Monday, February 19, 2007


Out of the abundance

of the heart,
the mouth speaketh.

So, why do I want to climb into a hole and pull it in after me? I am blessed in so many ways, not least by the many people who responded to a much-delayed "Christmas" letter, letting me know that I am in their hearts and thoughts, some of them letting me know in ways I can barely take on board how similar our situations are.

I was just up at my mother's for the weekend; she had my two oldest sisters visiting from the Deep South, and both of them are in such trouble that I ought to be able to feel that my own life was in great shape by comparison.

The trouble is, my mind can see that, but I can't feel it.

I remain mired in my own obsessive concentration on my own troubles, and had to keep sitting on my tongue not to bring up things nobody wants to hear — like how I can deal with the mess I've made of my life, but not with the idea that it will go on like this forever, or even too much longer. There is a polite silence, and then the conversation steers away from the shoals of my life as I have made it, and off to something people can contemplate without having to think about gay sex.

All I'm really talking about needing is hugs, ladies.

I don't resent it exactly, but I am a little put out by how little understanding and interest my suffering [or what feels like suffering] elicits. It seems that people are willing to deal with me as long as I promise not to rub their noses in what I've done and what it means for me [like wishing I had someone to love, someone to love me, someone even just to hold me]. I'm used to being the skunk at the garden party, but I am not sure I'm ready to be the turd in the punch bowl...

Another long e-mail from the lover of my friend in the Far North — they have been together for ten years, but my friend's wife has no more idea that they are more than friends than I did. With my mind plugged in, I think that they are courting disaster, but ten years is a pretty good period to have been playing with fire and getting away with it, so what the hell do I know?

The thing that rivets me about these guys is that they did in fact find each other when they were my age. Otherwise, I have met people who met in their forties and found someone and are my age now, which does little or nothing to glue the feathers back on the poor molting thing that is what's left of my hope...

So I will settle for a baptism of flesh with the Silver Fox, or let it pass me by; having practically thrown myself at his head on my last visit, I might let him make the first move this time. One hates to look too desperate, but "one" has precious little choice in the matter. I haven't completely caved in — I am after all turning to someone whom I find attractive, not someone who is just actively trying to talk me into bed, a scenario that after the third go-round is now beginning to feel familiar. There is something about telling a guy what about him turns you on that seems to cross some sort of line. From the social to something less than coffee-friendly. I mean, I'm happy that these guys find me attractive, on some level, but I don't need the details. Not till I'm ready to get a little... "closer". In the meantime, it's just added static, and I wish they'd keep it to themselves.

I mean, I know I have this thing about ears, and maybe the backs of heads generally, but I don't sit down with someone and immediately start talking about their ears. I know, it's because none of the guys has been "available," not because I have any particularly highly developed moral sense. No, that's not quite right, I have a hyperactive moral sense, it just doesn't keep me from making a fool of myself. For instance:

I came out to one of the hockey players who drift through the office. He was regaling me with stories of his drinking capabilities as evidenced by his feats at the last several "Mardi Gras" events at the college, and said I should join them. What he actually said was: "You should come out! I'm sure you're up to the task." I told him he was the first person not employed as my conscience [Jiminy Cricket???] to tell me to "come out," and that I had in fact come out to most of the people I knew this past summer.

I have to say that he took my retort pretty well [I suspect because my age and general lack of "animal magnetism" made the subject unthreatening], and repeated the invitation in less ambiguous words. I allowed as how the story was probably several beers longer than he wanted to hear, but he declared himself game. So, who knows? I may develop a side-line in trying to keep up with twenty-year-old frat boys. [That should last about three or four beers; I am a notoriously cheap date, and at some point, I just lie down and go to sleep...]

You know, it suddenly occurs to me that if this had been The Guy With the Ears, I would [a] not have been able to speak, period, [b] not have been able to say anything remotely like that in particular, and [c] would probably not have met with such a friendly response. My emotions tend to be pretty clearly readable on my unfortunate face, and I would hate to get into the category of name-droppers [or name-of-body-part-droppers], even without having to say anything. Because I would probably have the functional equivalent of a pink neon sign on my face that flashed:
"It's your ears, Big Boy."
Approaches like that have gotten people knuckle sandwiches before now...

So, here we are. Dinner with the Silver Fox looms ahead, with whatever it does [or doesn't] bring in its wake. The only question is how I will make a fool of myself... as Bock and Harnick had it:

I wish I knew exactly how I'll act
And what will happen when we dine

Tonight at eight.

I know I'll drop the silverware,
but will
I spill the water or the wine
Tonight at eight?

Tonight I'll walk right up and sit right down
Beside the smartest girl in town**....................**[dizziest air-head?]
And then it's anybody's guess.

More and more I'm breathing less and less!

In my imagination
I can hear
Our conversation
taking shape
Tonight at eight.

I'll sit there saying absolutely nothing
Or I'll jabber like an ape

Tonight at eight!

Two more minutes, three more seconds, ten more hours to go!
I'll know, when this is done,

If something's ended or begun,

And if it goes all right,

Who knows? I might propose

Tonight at eight!

Not likely in my case, but you get my drift...


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