My hand is bothering me. It woke me up several times last night, and I probably aggravated it shoveling manure and mulch on the broccoli today. I‚Äôm icing it off and on tonight before I go to bed, and I figure it will improve in a day or so if I keep it idle as much as possible. |
There is so much I‚Äôd like to do at the farm. It is easy to continually add new ideas and projects and daydreams to a list of things without ever completing any of them. I think of George and the big tent moving slowly each year, a few pegs on either side pulling up and advancing a few inches, such that I look back after a certain period and notice I‚Äôve made some progress. Still, I suppose I like to daydream and make lists and imagine what I would like, whether or not I ever complete any of it.
I think the actual discipline resides in the ability to wait until I‚Äôm absolutely ready to start and complete a project ‚Äď or even a certain portion of a project ‚Äď before I purchase and gather together everything I need for that task. Therein lies the solution to the ever-increasing amount of materiel I have on hand for things I am not ready to do, or things I thought I was ready to do until something else came up to distract me. This is a learning process for me.
Some things have to wait on unforeseeable circumstance. My injury to my hand prohibits me from doing much on the keyhole garden right now. I suppose I could tough it out and lay another course or two of stone and finish it, but I would once again be a day or two in which I couldn‚Äôt make a fist or button my pants, and that is something I dread.
I almost bought a scythe this weekend, even though there really won‚Äôt be anything to mow with it until spring at this point. That is something I can hold off on for at least a little while longer. I‚Äôd like to purchase one from the guys over in the Design District, even though I can get it a good deal more cheaply online. I ‚Äėd like to trade with them in some way, and that was something they carry and know something about. I had a nice talk with Bill the other day at lunch when I went to check out their store. It‚Äôs an odd location for a feed store, but I like it, and I liked him.
I need to study on getting an ag exemption for the farm to save some money on property taxes next year. Dad gets a bill in the thousands every year, because all but the one acre around the house itself is, I think, considered simply unimproved property and gets no exemption. He should only be paying a couple hundred dollars on all that, but he‚Äôs paying more than four grand, or something in that ballpark. That‚Äôs ridiculous, and it all goes to fund Weatherford‚Äôs ambitions to compete in AAAAA athletics statewide. I can‚Äôt stomach that, and I don‚Äôt like financing it. There has to be something we can sell in the next year that will qualify us for that, even if it is just hay and pecans. That would likely be enough, really. I told Mike Sowers I didn‚Äôt want him baling hay next year, because I caught him spraying 2-4,D on the front pasture, and I don‚Äôt like him fertilizing it either. The guys at Trinity Haymarket would purchase clove r hay or perhaps buckwheat from me, and I might only have to seed the stuff and little else. I need to study on that as well to determine the efficacy of it and my ability to carry such a process through to completion. Bill said he would even supply the seed if I were willing to do it.
I still have not placed a second tree order, and the first one will arrive in the next couple of weeks. I also need to lay cardboard and mulch out in the places where the first trees ordered will be planted, and I haven‚Äôt done that yet either. I need to order plums, persimmons, pears and some others, and soon. There is a place in east Texas that has everything I need, but they won‚Äôt send it until I get an order entered. I‚Äôm overloaded with bills this week, and I need to sit down with dad and see what he‚Äôd like to order as well.
I‚Äôve not written anything in months. I‚Äôve intended to re-write the ending to the piece I sent to Leslie last spring, but I‚Äôve never gotten around to it for one reason or another. I don‚Äôt know if it‚Äôs even ever going to be published, but I would like to fix the ending for my own sake if nothing else, anyway. It felt sloppy and muddled and rushed, though it may have read just fine to other eyes.
I have crowded things into my life that detract from the goals I have created and desired. Some of that springs from habit, some of it from loneliness. And yet, almost all the things I do and enjoy are by definition solitary pursuits. More accurately, it is supremely difficult to find anyone interested in joining me in those pursuits who isn‚Äôt just going along to be with me, rather than for the sake of doing the things themselves. That‚Äôs understandable, since all I generally offer is the time itself and the labor and my company. I‚Äôm not handing out shares or recognizing much of the sweat equity I would require from others who join me at the farm. All I can provide is the joy of the labor itself, and that is something I have loved for its own sake for years. But it has taken some years for me to develop that joy for myself, and I perhaps expect too much. I don‚Äôt actually expect anything. I don‚Äôt know what I should expect.
I like reading, gardening, planting trees, spending time with my dog, walking, writing, and, regretfully, passing time on the internet that could be far more profitably invested in any of those other interests with greater reward. I have impulsively pulled people into my life out of loneliness or boredom or habit, and I have distanced myself the moment they made demands on my time or attention. Those are two commodities I simply have no surplus to share. I don‚Äôt regret that, but I regret the harm I‚Äôve done to people who followed their own natural impulses in those circumstances; I‚Äôm sorry for the hurt I‚Äôve caused in that regard.
