Trolling For Tinfoil
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Good day.. With Cheerleaders even.
Woo HOO!

It's been a relatively angst-free weekend. (You can all breathe a sigh of relief and stop wincing as you open the page..)

I have my own cheering section- K~ and Bonnie have been most supportive through all my sniveling and navel gazing.
I now have them visualized in my head wearing little cheerleader outfits with on "R" on the front.

I had originally asked them for permission, but- It's too late. The visual is firmly esconced in my perverted little noggin. Oh, sure- Sougata and Jyoti have benn extremely helpful as well, but they look really .. Sad in the cheerleader outfits. *Scrubs brain*

Friday, October 21, 2005
Grains of sand vs pearls of wisdom
This will be a quickie, more or less.

I don't have many grains of sand I must polish into a pearl today. Just the same ones, lessening with each day.

There are certain grim satisfactions I have, and I'm no better for feeling a small lump of cold bitterness towards them. It will turn out the way it's supposed to, and God does not need my help rectifying injustices done to me. He gives each of us as much rope as we ask for.

It is my belief that this holds true for everyone.

In short- You can do anything you damn well please, just don't bitch and moan when the bill comes due. Everything has a price.

I have been bitching and moaning. The bill came due, and it was a great surprise to me that I held on to things that I knew to be absurd.

One is the realization that I was basically acting like her parent, letting her go her own way, wallow in her own wreckage, never really letting her out of my sight, and then swooping in to pick her up before someone else did.

I'm not her dad.

No matter where I am or who I'm dating- I will not share emotional space and energy with someone else unless it's a child.
This is the very reason I bailed in the first place. I was tired of it, and I was kind of OK with thinking she was dating someone else, but then all my assumptions and illusions were put to the test.

Betrayal, deceit? Secondary to the fact that I would not stand in line while she chased her emotions.

One thing she said from our last conversation that sticks with me-
"I became what you always said I was".

No, not really.
You just did what I always thought you'd do.. You followed the irresistable pull of your emotions, in spite of reason, logic, honesty, respect of others and respect of self.
It's just simple selfishness in pursuit of a feeling.

I just didn't think you'd do it in such a spectacular fashion.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Gambles, truth and bitterness.
This has come to be the place where I go when I need to swallow some uncomfortable truths about myself.
It's a process, documented on the web for the world to see, and most of you are checking in to see where it goes next.
I can also look back and see what "magic feather" I was holding onto for that particular time to keep myself afloat.
(So far, everyone has been very understanding and supportive, and for that I wish to extend my sincerest gratitude.) The emails and comments I have received thus far have been most welcome, encouraging and thought provoking. I especially welcome thought provoking. My overblown sense of self-pity doesn't need reinforced, since to feed it will only encourage it. (Which doesn't seem to stop me from doing it though..)

Some have said "Don't blame yourself".
I don't.

At least not in the sense that I am filled with a sudden crushing onset of sunken self-esteem. Yesterday's "Binky" analogy has mutated today into something else. Today's chunk of "truth-as-I-know-it-and-must-be-swallowed" comes in the form of this mighty burst of insight..

Some have said cheating was the thing that broke us up, and I have defended against that assumption, but I could never articulate it well until now. Cheating, or the ever-present "someone else" was merely a side effect of a greater affliction. I cut her loose twice because of these side effects, trying in vain to get her to see that what you feel does not justify your actions. Unfortunately, logic never stood a chance against "feeling".

I would talk, sometimes yell in frustration- "You can't do whatever you want and later wash it all away by saying you can't help how you feel!"

It. did. not. compute.

Mighty logic is useless against feeling. Especially when emotions are her drug of choice. They don't have to be good emotions- just intense ones. In the face of overwhelming evidence that actions will result in a bad situation, she persisted with odd, seemingly totally self-destructive behavior.

I would shake my head, get so frustrated that I could scream out loud and let her go, hoping against hope that she would see that everything has a price, no matter how it makes you feel at the moment. You can't fix someone who is addicted and doesn't want to be fixed.
I let her go, keeping a close eye on her- Waiting for the day that she punished herself enough that she finally got it.

