……it is essentially this unifying aspect of the activity of love-making that largely distinguishes it from mere sex. And here is a central “how” of love-making that follows from it: Surrender yourself to the other; sensually coalesce; and trust that the other reciprocates. For, like religious experience, love-making has an element of faith. If you attempt to have sex without such faith, then you will only have sex.
-Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D.
NOTE to Momma: You can read this… I’m not ACTUALLY going to talk about sex.
I haven’t taken a weekend road trip since I moved to Baton Rouge. But, I’ve had one planned. My running coach, Jessica … aka McBitch … encouraged me to run a 10 miler with her this weekend. Since I agreed to the race, she’s been adding activities to the agenda that has made this weekend feel like a marathon, but, hell, I’m game. I can sleep when I’m dead. So, I loaded up my car with girly clothes and athletic wear and drove over to Austin TX where she lives.
It was a 7 hour drive if I encountered no traffic, but I was really worried about hitting Houston at 5:00 PM on a Friday which is exactly what I did. After driving across rural Louisiana with its oil refineries, chemical plants and rice fields, Texas’ Gulf Coastal Plains extending into Houston was a welcome sight. Unpopulated grasslands filled my windshield until the commercial area of Houston gradually took over. I knew I would be experiencing rush hour traffic – a fate worse than death if you listen to Houston residents – and I had mentally prepared myself. I love driving into a city. My travel for the last 20 or so years has been by airplane, and flying into a city is just not the same as experiencing it in context with the surrounding area through the windshield of a car. I saw Houston’s spectacular skyline from afar, and it felt like I circled for a long while before I was driving alongside the skyscrapers in the concrete jungle of highways. I was driving against the flow of traffic until I got to the city, and I saw the traffic begin to slow after I passed downtown. I followed through with my plan, turned up my favorite country radio playlist and settled in for the ride. I was going to go with the flow. Amazingly, traffic never got bad. It may have been bad according to my small town friends, but it was nowhere near the aggravation and concentration of Chicago or Seattle traffic. I rocked out and soon was headed into the Great Plains of Texas.
Highway 71 into Austin is not an interstate highway. The landscape had more trees than the Coastal Plains but was brushy and dry. Ranch after ranch flew by with their decorative gates and long driveways that I assume led to homes and property out of the public eye. The sunset show started long before the sun actually set, and I was practically deaf from the country music I had blaring to entertain myself. The landscape and horizon was breathtaking, and I was definitely in the mood for one of my favorite cities. Jessica had already booked us on a late night riverboat ride to see the city at night. The temperature reading in my car was rising from 65 degrees before I got to Houston to a balmy 75 by the time i reached the city limits.
The highlight of Saturday was a Pat Green concert at Stubb’s BBQ in downtown Austin. I had never been to Stubb’s, and I had never seen Pat Green, so I had no idea what to expect. Stubb’s is an outdoor bar, BBQ restaurant and concert hall with a dirt floor. We stood in line in the heat for awhile before they let us in, and then we followed everybody to the front of the stage. We stood an additional hour in our boots waiting for Cassadee Pope’s – the winner of The Voice – opening act. I was already tired of standing, but it was cool to watch the crowd grow from our little band of pre-paid ticket-holders to over 2000 people kicking up dust and bugs and downing booze.
Pat Green – a Lubbock native and a former native of Austin – was so much better than I expected. He seemed to love playing Stubb’s and said so several times. I recognized some of his music, but it was his interaction with the audience and his humor that got me hooked and “in the mood” quicker than you can say boot-scoot and boogie. About halfway through his act, I started thinking about how concerts – really good concerts – are like making love. I’m not talking about having sex. That’s just exercise. Making love is so much more about the mood and the spiritual connection that two people have. Green had me hooked…. the crowd had me hooked … the music had me hooked. At one time during the concert, he quipped, “I hope y’all get really drunk, dance and have a good time…..fall in love…. and, who knows…. some of you may even have sex with a stranger tonight.” We all cheered at that, but I do feel like I had sex with a bunch of strangers.
What is it about making love that is different than having sex? It is the melding of two souls that takes you deep into the present. If I’m writing my grocery list, I’m not making love. If you’re wondering what is wrong with your motorcycle, you are not making love. The tension focuses me on the moment, and the heat and the passion ebbs and flows on a continual building wave. Good entertainers know how to create that in their concerts. And, I’m sure…. much like sex … they can’t always create it on their own. There has to be a mutual give and take … a mutual desire to let yourself go and feel what is happening. When I was young, I got high when I went to concerts. I was thinking last night how naive that was. I get the same feeling … only stronger … being wired to the present when the music is good. If I’d been inebriated or high, I might have felt good, but I would have missed it. Getting high really is child’s play. There is NOTHING like a natural high… there is nothing like the magic when souls collide.
If I put that in the context of the entire weekend, I can see that the passion was building from the spectacular road trip into Texas. I’d never driven that route across Texas. When I was just out of college, I drove down to Harlingen where I had a short stint as a newspaper reporter, but I’d never driven to Austin. This was virgin territory. The music that I heard last night was attached to Texas … a lot of it was about Texas .. the artist was from Texas. I was getting to know the lay of the land. Seeing the city the night before and getting dressed before the concert with my dear friend was a part of the build-up of the evening. Donning a pretty dress and a pair of great cowboy boots is foreplay of the best kind. Stubb’s is unique. I walked up and saw them watering down the dirt to keep the dust from flying. I suspected this would be a different kind of affair. And, that was when I began to just let it be … to go with the flow … let the night and the music and Austin move ME.
Green sang a song called Three Days, and I giggled to myself that it sounded like my Three Days in Austin. I wanted the infusion of passion and the escapism of letting go for just a few hours in a dusty, buggy, muggy saloon-type atmosphere. You know, Babycakes, nobody moves me like you do, but I made love all night long last night. The cool thing is I remember every single minute, and I got up and set a new personal record for 10-miler this morning. I needed this three days, and it’s coming over me “wave on wave” just like the master said last night in his final encore. On my drive home tomorrow, I know I’ll smile every time I remember the moments of this weekend. I can’t wait to turn on some Pat Green and fly across Texas like a bird. Oh, and, if you get a chance to party with Pat Green, please invite me. After all, we are the best kind of lovers now. I’ll share, too!