Monday, March 27, 2006

Gone to the dogs

There are two big plastic storage bins sitting in the middle of my living room filled with dog food. One hundred pounds of dog food to be precise. The problem is, I don't have a dog.

So, what the hell am I supposed to do with 100 pounds of dog food?

So, just why do I have so much kibble and no pooch? Good question.

There is an answer that seemed like a good reason at the time. A few months ago I was in Portland when it started snowing and sleeting. The weather was causing problems for vehicles of all types and when I found myself sliding sideways, and then backwards, up a small hill that normally I gave little thought to, I knew my pickup and I were in trouble.

Pickup trucks can be very convenient vehicles to own, especially if you ever have to haul any big, bulky items around, but if you have nothing to haul when the roads get slick, the light ass end can slide leaving you out of control and headed for disaster. So I knew I needed to pack that ass in a hurry.

So, a crept over to a department store and started roaming the aisles looking for something big, heavy and inexpensive. I got a couple of the biggest and cheapest bags of dog food I could find, and a couple of storage containers to put the big bags into, so the moisture wouldn't turn the kibble into mush, and loaded them into the bed of the truck.

With some weight in the back of the truck and creeping along at a snail's pace, I was able to get out of Portland and eventually hit ice- and snow-free roads south of the city, making it back home to Salem. I left my improvised winter weights in the back of the truck ever since.

But this weekend, I thought I might need to haul some stuff, so I needed to get rid over the bulky containers in the bed of the truck. So, I moved the storage bins into my apartment, where they still sit. I'm hoping now that winter is officially over, we won't have to deal with any freak unexpected snow or ice, but I'm not ready to bet my first born on it.

So, if I don't need to lug that junk around anymore, I need to figure out what I'm going to do with it. I am sure I can find a use for the storage bins, but first I need to get rid of the kibble.

There's never a pack of hungry dogs around when you need one.


OK, so I know I haven't been around for a while. I wonder if anyone noticed?

I took a little unplanned blog-free vacation there for a little over a week. I have lots of excuses but no real good reason. And I'll spare you all the excuses (for now anyway).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Blogger amnesia?

Are some Blogger sites down? I can't find anything about a problem though Blogger itself, but I'm having trouble accessing some blogs.

Maybe it's the cyber sign that I should be doing something else with my evening.

Hmmm, I get errors when I try to post. Something is definitely amiss.

* Hey I can finally post this now... three and a half hours after it was written.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Absence make the heart...

I haven't seen or heard from Brat for the last couple of nights. Fortunately I talked to her in the aftermath of the storms in her area, or I would probably be pretty worried. I hope she is just taking it easy and getting some rest, or maybe dealing with some of the after effects of the storm.

Regardless, this long distance stuff really sucks sometimes.

Anyway, enough of the sappy stuff. It's almost St. Patrick's Day. I don't really have any plans for the Irish holiday. I have to say I'm sort of craving some live blues music. What could be better that some blues music on St. Patrick's Day? Would work well for this whole long-distance thing too
Anyone have any recommendations?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Storm's aftermath

Brat is OK, but she was temporarily displaced due to an extended power outage in her area.

Fortunately she has family nearby, but outside the area hit by the storm, so she has relocated until power can be restored and she will be able to return to her home. A few people in the Midwest won't have homes to return to.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Touched by a tornado

I was talking to my friend Brat last night via MSN Messenger. In the background I could hear the TV newscaster talking about a tornado warning in her part of the country. As the storm got more severe in her area, her dog was freaking out and she seemed a bit nervous too.

At first I didn't think much about it. I grew up in the Midwest, where tornado warnings were common. We had tornado drills at school, the 1970s equivalent of the old nuclear attack "duck and cover" drills. When the drill began we would all go out into the call, sit down on the floor against the brick wall, and assume the "kiss-your-ass-goodbye" position. Tornado watches and warning were regular occurrences and usually led to nothing.

But it soon became apparent, even from two time zones away, that this one might be the real deal.

I did my best to keep a level speaking voice and act nonchalant, talking about other things to not add to the anxiety. It was obvious she was prepared for the storm, with some emergency supplies gathered, and she had moved to what she estimated to be the safest part of the house.