Oh, sure.. I knew that it may never work out, and that I would lose her forever, in which case I saw myself being philosophical and moving on. The risk I ran was that she would find someone I vaguely knew, I would never see her much and life would go on. Never did I think that any of this would happen, so close that wer'e all getting bombed by the fallout, and I'd have to deal with all the layers of the onion as they're peeled back right in front of me, in my face.

Every plan has a flaw. Mine was that I was irreplaceable- Or so I thought.

Now, he has a major flaw to deal with.. She'll use how she feels to justify anything, and the day he makes unhappy, he will find out what that means.
The very gate he walked in through he has not locked behind him.
His divorce and custody battles will be painful, brutal and bitter. I don't wish him any ill will there. He owns it because he broke it. However- When all the external influences die down, and they can't hide in each other, doing the "two lovers against all odds routine" they are left with each other. That's when I will sit on the sidelines, order a hot dog and watch. Two wounded bears in a cage with nothing to feed on but each other.

We'll see how I feel, and hopefully it won't matter by then.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Possibly the most disjointed post ever.
I guess any day that I don't drink is really a good one.
Most days it's like a little pilot light on a gas stove. There, but barely noticeable.

Today- Or to be more precise- The last two weeks it's been a roaring bonfire, blazing up when fuel has been added to the fire, and then having consumed the immediate fuel, it settles down to a dull roar in the back of my head.
Think of wanting a cigarette all day, every day for two weeks. You kind of adjust to it, try to compensate and do healthy things (gym, clean the house- Anything constructive..) instead of hiding from it. It just becomes background noise, more or less, but it does wear you down.

The good news is, it's really just a sign of weakness leaving, if you want to get all metaphorical about it.

The things that make it flare up? It usually means I've been denied the things that I use to make myself feel better.
You can pick your obvious poisons-
Work (Nope)
Power *snort*
Money *chuckle*
Sex *hmm..*
Co-Dependency *dingdingding* Winnah!

It would appear that I have real issues with people pleasing and co-dependency.
God, that sounds so trite and cliche'd, buuuuut- The obvious is so hard to ignore at times, I annoy myself.

This explains a lot about me and how my brain works-
Imagine standing in the middle of a busy intersection blindfolded. Some things you can sense coming, others just come along out of the blue and mow you down. You would think I'd find a less busy intersection but I can't.

It's my brain and I'm sorta stuck with it.

Drinking would slow the traffic down to a manageble speed, but clearly this is unnacceptable if one wishes to live a normal life of any consequence.

Being with someone else who made me feel good (as long as I was with her, and never let her out of my sight..) worked as a nice substitution for a while, but I outgrew her. She has stayed where she was, or gotten much worse, if I were to be blunt.

Later, It was an obvious mismatch. But, she was like my "binky" even if, as a binky she was terrible.

I tried to fix said binky.

Binky didn't want to be fixed.

I threw the binky away, but not so far I couldn't run back and pick it up.

Eventually, someone else came along and told the binky that it was a good binky, and under-appreciated.

Okay, enough of the binky stuff, but that's pretty much how my mind works. I didn't really want it as it was, but I didn't want anyone else to have it either.

Here's the good part.
I can replay last night's conversation, listening to her, and know that I don't live in that world anymore.
I did at one time, listening to her phrases, the things that she says to convince herself, and knowing there's a good person waaaaay down in there. I used to speak and think just like that, but the separation has made the obvious differences more tangible.

I am kind of watching, with part of my mind saying with a heavy mental sigh- "This ought to be .. tragic." The other part of me is going "Mine! Mine!" Even if I didn't want to put up with all the negative crap anymore.

I have enough sense to look at it like one watches a squirrel running across a busy street. You just know that the squirrel is going to get hammered, but the nut is too tempting.
You have sort of a detatched grimness about you as squirrel grabs the nut and starts back, only to get pounded by a minivan, his little squirrel life ended right there and then.

