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.  

Message to Karen Lopez – 4 mos early


Fluffy_in_an_ambush_by_glooh(Fluffy in an Ambush by Glooh)

Well, I finally managed to put Karen behind me (this drawing is a really good likeness of her, except add tattoos).  I had one last thing to do, and that was write to her, tell her just a little bit of the depth of my depravity.  It was like a final purging.  Of course, I sent it to her main email account, not the one at work, and I think she has me blocked, because she never responds to or acknowledges those emails at all.  She used to forward funny or interesting things to me, but stopped doing that two years ago.  It’s possible she’s just too busy at work, and in all honesty, just doesn’t have time to meet for lunch, but it’s just been too long since we had lunch regularly, and too long in between, and the months go by with just an occasional sighting at work.  When I emailed her at work to ask if she still wanted to have lunch sometimes, she said yes, but she was real busy.   When I ran into her last, asked her about lunch, she said she had just been so busy, and would probably be busy through May. May came and went; June came and went. No word from her, no response to my emails.  Well, c’est la vie.

Hi Karen. I sure miss those Friday lunches, something I looked forward to every week. I always enjoyed them. I loved the way we liked so many of the same things. Sharing videos or books was really fun. I’ve never actually known anyone quite like you, with your preoccupations and obsessions with Babylon 5, Straczynski, and all the anime and manga stories – things I’ve enjoyed for years by myself. I loved hearing about your Halloween preparations, or your nieces and nephew. Loved the way you spoke of them, and enjoyed spending time with them. You have that quality of being able to relate to children, and they like you too. I liked you immediately, and just was amazed to find out how interesting you really were, and how much I liked listening to you. Do you know those Fridays, one hour a week, were the most time I spent with anyone else besides my ex wife? Ha ha. I’m such a dork. When my marriage was crumbling, you were a bright spot in the world for me. Of course, I should never, never have done what I did, which was fall in love with you. The one really good thing about getting divorced was that then I thought we might be able to spend more time doing things like movies, or even, wonder of wonders, dating. Ha ha. Sorry. I told myself how stupid it was; beat myself up over and over for thinking and feeling that way. I just couldn’t stop. You became an obsessive, compulsive infatuation with me. Dreams and fantasies.inuyasha demon and kagome(1) Sigh. I thought about romance, then living together, then marriage, and children. All the while I knew it was impossible, but I couldn’t stop. There were such highs in that fantasy, romantic and erotic, and such lows when I couldn’t be with you. You made it clear that such thoughts were inappropriate, I know. Compliments were inappropriate; asking you out would be, in your words, “Like a date,” and of course that “inappropriate” idea must have horrified you from the way you said it. Just as well we didn’t spend even more time together: I’d have just gotten worse, if that’s possible, so, thanks for that. Why am I writing you ask? Hard to say. It took me a while to climb out of that obsession with you. One day I looked in the mirror long and hard and realized how old I actually looked from your perspective. I had never been bothered by growing old before, until I realized that being my age meant I couldn’t just meet someone, fall in love, and be with them if they were younger, especially way younger. I had honestly never thought of that before I met you. Suddenly I hated being old. Well, going back to why I’m writing: I have gotten over the obsession. I don’t know how; it just stopped one day. Took me years. Ha ha. It’s hard to believe I could have been such an idiot now. Again, I apologize for the inappropriate remarks, attention, flowers, last year’s X-mas card with the money. It’s finally over for me. I still like you of course, always did, always will. It seems you have little need for me anymore, and that’s OK. You have a whole life to live yet. I like living alone now. I’ve gotten used to it. I’m much more withdrawn now, even misanthropic, not wanting much interaction with people anymore. (how emo) Emo I’ve resigned as President of the union. I’m leaving UNM in the fall; Halloween is my last day. I am trying to find a reason for living. I practice guitar,fishrock-large go for hikes in the mountains, play chess, read a lot. I got some medication for depression, and combined with a little counseling, I think I might be coming out of this emo fog. Hate to bare my soul like this; I never wanted to make you uncomfortable around me. Since we don’t work together, it’s rare to run into you, and you’re too busy, or uninterested in having lunch anymore, so I thought I might as well get this off my chest. Again, I stress this: I am over the infatuation. I would like to resume Friday lunches, or some other day, if that’s better for you. I really, honestly, like you, and I won’t mention any of this ever again if you’d prefer not to talk about my insanity. I’ve been reading lots of interesting comics and novels lately, and getting into some old movies. It’d be nice to share again. Discuss books, movies, politics. It’d be great to exchange books and movies again. I totally understand that you would be freaked out by these admissions, so I understand if I don’t hear from you. I don’t even know if you’ll read this. I just felt I had to write it, and couldn’t wait until Halloween to put it in the mail as I planned. Your friend, Terry

Even if Karen reads this, she’ll never acknowledge it. Too weird. She has always had problems with old perverts, so I did my best to keep this to myself, and the people who have read this blog.  At first, I hid most of the blog entries that had to do with Karen. They were so silly, perverted, and too “inappropriate,” for me to post for the world to see anymore, but nothing matters anymore, so I un-hid ’em.  Of course, Karen is almost 29 years old now, and hardly a child, so I’m not that perverted.  I’m just old. Finished. Done.  My life enters a new phase now, but I can’t see the future.

