Message in a Bottle

No, I’m not referring to that hit song by the Police.  Though that might be a good tie-in.

If I had a bottle, and a matching cork, and lived near the sea. And had some paper. Oh, and a pencil.

I might write a message, roll it up, put it in the bottle, and set it free to float upon the seas.

That might be a more effective method of communication.

Note: the bottle, cork, paper, and pencil are all assumed to be clean and safely biodegradable, with a short half-life. Don’t want to be polluting the natural world of course.  Well, at least not if I’m just reaching for a poor metaphor.

Oh, and support your friends and family that are affected by mental health challenges. Just sayin’ ….

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When You Find Yourself in Times of Trouble

We ran into a bit of a “family emergency” this week and one of us was admitted to the hospital, and is still there. It’s somewhat open-ended.

That, of course, has been more than a little stressful all around.

As most people do, I looked to share that situation with a close friend, and hopefully, reduce the stress, at least just a little bit, and perhaps make use of a little emotional support.

And, of course, there is really only one person that was the first one I wanted to share this with, and lean on a little bit, as I had in the past.

Clearly there is more than one person in my little extended family that could likely use some professional help.

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Talk Therapy

There’s a school of thought that talking, being open, sharing one’s thoughts, is a good thing. Conversation can be fun, enlightening, energizing, and invigorating.

A long time ago I wrote down

Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased. What more do you need to know?

(It wasn’t a quote from Spider Robinson.  I would have to go find a paper in a file in a filing cabinet downstairs to remember where I read it. Please forgive me.)

I pull that quote out regularly, to hand off to my children, or friends, or acquaintances.

I said here, a few weeks back, that I write for a specific audience – Write for Your Audience. I do. – and suggested that perhaps that practice didn’t reflect too well on me.

And so: I was out in the park today, walking the dog, and it was too warm for a February day, and most of the snow was gone.  But the sun was out, and we were walking around the pond in the town park.

And it was glorious.  I quite enjoyed it, and the little dog did too.

I wanted to share the joy of that experience – you know, so that it would be increased – and so I posted a little tweet about it.

But in reality, there was one, exactly one, person that I wanted to tell about it, and share the experience with.  This person also has a little dog, and perhaps I might claim that that was the reason I wanted to share my experience, and the glorious afternoon. But there’s a darn good chance that that would pretty much be a lie – the dogs are not really a key element to be considered here.

All I wanted was to share this experience, or the feeling of this experience, with this one person.  And I can’t.

I’ve said it before. Apparently, I am a sick. sick. man.

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Valentine’s Day – A Nice Day In Theory, But …

I was all set to write a special post just for today – Valentine’s Day – and then I got some Chinese (-like) food to-go.  With a fortune cookie. Which said:

Walk carefully in the beginning of love.

Or, in French, from the other side:

Au début d’une relation amoureuse, allez-y prudemment.

I think I’ll file that away for future reference.  Perhaps far future reference.

But back to my thesis: Valentine’s Day is lovely in theory, but, in practice, perhaps not so much.

Now I have to admit, it seemed somehow a little more understated this year.  Or perhaps less over-stated. Maybe it’s because the winter olympics are on, and everyone is watching mixed doubles curling and wondering if the teammates are lifemates, or just teammates. And wondering just what the hell “hurry hard” means on the rink with a broom.

There’s the (perhaps unintended) implication that if you don’t have someone special to spend Valentine’s Day with, well, then, perhaps you’re just not that special yourself.

Though I wonder how orphans feel on Mother’s Day.

I’ve long known that having someone special in your life is one of the best things that can happen to a person in this world.  And of course I’ve also known that there are so many people that don’t have someone special.

So there’s nothing special about me.

Which is what Valentine’s Day seems to remind me of.

Celebrating love, and the special people in your life, and caring and sharing, and telling people how much they mean to you (when they mean something good to you I mean) – all wonderful things.

Except some times when you want to do that, but feel like there’s no one for you to tell.

Good in theory, but maybe not so much in practice.

Jaded, tired, lonely? Nahhhh ….

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Write for Your Audience. I do.

Under my more common name, I post to the twitters from time to time. No, I am not a well-known, notorious politician.

I tweet various different things. Sometimes I’ll re-tweet an interesting article, or a tweet by someone else. Or I’ll promote a show or something that I (or someone else) is involved in. Or I’ll try to make a humourous reference. Or perhaps I’ll exclaim something about what a stunning day it is. Or mention that I’ve escaped to a place where people can’t find me.

But too often, I’ll write a tweet that is intended for a particular audience. A specific audience.

OK, a specific person.