You knew it'd happen, but you don't speak squirrel, so it's not like you could warn him-

But you feel sad nonetheless.

Monday, October 17, 2005
As my mind turns

I'm writing this largely for me, and if you get something out of it, that's purely a byproduct.

I called the ex today.
I had to. Just when I tought I had everything nicely reconciled, I get blindsided by the whole sordid backstory.

It wasn't who I thought it was all along-
It turns out that it was the guitarist in the band I'm currently playing in.
He's been married three years.
His wife just had a baby.
They were carrying on while his wife was pregnant.

It's pretty much blown up now, so I really could give a flying fuck who reads this.

He was the one who was the sympathetic ear while she was wallowing in whatever she was wallowing in- (I never did get a straight answer..)

I should have known, really- Except that I have this misplaced trust in human nature. I assumed that his constant repetition proclaiming his happiness were to be taken at face value.

Good Lord, those two are like dysfunctional super-heroes.. The depths of their .. What would you call it? Whatever it is that they tell themselves so they can sleep at night must be quite a repertoire.

But, I digress.
We had a conversation, and I made the classic mistake of blowing up after seething all day. I wasn't unnesesarily cruel, but I said very true things in a very harsh manner.
It makes me angry.
It makes me sad.
It's supposed to make me all of those things, I guess. I don't have to like it, I just have to man up and deal with it, so I called.
I was hoping for some closure so I could try to find some shred of forgiveness in myself.

The whole conversation became a perfect illustration of why we didn't work, me trying to break her so she'd admit something close to responsibility. That didn't work and it never did- We never knew how to resolve anything, so I can pinpoint that as a major contributing factor. Neither would give an inch lest we face total annihilaltion, or so it seemed.
The only thing I ever did was make her accountable, and tell the truth. She clearly doesn't function well under those circumstances. She claims, and rightly so, it would seem- That I was hard to open up to, and that I had given my heart away to someone else long before her.
Whoo.. Boy was she wrong on the last one.

There were just as many bad times as good, sadness and joy, but it was the passing of an era. I felt it ringing ike a bell inside me- denial, anger, sadness and finality, but worst of all.. My own naivete' and stupidity. I feel wholly unequipped to deal with any of this. It's like I was stripped of all my petty illusions, and I felt very naked.

They have 12 step programs for addiction, but how about stupid? Any clues?

Friday, October 14, 2005
Still Here
Well, not to be too cryptic, but at some point I will spell out in detail the extent of the ex's implosion.
Let's just say that when it blows up, there aren't too many places she can show her face.
Oh, it's.. Disturbing.

To be honest, I am having a hard time with wanting to grab a lawn chair, a bowl of popcorn and just sit back and watch.

Here's the dilemna I face- Carrying around resentment is unhealthy, and forgiveness is much easier on the soul. However, after six years of being called paranoid, I am looking at vindication. The problem also lies in the fact that when this does blow, I will be part of the gossip, (in a bystander kind of way) and they (yes, there's a "they") have managed to blow crap over everyone involved with them. He WAS one of my best friends.

I have managed to forgive him, and even tell him so- because he was man enough to come to me.
We'll see.

As for her, I can resist the urge to point and laugh, because the situation is just so.. Stupid, sick and completely devoid of judgment. Both are morally bankrupt, but that kind of syntax means nothing to her. It either doesn't compute because she hasn't developed the emotional maturity to comprehend what it really means, or her super powers of denial will kick in.
I'm torn.. I want to grab her by the shoulders and call her all kinds of names, say cruel things, treat her with contempt, but-
Now, everyone else will be doing that, since people do love to gossip and pass judgement. She didn't ever do anything to them, and it seems like I should be the one who gets to do that.
I also know that I would be immediately sorry if I did.

I find it hard to extend forgiveness to someone who refuses to be accountable for what they do.

Move on.
I also find it hard to believe that I thought she was the best I could ever do.