But during our conversation, the conversation went dead. Now, we often have some technology snafus during our discussions, but given the severe weather warnings in her area, I suspected this one might be different.

I sent her a text message to her cell phone to see if I could reach her that way, asking if she had lost power. But when I didn't hear back from her after several minutes, I decided to give her a call. I suspected I might get her voice mail, but I wanted to call anyway. To my pleasant surprise, she answered and I learned that the power had in fact gone out, but fortunately cell phones were still working.

We talked for a while while she surveyed the area. It sounded like there was some damage caused, either by the actual tornado, or high winds associated with the storm. Shingles and siding were off the house, tree limb were down, power was out in the neighborhood and a police car was in the neighborhood.

We didn't talk for too long in order to leave her with battery power for later if needed. And she needed to call her mother, who had already called once because of the news reports of how close the twister way to her community.

Normally, on a Sunday night, we talk until one or the other, or both, of us needs to get to bed. So the evening was eerily quiet. Even when I went to bed, I was restless, wondering what was happening several states away? Had power been restored? Was she still OK?

Getting back up out of bed and searching the Internet for news didn't help ease a restless mind. A second storm had quite literally blown through several hours later.

I'm not sure which is worse, having life disrupted by a storm like this, or waiting for word from someone who is in an area hit by some sort of natural or man-made disaster.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I didn't shave my head for this

Sometimes I'm a little slow. It took me a good 10 or 15 minutes to realize I had walked, quite literally, into some sort of gathering of modern-day Nazi skinhead Aryan assholes.

To put it mildly it was not the place I wanted to be.

It certainly wasn't where I thought I would find myself earlier in the evening.

I had driven to Portland to have dinner with my daughter, her mother and her mother's lesbian partner. We had a nice evening and a lovely meal, but shortly after my daughter abandoned the adults for the sanctuary of her bedroom, I figured it was time to go.

I've been craving a night out at a club for a while, so I decided to stop off at a bar for a drink or two before heading back to Salem. I decided to go to this bar I've visited before, not too far from where my daughter lives. I've had one nice time there, and a couple of bad experiences since, so I decided to give the place one more chance.

For the record, it is a strip club, a seedy little place that has been pretty lame the last couple of times I stopped there. On my last couple of stops there, the place had been virtually empty and hardly any dancers, so after about 3 sets, you've seen all the T&A the bar had to offer.

But Saturday night was different. The place was packed when I walked in. The place has a small bar and no cocktail waitresses, so it took a while to squeeze my way in at the bar to get something to drink. After I got a beer I went and sat down at one of the stages. There are three stages in this bar, but every time I've been in there before, which is probably 3 or 4 times, only one stage was in operation. So I sat at that stage.

But no women were dancing, except for the one woman giving a guy a lap dance in the corner. There were some women in the bar who appeared to be the dancers, including one sitting on the edge of the stage where I had sat down. But after a song or two, I realized no one was coming to dance at this stage. But about that time I noticed a dancer getting up on another stage around the corner. So I grabbed my beer and moved to the other stage.

I was one of 3 guys sitting anywhere near the edge of the stage. The rest of the men in the place, and several women, were gathering in clusters around the bar, talking. I had seen a few guys stumbling around, obviously very drunk.

There was a weird vibe in the place but I couldn't quite put my finger on what was happening. At one point I asked the dancer on the stage why all the guys in the place weren't up at the stage giving her money. She said something like "I've been wondering the same thing."

Soon her dance ended and another dancer came on stage. The next dancer was either in her mid to late 40s, or had lived a very hard life, and perhaps both. At one point she made a comment to me, as one of the few guys still at the stage that some guys off to my right were drunk. I said something inspired like, "Yea, it looks like it." To which she said something like "You should have seen it earlier when they were all here."

That stuck me as an odd comment, and I wondered what she ment by "they."

About that time a female patron, with tattoos covering her bare arms, from wrist to shoulder, started yelling at one of the male patrons. I couldn't quite make out what the argument was about, but all I heard was a lot of "Fuck you" this and "fuck you" that. Pretty soon the arguing pair, standing not 10 feet from where I'm sitting, starts attracting attention from some of the other people in the bar. There were gathering a crowd.

