Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Despair, that constant but not always visible, companion has driven me back to this keyboard. Back again to stay at least for a little while. In the hopeful, but ultimately fruitless attempt to alleviate that despair by putting it on 'paper.'  If  I had my way this wouldn't be true, but I am tethered to my despair like an inmate of old was tethered to his ball and chain. This despair feels as heavy as that ball and chain, and sadly just as difficult to shed.  Moonlight filters through the window as I lie (or is it lay) here stretching out into this despair that feels like a blanket. It provides some modicum of warmth, but it also, after a while, becomes oppressive.

It wasn't supposed to be like this you know. I had, in my foolishness, thought I had sloughed off this despair like a snake shedding its skin. I had put this despair in my rear view mirror as I motored my way down another one of life's lost highways.  A firm, well-reasoned, sober (for a change) decision had been made by the one person in my life that counts (i.e. me), and that decision was to leave 'despair town' for good. Little did I know that just wasn't going to happen. It seems that despair town isn't one set location, a place that you could place on a map with a big red "X" and a sign on the outskirts of the town warning people to 'be ware' and 'avoid at all costs.'

No it would appear, much to my chagrin, that much like Eeyore's dark cloud, despair town follows me around. Despair town is whatever place I am flopping at any given time. Be it my present location, Paris, France, or Brazil. It moves with me like a second skin that I struggle to breathe through.  Perhaps if I just were to sneak out the back door, I could give despair the slip. Even if just for a little while. It would be a pleasant time I am convinced to be despair-less for a while. A bit like breaking out of jail, you know you're going to get caught and shoved back into that cage the world has built for you, but for now you are going to revel in the precious few moments of freedom you have left before they close the lid back down on your coffin.

And you want that freedom to last as long as possible, so you try to elongate the time in which you are free. As if you can make three hours of freedom equal six hours of despair. Making time longer is quite a trick, and one that I've been unable to pull off with any degree of success.  I've often wondered if you can, even if for a mere few seconds make time slow down (if not stop). Despair can almost accomplish that masterful feat. Wait until something truly awful happens to you, and then you will realize that time has, if not stopped, it has at least slowed down, as you live a lifetime of despair in less than 60 seconds.

Of course all this isn't some sort of 'cry for help.' Truth be told I would not accept any help even if it was offered, which I doubt it will be. No, the exit to despair town, if such a wonderful thing does exist has to be discovered on your own. If you have help finding the exit of despair town, you might soon realize the fatal mistake you've made. If you need help getting out, then I suspect it will be all the more easier to find your way back in once that help is withdrawn. And, make no mistake, that help, no matter how well intentioned, will eventually be withdrawn. That is why you have to, no matter how difficult it may be, refuse any proffered help. It is just a temporary escape, and a bit like fool's gold. Sure it is shiny, and feels real, but at the end of the day (and there will be an end of the day make no mistake) it is a broken reed. A trick to get you to think that maybe everything isn't so bad after all.

And maybe everything isn't so bad after all, but you have to be the one to design, implement, and live with the system that gets you out of despair town. It is your town, and you're the mayor, and only you can un-elect yourself. No one else in any town, place, or time can do this for you. And your mayor-ship is the sweet revenge of life getting back at you for all the bad things you've done to both others and yourself. You know what they are even if you don't want to admit them, and you don't have to have them emblazoned upon some type of school jacket that you have to wear around the town square of despair town to show off to the other residents. No those sins, are your sins to own, and to attempt, in some small way, to fix, to make good upon so that maybe you can take the bridge out of despair town.  And it is incumbent upon you to find that bridge, once in despair town you can't just sit there like a princess in a stone tower waiting for your knight errant to come and take you away from all of this. In fact, you have to wander despair town's streets, avenues, and alleys searching for that bridge out of this shit hole. As you wander those dark (they are always dark, and it is usually raining as well) streets searching those high walls, you have to begin to wonder why wouldn't they put a gate in these walls? Well despair town didn't and whether you care for their city planning or not, you are stuck here until you find the bridge out of town.

 If you manage to find that bridge you should arm yourself with a nice container of gas, a book (just to be on the safe side, how many arson attempts have failed for want of a good match) of matches, and a handy rag. For as you walk that bridge out of despair town, you should leave behind you a trail of gasoline, which, upon reaching the far shore, you light with your match and rag combination. Watching it burn, from a safe distance of course, is perhaps the happiest you will ever be. Enjoy while it lasts because it is just possible the next town down the road could be, even though it is hard to believe, worse than despair town.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sang Froid

This is for all of those long lost, sorely missed, and almost forgotten Valentines of mine.

It is hard to figure why I am sans Valentine this year, after all I am still the witty, urbane, handsome fellow that I have been for the last several Valentine Days.  Nevertheless here I am not quite sad but still alone for the day designed by Hallmark for lovers everywhere. Good thing that I have an imagination. It allows me to conjure up all sorts of women that are chomping at the proverbial bit for the honour of being my valentine. Alas, the imagination only gets one so far in this world, and eventually the siren song of internet porn soon becomes too much to resist.

To all of those previous Valentine's of mine I would like to say two things. One is thank you and the other is I am sorry. The reason for both of those statements need not be explained. If you were (un)lucky enough to be a Valentine of mine, you will know the reason behind both of those statements without me giving away too much information.