I thought she was the best I could ever do is the hardest to swallow, because it speaks volumes about me.

Saturday, October 08, 2005
Sougata done Carpet Bombed me with a question.
Brief Introductions are in order:
Sougata, (Whose blog is a must read, if you haven't by now..) poked his head into my comments section, wrote something cryptic, and then stopped short, leaving K~ and I with a bad case of questionus interruptus.
Puzzled, we asked him to elaborate.
So..You think of yourself as an intelligent person? Heheh..Your self-image will suffer a radical upheaval after a dose of the Bengali Brain Trust.
Oh, sure- When we first started trading comments, he kept the meter turned way down, and I thought of him as this nice, agreeable Indian person who spoke and wrote the King's english better than I. However, time has progressed, and he's been turning up the wattage on me. It's like running on a treadmill that picks up speed just as you start sucking wind.
There are times when I just sit back and shake my head... He's just that damn good.

So, without further ado, I give you his question, which was probably tapped out in a quick stream of consciousness.

[Here's the question that I threatened to ask in the comment to your previous post. Light a cigarette, this is gonna be long.]

Humans do a lot of strange things. One of the strangest among these, is this: From time to time in our lives, we walk up to a particular person, and for no apparently good reason, inform them that we love them.

I'm sure that most people take this practice as quite normal; but there is a certain thing about this whole deal that I find totally bewildering.

What puzzles me is not so much that we choose a particular person to be weak for -- there may be a host of physiological and psychological reasons for that; what puzzles me is the difficulty we face in finding an acceptable substitute for our Chosen (TM), should the need ever arise. And sometimes the difficulty is a lifelong one.

There are many ways to look at this, but from a purely demographic angle, it makes no sense to me. There are damn near six billion people on earth. From this seething mass of humanity, why do we tag a particular, exclusive person to be in love with? Why, pretty please, do we miss the sound of a particular voice? Why do we miss saying one particular name out loud?

That is the question.

Personally, if I were asked what I see in a particular person, I would maybe rattle off a list of adjectives. In a mildly reductionist sense, it is possible to describe a person by a set of attributes. Therefore, perfunctory logic would suggest that if we discovered a person with the same set of attributes as our Chosen, we have also found an acceptable substitute for him/her, true? Sounds plausible, but simple observation tells me that in a distressingly large number of cases, it ain't so. Why?

Let's talk a little about these attributes. We can describe a person a million ways, but let's distill all those descriptions into two sweeping categories.

First, there are the Broad Characteristics. Things like intelligence, integrity, physical beauty, family values, social values. I call them broad, because it would seem that these would carry a lot of weight in the evaluation of a person.

And then there are the Little Things. Like how she used to turn and hold her head a little to the side when she was paying attention. Like how her eyes used to first flash and then narrow when she was mad. Like how her lips used to purse into a thin but delicious line when she was merely annoyed.

Oh you know, stuff like that. Unimportant, minor stuff.

... An exquisite, delightful, thin line.

Now here's something that is really mysterious. Let us say that I set out to find a substitute for my Chosen. I could, if I really really tried, meet perhaps a couple hundred women over my lifetime through the regular process of social networking. I don't think this is an exaggerated number in today's connected world. And as noted earlier, I will still find it very difficult to find a substitute. But why the heck is this the case? I find it very hard to believe that it is impossible to find -- among several hundred persons -- a person with a set of Broad Characteristics that is the same or better than our Chosen. Is it so very difficult to find someone whose intelligence, beauty and integrity match or exceed those of our Chosen? I don't think so.
[Note that I am making the rash assumption here that most folks' Chosen ones are not a cross between Einstein, Zeta-Jones and Lincoln. That WOULD be difficult to match.]

So what are we saying here? That it is not the broad characteristics that we seek when we seek to find a substitute? That we are, horror of horrors, shallow? That Love itself is shallow? Because it always, always, seeks those Little Things? Those Little Things which are impossible to find duplicates of. Is this why we cannot find her?

