In a well-known biblical story, a snake offers a woman the fruit of knowledge, which is really a tart and chewy granny smith apple. Being generous, this woman offers a man a bit of the apple she just enjoyed, but he refuses, proclaiming that all hell will break loose. Well, wouldn't you know, all hell does break loose, in spite of best intentions.
As my friend, the buxom Madame BBC, says: "We all have sexual needs and some of us are ready to exercise, huff and puff, jog a hundred miles and live off tofu until we are ready to DIE, but not me!"
And you know what? She's right. It's the skinny health nuts -- who just croak at the mere mention of flu -- who are dropping off the beds of affluent men like flies, not the big fat women with stores of survival in their thighs!
But I digress ... recently, Manola B decided to take a spermtaneous excursion to South Beach at the request of man who, in an ironic twist of role reversal, was bearing the proverbial apple. Manola was willing to risk life and limb, pay for overpriced parking and cocktails, just to meet a certain member of royalty, a descendant from the noble lineage of Tutankhamun, at least in look, if not name.
With the visage of kings who begat our civilization in tow, how could she possibly resist? The dark, well-formed eyebrows, outlined in dusky kohl. The languid brown eyes. The full, welcoming lips. The lanky, yet sensual figure. The long, lazy wandering fingers bearing a hieroglyphic scarab ring. The scent of bergamot from his loincloth. The throne of gold and lapis lazuli.
Egyptian Hunk had summoned Manola's curiosity from his "strictly platonic" personal ad. Egyptian Hunk and Manola are male and female, respectively. Egyptian Hunk and Manola are recovering from devastating heart break, respectively. Egyptian Hunk and Manola each have two overpriced cocktails on Ocean Drive, respectively. Egyptian Hunk and Manola throw platonic out the window, splashing unsuspecting cruisers with buckets full of testosterone and progesterone, respectively.
A predictable formula. Blind dates for blind fools. Men and woman can't be strictly platonic. Or can they?
The evening was doomed to begin with. First of all, Manola couldn't find parking near Ocean Drive, so she settled for a top-floor spot on the $10 flat rate lot. Waiting for the elevator, she noticed a sign next to the elevator door (quoted verbatim):
MONDA_ THROUGH SUNDAY. HOURS OF OPERATION: 7 AM TO _
The elevator on the southeast corner of the lot stops working on Saturday at 10 PM, the busiest time in South Beach in a nearly full lot. I mean, it's raining SUVs, halleluyah! Low-riders are bursting out of the building's seams!
So Manola had to walk in her Manolos down the ramp to the elevator in the northwest corner of the lot because some city official decided to shut down full elevator service during the busiest evening of the week.
It gets better.
Hugging mobile phone to ear, Manola chats with Egyptian Hunk as she approaches his Lair of Not Love. Egyptian Hunk, who has been patiently waiting for Manola to find a parking spot for the last hour says: "Stay on the phone. I want to see you."
Manola looks up and sees a man standing on the balcony, hugging a mobile phone to his ear. She waves to him and he responds with an even more enthusiastic wave. Manola thinks: "Hmm. It doesn't look like his picture. Oh well. Predictable cheat. Not too bad, though. Nice smile. Anyway, it's strictly platonic, right?"
As she approaches the entrance to the Lair of Not Love, Manola greets the man she saw on the balcony. "Hi, I'm Manola! It's a pleasure to meet you."
Meanwhile, Egyptian Hunk, her true destination, is standing next to the man she saw on the balcony. And then Manola, her pale face turning a very embarrasing shade of rutting pink, realizes that Egyptian Hunk was NOT the man on the balcony. Man on the balcony was simply Egyptian Hunk's neighbor.
To save face, Manola made an about face and extended her hand to Egyptian Hunk. "Can we start over? Hi, I'm Manola! It's a pleasure to meet you!"
It gets better.
Folks, after wading through a sea of tits to ass, dicks to shoulders, walking neck and neck among the hordes of horny humans who have to clog the Ocean Drive sidewalk -- never mind that you can easily walk on the street, considering that traffic moves only a quarter of inch per hour on Saturday night, slower than San Andrea's fault, surely -- Egyptian Hunk and Manola choose a place to get to know each other better over a couple of cocktails. Did you know that two well drinks each will put you $60 in the hole on Ocean Drive?
It gets better.
[Insert your own perverse scenario.] Dear readers, please don't give me shit. [Insert anti-shit zone here.]
Are you kidding?
Manola may be willing to take a bite from the fruit of knowledge, willing to risk her sanity to amuse her readers, but Manola, will never, NEVER be indiscreet. After all, Egyptian Hunk may very well prove to be a strictly platonic valuable addition to her life. Sometimes men and women, respectively, need to evaluate the plumbing, check on the functionality of endocrine systems and so forth, before making a commitment to travel together on the long road of friendship.
So please don't give me shit for deflating a literary erection!
However, it does get better ... slightly.
Take heed: the $10 flat rate fee only applies until 5 AM. And in a random act of kindness, the parking booth attendant, a regular angel, a typical Saint Paul at the gates of heaven, gave me permission to return to the safety, without having to pay an extra $4 at the rude awakening of dawn.
And now, for the climax.
It doesn't get better than this:
As I drove home under the bright blue cerulean crayon sky, sun blinding my eyes, not minding that I left my sunglasses at home, because life had taken an unexpected turn, through a parking lot, a foreigner in my own backyard, and the beach, yes, the beach, would always be there for me.
The freedom of strutting in Manolos in my city. Yes, my city -- I'm quoting myself, as I described home over conversation and over-priced drinks.
Miami Beach, this little sun-drenched imperfect version of heaven.
Hey! Want a bite of my apple? Freedom is delicious.