I turn to my left and see a guy wearing a black T-shirt standing pretty much right next to me. There is some sort of odd design on it with a guy's face and some writing. I don't know what inspired me to read the guy's shirt, but it had to be more interesting than the dancer on stage, who I swear looked like she would more travel in my mother's circle of friends than take off her clothes for a living. I realized there was a name written on the shirt.

Rudolf Hess.

I couldn't make out what else was on the shirt, but the name rang a bell.

Rudolf Hess.

Then I looked at the face in the drawing on the shirt and realized where I knew that name and face from.

Rudolf Hess, for anyone who may have slept through early and mid 20th century history in school, or slept through the 1930s and '40s, was the man who became Deputy Fuhrer in Nazi Germany.

Suddenly I saw the men surrounding me in the bar with a new clarity. They were all white men, which is not particularly unusual in a bar in Portland. Most of men in the bar, of which there were probably 30 to50, where wearing black T-shirts or some other similar dark clothing. Their heads were all shaved or nearly shaved and many of them were sported an assortment of tattoos on their arms and necks.

Yes, I had somehow managed to wander into some sort of neo-Nazi, white supremacist skinhead gathering.

I felt my pulse start to race and decided that this was my cue to beat a hasty retreat.

I got out into the parking lot and looked around for some sign that what I thought I saw was in fact real. I notice that a few of the cars in the parking lot were sporting California plates, which is unusual in Portland, but most of the cars had Oregon plates. Great, I thought, it's a fucking skinhead convention.

I looked for some obvious bumper stickers or something to prove I wasn't crazy, but nothing else immediately affirmed my suspicious. The car next to me has some sort of sticker in the back window that said WAR, but that didn't mean anything to me at the moment. It wasn't a glaringly obvious sign, like a swastika or something, which was what I most hoped, and yet dreaded, to see.

I was starting to back out when I realized someone in an SUV had parked a little too closely behind me, and I could not easily pull out of my parking spot. I wanted out of that parking lot in the worst way, but did not want to be too hasty in my departure and rip off the back bumper of some Neo-Nazi's Ford Explorer.

So, after jokeying around, pulling forward and back several time into the parking spot my truck had occupied, I finally was able to get out of my parking space and make my exit.

But all the way back to Salem, my pulse and blood pressure would never quite return to normal.

Oh, by the way, when I got home and started working on this post, I decided to do a quick Web search to see if there was some sort of Neo-Nazi gathering in Portland this weekend. One of the first things that popped up in my search for "Aryan Portland gathering" was a listing for information from the Anti-Defamation League on legendary white supremacist Tom Metzger and the White Aryan Resistance.

So I guess I know know what that WAR sticker was all about.

Hmm, I wonder what they would think about my Blame it on Mexico and Oregon: Come for the natural beauty... posts?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Throwing cold water on wet T-shirts

Yesterday morning the "Today" show was teasing a story about the things young women in college and high school are doing on their spring vacations. I had to leave for work, so I didn't get to see the whole segment, but they were talking about things like spring breakers having multiple sex partners, drinking and drug use.

My reaction to the segment, or what I saw of it anyway, caught me by surprise.

Ordinarily, I would expect myself to want to see such a segment for the titillation factor. As an unmarried man, I've been known to want to see the sights and sounds of girls going wild and wondering why I never made a classic spring break trip myself back in my college days to see if women really do the kinds of things you hear about on those late-night infomercials.

But that wasn't my reaction to the segment at all. My reaction was: How the hell do I prevent my daughter from ever taking one of those spring break trips?

I realize that my daughter, who will soon be turning 15, will do some things that I might not be able to prevent her from doing, some of the very things I myself did in high school and college. I would certainly not make anyone's list of wildest youths, but I certainly did some thing in my teens and early 20s that I don't relish my daughter trying: drinking, smoking, sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll. OK, so she can do the rock 'n' roll, as long as the lyrics are clean. Why is it on most of the filthiest songs, most of the lyrics are unintelligible to anyone over the age of 25, but the singers enunciate quite clearly when they say "fuck" and other terms of profanity?