A person who may have read my tweets once upon a time, but who now almost certainly never looks at my twitter stream. Or my facebook page. Or my email.

But still I post.

I want to talk with this person, communicate, connect. It was a friendship that was important to me. At the time. And still, though it no longer exists in any practical form, if it exists at all.

I keep coming back to a couple of things: hope for the future, and a wish that there is more to this world than meets the eye.

And so I send my words and thoughts out into the ether, and the ether-nets, in hopes that they might somehow reach a destination that may or may not want to receive them.

Apparently, I am a sick, sick, man.

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Anyone Ever Tell You You Look Like?

It’s happened to most of us. Someone says “hey, anyone ever told you you look like random famous person?”.  Or their friend, Dave?

Sometimes the resemblance is superficial, or imagined.  Or not there at all. How many different haircuts are there, really?

And it happens the other way around, of course. We see someone who triggers a memory of a friend, or acquaintance, or that cashier at the grocery store that we sort of remember.

This week I was watching TV, as one does. Or, more precisely, old movies on my TiVo, and binge watching a series on Netflix. As one does. What else would one do during the holiday season, right?

I do a little amateur acting from time to time, and go to plays regularly (and of course think “huh, I could have played that part better”), and wonder about the acting and directing choices.  I may be more aware of how people move and express themselves than others might be. Or not.

And twice I found myself suddenly being reminded of a close friend of mine. (Well, maybe not quite so close anymore.)

Facial structure, height, size, stature, attitude, vocabulary, hair style. Movement, stance, grace, interactions.

Of course, I could just be imagining things. Wouldn’t be the first time.

I like to think I’m a rational, thoughtful person, and that I take the world as it appears, looking for science and evidence, and believing the most obvious and likely things about this little world of ours.

But there sure is a part of me that wants to believe in something more. That sometimes coincidences are more than just coincidences, that sometimes there is meaning in things that happen, that sometimes there might be more to this world than meets the eye.

I’ve said it before: it’s hard to live without hope. Believing that there is something more to this world is just another form of hope.

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Think, Remember, Ponder, Dwell, Imagine, Resign?

Sometimes I think.

Sometimes I remember, and consider what happened in the past, and what might happen in the future.

I’m not sure that is always the healthiest or the most reasonable thing to do.

Some people say: “Live in the now”

Of course, people say a lot of things.

The other day I was reminded of some things, and some aspects of life.  And I started wondering if those things were over and done with, never to happen again.

Now with some things, that would be a good thing. I mean who wants to get divorced again, or let go from a job again, or go through adolescence again.  Or any number of other things.  There are all sorts of things that happen in life that aren’t necessarily positive or enjoyable or something you want to repeat.

But, on the other hand, there are parts of life that are actually enjoyable, that make one smile, or feel a little warmth, or feel a little appreciated, or remind you that someone cares about you.

Some of those things are not too hard to come by, for many people. But some things are less common, more rare, and perhaps, alas, sometimes somewhat fleeting. And, of course, those are usually the things that are the most valuable.

Is it good to resign  yourself to the idea that some things might never come this way again? Could it possibly be healthy to keep holding out hope?

Or should I just concentrate on living in the now, cherishing what I have and the people around me, making the most of everything that comes my way, and enjoying each day as it comes?

Fuck that shit.

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Still More Echoes

Sometimes life moves quickly, sometimes it moves slowly, and sometimes, not at all.

Back in high school, or perhaps more likely, junior high, you could ask your friend to ask her friend if she likes you, or if she likes-likes you.

I think, as one gets older, that technique quickly becomes less and less appropriate. And once you’ve been married, separated, and divorced, I think you would likely get only derision if you tried that technique. Unless you were clearly only using it ironically and for entertainment value. Which might be a difficult sell.

So you, or more accurately, I, resort to careful listening and interpretation. Maybe not always, but sometimes. When the person in question (a woman in this case, as I’m a boring heterosexual man) is a friend, and (in the common world view) a less likely match, I want to step carefully.

So, I say “gee, I was thinking of doing this thing that you’re also interested in, want to join me?”, and I hear in return “I would love to, but I have to …”. And I think “how nice of her to be so thoughtful and polite, and let me down easily”.

But then later I hear “hey did you end up doing?”, and “let me know if you’re going to”, and I say “well, gosh, I was thinking of it, want to join me?”.

I don’t always use words like “gee” and “gosh”. But I will for literary effect (or affect – take your pick).

And a day or two later, hearing nothing back, thinking “uh, I guess not”, and so gently mention (just in case), get “I told a friend you and I were planning on going”. And so arrange tickets, and get “yay! can’t wait!”.

