Preface/Postscript to Love & Other Madness


You may have noticed that I no longer use this blog as my sounding board. 

It began as a place for me to sound off about the weirdness in my life.

My marriage  was failing, and my step-daughter Maya  had just undergone treatment for a brain tumor. I felt that I still loved my wife Linda, but she had become almost impossible to live with since her daughter had been diagnosed with the tumor. I say this now, but at the time, I simply couldn’t understand her coldness to me. She was depressed, of course, about Maya’s illness, and feared she was going to die. Even after Maya was operated on, experienced the hell of chemotherapy, and then had been through radiation treatments, Linda continued to be depressed and refused counseling. She believed that Maya would die. She drove me and Maya crazy with her obsession with that, despite the fact that Maya had survived and was found to be free of cancer. Her cancer had been an extremely rare brain tumor, one that had not spread to other parts of her body, and Maya’s blood and spinal fluid were free of any cancer cells. In short, there was every reason for optimism, but Linda would not let her fear go.

I learned, through the experience, that I loved Maya fiercely. I had lived with her about 13 years as she grew from girl  to woman,  and I had been shocked and scared as well that we would lose her. It was this possibility that Maya would die that hit me over the head with the fact that I loved her dearly. I hadn’t thought about it before. It was new to me that, (1.) I loved someone else besides my wife, and (2.) it was an unconditional love for another human being, and (3. ) she might die, and (4.) I didn’t want her to die. After she began treatment, I relaxed.  It looked as though she would survive. I felt something new: joy, joy that she would survive. I had been so depressed at the prospect that Maya could die, that the idea that she would not die came as the purest feeling of happiness I’d ever experienced. Up until that epiphany, I had never known such a feeling existed in reality.

In fact, I had been unhappy. Life with Linda had become difficult. Her negativity, her constant put downs, and her coldness were not new. She had been that way all along, and I simply didn’t care. I loved her, so I made excuses for her abusive behavior and her lack of human warmth and kindness to me. I was making do. During sex with her I felt closest to her, but sex was not something she cared much for. It was as though she allowed me to have sex as her duty as a wife. It was not something important to her. I had known passion with other women in the past. I loved Linda passionately, I felt, but she did not, could not, respond in kind. Such is life. I became accustomed to that, but I felt trapped. I wanted more from life. I was willing to accept that Linda gave me all she could, and my love for her was enough. Sometimes I felt that I deserved no better than that.

However, one day, when Linda roughly pushed me away when I touched her, I made a decision, a decision based on years of being pushed away, without explanation or gentleness: I was no longer going to stay committed to monogamy. This was the one relationship I’d had where I had actually felt monogamous. I hadn’t wanted other women. Other women were pretty, but not sexually attractive to me. My life before this marriage had been one in which I was always seeing or meeting women I felt physically attracted to. Being in love with Linda, I found her to be the only woman I wanted to be with. Now, I was tired of longing for her and being rejected over and over. I could have tolerated little or no sex if she had been respectful of me, of my opinions, my feelings, my hobbies. She was not. If she had given me any comfort at all during Maya’s illness, I’d have been happy. If she would have touched me sometimes, with a caress, or hug, or a warm kiss, I’d have stayed happy. But, there was none of that. I’d begun to feel as though I existed in her life only to provide entertainment, and pay the bills.

Having made this decision that I was open to other women, I began to notice the women at work, and notice that I could be attracted to other women than Linda. I spoke with a woman who worked in the department office, and found her appealing. Her accent and manner reminded me a bit of my brother Pat’s Texas wife, who he is now divorced from. She was very pretty. I lightly flirted with her, but she didn’t appear to be interested, although she was single and quite friendly. One day, at an office Xmas party, I was introduced to a young woman who worked part-time in the department: Karen.

Karen and I hit it off right away, discovering that we had an unusual but strong affection for a science fiction TV show,  Babylon 5. Trekkies didn’t seem to like it much, and although we had both been interested in Star Trek at one time, we had both been much more fascinated with the Babylon 5 universe created by J. Michael Straczynski. Karen pointed out articles and blogs by Straczynski, which showed that his politics and beliefs heavily influenced the show, and that those politics and beliefs were the same ones held by Karen and myself. This was beyond belief to me at first. I’d had never met anyone like her.