But I digress.

I guess I just want to protect my not-so-little girl, but realize as an absentee parent that I can't be there nearly enough to help her make good choice or deflect the pain that may come her way from such youthful experimentation. And the reality is that I won't be the first call she makes if she finds herself in trouble. Odds are slim I'll even be able to be there to hold her when she gets her heart broken, or suffers some other indignity or indiscretion, to be able to hold her and tell her that things will be OK and that love her, no matter what.

Of course I wouldn't mind having someone do that for me right now either. Now that I've realized that my primal motivation has shifted from fantasizing about seeing a wet T-shirt contest to living in terror that my daughter would ever be at, or in, one.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Oregon: Come for the natural beauty, stay for the majority Caucasian population

"Frustrated" makes an interesting point in the comment to this post. I started to reply in the comments as well, but it was getting so long, I thought I would just make a new post. You can also read the comment on the blog, "Where's the Diced Turkey?" that was apparently started in response to the "Blame it on Mexico" post (although "Frustrated" calls it the "Blame the Mexicans" blog).

Anyway. I apparently struck an nerve, and Frustrated has struck one back, obviously.

"Frustrated" and family are of European ancestry. I guess we are now starting to understand how natives on this continent must have felt when those damn Europeans just kept coming and coming. Those invaders of centuries past were speaking different languages in which they published newspapers and put up signs on buildings. Paying to weird gods and all that crazy stuff, believing their creator was telling them to displace the natives from their homes and abuse the lands, waters and animals there too. Well, perhaps today we are seeing the Latino version of 21st century manifest destiny.

But "Frustrated," if you want to find your utopia in Oregon, you better hurry, as what California has seen is happening here too, and in Nebraska and Kansas and Minnesota.

According to the Web site for the Oregon Commission of Hispanic Affairs: "Data from the 2000 Census showed 275,000 Hispanics living in Oregon. That's 8 percent of Oregonians, and they live in every county in the state. The census results also show rapid growth of the Hispanic population between 1990 and 2000. The projected growth rate between 1990 and 2000 was estimated to be 73 percent."

Here in Salem, the state capital, the Hispanic population was almost twice the state average in 2000, at 14.6 percent.

According to a population projection by the U.S. Census bureau: "The Hispanic origin population is projected to increase rapidly over the 1995 to 2025 projection period, accounting for 44 percent of the growth in the Nation's population (32 million Hispanics out of a total of 72 million persons added to the Nation's population). The Hispanic origin population is the second fastest-growing population, after Asians, in every region over the 30 year period.

"In 1995, the Hispanic origin population is the third most populous race/ethnic group in all regions except the West where it ranks second. The Hispanic population is expected to comprise a substantially larger share of the total population in 2025 than in 1995 -- up from 21 to 32 percent in the West, from 9 to 15 percent in the South and Northeast, and from 3 to 6 percent in the Midwest."

The cultural landscape of America is changing. We can certainly fight it or run from it, or we can be partners in determining the future.

And for the record, California was once part of Mexico. The majority of the residents at the time of the gold rush or statehood were either "Mexican" or "Indian." Spanish, and various native dialects, was once, and is now again becoming, the predominant language of this former Spanish and Mexican territory.

The United States has been all about European peoples (specifically the English) or their descendants forcing others to assimilate to an Anglo culture, even forcing other European cultures (German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Swedish, etc.) to assimilate to the ruling, or "majority," culture. Shouldn't the new majority get to rule now? Isn't that what democracy is all about?

Well, fortunately, we are not a true democracy but a constitutional-based federal republic. And fortunately for all of us Anglos, our system of government is designed to protect minority views and cultures, which we European descendants are rapidly becoming in America again. Isn't it reassuring to know that this is not a true democracy, where mob rule would be A-OK?

We will have the same protections and freedoms other minorities -- like blacks and Latinos -- have enjoyed over the centuries as practices by our benevolent civil and cultural superiority.

¡El dios bendice América! (That's God bless America to you and me. At least I think so. Yo no comprendo mucho español.)

