Tuesday, July 17, 2007


No, I don't mean hellfire.

But it was one hell of a weekend. It began auspiciously enough with a canceled doctor's appointment which allowed me to leave for the Big Woods early, with the unusual result that the Goat and I actually spent two hours in the same place before winding up in bed [under the heading of "nap," which is code for the Rapid Body Movement phase of sleep. "Sleepy" is apparently code for something similar as well... Seems odd to me, but then, as I have so often asked, what the hell do I know?]. Then we spent the afternoon getting the house ready for his friend from Southeast Asia, who was coming to spend the week while Himself was away. Or away most of the time. At least I think he was going away... oh, to hell with it.

So, then was dinner prep, which in retrospect meant me spending an hour or so in the kitchen while the Goat checked his e-mail, looked at his most recent sports event pics, and cleaned the bathroom. I couldn't help reflecting, as I cut up the cucumbers, that he had been cleaning the bathroom that Fateful Night in February, and hoped that this was not an omen for the welcome he was about to give to Mr. Southeast Asia. I couldn't really worry about it; I was going to be lucky to survive the weekend as it was... Mr S.E.A. did finally show up, many hours late, by which time we were well into the bottle of wine and had polished off most of the food. It was a relief that he was a cow-eyed foreign devil teaching in Asia, and not someone who might have set off my alarm bells, as the weekend was clearly complicated enough without my going off the deep end... Our "early" bedtime -- I had to be off pretty early Saturday morning -- turned into bedtime at midnight, which, however, was something of a "nap" scene as well. Can't complain, really... since, well, I just shouldn't complain.

So, off and away early the next morning, after a really sweet farewell breakfast. God, that man can charm the birds out of the trees, let alone the Trolls out of their better judgment... And off to the scene of my former triumphs. My home-town. Isis was off on a camping trip with our daughter, which had led me to ask the obviously stupid question as to whether she would mind if I spent the night in what had been my studio. The answer was a resounding "yes." So I had called around only to find that just about everybody was booked for the weekend, except the Opera People. So I was off to join the chorus of Trovatore for Saturday night and Sunday dinner, after which I had to drive home to be ready to appear at the salt mine on Monday morning. But the really interesting thing was the pre-meeting meeting on Saturday morning.

My friend from the Frozen North, who has a "country house" in the wilds beyond his home town, drove many hours just to spend Saturday morning with me. My Christmas/coming-out letter had set off a pretty intense response from him, as I was to find out once again that morning. He is a grandfather many times over, and has committed himself to staying in his marriage, even though his lover of five to ten years is his main emotional commitment... it could be called duplicitous, it could be called selfish, but I think it is mostly generous: he knows that his wife would be devastated if he left, and as long as nothing is spelled out and punctuated publicly, she seems to tolerate his Very Close Friendship as part of the landscape: under the motto "what you don't want to know won't hurt you," I guess...

Anyway, it took him about ten minutes to get from his avowal of how wonderful it was to see me -- which still left me wondering why on earth he had driven halfway across the equivalent of a major European country just to spend three hours with me -- to offering the fact that he had a very nice hotel room nearby. I skirted the obvious, or apparently obvious, implication of that one by suggesting that we just walk around town. The green has big shade trees and a lot of benches donated by various generations of the Women's Club, and there was certainly nobody else out to eavesdrop, so it seemed like a good thing to do. It became rapidly apparent that the Hotel Room had in fact been the motivating factor, or at least a big one, as it had a way of resurfacing, explicitly and obliquely, in our discussion, every once in a while. Not in an obnoxious way, just in a persistent, "wont-take-no-for-an-answer" kind of way. It raised its not-so-ugly head throughout his description of whom among our acquaintance he had done when -- completely mind-blowing to me, if it's all true, not only because he winds up as a world-class swordsman, but because it means that my acquaintance is a much deeper shade of lavender than I had ever imagined. And these aren't even the theater people we are talking about... I mean, I really had NO @#$%-ing IDEA.

Well, I managed to stay out of his hotel room, and he managed to stay out of my pants, though when I walked him back to his car and we said "goodbye" after the day's public events, he did remark that so far, he had gotten everything, or everyone, he wanted, and he wasn't planning on giving up.

What do you say to
that? "Thank you"? This, after introducing me to his long-term lover, and being part of our correspondence around issues of fidelity and longing and... well, he is obviously committed to "open" relationships no matter what any of his partners may think. My own view, as I think I have said before, is that "open" means that everyone will pretend that it doesn't matter. Which doesn't keep it from mattering at all, of course. Oh, well. I am not sitting in judgment, just sitting on my ass with the breath kicked out of me.

Oh, and did I mention that he is nearly seventy?
Holy cow...

The rest of the weekend, which I had been dreading for weeks, went off with few hitches. The advantage was that the hitches there were -- like my eldest brother, he of the rant against lesbian real-estate investment on his road, getting falling-down drunk and actually falling down, which I somehow managed to miss -- all receded into normality compared to the mind-bending conversation of the morning. So: Saturday with its social and serious public events, followed by the dreadful business of Sunday's annual meeting that had brought all the loons together to the lake in the first place... all went off pretty well. Not the way I would have wanted, but I gave up hoping for that some time ago.
Must be the
Beginning of Wisdom.

Then a lovely dinner with the Opera People, and an all-too-early departure for my little house on the prairie-turned-commercial-strip. An all-too-late arrival, and the eternal struggle to squeeze enough sleep out of a night when the sun comes up and fills the room with light so early in the morning... I've never looked forward to the end of Daylight Savings Time before, but I think I will really welcome it this year.

It's a short life, but a merry one, here in New England. Lots of heat, lots of cold, lots of rain. If you don't like the weather, wait a minute or walk a mile. That sort of sums it all up. Wish me luck focusing on my free-lance work, which has some looming deadlines I am way behind on... so what else is new?

Hang in there, guys.
You are much in my thoughts, out there in Blogville,
you silent ones and you blogging survivors...

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