Over time we discovered a mutual admiration for certain science fiction authors, of the characterization in Marvel Comics, of Japanese Anime, and a love of peace, and justice. I came to believe Karen was like a soul mate to me, trite as that phrase is now. I fell in love with her. I desired her intensely. I lusted for her. She is quite sexy. Two major problems: (1.) I was married, and (2.) I was much older than her. At first, I was not that interested in Karen except as a friend; she was just too young. Over time, I decided, self indulgently, that I didn’t care about her age. She was in her middle 20’s and quite old enough for me after all. I found that, although I felt I still loved my wife, I wanted Karen. I loved her too. Initially I wanted both women; something very selfish, and very impossible. Karen made it clear she wasn’t like that. She would never be a married man’s lover. (In theory, since we rarely talked about anything personal). In fact she did not want to know anything about my wife, or hear me speak of her at all. I wondered about that; in my delirium, I thought it meant she was jealous of my married life, perhaps of my wife. I hoped it meant she cared for me. However, she never wanted to meet except  for lunch. Lunches with Karen became very exciting for me.

If you’ve read the entries in this blog, you know that things got worse and worse for me. Linda and I divorced. I briefly hoped that an obstacle to at least dating Karen was gone, but no, Karen told me that even going to a movie together (Silver Surfer) that we had both planned to see was like a date, and a date was inappropriate. After that, our relationship (we had been eating lunch together every Friday for about four years) deteriorated. She was more and more often busy, and just didn’t have time for me as often anymore. Our lunches became rare and awkward, and pretty much stopped. Between Karen and my divorce from Linda, I was often sad, and becoming more depressed by the day. My job no longer gave me any satisfaction, and I wanted out. The divorce had resulted in my loss of the house I had jointly owned, and all the money and time I had put into it. I had previously sold my own house, paying off debts Linda and I had accumulated, so I didn’t think I could retire, as I had no money left to buy another house of my own. I had been close to paying off the house Linda and I owned, but she got the house and I got to keep my pension. After two years, and giving it a lot of  thought, I said: “Fuck it,” and I retired anyway.

I didn’t see my ex-wife again for four years, and I never saw Karen again. I came to understand that Karen may well have been a substitute Linda, for one thing, in that I hoped to have my feelings for Linda reciprocated from Karen. I may have simply transferred my feelings for Linda over to Karen. But, there is an odder possibility that I spent much thought upon. Since Karen was just slightly older than my step-daughter Maya, and initially there was the possibility that Maya could die, perhaps I unconsciously began to substitute Karen for Maya? What that said about my feelings for Maya troubled me, but I came to believe that I wanted Karen more than anyone in the world, that I would die for her, that I would do anything for her, and she was all I ever wanted in the world anymore. It was, I believe, a psychological illness. I was loony tunes, out of my head (well, trapped in my head to be accurate). I no longer had any anchor to reality. Impossible things seemed possible, and the possible seemed false and unreal. I spiraled into a deep depression, and I really did want to die. There just didn’t seem to be any reason to live any more.

It took some time, some brief counseling, and a bit of antidepressant, but I lost all interest in Karen; I can no longer believe I was ever interested in her. It shocks me to think I thought I loved her. I loved my ex-wife Linda, and still do. I love my step-daughter Maya. Nothing else ever mattered; nothing else matters now. I have tried dating, but without success. A woman I used to hike with was very nice to me, but the relationship never went anywhere, and appears to have died out. I was initially extremely lonely and often horny, but all that seems to have faded away now.  I do not find most women attractive. Recently I found myself interested in another young woman, a model I took photographs of,  but that was brief, stupid and doomed to failure, for the same reasons my relationship with Karen was never going to go anywhere.

I once wrote, in the short story, The Boy Who Rode His Bicycle Into Manhood, that I spent the rest of my life simply walking the ditches around my neighborhood, reflecting on my life, and never interacting in any meaningful way with another human being ever again. It seems that pessimistic and depressing ending of my story is actually coming true! That is my life now, although it is not as depressing as I thought then. It just is.