The house is falling apart and needs repair and paint and some loving care. The roof on the old chicken house is caved in on one end and must be replaced. The fireplace needs some brickwork on the inside. The bathroom in the back of the house needs some work. And the entire place needs a good cleaning, inside the house and all around the property. At the moment, those things seem more important than planting broccoli and bok choi. I regret the time I‚Äôve wasted gardening in moments like these, but I would feel a tangible void if there were nothing at all planted and growing in the garden at a given time. It doesn‚Äôt have to be much.
One of the greatest pleasures I had this past year was being able to walk out to the garden and pick greens throughout the winter, simply by pulling back the row cover I had put in place and filling a sack or two with kale or chard or spinach or bok choi. I spent many afternoons simply dining al fresco in the garden before returning to the house to make kimchi and heading back to Dallas with two ice chests full of greens and beets. At times like those the state of the house and outbuildings and the property didn‚Äôt matter so much to me.
I need to stop for a moment and recognize that I do a great deal these days that in past times would have overwhelmed me altogether, and I do it without hesitation or anxiety. I truly do have a lot of irons in my fire, and I simply work my way through them as they come up for attention. The rest is just the daydreams that accessorize what is at hand.
I have an image of my life that pleases my mind. I don‚Äôt know if the actuality of it would please me quite as much, but the image holds my attention nonetheless. I know how I want things to look, how I want my life to look and my schedule to look and on and on. I don‚Äôt think achieving any of that will actually make me happy, though I would take joy in the accomplishment. I realize full well that I would still have the crowded images in my head of further developments I envision for myself. That is where my joy lives, really. But I do need to make some progress, at least. I need to see some incremental advancement of those goals, even little things like cleaning up some of the junk around the place, even tidying it up a bit, in order to keep investing myself in it. Today that amounted to manuring and mulching the broccoli ‚Äď a baby step, certainly.
Tomorrow I start my SOP for probation, and I likely won‚Äôt even make it to the farm at all, unless dad needs something, in which case I‚Äôll head out there after dark and just spend the night. But that probably won‚Äôt happen. He‚Äôs doing fine right now, even though he frequently has to use his walker now.
My father is an old man now. I hug him and say, ‚ÄúPoor old man,‚ÄĚ and we both chuckle. But it‚Äôs true. We both feel it. This is the culmination of a lifetime together. He is my best friend, and everything else is secondary to what it takes to keeping him comfortable and secure at home. I‚Äôm humbled by that, but not intimidated. I love him very much. I miss him when I pull out of the farm, but I have other things to do at the moment that require my attention as well. I want him to be happy. I want him to adapt to the changes in his life, but I understand the frustrations, the fears and the sense of loss. I feel all of it too. He is the last of the great, old men in my life. That change has changed me somewhat as well. I can‚Äôt quantify that difference, however.
I want the farm to bloom for dad while he‚Äôs still here. I want to surround him with animals and trees and truly beautiful things. I want to be competent to do that; I have the capacity for it, certainly. I want a comfortable competence that puts what I already know into practice without hestitation.
I have many sins in my past, and in my present. I have been very rough on people who were close to me. I have objectified people, discounted their feelings and kept them at arm‚Äôs length. I regret that. Even so, I think I like who I am today more than I ever have in my life. I am more comfortable with the fact that I am absolutely following the pull of my gut, haltingly, fallibly, messily, but daily with more consistency and a sense of purpose that fills up some of that hole in my gut and quiets some of that noise between my ears that has dogged me all of my life. I hold myself accountable for the way I have impacted the lives of others, but I forgive myself for not achieving more toward my dreams. Because my dreams themselves are the source of my joy, more than the achievements they illuminate.
ďDear, there were glory-holes in the basement bathrooms of every courthouse in Texas.Ē |
I was twenty-two, and I didnít even know what a glory-hole was until I met Charlie Brown, and the idea of Texas courthouses had always evoked images of comb-overs, cheap brown suits and expensive cowboy boots. Sex was stolen blowjobs at the cockfights in Oklahoma when both of us were drunk enough to pass it off later, or late night trips to the Eighth Day on Fitzhugh Ave in east Dallas to pick up whoever smiled at me near closing time. I couldnít juxtapose any of that with this stammering lavender man in poodle curls.
Sexuality was activity, not identity. Charlie never really challenged that notion with me in almost twenty-five years. What he did teach me to do was divorce sex from sin and from love and to embrace the fun of it. He also showed me a world of adult wonders that was all around me largely unobserved. I was sheltered, to say the least, wandering thirsty in a sexual desert until this little powdered sage showed me how to draw water from the rocks at my feet.