Therefore this post is dedicated to those previous people who, for whatever reason, decided that being my Valentine was a good idea. Perhaps it was an act of desperation rather than love, but at the time (at least) they had be fairly convinced it was love. To the one that decided that this day above all others was the day to throw me out of her apartment whilst I was in the middle of a murder trial. To the one that thought throwing a red Velvet cake at me was the solution to our problems (it wasn't). To the one that thinks this day is for women only to get gifts, which might explain why no flowers or candy have been delivered to my house or workplace. To the one that I have known the longest and understand the least that figured not speaking to me for over two years was a good idea (and to be honest it probably was). In fact, it was such a good idea that subsequent Valentines have followed her example. 

Anyone who has had the misfortune to actually know me (well) will tell you that I am not good at holidays either the real ones or the ones created by Hallmark to peddle a few million cards. I belong to the school of thought that setting aside one day to act the way that you should be acting the other 364 (or5) is just plain silly. After all, if you are so very much 'in love' with a person they should be able to tell, unless they are particularly dense, without you having to go all sappy for/over them one day a year. But therein lies the rub, no one can be that sappy all the time, if they are you should probably have them evaluated by a mental health expert. To attempt to condense this sappiness into one 24 hour period is quite simply madness. Love, or sappiness in this story in a condensed form can be quite deadly. It is best portioned out over a period of time, that is why (in theory) relationships last, and is why one night stands generally don't. 

Either way you slice it today is a made up holiday, a day that we are obligated to treat the special one (if it is only one) in our life the way we should really treat them the rest of the year. However, I guess that much chocolate or candy might lead to tooth decay, or other problems that might actually harm that special one of our choice. I prefer to pick my own, obscure day to celebrate. Like the random Wednesday night that I celebrated (mostly alone) last night, or another day 3 days hence that has special meaning to me and one other person (and no I am not talking about Michael Jordan).  Those are the true holidays the ones that mean something, sometimes only to you, that aren't forced upon us by the Hallmark and candy mafia. 

Finally to the future Valentines, if any still exist, read this post with a grain of salt (or two), parts of it were certainly written 'tongue in cheek' as they (whomever they are) say. However, be aware that my nascent romanticism does not bloom on one certain day a year, like those pretty red roses you have on your desk, but it also does not (usually) die and wither away that quickly either.  Happy Vday.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

i gar

"We need to talk about yesterday" she said as she looked at me with those cornflower blue eyes whose gaze usually made me melt, and forget any sort of transgressions she may have committed. "Sure" I replied, using that dangerous word that I, despite my best efforts, have been unable to eradicate from my vocabulary.  That set those blue eyes glittering, and I knew that there was a storm front about to pass through what had been a relatively sunny day.  Truth be told, I replied with that one word because yesterday to me was already a 'closed file'. Something that had been marked closed by the librarian of my mind, and filed away in the newly created compartment of my overly compartmentalized mind.

Now, as I scrambled to relocate, open, and scan that file I realized that even if I managed to accomplish that nearly impossible feat in the few seconds allowed to me, that the scant few lines in the file would not provide me a single clue as to why we 'needed to talk'.  Those lines, if I were able to find them, would have merely recorded another day, at least to me. A day of simply co-existing, nothing major had happened, after all what sort of life changing events happen on a Monday?  Of course life changing to me and life changing to her are probably radically different things, and I really suppose I should start paying more attention to her, to life, and to change. That is a great resolution/idea, and one that firmly swore to implement as soon as possible. The problem was that I didn't have that time. This 'we need to talk' moment was happening now, and I seriously doubted that any attempt to reschedule for a time more convenient for me would be looked upon favourably. 

In fact, I suddenly realized that whilst I had been thinking the above mentioned thoughts, she had been talking away without noticing my complete lack of attention. Not a good sign, it is never good to attempt to reconstruct the parts of a woman's soliloquy that you've missed while you were wool gathering. Nodding and smiling sometimes works, but that can be particularly dangerous as you might find yourself agreeing to meeting her parents, or going to the opera on some random Thursday night (the poker night of you and your pals).  Perhaps it would be best to try an non-committal grunt, and hope that the next few sentences she speaks gives you a clue as to the content of the bit that you missed. Also a tricky strategy that women are fairly quick to realize, they sort out quite easily that your 'grunts' mean that you haven't been listening, and the next words you hear might be the prelude to what we have labelled a 'storm off.'  Those are not fun at all, and going after a woman that is storming off is a bit like running the bulls at Pamplona.  The word suicidal springs to mind.

Then came the pause, the moment when she is done with her speech, and it is now my turn to reply. That is what our conversations had developed into. One person talked, and the other person listened, then vice versa. It was lovely, and it was one of the things that attracted me to her the most (no it wasn't the deep auburn of her shoulder length hair, it was her conversation).  But therein lies the rub, our conversations were predicated one the fact that whilst one of us was talking the other one was actually listening. Not sitting there in some blind panic, trying to remember what he/she had done wrong yesterday that needed to be 'talked about' some scant twenty-four hours later.  Well they say that honesty is the best policy a theory that I've never really subscribed to, but one never knows if it will work till one tries. After all it might work, and 'they' (whomever they are) might actually be right for once.

 Therefore, I put on my best sheepish grin, and calmly said 'I'm sorry love, but I was too busy trying to remember what you could have been referring to about yesterday, that I missed what you just said.  Would you mind repeating it just to catch me up to speed?"  Several emotions clearly crossed her face, disbelief, shock, anger, and all the other usual suspects, but when she opened her mouth to reply all I heard was this beep! beep! beep!. Now it was my turn to be puzzled, had she suddenly turned into the bloody Road Runner from Loony Tunes? Why was she just beeping at me like some madwoman that has just escaped from Bedlam?  That was when the hammer of consciousness came down and shattered this dream like a large rock being dropped onto the still surface of a very calm lake.