What prompted this sudden return to this blog? I went to a salsa concert the other night. I was enjoying the music, and watching the dancers, and then Linda walked in. A friend of hers recently moved here and they share our old house, so they came together. I think they both saw me, but neither acknowledged it. They looked in my direction when I was the only one in that direction (up on the balcony above their heads).  I was shocked to see Linda, and that she looked really good to me. I considered going over to where the two sat down, and asking Linda, or her friend, who I had been friendly with, to dance. But then I saw Linda dancing with someone, and having a great time. It reminded me of how much we loved salsa dancing and how often we went: usually once a week, but sometimes twice a week, and for most of the 14 years that we had been together. It wasn’t unusual for Linda to dance with other men at the club we went to. Most were friends she had danced with before meeting me, and other times she just liked to dance with the experts. That’s the way things are in these salsa clubs and dances. Even if people come with a date, everyone dances with everyone else. A man usually asks a woman’s date or husband for permission first, and after a few times it is understood without asking.

So, I was not jealous seeing Linda dance with another man the other night. It was a feeling of sadness, terrible sadness, that I was no longer part of her life, that I could never dance with her again. My feelings so overwhelmed me that I stayed rooted to one spot for an hour. Then, I considered jumping off the balcony. Obviously I didn’t. I never asked anyone to dance, never went over to Linda and her friend to say hello. I just listened to the music, watched the other dancers, and drank three beers. I am not part of Linda’s life and can never be again. We could not live together anymore anyway, but my desire for her is no less, after four long years of sobriety, soliloquy, and solitariness. Oh, well. That is most certainly the way life can turn out. I had a good run. I stay busy these days, hiking in the mountains, reading, watching old movies, and helping make wine at a local winery. All of it distracts me from my sadness for brief amounts of time, so I’m optimistic that I will actually find happiness in just living again. I used to want passion in my life; now, I would just like a reason to live. Love & Other Madness was a small slice of my life, a time when I slipped the bounds of reality and dared to dream of greater happiness and passion. In so doing, I lost everything I cared about. I make the motions now, do things, talk with people, get some exercise. It’s real.

A New Dream, of Math!


Extraordinary!  I woke up at 4:30 am after dreaming.  That in itself is not unusual.  For years I have been doing that, waking up at odd times of the night, sometimes from nightmares, other times from dreams of longing, or sexual excitement, or violence, and often, fear.   It’s hard to get back to sleep after that, even if I need more than 4 or 5 hours sleep.  Today was unusual in that there was none of that.  I had a teaching dream.  I dreamt I was a substitute teacher or guest lecturer at a grade school.  I was there with the teacher, whose other appointment had been canceled, so she was there.  We were trying to come up something for me to do.  I asked about lesson plans and where the kids were in their studies, when all of a sudden I decided to lecture about the number/concept of one.  I found a green chalkboard on the side of the classroom, and the teacher had the kids rearrange their desks to face me.

I talked about one, and how, of course, one times something is still one something, how division is just a question of finding out how many of some thing are part of something else.  I used the traditional example of one, starting with how many of those ones are there in, for example 25.  There are twenty-five.  Twenty five times one is twenty-five.  But, that is not the whole story. The things under analysis don’t have to be the same.  I could have 25 apples and 4 oranges.  The question, represented by mathematical symbols, could be how many apples are there in 25 apples and 4 oranges.  Well, there are still 25 apples.  There could also have been 21 apples and four oranges; 25 pieces of fruit.  The question itself has to be defined, and it is, just using symbols.  That, of course, led to questions from the students, and more discussion.  I spoke of how numbers were originally used to represent philosophical concepts,  how useful the number one was to represent the concept of a thing, and other symbols were invented to represent other things under discussion, and how that enabled counting, and the representation of sums, and how zero had to be invented to represent the concept of no thing, or nothing.