Heíd been to Parsonís in New York during World War II. He told stories of living at the Y and taking servicemen to Sammyís Bowery Follies and then back to their room, of the colonel who kissed him on the lips at the Tiffany corner when he was seventeen and how he never had to pay for a drink. He grew up in Dallas in a respected family with roots in the countryside south of town. His escapades as a child mirrored my own, and his candor about them shed lights in some of my darker corners. My nervous laughter dissipated daily.
He never had much money, but he lived such that everyone suspected there was family money lurking somewhere nearby. There was none. Charlie could dress up penury like a prince, however. He was the terror of store clerks and waiters everywhere. At the grocery store down the street they would dash for the back when he entered. When he tired of talking on the phone, with anyone, he would simply say, ďOkay, dear,Ē and hang up. He did it all for free and for fun.
He also got more action than anyone I ever met. As he went about his day, as easy as dropping a pen he was in and out of brief encounters, random liaisons in public places, guided by hieroglyphs of a secret language known only to a few and intuited by the random others, who by the alchemy of the moment are suddenly initiates into these mysteries and then once again left outside the cave with no working knowledge of its rituals. Charlie taught me that language. I can still speak it, but I have no use for it. Others fumble at it. They end their political careers in airport bathrooms and their religious careers in motel rooms. And they end their lives tied to fences in the high plains.
There were so many other things he taught me Ė little things mostly. Charlie Brown gave me the nuts and bolts of how to be happy and functional, and most of all authentic. A set of wisdom sayings. My Q document from which perhaps some new gospel may some day be written.
The capacity of the human mind for self-deception is limitless.
Anyone can choose not only how they want to feel, but what they want to think.
What you think about and how you feel is your own responsibility.
No one will ever love you or care for you exactly the way you want them to. Itís not humanly possible, and besides, itís your job anyway. My corollary to that would be: If youíre not willing to do it, anyone who says they want to is likely suspect.
There is no Mr. Right. There are fifteen hundred of them. If you stand still long enough, one of them will run over you.
Divorce your parents.
Never deny. Never explain. In no time youíll be notorious.
There is almost no limit to the power of permission, forgiveness and acceptance.
Pay yourself first.
Spend less than you make and save the difference.
Who loves you more than your mommy and your daddy loved you? Charlie Brown does.
All of these, of course, delivered as dialogue between the suffering servant and the anonymous author.
I came to Charlie repeatedly over the years after one or another of my various watershed moments. He was the midwife of several rebirths, and he did it with the lightest of touches. He never financed my schemes or bailed me out of a disaster, but he offered me his unqualified support in just about anything I ventured. He assured me many times that I was one of those people who are more interesting to watch than they are socially profitable to know. He doted on me, however. He enjoyed my company because I was well read for my circumstances and usually willing to join him, day or night, in just about any excursion. He was Auntie Mame, Yoda and the perfect counterpoint to the rhythm I grew up with. I was his partner in crime, and he was a true and loyal friend to me.
He had polio as a child and stammered a bit as a result of that. His laugh was jarring but sincere and deep. He fidgeted, and he could be moody and overbearing to those close to him; but he responded quickly to a rebuke. He was slightly crooked, operating on the principle that there is an importance difference between what is illegal and what is criminal. He would drink iced coffee and stay up all night doing office work and waiting on what we referred to as ďdoorbell tradeĒ. He was heavily dependent upon a routine, a rhythm dictated by his own metronome, but supporting an elaborate physical and behavioral structure created not only to sustain but to entertain.
Charlie was born the same year as my father when Coolidge was President. I met him when he was in his late fifties. He was never robust, but his decline was gradual enough to make it easier for everyone to adapt. No one adapted more easily than Charlie. Post-Polio Syndrome eventually deprived him of the ability to swallow food, and he had a tube installed in his side and simply adjusted to the change. He spent his time on the sofa in his pajamas, eating pain pills, watching Mad Money squirting coffee into his feeding tube and, well, still waiting on the occasional doorbell trade.
He had in the past been a member of the Hemlock Society. I told him that he had to let me know when it was time, so I could come by and borrow a bunch of money the week before; but he had outlived the lawyer and doctor who had tacit understandings with him in that regard. So he lingered and faded and experienced intermittent days of good feeling and activity in this period long past any Indian summer of his life. No more doorbell trade or caffeine, and he had to sneak cigarettes at the assisted living center. He called every few days over the last few weeks, usually to tell me that we needed to sit down and talk about money. He was tired of us both being broke all the time, and he had an idea. I assumed he wanted me to sell pain pills or something along those lines that would amount to no profit on my end. I said Iíd come by. I made excuses. I ignored calls. Itís the sort of thing Iíve done with him for years. And then I got a text from a mutual acquaintance saying that Charlie had just died.
