It's another sunny day in California. The air conditioner is running as I type this. I've been driving around with the windows half-way down and the air is positively brimming with the scents of flowers and trees and who knows what else, but it's all good. I love Spring. It gets into your blood. I could use a little Spring getting into my blood right about now. I'm feeling kind of "complex" right now, and not in a really good way.
Last week, my friend, Tom, told me that his doctor had found a spot of bone cancer when Tom went to him about pain in his hip. He was getting around with a walking stick for a couple of days. I guess that he's feeling a bit better, physically, because he's not been seen in the company of that walking stick for about a week now. He called me this morning and wanted to go to lunch. After a brief conversation, we decided that neither of us was particularly hungry, so we met for coffee at the coffee shop on the corner of Park St. and Buena Vista.
So, I asked him if he'd heard anything new about the bone cancer, and he had. Apparently, the doctors decided that it's not local and that treating it was going to be problematic. He told me that they had mentioned hormone therapy as a possibility. Tom wasn't very keen on having his balls shut off. I can't say that I blame him. I didn't really know what to talk about because I don't know much about bone cancer. I don't know what the prognosis is, but I can guess that it isn't good, especially without the hormone therapy. Tom tells me he's determined, "not to look at it as a death sentence," but the idea that one must consciously decide not to do that tells me that it must be hard not to hear it that way.
I didn't pay attention to the clock. I didn't get back until two, because neither of us were all that eager to end the conversation and I kind of let the urgency to return from lunch slip. I was rather morose on the way back and have been, pretty much, since. I did a little looking at Wikipedia when I got back from lunch. From what I've read, I'm guessing it's prostate cancer that has metastasized to the bone. That would explain the apparently gloomy prognosis and the reason that hormone therapy was suggested. It's also the most likely kind of cancer to be affecting the bones, especially in the hip. Wiki wasn't claiming anything about the prognosis. Apparently, there are a lot of variables, but it doesn't sound good.
So, here I am, sitting here and thinking. I'm feeling silly because today's events have stirred up a whole bunch of thoughts and emotions which seem clichéd, and I don't want to think that I am a thinker of clichéd thoughts and predictable tropes. There it is though. I'm thinking about watching cancer chew up another person about whom I care. That's not good. It's something I'd rather not think about, but I would be a hypocrite if I were the type to just stuff thoughts away and pretend to an existence that is not real. This has me thinking about my own mortality. I don't like that, not so much because I don't want to think about it, and I don't, but because I like to think I have a somewhat Buddhist view of life: that it is what it is and should be appreciated for everything it is right now...and this intrusion of thoughts of my own mortality messes with my smug sense of zen, or tao, or whatever. Heh. I need to read more, or at least check out a few more YouTube videos of Alan Watts, if I want to pretend to a facility with those concepts. At any rate, I may as well admit that I am uncomfortable with this confrontation with the Grim Reaper.
It feels silly to feel as I do. It feels trite. I always thought Dicken's Ebenezer Scrooge lacked the courage of his convictions. People just don't flip who they are because of some change in the emotional weather. No, I'm not talking about religion. With Scrooge/Dickens religion was the issue of the tale. In my case, it's more of a confrontation with how I am living presently. It irritates me that I should have my sense of living disturbed in this manner. I don't know whether to feel phony because such a common life event seems to have the power to unsettle my complacency (but not quite overturn it, I think, ...yet) or whether I should feel phony because maybe I have been evading the reality of things I really value and have been discounting. Maybe I've been hiding. I don't want that to be true, but if it isn't, should I feel so disturbed?
Then there is the less cerebral aspect. It is apparently not enough that Ms. Reason finds her domain disheveled by the winds of fortune, no, Mr. Heart has to seize the opportunity to vent his concerns, like some opportunistic demagogue. Feeling blue, much like feeling joy or elation tends to bring out that feeling of pull. I don't like feeling...well...lonely,when I'm feeling down. It feels like weakness. Loneliness, is not a thing; it is a non-entity, a concept that exists only in a manner of speaking. The thing which actually exists to be missing is companionship, or intimacy, etc. Loneliness is nothing but a label we use to describe the absence of a real thing, such as intimacy and companionship. To be focused on "loneliness" is to have your attention pointed at an absence, not pointed at something which could conceivably be attained. So...I felt, or feel, I suppose, pangs of desire or longing, or whatever I should call it, for comfort, for sympathy, for empathic connection. Maybe I should just say "reassurance". This feels wrong to me. It feels weak. If one is going to pursue intimacy and companionship one should pursue these things for their values, and one should have values of one's own to offer in exchange. One should pursue these things out of a desire to share positives, from a position of strength...not because one is looking for some sort of shelter from negatives, an escape from disagreeable circumstances, or reassurance. We were not born to be carried. That's not what existence is. A meaningful and worthy existence is the pursuit of life and happiness, not the mere evasion of sadness and death. One enters or seeks a relationship because one has things to offer, not out of "need."
That doesn't change the facts of what I feel. I suppose that it is possible to get so wrapped up in other things, which compete for your attention that it is possible to forget to eat and not to notice that you are hungry, until something causes you to refocus your attention, and you realize that your belly is empty and you want to raid the refrigerator. Still, that's not really a good strategy for living, whether the discussion is intimacy or nutrition. I am reminded that I have some left-over pizza in the refrigerator and that the only things I've consumed today are a breakfast burrito and small order of hash-brown tater-tots from Carl's Jr., a large mocha with whipped cream, at lunch, and a handful of Raisinets at my desk. Nevertheless, I'm not feeling hungry right now.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:30 AM
I talked with Jackie and Shannon this evening, or rather, a couple hours ago. It was over nothing in particular, in each case, just this and that and keeping each other up to date etc. It's funny how just chewing the fat with my kids re-centers me. I guess I'm feeling a little better. Things don't feel quite so immediate and overwhelming right now. I still have a head full of spinning thoughts and no real idea what to do with them.
I keep telling myself I ought to go out meeting people again. I ought to see a doctor for a check-up. I ought to get my home in better order. I ought to exercise more, or at least walk. I ought to do something about my diet. I ought to make some plans. The "what plans" and "why" often evade me.
True confession: I suck at being able to discern whether someone is interested in me or not. Why? Is it mere self-doubt, or something else? What kind of secret super-hero weakness is that? What kind of tragic flaw? I don't know, maybe a Shakespeare or a Sophocles could do something with it but it seems so very silly and pedestrian to me. Do I find women to be all that confusing? Sometimes I do.
Sometimes, relationships strike me as being so much work. Of course they are but they do have their rewards. The thing is, how does one get into one? I've always kind of fallen into the ones I've had, almost by accident. How does that work for me? Well, for the most successful relationship I've ever had, at least in terms of length, it meant twelve years of marriage that was very often quite rewarding and it meant me becoming a father to two wonderful girls who have grown into interesting and wonderful young women. Still... would I get into something like marriage again? As I have noted before here, I am not the man I was at twenty two, when I met Crystal, and for all its joys, my marriage was shot-through with stresses, frustrations, and disappointments.
I don't know what I want out of life. What's funny is that I have a very clear picture of what I do not want. I just don't want to be another woman's mistake. That's just frustrating and crazy-making. I may not be many people's idea of heroic, but I will not be anyone's villain. I don't need that, and I have absolutely no desire to subject anyone else to a relationship that does not work. If being with me does not enhance someone's joy then what IS the point? Maybe I just don't appreciate the simplicity of human mating. I just can't get into whole idea of sex for the sake of sex. The activity is just too damned spiritual for me. All my emotions get tangled up in it. How do other guys manage to treat sex as not much more than masturbation? I have no idea.