And if you to enjoy the pasty whitest of white Oregon, I'd recommend living far from any urban area, or any agrarian area, where Latino populations are growing rapidly. But you won't have to worry about trying to translate the writing on the boxes at the Home Depot store into English, because they won't have a Home Depot there, or cell phone coverage or high speed internet or drive-thru windows.

You could live in a city, I suppose, like Portland's where the Latino population was only 6.8 percent in 2000 (below the state average) to enjoy some of those other luxuries you value for your children, like hospitals. And you could send your kids to
private school, but beware you make not escape completely. My Latina daughter went to a private school for three years.

Well, whatever you do, please don't move your kids in next to my daughter. I'm sure she's already heard all the beaner jokes.

Oh, and don't forget to bring an umbrella. It rains a fuck of a lot here, like water off a duck's wet back.

Chilly reception

It's another wet, chilly morning with snow falling in the hills. My brain refuses to wake up. What I wouldn't give to crawl back under the covers and sleep. Until summer.

Thank God it's Friday.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Winter goes out like a lion

Snow is falling in some areas in the higher elevations around Western Oregon, including in areas around Portland and Salem.

Spring is less than two weeks away and this is only the second day this winter that there has been snow or ice on or near the valley floor. Yet, I've been hearing cars driving all around Salem all winter long with studded tires.

That's enough reason to chew up asphalt all over the Willamette Valley isn't it? One or two days of slick roads per winter?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Blame it on Mexico

Last night I was working on a few chores, trying to get some things done so I could get to bed. The TV was on, but I really wasn't paying much attention to it. I'm not really sure what was on, something on Cinemax is all I know and certainly all you need to know.

Something new came on the TV. I still wasn't paying any attention. But as I was finishing my task, putting away some music CDs, something on the show caught my attention. It wasn't the plan, but I started watching it.

It was some sort of movie in a documentary style. Nothing I recognized. It had an odd premise, which was that Latinos throughout California were disappearing. In a short period of time, all the Latinos in California were gone and the state was cut off from the rest of the nation by an odd, thick fog right at the state's borders with Mexico, Nevada, and ostensibly Arizona and Oregon too.

In spite of my plan to go to bed, I watched. Throughout the movie there were facts sprinkled on the screen about the human and economic impact Latinos have on California. Percentage of teachers in schools, how much they spend on goods and services, number of workers in various professions.

The plot of the movie may have been a little fantastic and unbelievable, but the premise that the loss of all the Latinos at once would cripple California is easy to believe and understand. Half of California's population is Latino -- Mexican, Central American, South American, Caribbean Islanders.

As much as some Anglos and others may wish "those Mexicans would go back where they came from" the Latino population is the frame, engine, fuel and transmission moving the California economy.

The movie, a comedy "mockumentary" called "A Day Without a Mexican," had a very serious message, one I care about intimately. My daughter is a "half-Mexican" Latina and she faces the same bigotry and stereotypes that the movie was shining a spotlight on.

Unfortunately, the people who most need to see the message probably never will. I am convinced that most of the clamoring about border security and illegal aliens bleeding social services is more about bigotry, ignorance and elitism than it is about terrorist threats or fiscal responsibility. And all that crap about people saying farmers and service industry folks should just pay people better to get "Americans" to do labor-intensive, grimy jobs doesn't fly. If people are worried about a small fraction of their tax payments going to social services for illegal immigrants, and it's a matter of money not bigotry, do you think they would want to pay $3 for an orange or $12 for their Big Mac value meal?

Frankly, California is much further along in not only accepting is Latino population but embracing is Mexican and Latino heritage. And if the Latino community ever embraces the ballot box it will control the state not only economically but politically as well.

States like Oregon and Washington, still have much to learn from California in embracing their Latino residents not just as a necessary evil but as friends and neighbors and peers.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Briefly into the twilight zone

I thought maybe I was losing my mind yesterday morning, or that perhaps my blog had been found unfit for the web.

When I tried accessing the site yesterday morning I got an error. However I was able to log on and create a post. But when I tried posting yesterday's post, I got another error message.