I drove over to his place, and he was there on the floor where heíd died. He had donated his body to the University, and they were slow in arriving. There was nothing particularly dramatic or even sad about the scene. Iím certainly sad, and I feel the loss. His entrance into my life marked the beginning of a structural shift in my entire thinking. His passing was so gradual as to be almost unnoticed by most. Most of those who would feel his absence most acutely already passed long ago. I wept a bit, gathered a few pictures and shut the door.
Dwarf Gray Sugar
Good Mother Stallard
Red Russian Kale
Crisp Mint Lettuce
Red Malabar Spinach
New Zealand Spinach (not a true spinach)
Strawberry Spinach (unusual, must have)
Purple de Milpa
Summer Crookneck (lots)
Black Beauty Zucchini
Petit Gris De Rennes
Queen Anneís Pocket Melon
Moon & Stars (Van Doren)
Moon & Stars Yellow Fleshed
Mountain Sweet Yellow
Golden Bantam Improved
Oaxacan Green Dent
Mexican Sour Gherkin
Snowís Fancy Pickling
West Indian Gherkin
Detroit Dark Red
Star of David
Austinís Red Pear
Black from Tula
Brandywine (Sudduth's Strain)
Chalk's Early Jewel
Eva Purple Ball
Isis Candy Cherry
Trucker's Favorite Pink
Bull Nose Bell
Fatali (must have)
Feher Ozon Paprika
Mini Red Bell
Mini Yellow Bell
Tobago Seasoning (for container)
Purple Top White Turnip (just a few)
Giant from Italy Parsley
Grandma Einck's Dill
Green Culinary Sage
Hidcote Blue Lavender
Lettuce Leaf Basil
Mrs. Burn's Lemon Basil
Purple Dark Opal Basil
St. John's Wort
Sweet Mace or Spanish Tarragon
Triple Curled Parsley
okay, so my bf's parents decided that our little romance was a bad idea, so they took away his passport and the money in his account. I feel kinda weird. I'm forty-four, and my bf is grounded. I didn't really think of it as sexual tourism. They apparently knew about me but got freaked out about it after the fact when he talked about moving over here. Understandable, I reckon. But I didn't go to Ireland because I couldn't get laid in Dallas. And I didn't see our online correspondence as seduction, any more than I would see any courtship as such. We were just infatuated, and it was a good excuse to take a vacation as well.|
I suppose I'm a chickenhawk, at least for the last ten years the two partners I've had were considerably younger than me. But it's not an overwhelming preference I have or anything like that. You could just as easily say that I get hooked up with fossil hunters. I'm not attracted to underage boys by any stretch, and I don't care for the drama associated with being the "older guy". But my ex's folks in Wisconsin love me and still call me on holidays and pass the phone around, including the grandparents, and they're pretty normal folks with good jobs and educations. He's 28 now, and his current bf is 55, so he truly is a fossil hunter. My bosses are 77 and 54, and they've been together for 31 years. I just don't think much about age if I'm compatible with someone emotionally and intellectually and physically. I went out with a guy earlier this year who was my age, and I was fine with continuing that, so it ain't like I'm achin to be on one of those "perverted justice" websites and just can't help myself. fuck that.
I was kinda put off by the circumstances of all of this the other day and was wondering if it were even worth it. I was okay with the idea that things might not pan out - I don't cry over guys or not gettin my way. But having someone else step in and make judgments like that and say it ain't gonna happen kinda sticks in my craw a little.
anyway, it ain't drama that I need to take on. If his folks have a problem with me, they are welcome to call me personally. I never asked him to lie to them, and I don't have anything to be ashamed of in this instance. my only question is now whether I'm single or not and should I go ahead and start dating again or see if this is gonna resolve itself in the near future.
On 1 April 2006 in the late afternoon I was out in the garden tilling and daydreaming when my father walked out and offered to buy me a six-pack of beer. That's about all I had going on at the time in my life. I allowed as how that was nice of him, and I said I'd run to the beer store and come right back. |
"No," he said, "I'll ride with you."
I was forty-two years old, and I was struck by the fact that my father didn't trust me to go to the beer store and make it back with any predictability. I was overcome with this sudden realization that the only way I'd ever been able to survive the way I had was to make myself my father's pet and allow him to tend to my needs and bail me out when I made a mess of things. We had both become so accustomed to this reality that it seemed almost normal to both of us. I had constructed elaborate rationalizations for the course my life had taken. Most of the time I simply didn't think about the reality of it.
"I don't think I want to drink, dad."