[P.S. I ask this question of you -- Rob and ~K and whoever else indulgent enough to read this -- only after asking it of myself. And I don't have the answer. So this is not an indirect sermon or hidden message of some sort. Far from it. Please let that be known and understood. And quite frankly, it is a pointless question. A pointless or content-free question is a question that when you have an answer to, you are no better off or enlightened than you were before. This question satisfies that classic definition quite nicely ;-)]

Well, let's see here. I've loaded Joe Ely in the background, because nothing says 'existential' like Texas Honky Tonk...
(I'll play "Bob Hope" to Sougata's "Einstein".)

To condense Sougata's flawless prose into idiotese so that I can wrap my brain around it-
His question appears to boil down to this: Why, oh, why- Do we pine for a certain individual? When this person is no longer suitable or available for a variety of reasons, what do we look for in our next emotional adventure? Are we merely looking for an emotional placebo of sorts ever after? Are the inevitable comparisons fair, and do we actively seek a clone or at the very least- A reasonable facsimile?

Based on my extensive research in the field, I can only offer these observations, and- keep in mind- They only apply to me.

I've always chosen my objet d'affection for various reasons- This is due, in large part, to my mental/emotional state at the time. One should also keep in mind that it's cumulative starting from your first "Real Relationship". You are starting to form ideas in your head about what is attractive, what makes you feel funny down in your tummy, and how you handle all the things that putting your eggs in someone else's basket can bring.

There were women that on paper- Were all but perfect. Smart, cute, willing to dote on me endlessly. Needless to say, they never went anywhere, because- Where's the challenge in that?

It would appear that the ones that affect us deeply are the ones that challenge us- Not just emotionally or mentally, our standing in society as we perceive it. What about the woman that is a little out of our league? Your mental state, or self-image comes in to play. Eventually, the novelty wears off and you move in to another territory, taking with you some of the likes and dislike accumulated from your fling with the debutante.

Now, let's say you fall for the rough-around-the-edges, sassy type- The sex is better, but on your feet, you can't get along to save your lives.
What have we learned?
So far, we know that we like a challenge, wether that be socially, or in the day to day interaction, the struggle for control that happens in every relationship.

I think Sougata is wondering why one person works their way into our hearts, creating a standard that we use to measure all others against.

There have been those in my life. There was a woman that I had fallen hopelessly for, but I was unwilling to yield to certain conditions that she demanded be met. Later, after both of us had acquired a few dents in our armor, we were able to date briefly. I say briefly, because the idea of her had been replaced by another, who had made the biggest impression on me to date. (See what I mean by "cumulative"?)

I think everybody has that someone. The memories that float up while you're driving, or that gut-feeling you get when you see them even after time has passed. If you're lucky, you deal with it as a passing of an era, an event whose time has passed. If you're not, you live in the shadow of that relationship. You try to fit others into that ideal, like trying to screw new bulbs into a lamp whose switch is broken, saying to yourself- "This time it'll work".
It never does.

In essence, a little wistfulness is okay- Fun, even.
If you find all others pale and tepid by comparison- Even if you have vetted them for all of the aforementioned charactersitics as defined by Sougata- You have to come to terms with what it is that pushed all your buttons.

If you're like me- Usually it means that you have some baggage to cut loose.

Thursday, October 06, 2005
Much ado about nothing
Much fanfare, little substance.

I have almost nothing of importance to ponder, nothing of note, no drama, no sophmoric pranks to recall with childish glee..

I got nuthin'.

I did direct choir for my Mother this evening- She is a pianist, and is playing classical music for a gaggle of doctors at Hershey Medical Center. They can be a tough crowd, nor I do not envy her for having to play music that is revered, worshipped and analyzed by a crowd that fancies themselves demi-gods, qualified to judge and critique most anything.
In short- M.D's are a pain in the ass when they're slightly tipsy and off the clock.