I talked of using mathematics to run a warehouse.  I gave many examples of ways to understand inventory.  I came up with an example of a warehouse that sells two things.   One day, the owner had everything in the place counted, but she was only given two numbers: 634 boxes, of which there were 389 boxes of, say, can openers.  However, she needed to know how many knife sharpeners she had in stock but everyone had gone home for the day already.  So, it’s simple, the students said, you just subtract.  Certainly, and many of you can do this in your head, or we can put this on paper, or on the board here: 634, less 389 is 245.  634 minus 389 equals 245.  634-389=245.   So there were 245 boxes of knife sharpeners.  However, she needed to know how many knife sharpeners  she had, not how many boxes of them.  Fortunately, she knew that each box of sharpeners contained 24 of them.  Then we were back to mathematics, and multiplication.  245 boxes of sharpeners, 24 to a box, so  245 boxes of 24 sharpeners is 5880 sharpeners.   245 times 24 is 5880.  245 X 24 = 5880.  “Classic representations of  problems, but using symbols,” I said to the students, “that you all know by now.”  Simple.  But, it could also be represented other ways, using other symbols, for more complex calculations.  Boxes could be B.  Can openers could be C.  Knife sharpeners could be represented by S.  389 plus 245 is 634.  C + S = B.   This led to more questions, and I went on the show them how this little statement could be even more representative of the actual inventory.  It could also be written as say, 15C + 24S = T, or total number of items on hand.   So, knowing, at any given moment, how many of each item is available depends on knowing the values of those letter symbols, in this case boxes of each.

I went on to explain how this use of symbols can more useful.  I used the same example, but the warehouse had three types of things: can openers, knife sharpeners, and knives.   So, we had, on the chalkboard, C + S + K = B.   “OK,” I asked, “what if the owner had a similar problem, but had different types of things to be determined.  For example, she knew that she had  389 boxes of can openers, 245 boxes of sharpeners, and she did not know how many total boxes she had of everything, but she needed to know how many knives she had in stock.   So, using our symbols, C is 389, S is 245, but K is unknown and B is unknown.  I asked the students how to solve this problem.  They said, just count all the boxes.  “But,” I said, “it’s too late to do that, and everyone has gone home.  She needs to know, right now, how many knives she has.  “She has to work all night, by herself, ” a student offered. Yes, I said, that’s one way, but there are other ways, and it doesn’t solve the problem of telling the manager on the phone, right now,  how many knives they can ship tomorrow to the various stores the company has.  He has to know, so he knows how many each store gets, and they each want to know today how many to expect.  “Can’t be done, ” a student called out.

“But,” I said, “what if she has other information?”  For example, what if she knows that for every set of six knives sold, she includes one sharpener.  “Could it be done then?” I asked.  This riled the students up.  Many of them had suggestions, and some said we needed more information. The discussion was lively.  The students were engaged in the problem, and things were beginning to click in some heads.  Math was no longer esoteric and boring.  This is, as I said, a teachers dream.  I had opened a discussion, gotten students involved, and pushed them to think.  That is what motivates any good teacher.  It is what drives some to become teachers in the first place.

Well, this is all very interesting, you say, but, what the hell has it to do with you?  You’re not a teacher.  What has this to do with Love, and Madness?  This blog is about those things, not teachers, not math, not symbols, or the philosophy and use of symbols.

True.  But, this is the extraordinary thing.  I never dream about such things.  I have been caught in a loop of unrequited love, an emotional roller coaster of ups and downs and confusion.  My dreams were about her, about the possibilities of life with her, and the impossibility of that ever happening.  There was no solution.  My marriage broke up, but there was no solution to that, and even that was no solution to my problem.  In fact, I was far worse off.  My dreams became worse, my sleeplessness increased, my brain spun out of control, and I couldn’t focus, couldn’t think about anything else.  I retired.  Work was nearly impossible.  On my own, I got worse and worse. Depressed. Dysfunctional. Remote. Alone.

Two days ago, I resolved the problem caused by my obsession with Karen.  She helped.  She told me to lose her address.  Finally, a clear message from her.  I liked it.  It was what I had wanted all along.  In fact, I hadn’t been able to resolve my feelings, my emotions, or lack of them.  I was stalled out.  I no longer felt anything at all, but I didn’t seem to be moving on either.  Karen’s message to me hit home.  I had carefully avoided being angry with her for any of this.  She had done nothing wrong, had always been straight with me and could not be blamed.  However, the typical scenario for getting over a lost love, failed marriage, or even death usually involves several steps, of which anger is one.  I was angry with Karen now, even though I brought that on myself.  For a brief moment, I hated her.  I wrote it down.  I said, in this blog, “Fuck you Karen.”   Never before had I thought such a  thing or wanted to direct any anger or negativity towards her.   I was wrong, very wrong.  That was precisely what I should have done long ago.  What a relief!  Fuck you Karen, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.  CLICK HERE It was a mantra for me.  It worked.  For another brief moment, I wanted to die.  Seriously, my depression came back full force, and I really, really wanted to kill myself.  But, it passed.  My head cleared.  Logic does not apply to emotions.  I would never have solved these equations:  Me plus Karen equals happiness, and Me plus Karen is impossible, and Me minus Karen is death, or zero, anyway, nothing.  Does not compute.

