The Other End of Sunset

Friday, February 16, 2007

Is it rude to snore onto someone else?

I thank the Lord
for the people I have found.
--Elton John

HJP sent me an email about my last post. Well, he sent me two, including one that pointed out I got the Eagles lyric wrong – I fixed it, he was right, how embarrassing is that!!! But it’s the other email that was more interesting. He was slightly ticked off about my safety discussion. He asked me why he should feel sorry for me, since I have shown – he asserts – that I can pull myself out of messes, with a great deal of skill. And he said that my friends have been there for me, when I have let them.

He should know. He’s helped me lots of times. And sometimes I have not asked for the help. And sometimes I have not accepted the help. Seems like something I should work on, rather than write about, and feel grateful for, rather than lament.

Would be nice to find areas where I don’t have work to do, eh? But that would be boring – development is the game, mes amis. I really like to get better – which is good, since I have so many areas on which to improve! So if I didn’t have work to do on myself, what would I do? Break things, so I could fix them, most likely. Not a smart strategy. Not boring, either, but definitely not smart. Glad for areas of improvement.

Listen to me now.
You know I'd rather be alone
Than be without you.
--Stevie Nicks

Usually I quote lyrics that are related to the story somehow. I use them as transitions, or to highlight a thought that flickers across my brain, like lightning flowing across the top of a cloud you see from a plane. I'm told that some of the quotes are …esoteric. I don’t really think so – there is lots of weird music out there, and I think I'm fairly normal on the music distribution.

But I do believe that sometimes the reason for the quote is not clear.

Such as this one.

What does Stevie Nicks have to do with anything? Is it a connection back to the “people I have known” Elton John lyric? Am I about to write about loss? Maybe a segue to JR?

Nope, all wrong.

Her song just played in my head. And I was reflecting on an unrelated thought. I TOTALLY do not understand that lyric. JR explained it to me. I didn’t get the explanation. My best friend explained it to me. The same way, although they didn’t know about each other’s explanation. I still didn’t get it. SL explained it to me. I guess the third time is the charm, because I am starting to understand.

To me, it sounds horrible – it says “I would rather never have met you”. What an awful thing to say. I can’t imagine saying that to any of the women in my life. Even if I knew that JR was going to be sick, and die, I would still choose to enter that relationship, and to stick with it during the tough period. You could not pay me enough to lose that, or the Lovely Italian, or SL. Same with my best friend, or hjp, or dozens of other folks. Nope, not interested in a trade. Even for the yucky times.

I mean, really, what an awful thing that is to say to someone. When saying it, the speaker says his life was damaged by the other’s presence; not improved in any way, just lessened. Wow. Horrific.

But I might be misunderstanding. All three people who tried to explain it to me said that I am wrong – it’s not negative energy directed outward, it’s about wanting to avoid pain.

The assertion is that the speaker means something totally different – I would rather have been alone all my life, even though I would have been lonely, than feel the pain of your loss. That is how much you mean to me, and how large a void would be left in my life by your exit.

I think that’s about what they said.

Although similar, this is a completely different quote. It is related – a kissing cousin as we would say in Arkansas – but feel different to me. Less hateful, more wistful. Still sad.

Do you wonder why I couldn’t get the quote? Is it gender linked – all three people who explained it to me are women, I'm not. Is there something missing in my interpretative functions? Or perhaps it is that I hate thinking about the end of things – although I do, despite that hate – but I truly don’t want to think too clearly about endings. Endings stink.

But did I get the explanation of the quote right this time through? Feel free to opine, my OtherEnders. I can’t wait to hear your perspective…

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
--Nine Inch Nails

A brief shout-out to argvee, in a hospital bed in New York.

And back to our regularly scheduled content.

About this time a year ago, JR was diagnosed. Well, by now, she was deciding about treatment options, I think. I can’t really remember exactly where we were in her cycle – the first half of last year was a blur. It’s very weird to think about it – she’s been dead 8 months. Her birthday is coming up. Do I celebrate it? Do I make her a cake? She loved sweets, maybe some chocolate? Or a scotch, 18 year single malt perhaps?

I still have a small amount of her ashes to scatter. I have to wait for spring to be able to put them where she wants them – even in a year as dry as this one, there seems to be too much snow. And it’s too cold.