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.

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.

The Moon Has a Reddish Tint Right Now


moon I watched it heading west on my way home at 3 a.m Friday morning in the western hemisphere, North America.  It was not full, but the light it reflected on a clear night was spectacular.

It reminded me of the scenes on the red surface of Mars in the movie I just watched. Watchmen.  The only movie I’ve watched in a theater in over a year.  The only movie I’ve ever gone to see the first showing of, and at midnight to boot.  I read Watchman, the graphic novel, many years ago.  Still have it lying around.  Impressed me then, and the movie impressed me even more.  Damn, that was a spectacular movie.   Special effects aside, the graphic depiction of human nature qualifies it as literature, in my opinion, so it ought to be hailed as such.  That was one movie that surely tapped into the words and made them even more visual than the two dimensions of the flat page.  Of course, imagination has no bounds when reading, so the pictures, the colors, the artistic vision are not necessary, and so neither is the movie. Nevertheless, this is how we entertain ourselves, and ideas must be presented as entertainment.  The story, the book, the movie: all are superbly murderous, bloody, violent, tragic, lusty, depraved and, yet, somehow more than that, and much more than entertainment.

Such a story.  Is it a tragedy? It ends with horrible destruction, them hope, and finally, a theme that runs through the entire movie ends it: mankind sucks.  We could do better, but we don’t.  Even the noblest among us would sacrifice millions to save billions, and lie about it.  And the lie provides the hope for humanity, and, in the movie’s ending,  the lie is about to be exposed.

Of course, I had hoped to have seen the movie with Karen.  She’d heard about the graphic novel, but it was out of print.  She hadn’t tried to read it sooner because it was DC comics and, not Marvel.  Growing up, of course, I knew about the superior writing in Marvel comics, the multifaceted characters, the gray areas of truth and right and wrong, and the real life, love and rejection, paying bills, death, and jobs and tiny human dramas on the sidelines of every larger action.  The stuff that goes on even if you’re a superhero. Karen admires that about Marvel and doesn’t care for DC comics. I told her it was worth reading.  By the time I found my copy, it has just been reprinted, and she had already bought a copy.  She hadn’t read it last time we spoke of it, so I’m not sure what she thought.  We have similar ideas about war and peace and science and fiction and religion. We’ve read many of the same books, seen many of the same movies, and admired the best of humanity in all of it.  Unfortunately, the difference in our ages prevents us from seeing something like Watchmen together.

When I asked her if we could see Silver Surfer together – that’s when she let me know.  She said, “That would be like a date!” with a look of horror or disgust on her face.  “Inappropriate.” That’s the word she used many times.  Inappropriate for me to ask her out, to want to meet her after work, see a movie, have a drink, give her flowers.  Even leaving aside my romantic interest in her, she can not even think of me as friend outside of the workplace.  I rarely see her anymore; we work in different buildings, for different departments, but, occasionally have lunch still.

As intriguing as the movie is, I still found part of me wishing I could watch it with Karen.  I didn’t ask her.  I know it’s beyond her to imagine going somewhere with me.  She’d rather go to a play, like Monty Python’s Holy Grail, with her uncle than with me.  I guess old men are OK if you’re related to them.   It’s not even sad anymore to think about. It’s something I’ve had to accept, like my former wife telling me I had to move out, or she’d call the police, tell them her life was in danger.  Very effective.  Very legal.  I could have challenged it later, but by then, I’d have been out, and why would I want to live with someone who’d done that to me?  And Karen.  How nice it would have been to tell her about all that, to have a friend I could talk to, who would listen. She wouldn’t listen – it was also inappropriate to speak of anything personal.  I’m not really sure why.  I could understand a woman not wanting to hear about my disintingrating marriage or the end, when it came.  But, even later? Long after the divorce, she wanted to hear nothing of it.   Of course, sometimes I think it was just because she didn’t want to encourage my inappropriate feelings for her.

But, life goes on. Sort of.  In Watchmen, life goes on, but the underlying tensions are not gone.  Even the deaths of so many millions can ultimately have been for nothing.   I understand the characters in the story who speak of the pointlessness of it all, that we have exactly the society we wanted.  We are violent and selfish and greedy and murderous.  Perhaps we’ll never change.  We cringe at horror, but do little to stop it.  We even participate in our own little ways.

