Norma Jean: Living' on Reds, Vitamin C & Cocaine

It was inside the Filmore East, in 1969, that I first saw the Grateful Dead. I was 14 years old with a gaggle of other girls on an "unauthorized" field trip, chaperoned by our gym teacher, in the big city, for the first time. Algebra homework was not on my mind, nor cheerleading practice. My dad, and the Viet Nam war were temporally vaporized.I was perched at the precipice of a new world, an exotic space where I was free to throw my head back, yelp and be transported by the smell of coconut, patchouli and pot, by people churning in their seats, undulating to the sound, singing, inhaling deeply. This thrilling feeling is the same high I've sought after over and over again during my life. When love failed to transport me into new psychological/sensual landscapes, I'd lose interest in my man. As soon as a day was slightly 'ho-hum', I'd be gone. Believe it or not, until I gave birth to my child in my late 30s, things remained in this state of chasing thrills and escape.Granted, I still like a thrill, and I'll always be addicted to adrenaline, sex and adventure, but in the long run, the man who cares and shows it (as opposed to just talking it), is the one I give my gifts to. Throwing pearls before swine, even for a "fix," just doesn't cut it. So, all you ladies who like to "chase," all you ladies who are addicted to fantasy and so are walking on eggshells in relationships; I say call a spade a spade. Save your tears and angst for someone who's worth it, for someone you actually have something real with. Examine every aspect of your life. Does your world improve with this guy, or do you feel unstable and hollow most of the time? Do you shop too much, and bounce rent checks for clothes or haircuts? Do you move more than twice a year? Do you want to run to Hawaii, or New York City, or to another university whenever there is a glitch or dull moment here in your own town? You, my dear, are a flake! The men you meet will mirror your inability to feel the earth under your feet. Don't complain. The knight that comes with all the gear can't keep up the charade after reality sets in, and the glory of great sex and nights under the stars at the hot springs wears off.Understand the curse of our cultural thrust for "instant gratification." I finally feel fullness sitting in the laundromat these days or while reading books to my son at night, looking into his wide, clear eyes. The men that stay around in women's lives are able to enter into the "common world" and accept thrilling times as punctuation, not as the entire story. "Happy hour" is not real life. The ink smudging your fingers from these pagesÑand the entire newpaper staff sweat it took to make this one issueÑis.So many personals ads ask for fantasy. Who is going to be there the night you lose a parent? Who will visit you in sickness? These are the hard questions. Los Angeles taught me "the high life," and I do not recommend it for most mortals...What a long strange trip it's been...Norma Jean


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