Seven Plus Seven Is
Seven Plus Seven Is
While I was still in high school, San Diego didn’t seem that romantic. Now I was across the street at City College, my perception changed.
It wasn’t Paris. It wasn’t the twenties or thirties. Hemingway and Fitzgerald weren’t sharing a table, drinking absinthe, working on their manuscripts at the Jack in the Box on Park Boulevard as they did in a sidewalk café on the Champs Ellysees.
But it was romantic, in true southern California fashion. The quiet harbor breaking fragile moonlight into a thousand pieces between downtown and Point Loma, the seagulls soaring over the docks in the sunset like black paper cutouts suspended by invisible wires.
Balboa Park, its stately Spanish tower looming grandly above the Eucalyptus, rang melodic hours in the still atmosphere. Night Blooming Jasmine perfumed sultry summer nights, nights filled with reflective pools, glowing street lamps, and hesitant lovers holding hands, walking along an edge as narrow as any knife. Should they fall in love? What if it doesn't work out and you loose your heart in the process?
When you’re twenty, all these pieces play their parts, and the nature of your story becomes highly romantic and speculative. Yet it seems so real you swear you could cut it with a knife.
The arrogance of youth buoys you to unlimited heights, and you believe anything is possible. You’re convinced you have the power to seduce life itself, if your touch is tender enough and your intentions pure.
In time City College became more than an institution of learning for scholars on the cheap. It magically transformed into a meeting place for hesitant lovers, where tenative rendezvous were made over sandwiches and Coca Cola in the lunch court, and once agreed to, acted out between classes in the parking lot. In the winter we’d fog the windows of our parked cars like crazy, and listen to KPRI, the only station that played rock on FM, and gave you real stereo for your money.
Me and Arthur Lee had something in common, something we shared. I was proud of it once but now I’m not so sure. It was a woman, and her name was Patty.
Arthur Lee died just a few years ago. He was the leader of a band called Love. Their song, Little Red Book was a hit back in the day. You may not have heard of them, it’s a time long time past, but musicians remember them. They still imitate their style. That song Vertigo by U2? Just a copy of Love’s song Seven plus Seven is. Bono even copied Arthur Lee saying, “One two three four.”
Except Bono made it, “Uno dose tres quatorse." He should have said quatro.
I guess Bono donno his Espanyolo. Respect to you anyway, Bono. We all can’t be bi-lingual.
I met Patty at lunch one day across the lunch table at City. She was a student, a free-spirited, Bohemian art student. What could be better? She peaked my romantic imagination.
Her mother owned a Baskin Robbins ice cream store in La Jolla. To keep her out of trouble in L.A’s music scene she sent her to City College in San Diego. Spoiled little rich girl Patty, always got what she wanted.
In addition to her mother owning an ice-cream shop, Patty was just plain fine. She dressed sexy, like girls do when partying on the Sunset Strip. She had a decent figure and red-platinum hair that she combined so well with her o-so-long legs and her o-so-short crimson skirt that clings so tight, so very there, so outa sight, just like in Pretty Flamingo by Manfred Mann. Sometimes she wore boots. Boots be sooo sexy. Just look around. They’ve got women’s legs attached to them.
Too soon after introductions the bell rang and we had to go to class. The last thing she told me as we parted was,
“I’m Arthur Lee’s Groupie.”
“Oh Wow,” I said, trying to sound impressed.
I didn’t even know who he was. I’d heard the song Little Red Book on the radio but didn’t know any more than a group called LOVE had made it a hit. I didn’t know he was a fricken genius.
Within three days we were going out. She loved making out and was so practiced at it she had me loving it, and in the process, loving her. It was easy for me to fall in love at the time. Falling in love wasn’t old hat. And I was one of those rare animals at the time, a virgin. We’d make out in La Jolla at her mom’s house beneath Mount Soledad.
One day her mom came home early and interrupted what was going to be a first. You know, a record-setter, a trophy event. Patty was not to be deterred. The next night she called.
“Come over now,” she whispered with a certain sense of urgency.
As I pulled up she was standing outside in a fur coat that reached mid-thigh, and the boots. She was damp, I thought from the dew on the grass.
“She’s cold. It’s cold out and damp. That’s why she’s wearing a coat.”