Have you ever seen a child playing with blocks? Building things, great works of engineering, only then to knock them all over, leaving them strewn about the floor of the playroom randomly. Not long ago, they were a great castle, with parapets and gates and even a flag. Now they are rubble, waiting to be covered by moss and lichen and history. The child could – if he were smart – pick them back up and start building another castle.

Maybe building again is the most rational thing to do. But rationality isn’t particularly relevant. Who knows what people do when their emotions guide them. By definition, at that moment, they are not “rational”. Not necessarily worse, but not rational.

In my case, I keep picking the blocks up and casting them in a new direction. Even though I know it makes more sense to put them in neat piles, I spend time casting them about into new directions.

I hope to be a builder again soon – some of the pieces are falling into place, now I just need to find a trowel and make some mortar.

I know what goes into mortar, and I have a few trowels lying around.

It’s a start. And I like starts.

I am the electric Messiah, the AC/DC god
--My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult

I got invited to go to the Grammy’s last week in LA. It was fun, although a bit weird. Being on site looks VERY different from watching on the TV. I was sitting in a box on the second level about halfway through the auditorium. Had a great view down onto the “guest seats” – read “rock star hangout” – as well as onto the stages. But the best part? I could see backstage, so I could watch the preparations and teardowns. Very cool to watch the roadies appear, like ants to a coke spill, to grab the set and break it up. Everything is on wheels, as far as I could tell. In like, seconds, the entire stage changes from a set with trampolines and stairs (with a slide) to a large open space with risers. Wild. I got a bit dizzy watching.

The other cool thing was watching how the nominees were handled. The nominees are supposed to be sitting on the aisle, towards the front, when their category is up. That way, the little handheld camera can show a clip of them, looking excitedly towards the stage where the presenters are making bad jokes and reading – awkwardly – off the teleprompter. However, there aren’t enough aisle seats for ALL the nominees for ALL the categories to sit there the whole time. So the next set of nominees gets shuffled in to those seats during the advertising breaks. As you’d expect, this means the previous nominees have to get shuttled off to other seats.

This dance has to happen during the break – a couple of minutes. Needs to happen quickly! So, they have these women, in high heels and lovely dresses – usually low cut lovely dresses – go and lead the no-longer-needed nominees, from the last categories, out of their prime seats and back to the normal seats. At the same time, another set are bringing the brand new spring models from the regular seats into the nominee spotlight.

It’s quite fun to watch that happen, especially if, like me, you are interested in how people convince others to do things. I mean, the nominees don’t especially want to leave the prime seats – airtime is free publicity, right? And it’s kind of a pain to get back into some seat 10 rows back in the middle. So these lovely women flirt to get their way. It is so obvious that you can pick it out from the box seats. It’s pretty funny. It involves a lot of eyelash fluttering, and coquettish physical movements and big-teeth smile. Yes, you know what a coquettish physical movement is. You’ve probably done one in your life. Or maybe several, don’t play dumb.

I didn’t expect that complication. Even had I thought about the need to swap seats around, I would never have expected that it would be hard to make happen. Thus, it never would have occurred to me that a group strategy would arise to achieve the chair-swap goal.

However, this wasn’t what surprised me the most. What surprised me the most, you ask? The flirting worked on the women nominees as well. There was no obvious difference between the fluttering and showing off done by the women towards the male stars and what they did towards the female stars. Live and learn.

It’s Friday night here. I’m sitting in that lovely city in the Southwest. I came down for some meetings related to a conference I am chairing. I have no idea what a conference chair does, but I guess I can fake it.

It’s not hot here. It’s warm in the sun, but cool in the shade. I’m going to hang out and do nothing this weekend with SL. Nice! I get to spend some time with my best friend next week.

Being here always makes me think of JR. I will go spend some time with her as well. I can talk to her, and look at the view; the last time I went I felt her presence strongly. I wonder if I still shall? She’s far enough away from the path that people don’t look too strangely at me as I sit there and talk to myself. But I’m sure a few people think about calling the police.

They’re coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha ha
To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time.
And I’ll be happy to see those nice young men
In their clean white coats
--Napoleon XIV

If I get arrested, will you come bail me out? I might not want to come…

After all, I bet it smells better than the clove cigarette that guy is smoking in my taxi!