My day, you ask?
Everything I touched turned into a major project.
Nosirree, no quick fixes were on my plate today. I scurried down the hall, a serious frown on my face, badges flapping wildly in time with my purposeful stride and stepped into a cubicle housing one ego entirely to small for the work space he so obviously deplored. His greeting was one of irritation, waving his hand imperiously at the error message on his screen.
The "Disk Full"message displayed prominently on his oversized LCD monitor mocked him, an electronic roadblock in his quest for academic accolades.

He was pacing back and forth, a caged animal being kept from his prey. There was really only one thing I could do, given his penchant for browbeating the lowly geeks..

I opened the explorer window, checked the "display hidden files and folders" box and said in my best basso profundo..

"Holy Crap, THAT's a lot of Porn!"

I expect I won't get nearly so much attitude from our resident prima donna next time, especially since the sound of muffled guffaws coming from the surrounding cubicles added a nice counterpoint to my look of disgust.

Moral of the story? Don't give me shit when I've got my hands full undoing your mess, folks.

(I bet you are wishing for drama, now aren't you?)

Sunday, October 02, 2005
Long and windy.
It's Sunday night, the laundry is done, and I made steak for dinner.
Life is good, no?

I watched my Grandfather this morning, since no one was around to keep an eye on him. He likes his Sunday morning preachers- in his prime, he was one himself. Today, he was pretty sharp. Talkative and hungry.
Hey- At 96, he can watch whatever he damn well pleases. Given the fact that he was one of your typical fire-and-brimstone types, his fondness for Robert Schuller puzzles me- I think he admires the spectacle of it all, but the glitz is far, far away from his style. The message is the same, but the delivery was vastly different. He was/is one of those rare people that treats everyone the same, regardless of rank, wealth or character. As a missionary in Africa, he was just as at home with the penniless as he was with dignitaries- An unusual trait these days. He spent far more time with the penniless.

I made him oameal, a small serving of peaches.. And a strawberry milkshake.
I know, I know- (See the above rule about being 96...) If he wants a milkshake for breakfast, then he gets one. He insists on going to Old Country Buffet in his pajamas, so propriety is pretty much out the window anyway.

The four-day stand from hell is over, minus the usual angst and hand wringing that used to accompany those gigs. Fuck it.
It's just another bar full of your run-of-the-mill barflies. I used to be one, so don't think for a minute that I'm getting self-righteous, but I don't make it the center of my universe anymore.
That has paid off handsomely in terms of perspective.
The Ex? She was there every night save one. I made the mistake of telling someone how much work it was maintaining my sanity when she was there, so word must've gotten back. When she's in school, she doesn't work weekdays, in order to concentrate on homework. I hope it was worth it for her. It was slow, so I know she didn't make much money. I refuse to talk to her anymore than absolutely nessesary, in a "The-building-is-on-fire" kind of way. Other than that, I got nuthin'.
Oh, don't get me wrong.. I had my moments- In my mind, she should be withering away, pining for me, wishing against all odds that I'll come running back. I found it greatly annoying that she has the nerve to date someone else. It got really surreal for a moment when he sat in with us and he was singing to her, but I refuse to suck my thumb. I let her go for damn good reasons, so sucking my thumb over a natural process is just stupid. It took some work and anger to get to that point but.. It's worth it.

The dating scene for me? Well.

I wouldn't say that I'm dating- It's more like old-school courting.
Slow doesn't even begin to cover it.
We've been on two dates, a couple of stay-at-home movie nights, and I've been excusing myself at a decent hour- Minus any serious physical contact.
She is something else, let me tell ya. She has a master's degree, is a widow with no children, and is so friggin' smart, it's frightening. She's also incredibly normal, funny as hell, focused and has her own life. I have absolutley no idea what she sees in me, but I must imitate normal pretty well. She has her issues stemming from her late husband's death, but she's handled it like she does everything else. Very nuts-and-bolts, practical and with great determination. This explains the slow pace, but it's nice to see that you can like someone for who they are on their feet as opposed to the pretty faces they make in bed.

There are no garantees that we'll ever even get to a point where we're "dating", but I don't really need one. It will be what it will be.


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