The Other End of Sunset

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Just an interim secret....

Have you quit doing time for me?
Or are you still the same spoiled child?
Hello. I said "hello"!
Is this the only place you thought to go?
Am I the only man you ever had?
Or just the last surviving friend that you know?
-- Elton John, “Harmony”

I'm on a plane. I just finished watching "Next", a movie starring Nicolas Cage.

He's my favorite actor. Christian Slater is a close second. Or maybe Johnny Depp. But anyway, Cage is first.

I wonder what he's like in real life. He plays -- more or less -- the same character in each movie. I wonder if he’s like that in day-to-day life. I'd love to know. My personal favorite Cage movie, I think, is "8mm", a movie where he's a private investigator who gets involved in investigating a snuff film. If you don't know what a “snuff film” is, you are probably living right. Me? I should go to confession.

If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. He changes you
--Joaquin Phoenix, “8mm”

In "Next", Cage plays a man who can see the future. Well, he can see 2 minutes into his own future. Which allows for some odd interactions -- like he can try multiple paths at once, as long as his decision point is less than two minutes ahead. If he dies in one path, he can pull back and try a different one.

There's a cheap trick at the end of the movie, which disappointed me. But the movie was still a fun way to pass part of a flight to Houston.

Yup, Houston. I'm not really going there, I'm just passing through. What kind of an unpleasant trip must I be on when Houston is a way-point on the way? I mean, really. I feel like Dante passing down through the circles of Hell. Extra bonus points for deciding which level owns Houston.

I got the great pleasure of going through airport security on the way here. I find myself losing patience for security theater. Yes, I know, my dear OtherEnders, I never had much patience. But I'm losing what little I had.

Today, I stood in a queue for 20 minutes, with my friend AH, wending my way past 3 unused metal detectors, on the way to the only one that was turned on. No, wait, strike that. The other three were on as well. You just couldn’t go through them. But they went off, annoyingly enough, whenever anyone with metal walked by. Right, you figured it out. We were in a security line – we ALL had metal on. So they went off about every 30 seconds for the whole time we were on line. Yowsers. I thought about seeing if I could unplug them.

I had just spent some time with a client before leaving for the airport. This client makes personal care products. The client was nice enough to give me a present – a plastic zipper bag of shampoo and some other products. I'm not sure they had airports in mind, except that each of the products was 3 ounces or less, and the bag was clear. So very close to what the current Playwright in chief has dictated for “carry-on liquids”.

But the bag isn’t a ziplock bag. And it’s pink. So, not quite what the script called for. Although I'm quite comfortable with the color. Deal with it. Anyway.

I pulled the nearly-conformant bag out of my luggage, and left it on top of my shoes, in the bin, for the semi-trained security woman to check. When my bag appeared on the other side of the reader, my products had been removed from the pink zipper bag and put into a clear ziplock bag to be scanned. And the pink zipper bag was right next to them. So, basically, security gave me a baggie.

But let’s analyze the threat, shall we? OK, we pull the stuff out of the pink bag because an X-ray machine can see better through a clear plastic bag. Let’s leave that for now. But, if so, isn’t the real danger that there’s something bad about the zipper bag? If it can “block” an X-ray machine, shouldn’t it not be allowed on the plane at all? I mean, really, the bag might be bad, instead of shielding something inside it, right?

So, what security value was created by pouring the product bottles into a clear ziplock bag, while allowing me to keep the zipper bag?

I'm sure I could tell some story that would explain this weird behavior. But it would be fiction.

A piece of fiction, much like weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Fiction that costs money and time in airports. But it costs lives in Iraq.

Good riddance, Mr. Rove. May your nights be disturbed by the demons, each and every night, forever.

And back to our normally scheduled material.

Allow me to cast out a hearty thank you to AH, for providing his typical intelligent, sardonic commentary during our queue. Made the time pass far more quickly.

I’ve been pretty sad the last few days. Maybe it’s because some issues have popped up with SL that remind me of things I got wrong with Jeanne.

Doesn’t it stink to find out that YOU are the bad guy? Like, most of us go through our lives convinced that, more or less, we fight with people because THEY don’t understand US. This makes us the poor, innocent victims.

But what if the same fight/issue arises with a different person? Maybe it’s a coincidence? “Wow, all these people I talk to have the same psychosis! Perhaps it’s endemic in the population?”

But Occam’s Razor would suggest that the explanation for the group psychosis is… you. It ain’t them, it’s you. You are the weakest link.

You, like Typhoid Mary, wander around the crowd, sharing your childhood illness with all those around you.

I just want to go to sleep.
Turn out the light!
But you want to carry grudges!
And 9 times out of 10,
I see the storm approaching,
Long before the rain starts falling.
--Elton John, “Tonight”

Like maybe your childhood illness is fear of commitment, fear of the vulnerability, confident only in your trust in yourself. So, every interaction is a great opportunity to get screwed, to get hurt, to get abandoned. Each day, another time for someone to burn you – literally or figuratively.

Why not approach with less defiance,
The man who’d love to see you smile?
--Elton John, op cit

So, given all that, why not just leave first? Always be ready to bail – after all, you can’t count on them anyway? When you feel the heat, you have to be ready to walk, right?