Turns out Blogger was having some sort of a problem yesterday and some machines were down. The post, uninspired as it was, survived and life goes on. As do the uninspired posts.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Not wooed by Oscar

So, did you watch the Oscars last night? I have to admit, I didn't see a single minute of it. Perhaps the fact that I only went to one movie in the last years affected my interest in this year's show.

"Brokeback Mountain" was the only movie I've seen in a theater in more than a year. But I do intend to see Reese Witherspoon's Oscar winning performance in "Walk the Line" now that that movie is available on DVD. The only other movie of the year I really wanted to see and didn't was "Good Night and Good Luck."

We'll see if I can get back onto the cinema bandwagon in 2006.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ultimate blind date

OK, so after my last post, perhaps there is the perception that I am only lamenting a lost love and I have no immediate prospects for a new relationship. That isn't the case.

So there is this woman. Everything about her and our relationship is a contradiction.

I've known her almost 7 years, but we've never met.

She's beautiful, but I have no idea what she looks like.

She's become by best friend, but we remain strangers.

We can, and do, talk about everything but there are some things I'm a too scared to tell her.

I cannot wait until we can be together, but I'm terrified at the prospect of being in the same room with her.

Our meeting is long overdue and yet it's coming way too fast.

I'll try to explain.

By friend and recent guest blogger, known by the apropos nickname of Brat, and I have scheduled a meeting in a little more than a month. We started talking online before the turn of the century using AOL Instant Messenger. She struck up the first conversation based on one of the items in my user profile. I was living at the time in a small town in central California that she knew because a former boyfriend had lived there. Actually they were engaged. He was the love of her life and broke her heart. Then, years later, in a wierd way, he introduced us.

Our early conversations were pretty light and given that we were living a large distance from each other, it was highly unlikely anything would come of those talks. At the time, I didn't see the brat that Brat would become. Not that I'm a wild man or anything, but my new cyberfriend seemed far too nice for someone like me. Our conversations were pretty, um, polite, and squeeky clean. In fact on of the exclamations that we used at the time still survives in our conversations to this day. I'm not sure which one of us started it, but we both use it now. We say "oh my" when something surprising or shocking pops up in our talks. Offline, I am more likely to say "holy shit" for some other profanity in the normal course of conversation, but she seemed too nice to swear in front of. If this woman had been Catholic I would have pegged her as just a few inches shy of tripping on the threshold of the convent door.

Holy shit! Did I have some things to learn.

And I've learned a lot. And told a lot. We've laughed and cried and, well, let's just say we've flirted, a lot. If flirtation leads to heavy breathing and beads of sweat, then yes, we've flirted quite heavily.

But there have been times when we've drifted apart. I had a splended affair with a woman I also met online at roughly the same time I met Brat. My lover taught me to open up sexually and share thoughts and feelings that I would have previously assumed would have gotten me slapped. I had a great time and made a good friend, but my heart was engorged like the rest of my anatomy by the affair and I played the role of arrogant ass to the best of my ability and dumped her.

A year or so later I dated a woman for a while. She was too young for me and completely wrong for me but she made me grin like an idiot for a few splended weeks. Then she dumped me by refusing to take my calls or return my e-mails. It may not have been too bad except for the fact that we worked together. What is that they say about not dipping your pen in the company ink? Well, my pin never got dipped anywhere precisely, but it's still sound advice because it made going to work quite difficult for a while.

It was such sound advice that a year or so later I decided to ask another woman I worked with out. This would be the ex from the previous post. She literally took me places, geographically and emotionally, that I had never been before. So I gave her a ring. Six month later she gave it back. It's taken longer to get rid of the ring, and the emotional baggage left behind (some of which I'm obviously still dutifully packing around), than that entire romance lasted.

But Brat has helped me pack a lot of that baggage away. Some of it has been mercifully tossed out. And some locked away in trunks out of site. But there are some remnants lingering around, like gum stuck to my shoe.

And now, my sticky shoes and I are waiting for a plane. It's not getting here for several weeks, but we need the time to prepare. To get ourselves spit-polished and ready for company.

Given the long reamble to this meeting and the emotional attachments that have developed over the years, there are high expecations for that meeting. No pressure, no pressure.