That’s what I told myself. But I was wrong. She was hot.
And she was damp alright, but in a different sort of way. We took off down the street.
“Make a left."
I turned to go up Mount Soledad. It had a view of the sea on one side, the city on the other. The road was all hairpin-switchback-uphill-straight-a-way-but-not–for-long. When I leaned a little nearer I noticed her perfume. It was one of her most dangerous weapons and it was at the ready.
I’ve always been a sucker for good smelling women.
She scooted closer then closer yet and whispered in my ear,
“‘I wanna give you something special,” all soft-like.
We were about pass by a vacant lot but she said,
“Pull in here.”
There were few vacant lots there on the mountain but she’d spotted it at once. It was like she’d been there before or something.
I pulled off the road, and faced the car overlooking the city. The streets below were filled with a thousand multi-colored lights racing off into the distance at breakneck speed. Then there were the tall buildings of downtown San Diego. Behind that loomed the blackness of Mt. San Miguel and beyond that lay the mysterious shadows that only exist in Mexico. Yes, it was romantic. And I didn’t even know the meaning of the word.
A single embrace, her breath so close, a touch, and then a sigh. It was just…… like…… that.
“Let’s go to the back seat,” she suggested, “There’s more room there.”
In the back seat she began to get intense, like she wanted something she had to have.
I thought at first it was a new-improved squeeze, or an intimate term of endearment. That must be what she wanted. Perhaps it was some more tongue. I was wrong. It was something else. It was a good old you-know-what.
I can’t say exactly what she did. Saints preserve me. But here’s how she did it.
She started by revealing secrets in my ear, revealing them real soft-like, real sincere-like. When she told me what she wanted, how could I refuse her? I couldn’t. Not me. Off with her coat. Surprise! There was nothing underneath… nothing but Patty.
So I had her.
That’s when she became Queen Patty the First to me. Each man has his own Queen Whoever, one and only one. I believe that may be how it is with women too.
So in reality she had me. It was a little of the ol’ in, a little of the ol’ out, a little of the ol’ in and out. Something happened to her while she was beneath me. She had some sort of woman-quake, some sort of female major seismic event. So impressed and scared and nervous was I….. that… I didn’t. Whatever happened to her was intense. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Or now, looking back, maybe I should have.
On the way home I was in a good mood, a tremendously good mood. I figured that somewhere, somehow, something had made me a man, like I’d joined a kind of exclusive men’s club.
“Glad to be here boys,” I felt like saying to all the he-men in the world, to Eastwood and Schwarzenegger and Stallone and the rest, “I finally made it.”
Then I’d interlock my fingers and hold my arms aloft pumping my fists like in Rocky. They would applaud. I was laboring under the illusion that I possessed complete and total self-control. Really I’d been too nervous to relax and, like Long John Silver, "let her rip."
I figured this ability would broaden my horizons, expand my vistas so to speak. If you’re going to labor under an illusion this was certainly the one. If you were bound to be wrong-headed about something this fit the bill. If you’re going to be delusional and wrong-headed at the same time at least be happy about it.
But the next day I had trouble getting hold of her. She had found me out. She had found me out in the backseat of my own motor vehicle. She became more distant. Her calls, which were frequent, became less frequent, then infrequent, then not so frequent, then not at all.
I tried for weeks to reconnect? You bet.
Was I sad? You bet.
But did I ever get over it? You bet.
There was you see, that girl in philosophy class, Bonnie.
I wasn’t dumb enough not to know what medicine would fix me. I needed a second one; Uno Numero Segundo. Someone to take my mind off number one would do the trick. I needed a dose of Bonnie. And that’s what I would get. But Patty, if you’re reading this, take heart. Allow me to celebrate you, to bring your ego to a climax. You were steamin’ hot. It was me, not you. Sorry I didn’t deliver the goods.
Like I said, me and Arthur Lee, we shared Patty. When you were with Queen Patty the First, it was almost like being in LOVE.
My head was never any good at ruling my heart. Let only the saints judge me.
http://youtu.be/NCoKcAD6FJc Seven and Seven Is Love
http://youtu.be/iyHlLYwmLwY Vertigo U2
I didn't really enjoy this. The writing was pretty simplistic.
Hmm, I have to complex it up then.