Thursday, May 29


We, as human beings, naturaly gravitate toward beauty. Consider the many cathedrals, museums, luxury resorts, national parks, even fashion models and show dogs; we love beautiful things. But is picturesque perfection enough? Do our desires wade as shallow as physical beauty?

An ex(boyfriend) once said to me, "You'd be so beautiful if you'd just shut up." Back then, given an insatiable thirst for all things fermented, and enough anger to spawn any spat, he may have had a point. But what I think he really meant was, "peace and quiet would be so beautiful." For the record, I often felt the same about him.

For Adam (names may or may not have been changed to protect the spoken of), I am confident that beauty was enough. It was the one thing that could brighten his darkest place. Just about any thing had potential to be beautiful: a job well done--an attactive finished product, a gigantic plate of spagetti, a 1954 Norton, and--apparently--my silence.

But what about those whose standards are . . . let's say . . . more specific? Festering details can, in time, erode face-value. Once detected, can we ignore the aphid infestation on a prized rose bush? Will we tolerate the blue-ribbon Terrior--best in class and show--who can't seem to shit outside? Would we adopt Shiloh if all attempts to potty train were unsuccessful? Sure things may look good on the surface--the carton of eggs free of collapsed corners and dried yolk--but I have learned to look inside--at each individual egg.

The dozen I failed to inspect, however, came in the form of a tropical paradise. What better place for salvation than a postcard image constructed almost entirely from my own imagination? It was fool proof, really, or so I thought. But such an image does not allow for closer inspection. In it, you cannot detect mosquitos, travel delays, language barriers, stolen baggage, torrential downpours, frequent power outages, or hurricanes. The carton of paradise was bought--and already home--before I realized my haste had a greater price than $2.69.

There are moments, amidst the jungle, that provide photo opportunies. Don't get me wrong; it is a beautiful place. But there are days when you are unable to pull out your camera, for various reasons--you hope none of them involve questionable limb integrity. I have learned that, for me, beauty alone is not enough.

Sadly, I have fallen out of love with my tropical paradise. The honeymoon is over, as they say, evidenced by the keyword "annulment" in recent Google searches. I just hope there was more to the collapse of my vision than an inability to deal with toenail clippings in bed. Oh, wait . . . nevermind; that was Adam.

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