Thursday, August 23, 2007


It is weird to arrive home again after vacation.

For one thing, you are usually so exhausted from the mental and psychic adjustments of being in a different place and with different people, that you have jet lag even if you never left your own time zone. Add "real" jet lag on top of that, and you have one hell of a cocktail.

I had been rear-ended/side-swiped by a hit-and-run driver while picking up my mail at the post office a month or so ago, and I had dropped the car off at the body shop before leaving town. It was done, I had paid for it by credit card, so I took a cab to the body shop in the dead of night and began searching for the key. They had suggested that they should leave the key under the driver-side mat; it seemed like a good idea to me... Imagine my shock, on opening the car door, to be reminded that I do not have a driver-side mat...

Well, suffice it to say that I was very glad the cab driver was willing to wait around until I found the @#$%-ing key. Then I drove off into the night. There I was, heading down the commercial strip as I often do going home at night, and I suddenly had that post-vacation Shocker Feeling:

Wait a minute --- did I ever really leave???

Well, yes, of course. But it adds to sense of disorientation. You can read in the various poems posted that I traveled a fairly depressing arc over the two weeks of my vacation, from pretty much complete acceptance and an invitation to return with the Goat, to pretty much complete incomprehension and distaste. It would have been awful had things ended there, but on my very last night away, my one-time love object finally got back in touch with me and we went downtown for a beer. For several tall beers. And what was interesting was that while what I needed a chance to say to him alone was essentially "Thanks for being such a grown-up about my retroactive declaration of love," what he wanted to do was pour out his heart about his own marriage.

I think I have mentioned that it's been about 23 years of roller-coaster attraction and repulsion for those two, and we seem to be entering a downhill phase toward repulsion these days. I could never understand why they got married in the first place [well, yes, I do, they had to] but it seems to me that twenty years later...

WHAT am I saying? Oh, well, they made their bed and now they just have to decide whether or not to continue to lie in it. After listening to the litany of woes for a while, I suggested Dr. Joy Browne's bald question:

Are you better off with her or without her?

and her discovery method, which is simply to make a long two-column list of all the arguments in favor of each option. Once you have EVERYTHING down on paper, it may be easier to decide. My old chum had never heard of the exercise, but he has certainly been trained in current psych thinking, having a pretty much never-ending source of it right at home, so he took to the concept right away.

It was a good evening, despite everything; most of all, it was really important to me not to end on the note struck by my oldest friend in town, who was [at ninety, perhaps understandably so] completely baffled and upset by my decision...

My son was in his own space-cadet way the perfect host. When it became clear to me that we were never going to be able to afford to eat out where he wanted to more than occasionally, I started cooking dinner while he was at work. In a kitchen he has had since moving in over two years ago. There is no table to sit at, though there is a chair and a stool which one could sit on if there were a table. There was one frying pan and one pot, which made life interesting in assembling a meal. And his choice of ingredients to store on the premises was a bit weird. And the tiny "supermarket" carried almost nothing but its own off-label merchandise, so you never knew when you bought, say, a beer, what it was going to taste like.

Well, we ate a number of home-cooked meals, which seem to come as a bit of a revelation to him [you mean you can cook in this kitchen???], and God knows we drank a lot of beer. Local and not. The local brew is pretty wonderful, if you ask me, but anything that gets my laconic first-born to open up the lips and actually talk is well worth the investment. I will need to remember that the next time he comes around, which he is going to do next month -- he's headed "home" for a wedding, and I will have him over Labor Day weekend, I think.

Labor Day was my scheduled Introducing the Goat to Mom weekend, so it looks like it could turn into a more general family acquaintance-making. If possible, I would prefer to put off introducing the Goat to my eldest brother with his onboard self-driven homophobia, but he does live right down the road from Mom, so it may be out of my hands...

This weekend is going to be a long one, and it's going to be spent with the Goat. So if you don't see any posts for a while, at least you'll know it's for good cause. God knows I've gone Goatless long enough to deserve a bit of time off, which I am taking pretty shamelessly.

Two long weekends in a row... The second one may have #1 son, the Goat, and me all sleeping in fairly close proximity, so it will be an intimate time, but not an "intimate" time, with the Goat... which means, I guess, that we have to work all that into this weekend's schedule. I'll do my best.

Wish me luck.
I fervently wish you all the same.

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