Thursday, November 13, 2008

Big Sur revisited © by adrian

Forty years ago I lived in this spectacularly beautiful area. I had very short hair then, but overcompensated for that by living with a very tall woman (see my story
Of Nomads and Amazons). I'm back here now because my new and much shorter wife wants to meet my family before they go to the happy hunting ground. What's left of my family consists of a couple of sisters and a fellow who claims he is my father (at various times he has also claimed he is god, so I think the man is not to be trusted). I haven't seen or talked to any of them for about ten years, so I think I may be up to the task. They are scattered about in various parts of California. Linda has a brother also scattered in these parts so we thought we would make a huge "meet the family" junket and explore some of my old haunts as well.

Added to this was our mutual interest in visiting and soaking nude in the famous hot springs at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. The Esalen Institute is sort of the home of Gestalt Therapy in North America. Psychotherapist Fritz Perls, of whom I am a fan, was a resident and teacher there during the time I lived in California in the mid sixties and my bride Linda is a Gestalt Therapist.

Among other things, Fritz is known by many for the quote, "I am not in this world to live up to other people's expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine." Down Big Sur way he also used to hang out nude in the hot springs and was frequently quoted then as saying to his young nubile devotees who were crowded in the hot tub with him, "Who vants to suck my cock?" Either quote would have been delivered in his thick European accent and even if paraphrased sets him up as my kind of guy.

Now, the Esalen Institute is not just a place you can stroll into. It is a cloistered community that does allow the public in at two a.m. for a one hour visit to the hot springs if you pay twenty bucks a person and arrange for it in advance. I thought that seeing as Linda was a distant associate someone here could arrange for them to cut us some slack and let us visit in the daytime... This was a delusion and I was wrong.

So I didn't tell Linda and went ahead and wrote Esalen a "To whom it may concern" letter. I explained Linda's connection to Gestalt and thus the institute. I explained that I used to be involved with the printer (actually, the very same aforementioned man who currently claims he is my father) and I used to make all their pamphlets forty years ago. I did the camera and darkroom work that was a necessary part of publishing in those days. I also explained that the only time people our age were up at two in the morning was on one of the many necessary pee breaks we take during the night.

Amazingly, one week later I got an email with a contact name and phone number and was told to phone them and they would see what they could do. A bit of conversation and airline schedule checking later and the next thing I knew we had a pass for us to visit and stay a full day. The pass came complete with free meals and as much hot springs as our wrinkly skin could tolerate. Linda cried with joy when I told her what I had pulled off, but I felt it was the least I could do if she was really prepared to go through the ordeal of meeting my family.

I will fill you in more on that part of the trip and the family stuff at another time, but for now I thought I would indulge myself (as usual) by mentioning a few remembered experiences from our trip.

We have arrived at the Henry Miller library and museum in Big Sur, California and are walking about looking at some of the artifacts and treasures from this man's lustful life and writings. We are chatting to each other about some of the things we're looking at while moving through a few small rooms. There are other individuals and couples quietly mingling about on this sacred ground doing pretty much the same as us.

An open book in a display case in an adjacent small cove off the room we're in has caught my eye and I mention to Linda that I will be back in a moment as I amble over to check it out.

I walk up beside a very attractive middle aged lady who is presently looking at the book that has called me to this room. It's warm today and I'm wearing a short sleeve shirt. This lady has not glanced my way as I end up standing beside her.

In a moment, without saying a word she reaches over and takes my hand in hers. She brings my exposed arm up and while holding my hand she slowly and seductively starts to rub my arm with her other hand. She says something to me in German while she gently caresses my bare arm.

She's speaking slowly and although I've never thought of the German language as sexy, this is unmistakably full of lust. She's speaking in a low tone, with a guttural animal sound coming from her that is full of passion and promise. I know this sound well! While she continues to gently caress my arm I lean over to her and move my mouth an inch from her ear. I know when I speak she will be able to feel my warm breath on her hair. I whisper to her, "I have absolutely no idea what you've just said, but the answer is yes!"

Still absentmindedly caressing my arm and not letting go of my hand she now looks my way and screams out "Oh my god!" She drops my arm and we both break into fits of laughter and shatter the somber silence of this place.

Everybody is now staring at us. We both continue to giggle and scurry away to our respective mates to explain what just happened. Always the observer, I realized what was happening from the moment she touched my hand. She thought her husband had arrived beside her and in this house of lust she was telling him how much at that moment she wanted him. Of course I was delighted to be the proxy receiver of her passion.

Later, the four of us end up in the same room together and as we're leaving I mention to the other couple that I think the Henry Miller library is perhaps the finest place imaginable to share such intimacy with a stranger.

Further along Highway 1 as we travel through Big Sur we pull into a gas station to fill up the car. The attendant comes over and grabs the nozzle from the pump. As she walks toward the car I get out to retrieve something from the trunk. Just as she is about to squeeze the handle she looks up at me and exclaims, "Oh good grief, I'm so sorry!" I do not respond as is my fashion and wait to see what will unfold.

She walks back to the pump and reinserts the nozzle in its cradle. She goes to a different pump that has no price of the gas or any other markings on it and takes its nozzle. She comes back and while filling up the tank now says to me, "I really am sorry, I didn't notice at first that you are one of us." I say, "That's ok, it's no big deal". I have no idea what she's talking about or what's going on.

When finished she goes inside to get the bill and then comes over to me for payment. Getting back in the car after paying, I realize we've just been charged fifty cents a gallon less than we would have paid had I not been "one of them". One gas price for the "touristas" and a much lower price for the "regulars".

My long hair and used hippy look has finally paid off... I am now officially recognized as a Big Sur resident. Life is good!

Later in the week we did indeed get to the Esalen Institute and enjoyed the hot springs. Sitting naked on a California cliff top overlooking the coast in a hot mineral bath with a bunch of other nude strangers was quite an experience. Not surprisingly, I was certainly tempted to scream out "Who vants to suck my cock?" but I knew no one would believe me if I said I was just quoting old Fritz Perls. On helping me edit this story my bride was surprised to discover that there are actually times that I don't want to shout that out, wherever I am.

Something I've always noticed when groups of strangers are naked is that everybody tries not to be too blatant about staring at each other when the clothes are off (even true with the "swingers" set). As soon as it's time to get dressed though, the type and style of underwear a person puts on seems to be the moment of sexual excitement for everybody. I wear what are called string bikinis for those who want to know. I love the snug tight feel and warm genital embrace I get from them. Anyway, they sure do have some fine looking underwear out there in California.