So, I don’t think the dream meant I wanted to be a teacher.  The reality is usually far different from that anyway.  I could try being a substitute, bring in a little cash. Hell, the damn retirement board just decided, upon careful analysis of my pension, that they had made a mistake, and I was being given $7.80 more a month than I was entitled to.  They sent me a letter, stating that, and the fact that, since I have gotten $7.80 a month too much for ten months, I now owed them $78.00!  And the motherfuckers have already deducted the entire amount from my next disbursement.  Well, fuck  ’em.  I’ll survive.  My budget was tight enough.  Actually, in their complicated math, I will get not just $78 less, but $84.25 less this month.  I don’t know how THAT works, since, if I was getting $7.80 too much, then the ten months of that is $78.00, and $7.80 less for the current month would mean I should get $85.80 less.

So, really, I may have to get that part-time job I’ve been dreading.  Hmm. Substitute teacher? Always in demand. Flexible hours.

Well, at least, my head is clear now. Maybe I can be more creative. Maybe I can get on with my life now.  

I Am Majnun


Ah! To love another who does not love you: that is torture and torment and the stuff of legend and song and poetry.

But, what if two love each other and can not be together? Romeo and Juliet? you say. No, I reply, for they had a brief moment together: they loved and kissed and laughed together.  Shirin and Khosrow*, the Persian lovers? you ask me.  No, I say again, because, after all their sorrows, they were united at last, and had a few happy years before their tragic end.

I speak of Layla and Majnun. There was a man, who, unable to be with the one he loved, fled to the desert.  Nizami, the great, perhaps greatest of all Persian writers and poets, wrote a more than 9000 line poem ( around 4,650 distichs) based on the historical Majnun, and completed it in either 1188 or 1192.  Although their love was unconsummated, they loved each other from childhood to death, and perhaps beyond.

Qays was, long ago, the son of the wealthy and powerful chieftain of the tribe of the Banu Amir in the desert of Arabia, Nizami writes.  Qays was handsome, well-loved, and had a keen mind. He excelled in schoolwork, public speaking, and music.  One day, the daughter of another mighty chieftain was brought to the same school as Qays.  She was as beautiful as Qays was handsome.  Because of her dark eyes and raven-black hair, she was called Layla (Night).

Qays was lovestruck.  He could no longer read or write, but whispered Layla all day long and for many days after.  Layla loved Qays in return.  They simply gazed at each other.  Nizami writes that words were not necessary, because their souls were so perfectly attuned.  All day they gazed at each other, and all night they dreamt of each other.  They hurried to school each morning to see each other.  Qays, however, really lost it.  Instead of reciting his lessons, he would shout “Layla! Layla!”  He would then run through the streets, calling her name, praising her black eyes and raven hair.  That, Nizami writes, is how he became known as Majnun: “possessed by a jinn or genie; a madman.”

How well do I know of that possession!

In Nizami’s story, Majnun and Layla’s love was not to be.  Layla’s father, embarrassed by Majnun’s crazy ways, took her home and locked her away from this great insult to his daughter and tribe.  Majnun, who could not bear her absence, wandered among the stalls of the bazaars, murmuring her name and sobbing.  His ravings became poems, and he composed love songs of exquisite beauty.  He saw her once more in the doorway of her tent prison, and they gazed at each other in the moonlight.  Then, he fled to the desert, shouting her name and singly wildly.

Now, Majnun’s father saw all this, and was greatly grieved, Nizami says, so he went to Layla’s father with precious gifts to ask for Layla’s hand for his son. Layla’s father was outraged, and fearful that every man in Arabia would laugh at him if he granted such a wish. He asked that Majnun first be cured of his madness.  When Majnun’s father returned to camp he found Majnun there, and he told him what Layla’s father had said. Majnun fled again to the desert.

