Thursday, May 29, 2008


So, here's a flash version of the last few weeks:

I had made arrangements to stop by at my grandmother's for tea to introduce her to the Goat, but rather than give him detailed directions on how to find her driveway, I told him to meet me at the General Store in town, and I would pilot him out from there. After breaking down and crying because I was spending a Saturday without the Goat [click here for more detail], I was mad to see him. And that was pretty much all I had on my mind when I pulled in to the parking lot and got out.

In the town where I spent twenty years of my life...

So there I was, standing in the parking lot of the G-Store, waiting for the Goat, when it suddenly occurred to me to wonder whether it had been a great idea to arrange to meet in such a public place so close to Isis' stomping grounds [her office is pretty close to the store, and EVERYBODY goes in and out of the G-Store all day long]. Even if she didn't pass by, it was more than likely that someone would report sighting me to her, and who knows how that would go over. Especially if I had the Goat with me... it's not what Grover's Corners, or any other place in New Hampshire, for that matter, is geared up for.

About ten seconds after I had, in fact, decided that it was probably not the brightest idea, someone called my name. It was my local sister, she of the health issues and the endless conversation about whatever interests her [generally speaking: her health, opera, and chocolate]. She had her newly retired husband and their weird little dog in tow, and her first words were: "What are you doing here?" I allowed as how I was meeting the Goat to take him out to our grandmother's for tea, and she pretty much demanded that I bring him by to look at the new addition she and the Colonel had put on the house, "just for a minute."

I found the courage to say that no one in recorded history had ever viewed her house, her garden, her car, or even her hair, and gotten away in a "minute." Unless Einstein was right, and everything is relative; my own guess is more like half an hour... Right then, the Goat pulled up in his truck, got out, and got introduced; the invitation was repeated with particular emphasis, and, ignoring all my smoke signals, he said he would be delighted to stop by.

Now, I know how hard it is to meet a lot of people you don't know very well, especially a bunch of them back-to-back, and we did have dinner with the Bean Curd People on the schedule right after tea. So I worried about the Goat's reaction, and as it turned out, I was right to worry. He said he was exhausted at the end of the day. No surprises there; I just hadn't known it was my fault... [click here]

But it all began well enough. Tea was delightful, as anything with my grandmother tends to be. Having reached 97, she just calls things the way she sees 'em and if you don't like it, that's your problem. Anyway, it made me incredibly happy to see the Goat in her living room, and hear her welcome him with such no-nonsense sincerity. It made me even happier to hear her say that he was particularly welcome because I was obviously so much happier than I had been, and she figured that was his doing. Anyway, after an hour or so, I decided we should move on -- she was looking a little tired, and it's always better to leave too soon than after you 've outstayed your welcome. and it was so early that I thought, OK, we'll go look at the Famous House.

It was three-quarters of an hour later when we finally pulled away, after my having spent the last fifteen minutes trying to wrap up the conversation. The Goat charmed the birds out of the trees, as is his wont, found common ground with my sister in the garden and with my brother-in-law in wheeled vehicles of all kinds. But we finally headed off for dinner with the Bean Curd People.

That was really heart-warming. We had a wonderful time, he liked both of them, and it seemed that the admiration was entirely mutual. They ganged up on me and teased me about this and that, and I was so happy to have everyone in one place that I didn't even snarl at being teased. [I can famously dish it out, but not take it. Seems like a general problem, now that I think of it...] Then our half a weekend came to an end, and we had to hug goodbye in their driveway. All I wanted was a kiss; I nuzzled his neck and did get worked up to a hug in response, but no kisses. I was on the verge of tears driving off, headed back into Nowheresville while he headed back out to the Big Woods. It was partly just the contrast with our usual degree of connection on a weekend night, and partly the contrast with the happiness of the afternoon and evening, my sister's barging in on it notwithstanding...

He was right of course, it made no sense for me to drive back with him when I would have to get up and leave six or seven hours after we got back. Simpler to go home and spend the time asleep for a change. Yes, he was right, but I found it bitter nevertheless.

On our last weekend in the Big Woods, I had gotten to hear how his colleagues didn't treat him with respect, and that after years of taking it all in stride [he wasn't that fond of all of them, either], he had decided that what was at the root of it all was: homophobia. Now, I am not an idiot. I know it exists [I wallowed in it myself, so I'd better], just as racism exists. But it seems to me that when you start writing off all your difficulties to other people's prejudices, you are skating on Very Thin Ice. I really wrestle with the paranoia of people who, because they have been discriminated against at some point, now see discrimination in everything. You find what you're looking for, as any research hack could tell you.

