I was riding my motorcycle. It was a soulless Japanese sport bike, with lots of red plastic covering its interesting bits. My more (or less) interesting bits were covered by my leathers.
It was summer in Seattle, and I was idling in traffic, waiting for a light to change so that I could turn into the ferry terminal lot. I was heading home.
My left hand began to cramp from holding in the clutch and so, ignoring for a moment the instructions of motorcycle safety class instructors everywhere, I popped the bike into neutral and took my hands off the bars. I sat up from my boy-racer crouch and looked around me. Suddenly, I saw her. She was in the car right next to me. A gorgeous creature with reddish blond hair, fair skin and an unbelievable smile. The kind of woman that makes you want to learn how to wheelie in order to catch her attention. The kind of woman that will make you learn to love quiche whether you want to or not.
Luckily, I had the benefit of an ogler’s Ring of Gyges: a reflective shield on my motorcycle helmet. As long as I didn’t turn my head full-on in her direction, I could study her without seeming too creepy.
So I did.
And when my field of vision pulled back from its initial extreme close-up, I noticed something very interesting. She was driving a minivan.
Let me be clear. A minivan is a form of vehicular castration. We (Mrs. TSMK and I) own one. We call it The Mothership. It is immensely practical. But for some reason whenever I’m in the beast I find that my voice is just a bit higher pitched than normal, and I have a strange urge to listen to people who’ve performed at the Lilith Fair festival.
Anyway, there she was: Charlize Theron* in a minivan. And my voice was unaffected. I had an urge or two or ten, but they did not in any way involve Sarah McLachlan.
As I pondered Ms. Theron’s* ability to overwhelm the soul-sucking nature of the minivan, my field of vision pulled back even further.
There it was. A child’s car seat. . . in Ms. Theron’s* minivan. She was a mom. A mother. A woman who had given birth to another human being. She was, by the definition I would have used as an adolescent, old.
Oh sure, I’d thought about a mom or two in the past. But it was always in that kind of “what can you teach me Mrs. Robinson” kind of way. This was different. Ms. Theron wasn’t attractive because she was a mom. And she wasn’t attractive despite her motherhood. She was simply attractive.