Her Initials Spelled "HELP"

Tomorrow is my b-day, so it’s an opportunity to think about what’s happened to me in the past year. I have a high libido, but, early last year I realized that my sons were having more sex than me. I had long since stopped brushing up against strangers and was waiting to have copious amounts of sex with the right partner. I wasn’t meeting interesting women at chicken breast counters at Albertson’s or at internet cafes. I needed to make a change. So I bought a self-help book, “Blink.”

You know about “Blink?” Its central thesis is that your first and most immediate reaction is the one that is true…your blink of an eye perceptions are even more accurate than careful evaluation of all empirical data.

So I finish reading “Blink” just about two years ago.

March 2nd, 2006. Gallery opening in SF for Edward Burtynsky, one sip into my glass of wine when every enzyme, nerve synapse, smell gland and all possible erectile tissue is telling me that I am in love with this woman on my left drinking champagne in the proverbial blink of my eye.

First that avalanching hair
The elegance of her Audrey Hepburn neck
Ice Blue Eyes
41 years young, Tall and Athletic
Clean Body with a Dirty Mind
Educated at Hotchkiss, B.A. Harvard, Ph.D. in French Literature from UC Berkeley…a whip smart woman; her e-mails were like the finest chocolate truffles.
And she loved to fuck, in all configurations, just let your mind roam free…go where it will because we went there and beyond…let me tell you.

And the name of this woman? You’ll love it. Hayden Elizabeth Lancaster Parker. Initials spelled H.E.L.P. A true, blue blooded WASP of Mayflower lineage landed at Plymouth Rock. Hayden Elizabeth Lancaster Parker…one of those unaccountable WASP names imposed on unsuspecting infants by their well born parents. Imagine a woman whose parents’ homestead was a decaying 20 acre estate in Greenwich, CT…so much money that they could have cared less, summers on Martha’s Vineyard, no need to clap, just rattle that jewelry, a family that bred both thoroughbred horses and “bouvier dogs.”

Back to the chase - we hang out together at the gallery, go to Café Plouf for a drink afterwards, we’re making out on Bart back to the East Bay, fast forward, we’re at my place and we are making love, missions bells are ringing and all the walls come tumbling down. I am experiencing a connection of Biblical Proportions. The next day, I sent her an e-mail that said, “If all the drawers in all the desks in all the world, never get stuck, that is how much I think I like you.”

I wanted HELP. Unclear if HELP wanted me. One day warm and inviting, next day cold and distant. Then, I have to go to Mongolia. Other people go to Schenectady, but I go to Mongolia.

Two days prior to leaving, I asked HELP if she did phone. She says if phone communications don’t work well, how ‘bout smoke signals or graffiti on Oakland buildings? Light bulb goes off in my head. I choose an urban response reflective of my urban roots. I go to Office Max and get a dozen of those large red Sharpies. Pastrami on rye, I start writing poetic graffiti to H.E.L.P. in unisex bathrooms in cafes on College Avenue. I was “Tagging” to win the heart, mind and body of a daughter of the ruling class. At Café Roma, I pick the perfect spot, on the back of the bathroom door, and in bold red Italian calligraphy I write: “Dear HELP, if you never call, I might miss who you might be.”

Then - Mongolia. I’m Hunter S. Thompson wandering in Lawrence of Arabia landscapes, guys on camels w/ ammo belts slung over their shoulders, swords in their waistbands, and me, I’ve got a wireless laptop, I’m sending endless e-mails to HELP, 7500 miles away, all nerve synapses firing at headbanging speeds.

I transformed the landscapes of bathrooms in dive bars and 5 star hotels with my red sharpie graffiti to HELP.

This Romeo returns from Mongolia and she won’t see me for a week. Then bliss-like connection. We’re in bed, but, her mind is in Greenwich, CT and I’m in Brooklyn. We’d be making out on line at the Berkeley Bowl or she wouldn’t answer my phone calls. Loving HELP was like staying in the shower too long in a crowded house. You’re half way through, soap on your balls and ass, and suddenly the water turns cold. Life with HELP was solving riddles.

There would be 10 minutes of crackhead bliss and then disconnect and this crackhead would plummet into insecurity and despair. Think Long Day’s Journey Into Night, think of the discomfort of a Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, think Bergman Doom and Gloom.

HELP dumped me two times. I mourned her, sulked on my outdoor couch, entered therapy to try to suss out what happened. I took brillo and comet and erased all the desperate graffiti.

Then in September, Bob, as in Bob Dylan, impacted once again upon my lifeline. I once had the largest collection of Dylan tapes in all of sub-saharan Africa! I once had Dylan drunk across my lap in a NYC checker taxi cab…like the Pieta…a major religious experience for me. And HELP knew it.

Time was late September, Scorscese documentary on Bob was on TV and HELP called, as she was TV less, and asked if she could watch Dylan documentary with me. Maybe it was a Simple Twist of Fate, her mouth watery and wet, her skirt swayed as a guitar played, it was Lay Lady Lay, I was Forever Young, there was this New Morning and the Times Were Definitely A Changing….

Nights swirling and whirling and from that moment in late September until sometime in mid December, HELP gave me everything I had ever longed to get from her. We were lovers burning in the sheets and we were making life coupling plans. Her avalanching hair, her elegant neck, her ice blue eyes, those long athletic legs, the clean body with the dirty mind…all mine and mine alone…forever.

She granted me pop over privileges. Gave me a key to her house. We were officially girlfriend and boyfriend. I even drove her to the airport.

Cut to my best friend – he’s a shrink and I’ve known him since sleep away camp at 8 years old. Previously I had shown him about 30 of her e-mails to get his professional opinion. Because he knew me so well, six therapy sessions could be distilled down to six words. “Scott, you are a fucking moron!” This woman is incapable of intimacy on the level you want, and he predicted that the distance would undoubtedly surface again and that eventually I would HATE her.

It’s December, HELP was becoming more “bouvier” like again, aloof and indifferent, and I was still this “mutt” – wanting her love and attention, wagging my tail and missing her. December 19th she goes home to Greenwich, CT for the holidays - returning to her roots. The thoroughbred horses, bouvier dogs, decaying estate, the congealing history of who she is.

In my desperation, what do I do? I send her Jew Food from NYC. I call Katz’s Delicatessan. I arrange to have a dozen kasha knishes, a bucket of ½ sour pickles, a salami for your boy in the army, and a dozen H&H bagels sent to her. HELP calls from Connecticut to say that I am right to be afraid. This could be serious and Bush didn’t lay in enough vaccine to protect me. Even I knew it was over. Upon her return, we went through the motions of trying to keep it going but it had disintegrated.

Let me make this as clear as an unmuddied lake: I’m a Jew who got to the New World via a barge from Ellis Island. I tried to go the distance with a woman who got to Plymouth Rock via the Mayflower. Blink didn’t cover how to get my Jewish ass onto the Mayflower. At the end of the day, there was no blink of the eye truth. At the end of the day, HELP was just a momentary illusion. I was a Jew boy from Brooklyn pretending to be an adventurous pilgrim, laden with scurvy, hurling over the side of the Mayflower, because sometimes you get tired of who you are. And sometimes the eye persists in seeing something that was never really there to begin with.

Fuck Blink, close the book on Hayden Elizabeth Lancaster Parker. She is


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