Later, Majnun’s father proposed a pilgrimage to Mecca that Majnun be cured. Majnun, weak from deprivation and exposure, was carried there.  When his father asked him to pray that his madness be lifted, instead Majnun cried out as he touched the shrine: “I pray to You, let me not be cured of love, but let my passion grow!  Take what is left of my life and give it to Layla’s, yet let me never demand from her so much as a single hair!  Let me love for love’s sake, and make my love a hundred times as great as it is this day!”

Layla’s father, on hearing of this, ordered Majnun killed, so once again, Majnun went to the desert alone, where he lived, barely surviving, with bloody feet and sun-blackened skin.   It so happened, Nizami says, that a Bedouin prince named Nowfal found Majnun, pitied him, and eventually declared war on Layla’s father, defeating him to obtain Layla for Majnun.  However, even in defeat, Layla’s father pleaded with Nowfal not to give Layla to Majnun, and Nowfal was moved to agree to his request, even after having gone to war over Layla.  Hearing this, Majnun was greatly angry with his friend Nowfal, and rode out into the desert again, where he gave away his few possessions and lived simply, becoming friends with all the animals there.

Layla, meanwhile, had grown up into the most beautiful woman in all of Arabia, Nizami writes.  A great prince desired her, and reluctantly she agreed to her father’s wishes that she marry him.  However, Layla refused to consummate the marriage, as she was still in love with Majnun.

After a year, Layla and Majnun were able to exchange letters through an old kindly man.  They saw each other again in a grove not far from Layla’s home, and Majnun sang, Nizami writes, the most beautiful love poem he had ever written.  But, Majnun returned to the desert, and Layla stayed with her husband.

As it happened, Layla’s husband died soon after from a fever, and Layla mourned.  It was customary for a widow to seclude herself in her tent for two years.  Layla mourned, but she mourned for Majnun only.  After months of solitude, she became so weak that she could not rise from her bed.  Her weakness turned to fever, Nizami wrote, and, before she died, she asked that she be dressed in bridal robes for her grave, to wait for her beloved.

Majnun went to her grave when he heard of this.  He wept from the depths of his soul.  He sang his songs, staying at Layla’s grave until he weakened and died.   The animals who had been his friends stayed by him, refusing to allow anyone near him until his body crumbled into dust.  Then Majnun’s bones were buried by Layla’s side.

This story, of the world’s truest lovers, has been told over and over again through the years, and I tell it again.  I tell it because I am a madman, and I know the love of which Nizami wrote.  I was possessed.  I loved from the depths of my soul.  I lost my mind, my heart, and my soul.  I know Majnun. I could be him.

.

* (https://rtmulcahy.wordpress.com/2007/08/05/tulips-for-karen/)

The Lover


I wander through my house tonight. Calm. Introspective. I rented The Lover, a 1992 movie set in 1929 Vietnam, then a colony of France. The Lover I rented it because there is a 15-year-old French girl at a boarding school in Saigon who meets a 32-year-old Chinese aristocrat. There is love and sex and passion, but the relationship is doomed, because, in 1929, this was an interracial coupling, and such things were not approved of. Inappropriate. Ha ha. Of course, I thought of my friend Karen, 30 years younger than me, and the dreams I used to have about her. Her word: inappropriate. It seems so insane now. There was never going to be more than a casual relationship, and I knew it. Still, I imagined we might be lovers, even if we couldn’t marry. I’d have married her.  Our mutual love of children would have meant we’d have children, something I would still like. Karen was adopted herself, and she spoke of wanting to adopt a child, but she seemed open to the idea of having one of her own. I don’t know why we talked of all these things. She said she’d like to get married in Vegas by an Elvis impersonator, even as my heart skipped a beat imagining that we’d go to Vegas and get married. I’d have adopted with her, married her, fucked and kissed her like crazy. I was way too old for her to even consider as more than a casual acquaintance, but I felt I knew her so well. I have never met anyone in my whole life like her, someone who reminds me so much of myself at a younger age. I felt she was as strange as I am, that I’d find true happiness, a rare connection with someone who went through life in her own private world, much as I always have, and still do to some extent. In truth, I wanted to escape; to escape responsibility, to escape stress, to escape from my life and live in hers. I wanted to watch Science Fiction movies with her, read comics, graphic novels and manga, and watch Japanese anime. I wanted to see her every day, even if it meant we never went out much, if we just stayed in with our computers and movies and books. I was so crazy in love with her, nothing mattered anymore, except her. If she’d been a crazed drug addict, I’d have joined her. If she’d wanted to live in a fantasy world, I have done that, pretended we were children in a never-ending Halloween, with costumes, and props and a horror-themed home. Our home. I’d have robbed banks with her, killed for her, died for her. I wanted to die anyway, because if I couldn’t have her, even for a few years, months, weeks, or days, life was no longer worth living.