And me? I go on for some reason. Inertia? I don’t know.  I move along with work, with my union activities, with reading, and movies, and guitar, and hiking, and it’s not doing a whole lot for me.  If it were doing something for someone else, perhaps I could accept that as my motivation.  I’m just not really sure I care about anything anymore.  I was happy enough being married to someone I loved, even if not every day was a good one.  I could have gone on that way for a long time, maybe forever.  When it fell apart, and, abruptly it was over, I found myself insanely in love with Karen.  I felt so good, so alive, so ready to fall in love all over again.  It was exhilarating to believe in love, to think I could actually have the “in love” feeling again. That would have given me a real reason to enjoy life and want to go on.  The chances seem slim now.  I feel a great sense of accelerated aging, of death coming soon.  I don’t fear death.  I would like to be happy while I’m alive, but perhaps it’s just not possible anymore.  I don’t even know what would make me truly happy.  Karen. Well, there’s her, and my feelings for her. I’d certainly be happy being with her, but it cannot be.  So, I seem to be rejecting all possibilities that come my way: the old girlfriend back in my life, the other former lover living close by, the union sister who tried to interest me in dating a friend of hers, or even herself – why am I so withdrawn, so quick to misunderstand, so quick to push people away?

I Wish I Weren’t An Old Man


funny-001 (AGC, Inc.)

Chinese proverb: Men grow old, pearls grow yellow, there is no cure for it.

Walt Whitman:

Youth, large, lusty, loving-youth full of grace, force, fascination,
Do you know that Old Age may come after you with equal grace,
force, fascination?

Day full-blown and splendid-day of the immense sun, action,
ambition, laughter,
The Night follows close with millions of suns, and sleep and
restoring darkness.

Li Po:

The living is a passing traveler;
The dead, a man come home.
One brief journey betwixt heaven and earth,
Then, alas! we are the same old dust of ten thousand ages.

The rabbit in the moon pounds the medicine in vain;
Fu-sang, the tree of immortality,
has crumbled to kindling wood.
Man dies, his white bones are dumb without a word

When the green pines feel the coming of the spring.
Looking back, I sigh;
Looking before, I sigh again.
What is there to prize in the life’s vaporous glory?

Buddha:

People who have learned little grow old like an ox;
their flesh grows, but their knowledge does not grow.

Clint Eastwood:

“Aging can be fun if you lay back and enjoy it.”

Me:

I’d do anything, give anything, to be young enough for Karen.

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My Independence Day Anniversary


It’s been one year since my move into this place. Last year I took a couple extra days off, so I had 5 days to get my shit moved. I took some stuff over in the car at first, then got a truck. The dragon never offered to help, never said a word, as I had hauled all those boxes out to the rental van. I carried two recliners, my old one that had been stored in the garage, and the newer one, as well as the big oak entertainment center, my desk, my old bed and tools, and my old table out of the house into the truck and then out again into here, all by myself. I know, big whoop. On the one hand it was exhausting work; on the other, it helped me focus all my energy on the physical. I had most things moved, but no electricity in the new place for days. Our local electric utility was swamped with people also moving in over the extended weekend, and they couldn’t even get to me to turn the power on. I’d been staying in the big bed I’d been sharing with the dragon for ten years, until I took the extra bed she’d been sleeping on, which was really my old bed from before we married. Two nights I stayed there on the little bed she kept in her exercise/TV room. It took a while to get all my crap out of there, making lots of trips with little shit I’d stacked up in the garage. Finally, by July 4, I spent my first night here. Independence!

I had a one-year lease, with no idea what the future held. Would I ever see the dragon again? Would I ever go out with my friend Karen from work? Would I ever marry again? live with someone? have sex again? Would I ever feel like I was in love again? Would I want anyone ever again? Still unanswered questions, except for Karen.

At least I learned to see myself as others see me. Since I’d not been all that old 15 years ago, I’d not run into the sensation of appearing as an old pervert to young women. I’d noticed over the years that most young women didn’t make eye contact or nod hello anymore, but I hadn’t ever accepted that I’d gotten old. I feel young and healthy (Hell, I took off an old tar & gravel roof, replaced all the rotten wood, replaced the roof with a shingled one, and built an addition on a house by myself). My skin looks young, but the grey beard and hair give me away. Someone told me how disgusting it actually is to have an old man hit on her, and how young women are willing to be friendly until that happens. Somehow Karen overlooked my interest in her, and we still had lunch together. That’s gone now too. I’ve looked in the mirror and seen that old man looking back. I get it; I’m old. My choices are limited; my options fewer. How odd that it took a young woman to finally drive that into my thick skull.

Happy 4th of July!