I’ve mentioned before how nice it is to be able to daydream of the far-fetched possibilities of what might be, or what it might mean.

It still is.

Of course, her friend that she mentioned our plans to (a mutual friend), is also coming to the show with us.

But I can still daydream of making nefarious plans to ditch the friend after the show (or ask the friend to feign a headache, or early morning plans of her own).

Not that I would. Oh no, never.

And yes, this is far too far-fetched for any reasonable person, or even for me.

But, as I’ve said before, hope is an essential part of living. And the hope of maybe, someday, someone, is a nice hope to have.

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Distant Echoes of a Possible Relationship

I am not old, but then again, I am no longer what one could call a young man. When I was younger, I was fortunate to spend time with some terrific women – intelligent, energetic, lovely to behold. I was lucky to marry the last one. Who eventually came out, and we separated about a decade ago, and later divorced. That was my last romantic relationship, though not through lack of trying. Some might say I am very particular about the people I choose to spend time with, and me, well, perhaps I am a bit of an “acquired taste”.

I am involved in amateur theatre – got back into it to keep me occupied, and to keep me somewhat socialized. It’s a nice and sometimes challenging contrast to my daytime work keeping computers running.

And there is a younger woman, who has been in, or part of several of the same shows I have been in, or around.

When I first met her a year or so ago, I noticed she was quite attractive, and seemed quite engaging. But she was younger than I, and in a committed relationship. So of her I thought only how glad I was that there were interesting women in this world.

Recently, however, her relationship has seemingly come to an end. We got to talking at the closing night party of a show, and she said she had always assumed I was a decade or so younger than I am. And I was reminded that I do enjoy the company of intelligent, interesting, and well, yeah, attractive women. And over the past week or two, she has said or done things that, had they come from a woman closer in age to my own, might reasonably be construed as “flirting”, or at least an “expression of interest”. She invited me for a drink last Saturday after I came to see the show she was in, and of course I accepted. It was really nice to sit and talk with her. I don’t have the opportunity to do that sort of thing as often as I would like to, and, in fact, it had been quite a while since the last time. And I quite enjoyed it.

Saying goodnight, there was again something that could be construed as an “expression of interest”. And, had I been younger, or at least, closer to her age, I certainly would have made sure that I clearly returned a similar expression.

But, and here’s the point: I have really been enjoying interpreting the things she has said as more than just the friendly conversation of someone with shared interests.

As I have examined life and myself since being single again, post-separation, I have learned, or perhaps concluded, that one of the things that people need is hope. I had the good fortune to have romantic relationships in the past, and that is something that I have missed in my life over the past decade, sometimes quite keenly.

So now, while I have the chance to continue to interpret, or more likely mis-interpret, her words and actions as “expressions of interest”, I have been revelling in the idea of the possibilities of a relationship. I have spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about spending time with her, perhaps holding hands, or even (gasp!) kissing.

I sometimes buy a lottery ticket. When I do, I delay checking the winning numbers just about as long as is possible. That gives me lots of time to think about all the good things that could be done with a win – get a modestly larger house, support some local arts groups, share some with my ex-wife and take my kids on a nice vacation. I absolutely make sure I get my money’s worth on that lottery ticket, by making the most of my daydreaming time. It’s not quite like “hope”, but it’s a way of thinking of what could happen, of the possibilities for good fortune in this world.

So, for the next week or so, while I can, I’m going to make the most out of daydreaming about spending more time with this interesting and appealing woman. To reinforce the idea that there really are interesting, attractive, and unattached women out there, and that maybe, just maybe, there might be one who might “acquire a taste” for someone like me.

Hope is important to help you keep moving forward. And even if hope is sometimes a delusion, and sometimes a willful and intentional delusion, you can still use it as a propellant.

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Looking Forwards

In order to survive, one must have some measure of hope for the future. Whether it’s hope for continued “success” (however one might define it), or hope for “success”, or hope for the future of (and for) one’s children, or simply hope (or perhaps belief) that the sun will rise tomorrow, and will bring with it the light and warmth that we need.

Some days I struggle to have any form of hope. Which sure makes it hard to keep on plugging.

Here’s the ridiculous thing: as I write this, the effects of the devasting earthquake of March 2011 continue to wreak havoc on the people of Japan. There are wars, there is poverty, there is pestilence. But not here, in my life, in Canada.

I struggle to keep things in perspective, and fail. I know, and can see, that I am fortunate in so many ways. But I constantly find it a struggle to live as if I actually believed that that is the case. I wake up in the morning with a day that is already a 95% good day, and as foolish as it is, it kills me that I can’t seem to get it together for that last 5% of daily perfection.

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