Friday, November 29, 2013

You, of the Third part

To continue my own personal (late) holiday tradition.

Today, I have recently decided is going to be a 'you' free day. I know it is a little late to be deciding it, but better late than never. I have made this decision after some calm reflection, some deep thought, and the most important way I know to make a decision, i.e. I flipped a fucking coin.  Therefore, today the day after the holiday that I like to ruin for the hell of it, is going to be sans you. Make no mistake, it is not a easy decision, nor is it taken as lightly as the preceding sentence would imply.  A lot of soul searching, and great deal of thought, and a sustained effort has gone into making this simplest of decisions. The decision to have nothing to do with you today. 

The decision is, of course, made more difficult by the fact that it has been ages upon ages since I have had a 'you free' day. In this information/technology age in which we live, we have spent the last years/months/days in almost constant contact. There are very few places that either of us could run to (if we so chose) that would put us out of the reach of the other.  That, up until today, has be equal parts fantastic and stifling. I am sure that each of us would have, at some point in this time period, wished for a 'free' day. I am making the unilateral decision that today will be that day. The irony of it will be that you won't really know I've made this decision until the embargo is lifted. After all, it is a 'you' free day. I can't tell you on the front end it is happening or the ensuing argument/discussion would probably take most of the day. That would just be unacceptable.

It will be a tough thing to do, to make today a 'you free' day, after all, in the time we be intertwined in each others lives, I have woken up next to you, woken up wondering where you were, woken up with other people, and have figured you have woken up with others as well. Part of the 'us' was the fact that 'us' wasn't ever really just an 'us.' Other people have a tendency to get 'in the way' as it were, and both of 'us' know this. And therein lies what is mostly the rub about the entire situation. The fact that there isn't an 'us', isn't going to be an 'us' and probably wasn't an 'us' for longer than 2 hours over the entire course of 'us' knowing each other.

We were, and we remain 'seas too far to reach' for each other. A bridge too far, one step out of each others comfort zones, and that is never, ever going to change. No matter how hard either or both of us try. I know I haven't been trying that hard to change it, and when I am speaking to you again, I will ask you how hard you've been trying, though I already know the answer.  It remains an article of faith that I don't ask questions that I don't already know the answer to, and that upsets you more than you like to think I realize. 

Your phone will ring, you will receive text messages, the mail will still be delivered to your door, and unknown numbers of people will interact with you personally today, just not me. I, like most people today, have a phone addiction, but you will not be feeding it today. I thought at first just to react to any communication that I received from you, but then I realized that would be cheating, and have determined to make you person non grata for today. I am not really sure you will notice overmuch, and when/if you do, I am also not sure what your reaction will be, there is another problem that we have. After all of our time together those two things (amongst many others) should be settled or predictable. You should have noticed, at least by now, that you haven't heard from me, and I should with all the previous knowledge I posses of your moods (and their swings) know how you are going to react to me not answering any communication I receive from you.

Truth be told, you might be euphoria about it for all I know, or it may make you as melancholy as a Dane, or you might just not give two shits because it's Black Friday, and you have some other person in a headlock trying to get the watch that you both really want. I, at least for today, should not be counted among the people that care what you think or feel.  Life is a cruel, cruel mistress, and she teaches us many lessons along the way, but on occasion she needs help. She needs us to provide ourselves with challenges that we might no be able to meet. Challenges that even if we fail at doing, we gather some modicum of knowledge about ourselves.

Those lessons begin to form our experiences, and those experiences begin to shape our world view. Our world view is something that evolves over time, and with all the lessons, failures, mistakes, and even the (rare) raging successes it is something that is ours alone. My worldview, as warped or out of date as it probably is, is mine, and while 'you' form a part of it overall, I can not, for the sake of that worldview, allow you to influence it today. I hope, but realize you won't, understand, and if by placing myself outside of 'us' even if only for a day, you become aggrieved  (or happy) enough to extend the 'you free' day(s) I am experiencing, I would be quite sad for a bit. But, eventually I would 'get over it' as the saying goes. Today, at least in theory, I take 'me' back. I suspect once I get a good solid grasp on 'me' I will drop it like a hot rock, and want to text, call, or see you immediately, it is going to be a test of my 'character' to see whether or not I will succeed. Here's hoping. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Springs of My Soul

"You have broken the springs of my soul."

Klemens von Metternich to his lover the Duchess of Sagan. Autumn of 1814.

By all the accounts I have read, which granted is not a great many, our lover boy von Metternich was madly, passionately, unabashedly in love with the Duchess of Sagan. Those same accounts also describe the love as being returned (at least for a while), and describe the Duchess as quite a beauty. Good for him, he was a bit older than the Duchess, and it is also nice to see the older generation(s) rekindling their youth in the most simple of ways.