But the problem is them.

It ain’t me, babe.
No, no, no,
It ain’t me.
--Bob Dylan, "It ain't me"

When JR was sick, we had some great conversations. I have told you about dozens of them. Sorry I'm repetitive.

One time, we were changing her dressing in her bed, and she asked me “I was the love of your life, wasn’t I?”

Pop quiz – what’s the right answer? The truth? No. The truth is a virus.

The right answer is “yes”.

And, for me, the truth was yes. But I'm a tool. I wasn’t sure what “yes” meant. I didn’t want to spend my life alone after JR left. I didn’t want to replace JR. But I didn’t want to be alone.

If I said “yes”, did that mean I was committing to a monastic life?

So, I said something like “yes”, but not QUITE yes.

Jeanne didn’t want me to be alone after she died. She wanted me to love her with all my heart.

I did.

But I couldn’t say “yes”, even though I did love her, truly with all my heart, because…

Well, you can’t give up your ability to walk, right? Even when the person you are talking to will never “walk” anywhere again.

So I said… kind of.

I'm sorry, Jeanne Michele. I never made you feel safe. I didn’t mean to make you feel unsafe. But I did. Truly intentions don’t matter.

I'm sorry.

And it all comes round again.

Now, SL says “I feel insecure all the time”. And in the echo of the silence, I can hear Jeanne. I must be reacting the same way again. Somewhere, JR is annoyed with me, for not learning it with her.

She hated it when people missed a lesson.

I obviously missed a lesson. Or two. And I’ve used up another of my chances. My lives, if you will allow me -- a dog person – to use a cat analogy. What happens when all nine are gone?

Is it like Heroes, with “do overs”?

Or maybe you just keep trying, in some Buddhist-esque version of Groundhog Day, until you get it right? Do the bums under the bridge ever actually see Godot?

We are descending into the darkness of Alabama. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows. And the darkness hides all sins.

Here’s to safety. And security theater. And to a different meaning of the other end of sunset….


  • 106 Degrees in AL? Is that the Inferno you speak of? Houston seems like paradise now huh? You meant the fifth crcle while you were in travel... In the swamp-like water of the river Styx, the wrathful fight each other on the surface, and the sullen or slothful lie gurgling beneath the water. Phlegyas reluctantly transports Dante and Virgil across the Styx in his skiff.

    Your soulmate has a beautiful spirit.I'm sure AH is a great traveling companion and a comforting presence.

    Remember that spirals can also be ascended... they are not inherently descending.


    By Blogger MRB1959, at 10:10 PM  

  • I don’t know what lessons you are supposed to learn, but I do know enough about human behavior, enough to speculate. As a woman, I have been in a relationship (or two) where I felt a constant unnerving insecurity. I would find myself attracted to a guy who did a marvelous job triggering this insecurity, but eventually I realized his behavior was only marginally related to my insecurity. I learned to stop projecting my insecurities and at the same time decided to decide what did and didn’t work for me, and not waste my time trying to change someone else; which is a colossal waste of one’s time.

    For example, I’d find myself with someone who really liked me, but wasn’t really in love with me, and perhaps (even while still in the relationship) had his radar going (probably a classic scenario, if you think about it), of course I’d sense this, and the triggers would start going off, and the dance started...invariably ending in a split. And even though I generally initiated the split, I still felt like the jilted one. I took a really hard long look at where my insecurity was coming from, and started owning it, and, this is the really important part, I stopped taking it a personal affront. As I become more familiar with this altered perspective, I could comfortably see that someone else’s behavior was anything but personal [to me]. Years later, I read the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and there you have it, agreement number 2:

    "Don't Take Anything Personally
    Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." -- Don Miguel Ruiz

    Whatever behaviors that seem to need lessoning (or lessening?) are perhaps serving a purpose, even if selfishly motivated.

    But then again, what do I know...sometimes absolutely nothing.

    By the way, I love the Toltec Teachings; The Four Agreements. At first glance they seem overly simplistic, and of course these basic tenets are repeated in other teachings, Taoism, etc. Words of wisdom are heard when the learner is ready to learn, and not a second sooner (smile).

    By Blogger Marilena (aka "Lena"), at 8:22 PM  

  • We met a while back :-)

    I would like to introduce you to a song by my all-time favorite musician Barry Manilow:

    My friends all use the past tense when they speak of you
    And so to make them comfortable I use it too
    They'd soon have me committed if they only knew
    What I believe with all my heart is true

    I know you're there
    Although it's nothing I can prove
    I know you're there
    By just the way the shadows move
    And though I said goodbye and finally let you go
    I know you're there
    Although I don't know how I know

    I know you see
    The crazy things I sometimes do
    They make you laugh
    So I still do them just for you
    And when I'm entertaining all the friends I love
    I know you see
    And that you're laughing from above
    -- Barry Manilow

    I think the song lyrics speak for themselves...I hope they help you get by each day a little better :-)

    p.s. You ran out of cards so I didn't actually get your e-mail address, but you have mine so let me know if you want a listen of the song.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:47 PM  

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