Jewish Journal

Beauty and The Beast

by Beit T'shuvah

August 14, 2013 | 1:29 pm

By Dean Steinberg

Heidi Klum and Seal. Donald Trump and his model wife. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. Hugh Heffner and any wife he's ever had, including the current one.  Have I got your attention? I knew I had to stick in the celebrity names, now you’re interested.

But shall we go in a different direction.  At first glance the title perhaps conjures up images of these public figures, or better yet memories of the classic tale of a super vain prince transformed into a hideous man, forced to look at his values and interpretation of love. Whether we were exposed to the story through the book or film, it is hard not to reflect on one's own perspective regarding how we interpret inner and outer beauty.
This piece however, will be about the beauty and the beast both within me, and Disney, if you’re reading, I am open to negotiations for the sequel, “B and the B part Deux”. Like a supernova, so fantastic and beautiful to see, but also containing the power to destroy a solar system, I have these parts as well. I will explain in a situation that anyone who drives in LA should be able to understand.  My recent move to the valley has also moved me into a new traffic sphere, getting to LA to work in the morning. Just when I had fully mastered the art of getting around LA without driving my car into a wall out of frustration and impatience, I up and move to the valley, setting myself up for a brand spanking new set of frustrations and intolerance in my morning commute. A more suburban, family friendly type of inconsiderate driver if-you-will, and this is where the driving version of my internal Beauty and the Beast first showed himself to me.  I am making it my mission, and my life’s work, for the time being anyway, to figure out the best route from Sherman Oaks to Culver City, without having to leave at 5:00 in the morning. I'm doing ok but the occasional nasty, insensitive, selfish beast will interrupt my life’s work as if their job is more important than mine. What I've noticed, is that after this sociopath cuts me off, I now make it my new life’s goal to get his/her attention and let them know how dangerous, destructive, and downright hurtful they have treated me. I always, inevitably, get one of three reactions.

1. A wave of apology, when accompanied by a mouthing of sorry, to go along with the wave, it is even better.

2. Complete lack of acknowledgment of any wrongdoing, in fact a lack of awareness that I even exist or was almost just annihilated by them. Hands firmly on the wheel, 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, looking straight ahead as if they are the most focused, efficient driver on the road. Either that, or they are tripping on mushrooms and they think they are in one of those drive-through safaris, and so want to find the tiger trails.

3. The obligatory middle finger, nasty look, sometimes accompanied by the mouthing of F#%K You.
Enter Beauty OR the Beast!  If I receive reaction number 1 from the other driver, Mazeltov, "I'm sorry too", flies from my mouth. We could be best buddies, I want to hug them, kiss them, buy them a steak at Mortons, and clear Beauty shines from every pore in my body and soul. If I get reaction 2, not so much beauty from me, perhaps retaliation, but there will be no hugs or medium rare steaks. Reaction 3.....and here comes the beast, as easily as I would embrace you with reaction 1, just as easily I could speed up, get in front of you, slam on the breaks, rip you out of your ridiculous Range Rover, or BMW, and kill you with my bare hands. The beast has awakened and he wants blood.

So these reactions from me got me thinking. So vast are they in difference from such tiny insignificant (are they) gestures. From one, I have a new bff, from the other, I go to prison, and in prison I believe reaction 3 comes up a lot more.

So that’s my spin on the classic, timeless story. If we do make the sequel, maybe the other drivers can be dwarfs, or mermaids, or some shit like that.

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