For the people who do not have the obscure, classical education that I am currently paying off at about 1000 quid a month, our lover boy von Metternich was at the time the Austrian Foreign Minister. He was quite the dandy/looker himself, and was a real charmer. At home in the stuffy, rule laden drawing rooms of 19th century Vienna, he was able to have several women swoon over him at once, but it appears that the Duchess was his true love. Or at least he thought so at the time, and that time is critical to the story. At the time, Metternich wrote those impossibly sad lines, he was quite the busy bee trying to get Austria as much as he could during the Congress of Vienna. A Congress that, eventually, secured peace in Europe for nearly a century. A Congress so historically significant that Henry Kissinger wrote a book about it. A Congress that for being all of that, was never officially opened.

All in all, a pretty fucking big deal, and since Austria fought about as well as a one armed, one eyed, drunken, chicken in the wars preceding the Congress, it was incumbent upon Metternich to try to salvage from the negotiation table what his white coated pansy of an army could not achieve on the battle field. It would be 'six weeks of hell', and from my understanding of the concept of 'hell' it is not a place I would want to spend six seconds, and certainly not six weeks. During those six weeks of fun, delegates from almost 200 countries, duchies, free cities, and even the Pope descended on Vienna to carve up the spoils of the recent defeat of that freedom loving fellow, Napoleon.  Like starving men around the last of the kidney pies, these worthies were set to take everything they could grab, and the devil take the hindmost.

It is this tense, pretty fucking important, setting that we find our soulful lover Metternich, and his Duchess. From their letters, and from their actions they would appear to be a perfect couple, each not bad to look at, both of them witty, urbane, intelligent in their own way, and both as rich as Croesus. A 19th century power couple. As with most power couples, or maybe with just most couples in general, things could just not last. The Duchess was not pleased by her role of 'unofficial mistress' (I wonder if there is an official mistress role?), and since Metternich was married, and not going to divorce anytime soon (or ever) she got a bit miffed, and a miffed Duchess is not someone that you want mucking about with your feelings, as our boy Metternich was about to find out to his cost.

And that cost was the "springs of his soul" she left him high and dry at a time when he either needed her the most or at the very least needed not to have his heart broken into a million pieces. I would wager that negotiating with a fellow by the name of Talleyrand was a difficult thing to do in the best of times, try doing it with the springs of your soul broken. Not going to be a fun time.  The fact that he was able to keep it together to achieve what he did speaks volumes about the steel in the springs of Metternich's soul.  Broken springs or not, he got a fairly good deal at the Congress, and I applaud him for it.

That is all the set up for the real reason of this post, because much like our boy Metternich someone chose a very important time in my life to 'break the springs of my soul.' Much like the Duchess of Sagan this person knew what they were doing, and knew that the timing of it just made things that much worse. Unlike Metternich, the steel in the springs of my soul are not quite as hardened, and if I were a time traveler (a la Dr. Who) I would go back, and make a much different decision than I did at the time. But time only travels by passing in my world, and going back is not possible, at least as far as this incarnation of me knows. Looking back in time is about the best us mortals not in possession of a Tardis can do, and that just isn't quite the same.

It is in that 'looking back' in time that a queer sort of madness lies. The madness of the (now) knowing better, the (now) knowing the 'right' thing to do or say, and the madness of watching it in my memory unfold like a bad play in a cheap theatre, where there are no 'good' seats. Rewinding those events and playing them forward and backwards over and over again in slow motion to see the exact moment when it all went horribly wrong, and the wall between us was built entirely too high for us to ever climb again. Of course, all this 20/20 hindsight does not repair the broken springs of my soul, those remain broken. Unlike Metternich, who I am fairly certain effected the proper repairs to his soul, I seem to lack the ability to accomplish that feat. Perhaps, almost certainly, he was made of sterner stuff, or perhaps, I just don't care to try. Until that Tardis comes into my (current) life.Time is only going to pass at the normal speed, and only in one direction.

That direction is, in theory, forward or at least as close to forward as I can manage. Time for me cannot go backwards, it might be possible to make it stand still, but only ever so briefly, and it might be able to go sideways with the right amount of effort, but effort is something that I find myself in short supply of, and therefore time will march on in a forward direction. Forward isn't always progress, but forward we shall go into an unknown, and unknowable future, fraught with peril or perhaps just as boring as today has turned out to be, that is yet to be decided. Though I guess at this 'time' I should apologize to the shade of Metternich for taking his ever so sad words, and using them for my own purposes. It was done out of a odd sort of admiration, and the fact it was poorly done should not tarnish the sadness of those heartfelt words penned ever so long ago. Mea culpa. 



