"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Monday, May 23, 2005
Welcome Home, Bub.
dis-may Function: transitive verb Etymology: Middle English, from (assumed) Old French desmaiier, from Old French des- dis- + -maiier (as in esmaiier to dismay), from (assumed) Vulgar Latin -magare, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German magan to be able -- more at MAY 1 : to deprive of courage, resolution, and initiative through the pressure of sudden fear or anxiety or great perplexity 2 : what it felt like to return home from college
Some events are kind of big ones for almost everyone, and some of the lines in our life sparkle with meaning and promise even when looked forward to from years ahead.
Spring, 1981 was one of those times for me. You see, that was when I graduated from Furman. I was one of only a couple of people in my class to get two, count 'em two, degrees in four years, and they weren't even related and didn't have any courses in common.
I was proud. My family was proud. Even though I was trying to figure out how to get rid of her, my then girlfriend Debra (not her real name) was proud.
Finally, finally, I knew everything.
Boy, was I in for a shock.
The shock started only a couple of hours after we got home, when my parents started arguing. Arguing hard, with lots of shouting and stuff, and saying very mean things to each other. This wasn't how they acted when I had left for college.
Pretty quickly I ended up in our beach office and only really saw them on weekends. They always drove separate cars. Mom would sunbathe or something with my sister and my dad would go out on the sailboat. I didn't really know what was happening at night since I was heading out to go clubbing.
Three months or so later, we closed that office. And I ended up in Florence, SC, living back at home and working in my dad's office.
Thus began one of the most terrible times in my life.
It seems that my parent's marriage had been steadily dissolving for several years. I was blindsided, since I hadn't been there to see this develop. There were some serious accusations flying, and I didn't want to believe them.
Now, 25 years down the line, I figure they were all true.
My dad had hired a lady to head up his new real estate department. Or, now that I think about it, maybe he created it for her. I dunno anymore. In any event, dad began spending way too many hours away from home on "business" which was normally conducted in bars or restaurants with "Helen" (which is not her real name.)
I've always believed that if I could just ignore something hard enough, it would go away. So far, that plan has never worked once.
When my dad got home from work, on the days he wasn't working late, the first thing he would do is pour himself a drink. At the time it was bourbon and water, mixed strong. He would have one after another.
My mother didn't work. She sat at home all day watching soap operas. And she picked up that "death phrase" thing, you know the one, where the female lead makes the stunning or accusatory statement that strikes everyone conveniently speechless right before the break so they can run the commercials and you'll hang on, wondering what so and so will say to that.
Problem is, you can't use "death phrases" in real life. People don't go speechless. They get angry. My dad with a few drinks in him was really good at getting angry. Especially since she was probably right about most of the stuff she was accusing him of.
There's no worse reaction that the outrage of a guilty man when you accuse him.
I started bailing right after dinner and heading to a local club. There weren't many in Florence, and a lot of those were either redneck, old people bars, black bars (I'm not in any way prejudiced, but back then just walking in one of those places with the wrong color skin would get you killed) or just plain boring.
Fortunately there were a couple that were OK. There was Syd's, the Holiday Inn bar. There was the Thunderbird, which was a bit redneck but OK if you were careful. Then there was one that changed it's name about four times, and we'll call it Moe's because I think that was one of them.
I became a real regular at Moe's. I liked the owners, the staff, and the customers. They were down to earth people. I spent six nights a week in there, counting hours until I was sure my parents were asleep and I could go home without dealing with the lunacy.
Something very, very important to me would happen in there. It would involve lederhosen.
But, that's for the next post I think.
Speak when you are angry--and you will make the best speech you'll ever regret. --Laurence J. Peter (1919 - 1988)
A note on the scarcity of posts lately: I do apologize, but for the last month and a half I have found myself rather sick from one thing or another. Unfortunately, instead of doing the proper thing and taking their turn, they hooked together like cars on a train and haven't given me a respite. Each of these, in their own way, has made it difficult to work on the computer so I have saved my endurance for work, mostly.
Currently I am dealing with severe vertigo from an unexpected ear infection, and for the last week and a half the world has been violently and suddenly spinning and tilting in one direction or another during the day.
In fact, I am astonished no one else has noticed this.