I went inside and poured out the two beers that were in the refrigerator and changed clothes and went to a meeting in the little town of Weatherford, not far from the farm. It was a Saturday night, and there were about five old women sitting around the table. I recognized some of them, though it had been years since I had been there. I told them that I didn't believe this would work for me anymore, but that I didn't know what else to do. I stuck around.
Three or four days passed, and I began to feel better about it. I decided to drive into Dallas and hit a meeting at Lambda, where I had spent so much time in years past. Years ago I had told myself I wouldn't go back there, and that there was no point in making the attempt. But there was no bad feeling when I showed up there. I felt right at home. I began to drive over several times a week, even telling my dad that I was going to Weatherford and then heading to Dallas, an eighty-mile trip, to hit a meeting there. I was beginning to feel a certain degree of expectation about my life that I hadn't experienced in quite some time.
I asked a few people if they would work with me as a sponsor, but I was turned down for one reason or another. For twenty years I had come in and out, usually accruing a few months of dry time at most before devolving into a puddle of self-destruction and bitterness once again. I had become the bad example, the person people pointed to as a warning. That's no joke.
I finally asked George Stephenson if he would sponsor me. George didn't say yes, but he said I should meet with him at his home for a talk. I had known George since my early days with the group. He had been sober for decades, and he had been the treatment director at one of the facilities I'd been sent to by the courts back in the 90s. I trusted him completely, but I still wasn't sure if I would be able to remain sober and become useful in any real sense. We weren't close, but we had maintained a nodding, friendly acquaintance over the years, and we both knew quite a bit about each other. I talked to him about what my life was like, and I began to fall apart. That lasted an hour or so. He gave me some writing assignments and suggested we meet again in a week.
I continued to meet with George on a weekly basis for over a year. During that time he did what no other person had ever done for me, and something for which I will be eternally grateful. He took me all the way through the Twelve Steps of that process and gave me something I had never experienced before. Hope. Perhaps anyone could have done that, since my willingness was the trigger that made everything possible. But no one could have done it the way that George did.
I wrote letters and approached people in person to make amends. I began to pay off old debts, and I did extensive inventory of my relationships and began to develop new ways of behaving toward people in my life so that I could hopefully make right at least some of the damage I had created over the years.
I was beginning to feel true freedom from the tyranny of my impulses and emotional states, and I was becoming a co-creator in my own life with the order and organization of the universe. There developed a rhythm to my life that was sustaining, even when, as George would put it, I was "stirring up dust bunnies in my head". I had an Intercessor of sorts, and I began to experience real peace of mind.
I had moved away from my father and gone back to work at a company that had employed me back in the 90s. I had gotten a place of my own and given my father back his gas card and stopped taking money from him without paying it back. I was self-supporting through my own efforts. I made it to a year and began to sponsor other people myself. I really felt like I had something worthwhile to transmit to others for the first time in my life, and I fully expected not only my material circumstances, but my mind and behavior, to continue to improve with time. I was handed difficulties and felt no panic or need to run from them.
Toward the end of 2007 I began to experience some of the same old troubles that had afflicted me in the past. I was a bit scattered and casting about for a fix. I was encountering trouble from the same defects of character that had dogged me for years and years. This is nothing new, and I bided my time and figured some more work with George would help. Things were good, in spite of my misgivings about what lay ahead.
I talked to George about sitting down again and talking. We made plans to do that soon. All was well. George was not only a very spiritual man, he was also a trained therapist with years of experience in treating addiction. More importantly, he was my friend and had the ability to tether me back down to earth when I was spiraling off into orbit mentally. He would ignore my intellectual acrobatics and stay on point. Just knowing he was there was a great help, though I usually took it for granted.
George was kidnapped and murdered in early February 2008. For a couple of weeks, including his disappearance, the discovery of his body and capture of his killer, the various friends flying in from out of town and the eventual funeral, everything was rather suspended, and I was numb. All of us with whom George had worked gathered together and talked about his effect on our lives and how we should stay in touch and support one another, and we meant it at the time. But we were burnt out by the emotional rollercoaster of that period of time, and we have since retreated into our various corners and kept mostly to ourselves.
I've been off the rez the last couple of months, scattered and spinning my wheels. I still do those things that I've always done to sustain me, but I remain somewhat at a loss. I still wake every morning, turn on the coffeepot, piss and brush my teeth, make my bed and get down on my knees and pray. I then take a handful of pills for my heart and pour a cup of coffee and go into my study to write and read and meditate. I still give thanks every night and inquire what I may do to correct my errors, and I do that sincerely. I still meet with other people like myself, though not as frequently as perhaps I should, and I still stay in constant contact over the phone with friends who share that same road. I told the one remaining person I sponsor last Sunday that I was trying to fire myself from that job, and he said he wouldn't let me. I wasn't getting into drama. I just felt like I had very little to offer him. However, once we began to work on his list of amends I freely shared my experience, and we worked out a process for him to address those people and situations going forward. I was glad he had shown up, even though my phone was turned off and I was offline.
