So, I was playing samples from "The Forgotten Arm." There were three. These aren't really upbeat tunes. The songs are melancholy and they fit Ms. Mann's voice, which is in the lower female range, has a bit of a twang, and a soft burr underlying it. It's very expressive, and burrows into you. I really have a thing about women's voices. It's voices and eyes for me. Of course, only a fool, a gay guy, the blind, or the insane could ignore a well turned female figure and an exquisitely formed face, but eyes and voices are what "get to me." Heh, I could listen to a woman babble for hours, especially if she likes "playing" with her voice and has a talent for using it. You know, I can be impressed with a woman's anatomy. Some women are works of art..."in form and moving, how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension, how like a god..." Nevertheless, to reveal my Secret Weakness™, if a woman wanted to seduce me she can keep her shirt buttoned. Someone should have told the ex-wife that, a long time ago, just after we met, when she tried to get to me with cleavage. No, the way for a woman to get under my skin is to look me in the eyes and use her voice. One of the hottest scenes in movies is from Fight Club, when Marla is attempting to seduce the narrator with provocative voice and language. Helena Bonham Carter did a gooood job with the role. Whew. That few minutes of dialogue beats half an hour of T&A footage. Heh heh, don't bother to disagree, nsingman; Delilah is as unique as the man. Dang, now I'm thinking of Heddy Lamar, and she's an entry all to herself...
For certain people, it's movies connect strongly with their emotions. It was for the ex, and a couple of other women with whom I've been in cinema houses. For others, it's a play or sights of things which move them. Sometimes those things can evoke a strong reaction out of me, but music works on my emotions a lot more reliably than any other art. The third sample of the album was a cut called "Goodbye, Caroline." Uh oh, it's one of those songs. I started feeling like I'd swallowed a billiard ball soon after it started. Damn. From where did that come? Of course, the only thing to do at that point was to play the darned thing "20348503 times," as another friend of mine would probably put it, and try to figure out what it was about that song that moved me. It has a haunting melody, and Ms. Mann's voice is very expressive. The lyrics speak of loss, and disappointment,... and self-recrimination.
Put on your shoes, Girl -- I'm going to the coast,
Where every loser gives up what hurts the most,
And all those haunted, unlucky guys get told,
Who's really wanted and who just can't stay sold.
Goodbye, Caroline -- you're my favorite faith healer,
Goodbye, everything -- say I gave to the house dealer,
Who could only really let you down.
Put on your coat, Babe -- my luck is winding down,
I'll get your suitcase and pull the car around,
Goodbye, Caroline. You're my favorite faith healer.
Goodbye everything -- say I gave to the house dealer,
(Who could only really let you down)
Where it's lit day for night,
And the clocks wear their faces bowed,
Where the hands and cuffs gleam white,
As they hang on a nicotine cloud...
You're my favorite faith healer.
Say I gave to the house dealer --
Who could only really let you down.
Who could only really let you down.
Who could only... let you down.
Recently, I read some column which comments and offers advice on issues of interest to divorced guys. The Aimee Mann song brought the column to mind. The article was basically talking about guys having trouble letting go of their previous relationship. His theory is that guys who can't let go, can't forgive themselves. There's an interesting concept. I think the guy has it wrong. I think that letting go of the previous relationship and forgiving oneself are not necessarily linked. I guess the most profound concept raised in the piece was the idea that I could be in a position of not forgiving myself. That doesn't have to be connected to the old relationship in any particular at all, necessarily.
I don't really want the ex back, and other than the fact that it is annoying and wearying to deal with her, I really don't care about the small interaction I have to have with her. I realized about the time I moved from Lodi that the marriage was a fool's errand. For whatever reasons, hers, mine, or both of ours, she was rarely ever there for me, and to be fair, I wasn't for her, in a way that meant enough to her. Stupidity. All I really want is to just ignore her, and go back to regarding her as a stranger I don't have to know or with whom I do not have to associate any longer.
Of course, that doesn't mean that I've forgiven myself yet. How in the hell does one do that, anyway? No. I don't recriminate myself for screwing things up. I had ample help doing that. Nevertheless, the fact remains that we were wrong for one another. There were so many warning signs and counter-indications that I should not have married the ex it just isn't funny. In fact, mine was such a profound hubris as to be shameful. It's not hindsight that speaks. It is not that I ignored the signs and flaws in our relationship. No, I saw them plain enough. I discounted them. I decided that I was going to beat the odds and that if I loved her enough, and I did love her, then I would beat any odds and overcome any obstacles. Does "love" excuse that kind of blindness or hubris? Perhaps there never was enough "us" in our marriage. Two single people cannot uphold a relationship which requires something more than the sum of both of them. Sometimes, when I allow myself such indulgences, the waste in those years disgusts me.
How does one forgive oneself for "sin" one fully intended to commit? How does one forgive oneself for a "sin" one really cannot regret? I've been angry. I've been very angry, but that has pretty much passed. Oh, there are still frustrations in dealing with this stupid set of twisted up relationships, such as they are, but the blazing ire which once consumed me has burnt out. My friend prolixfootle, who is my age, once said that someone told him that he needed to get angry about his situation, which excepting children, is similar to mine. How about it, Old Hoss, have you managed to work up a nice pique yet? Mine was the end of last year and the winter. It's gone now, but that doesn't mean that I have figured out how to trust myself again -- assuming that I can or should. Tell me, Footle, do you blame yourself for what you allowed to happen to you?
Of course, I know where the catch is. Guilt is power. Is forgiving oneself tantamount to indulging a propensity to make the same mistake again? If I don't hold myself responsible for what I allowed...am I encouraging a repeat of the rationalization and hubris? Does it sanction what happened? It is easy to suppose what the "right" answers to these questions are. It is quite another thing to internalize these answers and understand them in the personal context. I still don't know how to get from here to there.