I can’t imagine why anymore.

I feel more like my old self, whoever that is. Except, my zest for life, for love, for sex, for passion in all things, for living at all, is gone. It went away. Went with Karen. Went with my ex-wife, the Dragon.  I’m slowly coming around to maybe starting to believe I could ever feel that way again. It’s possible after all. I couldn’t have believed that a few weeks ago.

Perhaps it is possible to come back from that obsessive, compulsive, delusional fantasy world I invented for myself, without giving up life and passion and emotional highs and lows.

Perhaps I will care if I do.

Victim of a Dream


’nuff said. The past is over. Time to move on. 56 pills now. Two a day for how long? What to expect? Feelings? Enthusiasm for life? A good night’s sleep?  Any of those would be good.  I’m a patient man.

victim_of_a_dream__by_nonnetta

(image by ‘Nonnetta)

Drugs: 30 days, 30 nights, and a hernia too!


bupropion-75mg Started taking bupropion 30 days ago.  There’s supposed to be some effect by now, but I’m not sure what to expect.  I am hopeful that I won’t feel so irritable and impatient, and at odds with all of humanity.  My doctor was ready to put me on another drug, but I’d rather give this one a try.  The counselor I’ve seen thinks I should give it 6 months.  The other main option is  fluoxetine (Prozac).  I do not want to take Prozac!  I know much of my recent oddness stems from not getting enough sleep for longer than I can remember.  I used to get 7 hours a night, and then it became 5 1/2 on average.  But, for the longest time, I’ve woken up every single morning about 3:30 am, and I mean awake, as in fully alert and ready to get up for work.  Sometimes I toss and turn, trying to relax, and even meditate, but can’t nod off.  The clock ticks off the time in half-hour increments until it’s time to get up.  Occasionally I manage to get another hour of sleep, but it’s not deep refreshing sleep.  Last night was the first time I can remember not waking up at 3:30 am.  Got about 5 1/2 hours once again.   I hope that holds.

Had lunch with my step-daughter Maya.  She’s doing well, and preparing herself for surgery next week.  She is prepared for the mass in her brain to be a regrowth of tumor, but I think the odds are against it coming back after all that radiation and chemo.  It was dead.  I’m certain there’s nothing there but scar tissue.  I spoke with her about her mom, the Dragon.  Maya says she’s doing well, and they talk often.  She says her mom is happy, and I’m glad to hear it.  Her friend was wrong in believing that perhaps the Dragon and I should talk, and she got in trouble with the Dragon for interfering.  I spoke with her also, and she says it’s OK, that she agrees that she shouldn’t have butted in.  Too bad; I was actually looking forward to a friendly relationship with the Dragon, at least during Maya’s surgery and recovery.   I was briefly optimistic that we might talk again, and see if there was something left of the 14 years we were together.  Apparently not.  I am strangely at peace with that.   I remember a lot of nice things about the relationship, and I was getting nostalgic for the companionship and sex.   As it is, she doesn’t want or need anything to do with me, and doesn’t want me around when Maya is undergoing surgery, the one time I would expect to be there.  Doesn’t make me angry anymore.  She can do and say whatever she wants.  It’s finally over for me, and that was before the medication showed any affect.  I was actually glad to hear that she is doing well.