I signed up to chair the six p.m. meetings in April on Wednesdays, and that will anchor me a bit in place. I'm still not sure where I'm going, but I have that same urge to run off and live somewhere else, or get involved in some romantic adventure to distract me. I've done that before, with obvious results.
I'm grateful to be sober. I'm grateful for the time I had with George. I'm scattered, but I remain consistent with most of the things I've been doing these past two years. That is not a lot of time, but it is the longest I've been without a drink or a drug in almost twenty years. And it is the result of the first time in my life that I have surrendered completely to that process that carries me forward today.
My sponsor was kidnapped and murdered this week here in Dallas. |
"Police Make Arrest In Dallas Man Found Murdered
DALLAS (CBS 11 News) ― Dallas police have arrested 32-year-old Robert Lester Canaga of Dallas for the murder of George Stephenson.
Stephenson was found stabbed to death Thursday afternoon in his childhood home in Gainesville. He had been missing since Tuesday morning.
A long-time friend of Stephenson reported him missing after he missed a number of appointments.
"George is a very methodical person. He follows routines. George is responsible, not impulsive, so I immediately suspected there was some sort of difficulty," said Michael O'Neal.
By Wednesday morning, police discovered his credit card had been frozen due to suspicious activity.
"According to the Dallas Police Department, someone has been photographed using his ATM card," said O'Neal.
Police say Canaga is the man seen in that surveillance video."
George was my treatment director at one of many rehabs I'd been in. He was my sponsor and the first man to ever go completely through the steps with me. He was the kindest, most spiritual man I've ever known, and he was my friend of twenty-two years. It is only because of George that I can handle losing George, but it has still been a very difficult couple of days for all of us who knew him well.
I never had any hope until he worked with me. I never before felt any real peace like I have experienced in the last two years. Also, because of George, I have no real anger toward the man who murdered him. That man is simply irrelevant to me at the moment.
We all die. Frequently that is an unpleasant process or event. Few of us, however, have in our lifetime the opportunity to touch people in such a positive way, and reach as many people, as George did. I am truly blessed to have known him in such a substantial way, and I share that circumstance with quite a few people who knew and loved him. There were at least fourteen of us who he sponsored and worked with regularly. A large number of us met tonight and watched the news reports and cried and laughed and talked about George and shared stories. That process will likely continue over the next few days.
I can move on from this, but I won't be able to replace George. I trust that I won't need to at this point.
Hey, buddy, I got up before 3am this morning and figured Iíd write you a quick note to catch you up and let you know I havenít forgotten about you. Thereís not a great deal to report here, but I can be fairly windy in reporting very little sometimes.
I still havenít signed the papers on the new truck yet. I havenít heard from the truck dealership, and I havenít called them. The initial problem was that they had no way of documenting my income. I had tossed all my old paystubs, and we changed payroll companies back around October or so. So my year-to-date figure on the check I took them in December didnít show very much. I had very little credit history, oddly enough, other than the lien the IRS has against me, which Iím paying off steadily. So anyway, itís been well over a month, and Iím still driving that new truck for free and not complaining. I have my old truck back, and Iíd be happy to sell it, but Iím in no hurry for that either.
Iíll make some time this morning and go to the post office and get you a money order while I have a little jingle in my pocket. I havenít sent you any money in a while, and it costs me so little to make a big difference in your quality of life in a given week that I hate it when I put off doing that. Itís Friday morning here, so I reckon that wonít get to you until next week, but still.
I got myself into dreams of romance over the last month or so and gradually lost sight of any proportion I had to my perceptions. Itís funny how that can happen with me, but the results can be pretty pathetic, and even tragic, if I donít have a little humility about it.
I met this guy online and chatted with him on the phone a few weeks back. I told him that I wasnít interested in long-distance relationships or internet romance, and that Iíd have to meet him soon. So he flew down from Virginia about three days after we first talked. That was pretty sudden, but I told myself and him that it was the only way I could keep talking to him with any sincerity. That was my rationalization for getting me into the very situation I told myself before that I would not get into the notion of developing.
We had a great visit over the weekend and enjoyed each otherís company and visited with my friends and family and saw some of the local sights. I was smitten, really taken with him, and I hated to see him get on the plane and head back east that Tuesday morning. Immediately I began working on him to move down here. I was relentless about it, actually pretty obsessed with the idea. I reasoned that his circumstances were perfect for such a move. He was unhappy where he is, heís between jobs, heís single and ready for some kind of relationship and we seem to get along perfectly and enjoy spending time together. Thereís also a good deal of mutual attraction physically. He doesnít know very many people where heís at; itís not his hometown, and heís essentially couch-surfing there as it is. He is in the midst of a settlement process for a neck injury he developed while working, and he has a doctorís appointment in February, but I assured him that we could fly him back up there for that at minimal cost so as not to disrupt that process.
