Friday, July 20, 2007

Do plastic ducks dream of polythene ponds?

There's a flock of things happening over the next few days so I need to blog now, and in five days once everything has transpired then there'll be a bunch of interesting stuff to say. Not to say this entry here won't be of some interest, but I mean the next one will cover a couple events worth reading about which haven't happened yet. To wit:

• Saturday the 21st, I'm going to Portland for a barbecue. I can't say at this moment whether I'm staying at that house, but the tentative plan is such. If I find the accomidations unbearable, I'll sleep over at TSC Jeff's house. Or come home, since the dipstick in charge of scheduling decided not to give me Sunday off... despite two of my coworkers offering to cover Sunday for me. Love you, Dan. Why do I say "unbearable"? Not just because the host is flakier'n pie crust, or even because her roomie is the frightening grandmother no one lets small children near. It's because she warned us ahead of time she has five cats that spray. Last year I slept on a wood floor where generations of pets lived, and it kind of reminded me of my wife's grandmother's house. This place? Will make last year's floor smell tame.

• Tuesday the 24th, I'm going to Ellensburg to hook up with a friend. No, not that friend (see next paragraph). 40 miles past that town is a rurality that a girl I met in 1986 grew up in, Bertie. Flashback to my last year at camp: I was really interested in this girl by the name of Robin The Vulture, who was Bertie's best friend from back home. Bertie was really interested in Todd, who was my bunkmate. Todd was interested in fishing more than Bertie. Robin was interested in, uh, I never could figure that out, but it wasn't me. By the end of the week, Todd&Robin [yes, one word] had become good friends... leaving Bertie and I out in the cold. Bertie and I wound up standing on the bridge hashing out how things had gone down to our dismay, and sort of bonded. (Man, we should have done that earlier in the week. Or years earlier! Her best camp friend, Jenni, is now my sister-in-law, and I admit I didn't get to know her over all those years either. Anyhow.) Bertie came to visit me for a couple days in 1989 before she moved to Maryland to become a nanny. Bertie came to visit me and vice versa in 1992 when she was home on vacation. I haven't seen her in fifteen years, and she's one of those people who will write you out of the blue and hint about what's happening, creating more questions than answers, then wait a few more months before replying to your "what? tell me more!" response and not answer the questions while creating new questions. Cutting to the chase, she's sold the house in Maryland and decided she'd rather move back home than march to the beat of a rhythmless drum. (That's an area of "what? tell me more!" right there. Two weeks before she told me she was back in Washington, she'd written me from Maryland saying she was going either to California or Alaska.) So we're finally going to get some quality time to talk in person. Now, for those keeping score at home: No, there's no emotional baggage and the only questions are about what's happened in her life, that's the difference. Of course, another difference is that she and I have actually been places that I wanted to go with that other person [see the eye of two entries ago], but that's a nonissue. Especially with her sister driving her over and her daughter in tow. I won't be reporting here the details of the conversation, like you have any desire to know anyway, but you'll get some broad overview of how it was seeing an old soulmate after a decade and a half. And this time we both know where not to park, heh heh!

So the only thing I have to tell here that's in the present tense is about the closing of the book and putting it on the shelf. When I first got back into contact with Karen, my main goal was to get some questions about our mutual past answered. That happened. The next goal was to figure out who this person is now, which would resolve some conceptions and misconceptions I had about her twenty-some years earlier. I did more listening than speaking, I played along and had fun, I let myself learn rather than presume. A voice in my head added one more attainable thing to the list, which was to make contact with her family -- to meet her son and daughter, to see her brothers, to greet her parents. That all happened the middle of last month, and I even got to meet her brothers' children and spouses as well. [This isn't odd. I was familiar with her parents since they were the camp managers and cook staff when I was a camper, and I'd met her two brothers and a sister-in-law once back then as well.] So after fulfilling that goal, I put my head on cruise control for awhile so I could determine what comes next. I now knew who she is, and pieced together where I was incorrect in my presumtions long ago. And now I was ready to put the story to bed. A couple weeks ago she was going to go to her cabin in Leavenworth for a week, and implied she'd write if she could find an Internet connection, which didn't happen. This gave me some time to ponder uninterrupted. On Monday of this week I got up and went to the computer, with a little dread that maybe there'd be an email from her waiting that would waylay the plan I woke with. Nope, empty box, procede with the plan. I opened up my mail account, deleted her address from the address book and added it to the Blocked Senders list so I would not get any new mail from her. I purged my Sent Items box, then emptied the Trash. We don't have each other's home addresses, and while I have her cell phone number and she has my work number (swapped for that last meeting) I don't figure either of us will make any effort to call. [Also, I was never given the voicemail code for my phone, and messages are stored on the phone itself. When it says I have messages, I unplug it to clear that marker since I can't get at them.] After I confirmed the permanent deletion of my email, I sat back for a few seconds and evaluated how I felt at that moment. Good. Not great, not with regret, just good, like I'd finally got closure on my closure. To mineself be true. I feel good about this because there was no explanation, no negotiation, no malice. Just... letting go. It's unlike me to not try to say goodbye or get a word in edgewise, and others may not agree with my tactic -- but I don't agree with others' tactics of being mean or being cold or (this time) writing a monologue to present to them. Since I can't be entirely without explanation, I'm writing about it here on the off-chance she ever reads my blog. (She's seen her name here through Google, but she didn't say she'd clicked on the entry.) Now you know, Karen. So you can relax now, Jamie Dawn, there's nothing more to be concerned about from that acquaintance. If she ever did find a way to get through to me and was wondering what happened, I think it's summed up pretty well by the 1970's singer Lobo:
I love you too much to ever start liking you, so let's just let the story kinda end;
I love you too much to ever start liking you, so don't expect for me to be your friend.

And now, a comic I created with -- and it's one of the tamer ones. My adventures of 'Target Greeter Girl' don't qualify as family fare. Click on it to make it large enough to read.
The Prince of Rinse

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