Monday, November 11, 2013

Sept Ans

Seven years ago today, I committed the largest 'crime' in my life. Technically that isn't exactly true, but what I did was not illegal at the time, nor it is illegal today. Also, my guilt as it is probably not as a principal but as a collaborator or an accomplice.  It would be more accurate to say that seven years ago, I helped convince someone else to make the worst decision of their otherwise boring life.  Although they might, if they were still talking to me, dispute my calling their life boring.

It was, boring life or not, a huge mistake that I convinced this person to make, I would dare say that it was at the time, and remains to this day the biggest mistake they ever made, or ever wanted to make. Mistakes are sort of like fish sometimes they get bigger in the retelling of their making. This mistake was big enough the first time around to satisfy even the most experienced of tall tale tellers. It was a mistake that was a long time coming, which in theory I suppose, makes it worse. After all, a mistake made off the cuff, or in a fit of passion is a mistake that can, in many ways, be forgiven quickly enough. Sadly, this mistake was made after a lengthy period of what could be considered calm reflection. It was a mistake that took some convincing in order to be made. It was not a 'let's just hop the next plane to Vegas, and spend the rent money on hookers and blow' type of mistake.  That type of mistake, if you are lucky and your heart doesn't explode, is a fairly simple mistake that from which a complete recovery can be made.

The fact that this mistake was made is a damning indictment on me as a person. I never claimed to be a particularly good human being, and I point to this mistake as being proof of that claim.  Most people, most 'good' people make, or at least attempt to make, some sort of apology for their mistake. Me, I decide to compound my mistake (although I did wait a couple of years) by doing all sorts of other bad things to the poor fool I had talked into the mistake in the first place. That is probably the reason that they are no longer speaking to me, for the second time in their life. They have placed me, quite rightly I would say, under a communication ban. I am person non Grata in their world, and I can't says that I blame them.

This was supposed to be an attempt at a 'mea culpa', but it seems I am no good at those either. I tried, several times, to apology for my sins, and I had hopes that it was accepted. I even had some physical proof that things were if not good, at least decent enough for us to be in the same room at the same time. Alas and alack, it was not destined to last, like most of my 'successes' this one proved all too fleeting, and I am left, once again, bemoaning the fact that I am, to intents and purposes, both an idiot and a bad person.  Both of these things I already knew, partially due to the fact that there is no shortage of people in my life that are quite willing to tell me how big of an idiot I am, and exactly how bad of a person I have become.

The idea that 'you are you own worst critic' is not something that needs to apply to me. No, I have several critics that are quite willing to take the wrecking ball of their wit to the shaky house of my confidence with hardly any prompting at all.  Watching yourself being taken apart, brick by brick, it not an uplifting experience, nor is it for the faint of heart.  However, all the wrecking balls, and all the dismantling that has been aimed in my direction about this particular mistake are miles and miles short of the destruction that I deserve, and that I visit upon myself. It was quite simply (I know like I put anything simply) wrong of me to do. It was akin to telling a Jewish refugee that 'sure you can crash at my house', and then finding the nearest Nazi and informing him of the Jew you have on the sofa. Certainly, a death camp was not the result, but physical death is not always the worst thing that can happen to a person.

Seven years does seem a long time to be holding on to a regret like a drowning man holding on to the only plank in sight on an otherwise empty ocean, but in the grand scheme of things it is merely a blip in the time frame of the world. The world barely registers seven years as time enough to accomplish anything, but me and this person are not the world (well maybe writ small), and seven years is a significant amount of time in the context of the time we are allocated on this world.  In many ways it is the most important, for good or bad, event in both of our lives.  Which is sad on many levels, that I in any shape, form or fashion, am a part of the most important (or even the top three most important) events in someone's life other than my own, is quite terrifying.

Perhaps if I had felt more of that terror seven years ago today whilst standing in front of most of my friends, helping this poor sod make the biggest mistake of their life, I would not be typing this 'post of regret' today. Perhaps that terror, coupled with a thing that I am rumored not to possess i.e. common sense, would have lead me to making a different choice. A choice that by this time seven years ago was almost impossible to make, and would have taken an amount of bravery that we are taking an entire day to celebrate in others, which I clearly do not possess. Fortune is supposed to favour the brave, and I do not bemoan my lack of 'fortune' since I am far, far from being that type of brave. I have written, thought, said, and actually felt many things since that fateful day seven years ago, and it would appear that I have many more things to learn, and feel (in spite of my best efforts not to), but one thing that I can say with absolute clarity.  Je suis desole.