He went on about it at some length. Now, I love the Goat, as you must know, but he does have some flaws that other people could find really irritating if they were so inclined. Some of them even have nothing to do with his being gay. So, if I can see reasons beside homophobia why people might not take him as seriously as the next guy, surely people without my reasons to overlook some of his less stellar behavior, can see them. And it's not just the Goat: I have a female relative who decided, some years ago, that the reason she was not being promoted as fast as some other people was that she was a woman. The fact that she had a mouth that would stop traffic at fifty paces, the fact that she had hired friends to work for her who were at most marginally competent or capable of working with a team, the fact, in fact, that she was a raving paranoiac, all of that counted for nothing. It was all patriarchy and misogyny.

The facts of her existence practically explain the existence of misogyny, or would be sufficient grounds to come up with it if it didn't exist. Her refusal to see that her own behavior was part of the problem was in fact, to my mind, the whole story. Yes, I have a fetish about taking responsibility for yourself, and do judge people who try to weasel out of doing it. I have seen some of my siblings hold out in teen-age rebellion some forty years after the rebellion made any sense, and that probably accounts for my allergic reaction to blaming everyone else but yourself.

It really hurt me to think that the Goat might be falling into that mode, and, not to put too fine a point on it, I panicked [click here for a sonnet about that].

And then, this past weekend.

Those of you who read my post about the Octopus [click here] know that I have a problem with the guys who have known the Goat much longer than I have, especially if they were once his lovers. I am just not very good at being an adult when I think about all the things they have shared [all the experiences, all the jokes, all the intimacy]. I feel left out, like they are together, and I am something that the cat just dragged in. I know it's stupid, but there it is.

This past weekend, work was piling up around the Goat, and he wasn't really dealing with either the work or the deadline any better than I do: he was depressed, thought it might be time to leave his job, wouldn't listen to me when I tried to cheer him up... we both wound up feeling a little low. Then, while I was out running errands for him, and he was vacuuming the house [or beginning to: how anyone could spend so much time cleaning so small a space is just beyond me], he got a phone call. From the Last Real Love of His Life, the one who had breezed in and swept him off his feet last month. Just getting in touch to let him know that he was thinking of him...

When I got back, the Goat admitted that the phone call had made him turn a corner: here he was, he said, with me there, the LRLoHL calling in basically to say he loved him still, and with his Longest-Term Lover Ever from the West Coast coming in to visit for the rest of the weekend. Well, at least I was on the list...


Happy as I was that he seemed to have shaken his funk, it was a tad irritating that a single phone call from the LRLoH, and the prospect of a visit from the LTLE, had made the difference, where my hours of gently nudging and encouragement had gotten me nowhere with him. The LTLE and his current lover were in fact due that evening. One of the Goat's more local former BFs was driving them out to visit.

Dinner for just the five of us
How nice.

Well, it was nice. Really. However, it is also true that I was just messed up enough over the emotional tangle of it all that by the end of the dinner I leapt in and divided the check up, neglecting that this time it was us who had had the drinks [and I haven't needed one as badly in a while] and several of our guests who had not, and whom I was now asking to pay for one of my rounds. I really hate it when other people do that to me [see the Octopus saga], and here I was, doing unto others as I would never have them do unto me.

You know, I had spent the day getting the Goat's place ready for his guests, and I was happy to do it if it made him happy. But when I realized that in his zeal to get the place ready enough for the high standards of his high-powered friends from the Coast, he had fallen behind on his grading, my heart sank. Grades had to be in by a certain hour that night by web reporting. As the career girls checked their e-mail on their PDAs, and otherwise maintained me in quarantine, he began frantically uploading grades. I got to sit there in the living room, ignored by him as well as his friends, my last chance of any intimacy with him going up in smoke, as the minutes ticked away. And sure enough, just when I thought it might be time for me to help him unwind, he announced that he was exhausted and was going to go to sleep.

Bad Troll, no doughut.

I suppose I would be able to shrug this all off if I didn't face another "end of the year" weekend this weekend, with his time doled out in dribs and drabs. My self-esteem plummets with the dawning realization that the prospect of his ever running around for me the way I am apparently only too eager to run around for him is, er, um, slim... Well, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

...also if I hadn't just quit my job to take on a short-term, very lucrative project. Lucrative, that is, if they ever pay me for the work I am doing without a contract, which I am beginning to get a teensy bit worried about.

My former boss took me out to dinner last night, and there have been a couple of panicked phone calls, but so far everything seems to be going swimmingly in my absence. Now all I have to do is get things taken care of in the shark pool I just dove into. They can't stiff me completely, and maintain their reputation locally, but they can keep me on tenterhooks for a while, which they are showing every sign of being ready, able, and willing to do.


Hang in there, all.

More excitement ahead, I'm sure.

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