where_hernias_occur Another hernia! What fun!  I had one diagnosed and operated on several years ago.  It was inguinal (D, E,F).  Inguinal hernias are a common type of hernia.  The inguinal canal is where the testes descend before birth. The canal contains the spermatic cord and blood vessels. When an inguinal hernia occurs part of the intestine protrudes down the canal and sometimes into the scrotum.  Hoo boy! was that ever fun to recover from!  Painful for a bit afterwards.  Lots of coagulated dark blue blood in the scrotum, and in my penis.  Pretty in a way.  Scary at first, but normal after such an operation.  This time it’s different.  I’m not sure exactly sure what type it is this time, but my stomach has felt odd for some time: hard and sometimes pushing outwards.  I first felt pain there on a hike last December 21.  It’s around my navel, so it could be an umbilical hernia (C), which occurs when the abdominal wall is weakened at the point of  the umbilical cord, but usually in children. Or it could be an epigastric hernia (A). They are protrusions of fat or sometimes intestine through the abdominal wall between the naval and the breastbone.  However, it seems to center around my navel.  Instead of the way it looked before, my belly button appears flat and smooth – pushed flat.   Thirdly, there is a ventral hernia (B). This type of hernia occurs when scar tissue weakens the abdominal wall such as following a surgical operation.  I have a large old scar in that area from when my appendix burst at the young age of only eight.  And of course there was the more recent surgery to repair the other hernia.  Hard to say.  The earliest appointment I could get to see a surgeon is in the middle of June!

What’s really odd is that I had the previous hernia repair done just after Maya’s first surgery to remove her brain tumor. brain-operation

Now she’s going back in for another surgery four years later, and here I am possibly going back for more surgery as well.  Life is really, really, odd sometimes.

UPDATE: the doc said it’s nothing to worry about unless there is pain or some problem – he verified that it is an umbilical hernia, but recently my 50-year-old scar nearby scabbed over and I noticed bits of the old heavy black suture thread (in vogue in the 1950s) sticking out of either end of the scab.  Very odd.

Nervousness, excitability, seething with anger


Day 17 of my attempt to balance my body chemistry with bupropion.  bupropion

Not much to report.  I’ve been fairly mellow, even about the Dragon’s petty bitterness.  Decided I’m not angry with her anymore.  Doesn’t matter what she says or does. In fact, I forgive her everything.  She can stay mad all she wants; not my problem.

Today, however, is another story.  I’m tense, even without coffee.  I feel nervous and irritable.  I noticed that I was incredibly impatient today.  Everyone was in my way, it seemed. Cars were too slow, people walked in my path, a car blocked me in when I had to leave a noontime meeting I’d been to at the union office.  I pulled into the parking lot back at work, and a student walked right into the small marked motorcycle parking lot right in front of me, then she moved over into the space where I had to park.  I just zoomed in front of her.  Felt she was stupid and wrong, which is insane.  It is me that’s impatient, and, while people shouldn’t walk across parking spaces in a busy lot, they do.  It angered me though.  This is why I discussed this with my doctor, why I’m taking bupropion and going to counseling.  I have this unfounded irritability that keeps welling up into almost uncontrollable anger.  I got back to work and would have screamed at my co-worker.  I was already unhappy that he got on his phone for 30-40 minutes after a lab procedure was finished waiting for his attention.  It matters to me because it extends my day a lot when the samples are loaded late in the day.  When I came back, I found that he’d taken an expensive chemical out of the refrigerator and loaded it on a machine, whereas I’d left one out to warm to room temperature, and had even pointed it out to him before I left for my meeting.  Instead, it appeared he hadn’t used it, and had then left it sitting out instead of putting it away. I fired off a terse email right away, and had to make sure it wasn’t too angry sounding.   Turns out he’d had to use both bottles of reagent due to air bubbles in the machine’s delivery lines.  If I had yelled at him he probably would have quit.  I cannot continue to act this way.  Sure enough, I had also experienced this with the Dragon, my ex-wife.  She never mentioned it, and even said she thought everything had been fine, but I know it contributed to the estrangement we experienced, which led to the divorce. She was as bad as me.

Today I feel like everyone is in my way, and I don’t want to see anyone, be around anyone.  Getting home in traffic is going to be difficult.  Perhaps this drug will not be useful after all?

Perhaps I need to be somewhere by myself for awhile?  Of course, when I came back to all this, I’d resent the intrusions of all these people perhaps even more.  I don’t know what this is: suddenly people are the enemy, getting in my space, making too much noise.  Everything is an irritation.  I wish it would all go away.