I'm full of questions and a few worries about this whole meeting. I haven't dated anyone since the breakup of my engagement. She had a pretty emotional breakup herself a while back, but she's had a fling or two since. She's experienced her "rebound" relationship. Should I have? I don't know? There is a lot of conventional wisdom and advice about love and romance, but it's difficult to know if wisdon and advice apply to matters of emotion.

One thing is clear already. She is a person I care about, even though we haven't met in the conventional sense. We talk almost every day. But what will happen when we are finally together?

That is the big unanswered question.

How long does it take to get over someone completely?

I woke up this morning dreaming about my ex.

We’ve been apart now longer than we were together. But her name still comes to mind. I want nothing more than to forget, but the forgetting don’t come easy. I realize I may never forget her, but I thought by now the memories would be rare and fragile things, muted by dust and ashes.

It’s been a year, give or take, since I’ve shed a tear for her, for us, for the love that I tasted for all too brief a time. But there are still tears. Only now they are for me, for the loneliness that I feel with a renewed and profound depth that I never knew before her. Other people’s stories of loss and heartbreak inflame the scar and start the tears flowing anew.

It was a 15 month romance – 19 months total from first glimpse to last. Now it’s been about 19 months since that last glimpse and 21 months since the heartbreak began with the return of a ring. I’ve been trying to sell that ring for far longer than she wore it. She moved to the other side of the continent, I moved a thousand miles, and still the memories of her confront me everywhere I turn.

Some of the pain I feel may be self inflicted. And some of it may be that I have had no one else to share those moments, big and small, that can create new memories to push the old ones back into the far reaches of my mind and heart.

I know I no longer want her back. I no longer miss her. But I miss so much. I miss being in love. I miss being loved. I miss being touched and kissed. Holding and being held. I miss the touch of another. The beat of a heart next to mine. I miss the future that will never be.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What matters

I was chatting online with my friend Gene the other night. He asked me a question, which I haven't been able to get out of my head. He asked, and I won't say this is a direct quote, but he asked me: When are you going to write something that will matter to your daughter in 30 years?

Gene is a dear friend, one whom I respect and admire in no small part because of his ability to cut through the bullshit and say what's on his mind. His candor is refreshing and I've often smiled at the things he has said to others in conversation. I love seeing him call others on their bullshit.

I didn't, however, relish the experience too much myself.

Oh, Gene is right of course. I've stretched out inconsequential posts about the weather and electronic toys well beyond the point where anyone should give half a damn about anything posted here. Lord knows I haven't cared much myself, as perhaps has become evident by the infrequent posts.

I haven't been reading many blogs lately either, but in the last couple of days I've tripped over a couple of posts that left me saying to myself, "Wow, why didn't I do that (or at least something like it)?"

Gene has a couple of posts on his site comparing homophobia and misogyny, which seems like a worthy topic to explore in some depth. Why is our culture so willing -- eager even -- to put women and homosexuals down? Why is that the easy joke at the cocktail party to poke fun at the feminine or effeminate?

3T has a recent serious of posts on her site that also left me slack-jawed. She had a four-part post, to which her husband has added a postscript, detailing a difficult time in their relationship. It was full of raw emotion and poetic descriptions of the pain people who love each other can inflict on each other and the forgiveness and hope that seems to only follow for a rare few. Many people would flee that kind of anguish rather than using it as an obstacle to overcome together.

Pretty courageous stuff.

And I'm ashamed that I've spent so much of the last few months trying to hide in the public light of the World Wide Web. Instead of trying to use this space to some purpose, I leave it here untended while I sob quietly into a can of cheap beer over my own failures as a romantic partner and as a parent and whatever else the whine de jour may be.

So when will I write something that will matter to my daughter in 30 years? Well, I certainly never started this blog with the intention of my daughter reading it now or ever and that hasn't changed.. But the truth is I've spent nearly 15 years trying to figure out how to say or write something for my daughter that would help her understand why I had missed so much of her childhood.

How to you explain unconditional love to a young woman, your child, who was responsible for teaching you what it meant in the first place? This she did by the simple miracle of coming into this world and being there to be loved.

And the simple fact is I'm just not there enough to tell her or to show her.

The End Debt Daily