gall and gumption

Monday, May 28, 2007

I Could Write a Book

Discussed relationships with a friend who is recovering from "the sting of rejection" -- rejection by a guy she didn't like in the first place -- and who is warily eying another dating prospect who is going to some pains to make a rendezvous.

I'm two years out from any relationship-type business. I feel like the pleasure of my own company is my own personal New Found Land, and I still remember driving towards that land, so to speak, and feeling thrilled, in California back when I got out of the last one. I used to feel that happy when I was driving to the airport to pick up whoever I was madly in love with at the time, that happy anticipation.

Now my theory is that all the things that make you able to live with yourself make it hard for you to live with other people. Like falling asleep every night with books all over the bed and the light on. Or having dog toys all over the living room. Or letting the dog sleep on the bed at nights. "Beats sharing the bed with women!" says one jaded male friend.

Well, wait, no, I tell a lie. There was this one guy I met at a party just before the Big Breakup. He somehow got hold of my email address from a friend who was there and we began a correspondence, he was very sincere. And also he was living with a girlfriend, they'd been together 18 years, and she didn't understand him, he told me quite early on in this correspondence. and that he was confident I understood him. I was not sure I understood him at that point, but I felt quite confident his girlfriend did. But his emails were long and often amusing and he was a creative person (musician) and he was, like me, dissatisfied with his life. But while he had persuaded himself that I was going to be the catalyst for some amazing change in his life (based on having seen me once) I just was glad to have someone to write funny letters and whine to. And I ignored all this other business as just something he told himself to have an interesting life. We communicated for months, right through the breakup, during which he was sympathetic and kind. But he was also a bit of a narcissist, subtly, intelligently. And maybe that's why I was unable to take him completely seriously, and was just glad that he lived a good five-hour drive away and never seemed to go anywhere.

Anyway during one of these email exchanges I introduced him to the idea of "The Posse." The Posse, I explained, was this group of men who I sort of had in my life all at the same time and all of them together almost up to something more than a boyfriend. Most of them didn't know each other. There were about six or eight of them at one time. There was the one I talked books and writing with (actually there were a couple of those), there was the one who was richer than god and I wrote him funny letters and he told me "Dog Walks Into Bar" jokes, there was the one who was gay who I went out with every Friday night and sometimes even more on the weekend. We'd go bar-hopping in San Francisco, and I'd catch the last BART train home and he would go out looking for adventures, and the one who no matter how horrible things felt or actually got I could talk to him. So I said, in this email, describing the posse, "Wouldn't it be great it you joined the posse?"

Never heard from him again. To this day I don't quite understand it.

I haven't really wished for a boyfriend just to have a boyfriend. At least not since high school anyway, then it was a chronic (and unfulfilled) wish. I only like the people I like. I'm terrible at wishing such things into existence, though I did get all the way to St. Kitts using the mystic power of Small Plastic Farm Animals. Occasionally I think I wouldn't mind whatever would evolve out of a long slow period of wary cirling at a safe distance and somehow if the anxiety stage could be bypassed altogether, and a long list of similear self-serving qualifications, to the part where the getting on of the nerves and the hurting of the feelings don't occur.

For every one time I feel the slightest faintest pang of that sort, though, I have already been through three pangs for access to an academic library (or at least a library that professional lit majors could use), and to the remaining half of my book collection, still in storage in California. That's what would make me feel whole right now, and in the absence of a solution, especially on the recent nights of the past few weeks when I stare helplessly into the notebooks and write almost nothing, I have little bouts of slight panic.

So I've been following Tom's discussion of the availability of academic journals on the Internet. Pangs and suspicious! How about the one where everyone who isn't getting paid for the brain work that they do must be a deluded pathetic wanker? What could sad freaks like us possibly want to read scholarly articles for?

Status in a democracy is radioactive poo. I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's like its own all-pervading, portable think tank, propping up a lot of weak and venal minds. Not propping them up socially, though I suppose it does that (and you know what? knock thyself out, enjoy it) but it's like it supplies so much of what passes in people's minds for thinking in intellectual and aesthetic matters, and I really do hate this like poison. It is the enemy, the corrupter of judgment.


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