here's the
Wikipedia definition of Occam's Razor.

Anonymous said...

Comes an old guy - friend of Marcus, who led me to Jefferson's Blog - a while back. And from Jefferson's blog I was ineluctably drawn to Madeline's. A loving friendship with Marcus has already caused me to consider and reorder many long-held views about sexuality - the arts - travel - and those unconcious acts of fidelity that lead to enduring relationships. Life, sex and kids: great, enduring subjects. Thanks for the laughter, the sharp intakes of breath, and more.

Madeline Glass said...

[Sharp Intake of Breath]


Someone who can use "ineluctably" correctly in a sentence AND is a friend of Marcus should definitely be a friend of mine!

Anonymous said...

it's funny... i like reading your sex blog so much more when you are writing about something other than... sex... visuals are great, touch is necessary, but it's really the mind...

Anonymous said...

i'm inspired...

Mr. Shankly said...

Such inspiring words have rarely been written! I find that solemn reflection brings this out in me at times as well...and makes me darn horny too, but I digress! Cheers!