The downside, of course, is that this is a very sudden and dramatic change for both of us. I live about a thousand miles away. Weíve only met in the last month, and he knows nobody in Dallas except for me. All my protestations to the contrary aside, thereís no telling how things would actually develop between us. Thereís no opportunity for that process of shared experience over time to take place in which a normal relationship would grow between two people. We would be microwaving what otherwise would be a slow-cooked meal and hoping for the best. He has a history of uprooting his life and moving cross-country with the vague hopes of things being better elsewhere, and heís understandably hesitant to do that again.
All the same, I had convinced myself and told my family and friends that he was probably moving here soon. It suited me to believe that, and it more or less fell in line with the way I approach these things. It also seems to be the way he operates, whether heís comfortable with that or not. I figured that, in light of that, we were both, at the very least, a marked improvement for one another over partners and circumstances we have each chosen in the past. He is thirty-seven and fairly centered and self-aware, and I am sober going on two years and moving forward with my life in a substantially methodical and stepwise fashion. I can really build an edifice of rationalization that is rock-solid and unassailable when Iím in the mood, Bill.
Things began to come to a head over the last few days. Heís been under the weather, and Iíve grown impatient; not so much for him to make a move, but just to tell me that he is, in fact, coming and when heíd like to do it. I pushed, he equivocated. I sulked and pouted, he reassured. I missed the talks weíd had that hooked me in the first place, the long conversations about the things that interest each of us, and the fascination that comes with getting to know someone elseís insides. I really like that stuff when the curiosity is mutual and bound by some measure of affection, but my demands were creating some distance and building a reticence in him, I think. I was objectifying him at that point, and it had become an obstacle to the very thing I desired.
I lost sight, most importantly, of what is really important in my own life. I am living now by a set of principles that require that I be willing to let go of my old ideas about what works and brings me happiness, that I let go of my unreasonable demands for security, prestige and romance. I became fearful that I would not get something I wanted. My self-centeredness in that regard was the chief obstacle to my own happiness Ė a happiness that is not contingent upon the satisfaction of my disproportionate demands when those demands are subordinate to that Process which I have been attempting to put into practice in my life over the last year and ten months.
I awoke this morning just before 3am with a brainstorm. My mind would not shake it loose. I felt like I knew a few things:
1. He is unhappy where he is
2. he is going to move somewhere, and it is likely not going to be in the town where he lives right now
3. heís probably not going to come here, or in other words, I didnít make the cut
4. I have a resentment against him, God and myself for screwing myself out of something I thought I really wanted
5. the only thing I have any real control over in that situation is my own resentment, and that resentment can potentially wreck my life in a very real and substantial way regardless of the possible outcomes of this situation
So I got up and started my coffee, got on my knees in the living room and prayed the way I do every morning, went to the bathroom and sat down with a cup of coffee to read and write and clear my head and find some relief and another way to approach this so that I could let it go. It wasnít important whether any or all of those first three propositions were true or untrue. The last two were where my responsibility lay.
It was exactly those unreasonable demands that were instrumental in bringing down the longest relationship I ever had. It was similar demands that ended the last relationship I was in, though I think it was more my resistance to my partnerís desires that was my part in that one. I suppose it is more or less that situation that drives most people apart and creates conflict in peopleís lives everywhere on the planet. What I had to do was let go of the idea that the solution was in finding a way to meet those demands, and instead, to find a way to let go of that attachment to their satisfaction, such that, whatever happens, I can be happy and usefully whole again. This is how that Process works. This is how moral inventory and self-examination and dependence upon the intercession of God work in my life to dispel the ill effects of self-deception and self-centered fears. Resentment and hurt feelings and the attachment to unreasonable demands upon others and God are all things that work to form a tyranny in my life. I labored under that for forty years or more, and it nearly killed me. It does, in fact, have the power to kill. The slavery to my impulses and emotional states is the end result of following my disproportionate demands and desires and attachments to their logical end. Following that road leads back to a drink. And for me to drink is to capitulate to a living death.
That all sounds very dramatic and verbose, but it is simply a logical process and the nuts and bolts of how I continue to move forward and work toward objectives that are not of my choosing, but which, in the long run, bring me real happiness. The downside is that I have to swallow a good deal of pride and live with the embarrassment of doing all of this in public Ė itís just my nature, I suppose, to let everyone see my guts in all their distended and convoluted glory. The upside is that I grow a bit, and that pride I am chewing was simply false pride in any case.
