Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This is not good.

I had left a slightly weepy message with the Goat, and he eventually called back. Hadn't read my e-mails, so he hadn't heard that the Little House was history. He immediately began to talk about how dangerous it would have been, listing all the things I had been wrestling with over the last weeks.

The problem is only that it was all his idea. The whole thing. He pushed me and prodded me when I thought it was too daunting to consider, constantly pointed out how I could never find anything at that price in the neighborhood, suggested moving into it in its current state when I said I didn't think I could afford to fix it -- was generally the Cheerleader-in-Chief. And now all of a sudden he was the voice of reason, and I was the one who had gone out on a limb to make it happen, and had sent good money up the chimney, although he did say he didn't see that I had any choice. It all seemed to be adding insult to injury.

The real problem is that I have seen this before. He is inclined to make plans and then change them at the last moment on a whim [or with the sudden insight that he can't in fact do ninety things at once, and it's my thing that gets the axe]. I can't quite dodge the suspicion that this is what the RBF was talking about when he wished me luck and added that I would need it.

[And in spite of all the Goat's protestations to the contrary, the RBF is still plenty mad at me, as recent coincidental messages have shown, however much he may have made his peace with the Goat...]

He noted in passing that I sounded a little down. I said I was sure I did. It was partly that I had been planning on going out with a bunch of the college kids, all of whom backed out at the last minute, and then the house message came in, and then I sat in solitary splendor eating my dinner in front of a dark window that reflected my unwished-for solitude back at me.

I was a little down. Probably more than a little.

So he tactfully points out that I'm not very good at solitude. Well, it's true, of course, I'm not good at solitude unless it's solitude I have sought myself -- I find enforced solitude sometimes unbearable, perhaps the result of all those years on the road... But there was just that little "zing," a hint that maturer people [like guess who?] were able to manage it. Maturer people exist in a world of colleagues and students, are surrounded by social life too crowded for its own good; less mature people are living on their own and working on their own, most of the time, and God knows there is a difference, regardless of maturity. Who wouldn't choose solitude if no one wanted to grant it to them?

Well, I suppose that after a quarter of a century of living in community, I am not very good at being alone. I treasured coming together at a common table at the end of the day as one of the prime goods in life. No arguments there. But I think that's part of what makes us human: the need for human com-pan-ionship, the need to break bread together, to spend time at a meal to talk and grow together, to honor the gods as they come and go...

And it turns out I'm just not mature enough to be alone.
I guess I knew that all along, on some level.

But it was mostly the end of the dream. Every dream dies hard. And this one seemed to be what he wanted so badly that I had to want it badly. That makes his turnabout so hard.

It all reminds me a little too clearly of this point:

I fell a little out of love today.
My love said it was easier for him

To say “I love you” than it is for me,

And now I find he doesn’t look the same.

I fell first, and despite my fall, my way

Was hedged about with pleasure and the dim

Hope he might soon, might someday, come to see

How his delight must call upon my name.

But, oh! to say it easily, to say

Those words without a struggle: that is grim.

It’s clear now it was never meant to be —

More than a passing heat, a kind of game.

To give my very soul where it’s held cheap

Drives me down, drives me down, and drives me deep.

You know what they say: @#$% 'em if they can't take a joke.
Well, I'm not feeling much like taking jokes now, myself.
So, @#$% me.

Hang in there, guys.
Most of the time it all comes out in the wash...

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