when is enough enough?

No, really: when?

Is it when you get hit on in a bar by someone 10 years your younger who asks, ever so sweetly, "Now that you know I'm 25, do you think I'm too young to date you?" and your first, internal and guilty-feeling response to yourself is, "Given the summer I've had, you may be too old!".

The question isn't age. That's an easy question, or rather, the answer is easy on a case-by-case basis. The question is why. Or what. What are you seeking? Wouldn't it be easy, indeed, too easy, to say that you are trying to recapture your own youth? And don't we all know from a thousand movies and a thousand cliches that this always fails? But no, that's not it. But then, what? And again, why?

And you speculate and speculate about your own hidden motives. And you think about chance and probability. Will math save you or damn you? But none of this offers any convincing explanation. And, of course, you get all psychoanalytic on yourself, and you worry that maybe you're putting off the enacting of a very important life decision by spending time with people who aren't anywhere near making that decision; who can't even impact your decision; or worse, it's because their very youth precludes your own ability to decide that you answer their question to you. But then, you know that you know better than this; in fact, if you already know this, then that's probably not it at all. So, then what?

And maybe the question isn't why or what. It's certainly not who. Maybe it's when. When is enough enough? But then, cagey and sly, you get to ask "enough for what?", and the cycle begins again. Why? What? Which one do you prefer?; which one prefers you? Suddenly you feel enamored of the question mark. You realize that it--this mark--is your seduction; it is the game you've been playing, over and over. And maybe that's the question they never ask about you: when? Maybe there's no further question to follow that "when?" for them; not any more than can be answered by a precise day or a time of night. This leaves you with too much question unanswered.

So the when is yours. Yours alone. The question mark, your remiss lover, taunts you to turn and face it. It's rather like cosmic payback for the hubris of daring to trace it down your back in glitter as the new millenium broke into its temporal incarnation. "I am a beautiful question to myself," you said then, echoing the words another had given you, as if the question mark were a name you earned in some ancient rite of passage that could only be passed on by another.

And maybe it's time you asked yourself a different question.