It matters not, really, whether he moves here. He will do whatever he does, and I canít control that. He may show up next week, or I may never see him again. It likely will be some other permutation of the possible outcomes, as it almost always is in my life. The nice thing about all of this is that the emotional disturbance on my part has come and gone in the space of a very few days, and at no time during that period did I consider going off the reservation. It didnít even occur to me. I got myself wired up on a bit of an emotional bender and showed my ass in public, but the end result was some raw feelings and a clearer picture of me.
I really like this guy. I really do. Hell, he could move here, and we could have a wonderful life together. Everything so far has led me to believe that heís a good fit, and I see no reason why that should change, if circumstances conspired to allow that. The important thing for me, however, is that I not take my eyes off of what is truly necessary for me to keep moving forward on the path I chose back in April of 2006. Without that focus, Iím no good to myself or anyone else. If I can maintain that (and that is an act of will that is really the proper use of will power in my life) then I can have anything I want that God wills and be satisfied with it.
I work with a couple of guys who, oddly enough, deal with very similar issues, and I have lately been at a loss as to exactly what to say to them about their situation. As a sponsor all I really have to share is my experience, and my experience over recent days has really only been negative. I think I see now what the answer was, and why that answer was slow in coming. My experience points toward one thing, really: a dependence upon a God of my understanding to give me peace of mind and true happiness, regardless of circumstance.
Yer faithful correspondent,
Jackin, whackin, spankin that puppy|
Behind the restaurant, in the dumpster
Pagin thru the dirty mags
Wipin off the guacamole
Drippin from the slidin door
Hopin wetbacks don't discover
My aromatic lovin place
Sleeve my cock in chimichanga
Thrown away with cigs stuck to it
In a moment, I'm in heaven
Makin tons a sour cream
Lick my fingers, so delicious
I just love me some Mezkin food.
good: keeping a can of air freshener on my desk. I have the most explosive, satisfying gas ever lately.|
bad: it smells like someone shit a mango tree in here
11 October 2007 Ė|
I had the most bizarre and vivid dream last night, and it was very intense and sad for me even for many moments after waking. It was in color, and it felt very real.
I was meeting most of my immediate family in England, though the principle characters I presently remember being there are my mother, my father and my sister Pam. I believe Danny was there as well, though his presence was insubstantial to the action. We were at a palace that adjoined the ruins of an ancient castle. The palace was bright white and large glass windows everywhere, and the ruins a moss-covered crumbling pile of terra cotta stones, though it was also apparently in use. A coach went regularly over to the castle along a narrow road.
I had apparently changed a great deal physically. I remember that. People commented on it. The main thing I remember though is that my mother and my sister were both creating a big scene about something I canít remember. I was furious with my sister, and to some extent with my mother as well though not quite so much, because this was the home of the queen and the seat of government, and we were the center of attention, though we were merely there as tourists. If I remember correctly, my sister broke something, maybe a window. Iím not sure. Her and my mother were yelling at each other in tears about some ancient family upset that was meaningless anymore. I remember being frustrated and embarrassed by the fact that we couldnít be out in public. We were supposed to attend some show or spectacle and ended up being escorted out Ė at least I remember leaving with my father to go outside.
The palace-castle complex sat atop a large hill with steep sides with a river fronting it. There was a group of peasants, or at least plain folk, sitting amongst some large stones on the hillside in the sun. It was beautiful weather. Dad wasnít doing well, I think. I sat my father down in that group and took a seat myself at the edge and looked up. A coach was traveling along that narrow road immediately above us, and I noticed that the stones along the edge of the road were crumbling and coming down the hill. Then I noticed that the entire structure of the ruins was collapsing and rolling down the hill toward us.
I jumped. It was as though I had acquired some phenomenal parkour talent. I leapt from one place to the next down the hillside while huge stones crashed around me, knowing that everyone in my family was doomed. I jumped across the boundary between the grounds of the castle and the adjacent buildings of the town. I was in a crevice of some kind about three feet wide that ran down toward the riverbank, and I somehow knew I was safe there. I continued down to the front of the building and turned to the right until I came to a walkway overhead. It was as if I were in some sort of dry storm gutter that surrounded the building. I looked up and there was my sister Pam reaching down to help me up. I was in tears. I didnít want her help Ė I was furious at her Ė and I was devastated that the rest of my family was all dead. My parents were dead, and I knew that. I couldnítí speak. She walked me forward from the building to the sidewalk, which was just a dock on the river and into a small reception office about the size of my bedroom where a man behind a counter gave me a lifejacket. I walked to the door and saw the river right there and looked back to my left up the hill and saw the castle gone and the palace remaining and knew my family was gone.
I awoke with a tightness in my chest from sobbing at the man behind the desk and trying to get him to understand that everything was gone. It was REALLY weird.
Showing 1 - 10 of 36