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Montecristo Captain Quixote


The World Line of the Horizon Star

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world

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Montecristo Captain Quixote

When wisdom attacks in the wee small hours.

It's late. It's always later than we think. I really should be asleep, but sometimes when insight strikes, it demands action now. I was sitting in my bedroom watching the movie Hitch, yeah, chick-flick, prosecute me later. Anyway, it was near the climax of the movie when I realized that my mother had been right about something that we had kicked back and forth in a random conversation long ago. Don't you hate it when your parents are right, even, or especially, after you're forty?

Once upon a time, in another country...

It did not matter at all, that the two of us had never met in person before. It did not matter that I really did not have a good handle on where I stood just then. It did not matter that I had asked to meet her before but that scheduling and logistics had gotten in the way. It did not matter that it was a two hour drive, one way, and that there was a possibility that the trip would have been fruitless and in vain. It did not matter that the lady knew this information and that this knowledge may have perhaps put her "unfairly" on the spot to have not said "no" — all is fair in love and war. It did not matter that the lady had slept with someone else recently, and that I knew it — that was not my problem, and I wasn't looking for "a quick hook-up" with her anyway.

I had believed that I had been diligent. I believed that I had gone to somewhat heroic lengths. I believed that I had been clear about what I desired. I believed that I had exhausted all reasonable opportunities. I believed that I had seen clear signs that nothing was going to work in this case.

At any rate, sometime after the events described, my mother and I were once discussing the idea espoused by Louis Pasteur, that "chance favors the prepared mind." It was my contention that sometimes, even chance and a prepared mind were insufficient to the challenge. I pulled the basic outlines of the particular circumstances I am discussing here out to illustrate my case. My mother said simply, as a matter of fact, "You did not exercise enough initiative." She was certain. Naturally, I thought she was crazy. I thought she was underestimating me, yet again, as I have believed, off and on, that she is wont to do. I thought it was her personal philosophical biases, and what I perceived to be a distorted view of my psyche and character talking. I thought that were she in possession of all the facts of the situation, she would not have reached the assessment she did. I thought that there comes a point where one's failed attempts become writing on the wall, and only a crazy fool proceeds further in the face of obvious futility.

I was sitting there this evening, watching the movie, unsuspecting, when it hit me: damned if the woman wasn't right, in the end. I could have got in the car, put gas in the tank, and made the drive. I could have gone to that mall. Once there, I could have made a call: "Hello, this is Robert, I'm over at the mall and I would like to see you for a drink or perhaps something to eat. Will you meet me here?" I could have done that, but I never did. I considered it a fool's errand. The thing is, sometimes attraction and love are quests at which only a brave fool succeeds. Had I mounted my horse though and made the quest, there would have existed at least one more small chance that did not exist in the absence of doing so. Would it necessarily have been in vain? I will never know, now.

The woman whose belly had once vomited me up onto the world forty odd years ago was right, yet again, damnit, and I just realized it tonight in a flash of insight, that it was indeed so. How could I have been so stupid, and so hubristically stupid at that? Perhaps I just didn't want to face the idea that there had been something more I could have done which I had not done. Sometimes, we go blind with the thirst for vindication. Twenty-twenty hindsight often feels like a curse. Of course, the trick is to use the wisdom we gain the next time it is applicable and needed. So I resolve. The question is, will I be able to avail myself of another similar opportunity sometime in the future?

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You feared rejection, humiliation, perhaps ? We all are guilty of not taking more risks. Maybe we both need to take more risks in order to meet someone we could spend our lives with ?

Rejection? Humiliation? No, not after marriage.

One thing that being a veteran of marriage has taught me is that there is absolutely no such thing as mortal humiliation. Eleanor Roosevelt was right about one thing: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." No, it's merely a question of being mistaken in an assessment of circumstances. Sometimes, the proper course of action is to recognize futility, but sometimes, the better course is to double down and take the risk. ; )

Re: Rejection? Humiliation? No, not after marriage.

Oh I heartily agree with you. If the worst thing that can happen is that someone says no, then what's lost ?

I guess I'm coming from the other angle, having never been married and only now choosing to look for someone, don't ask me what exactly for.

Re: Rejection? Humiliation? No, not after marriage.

Oh, there are much worse things that can happen besides just being told no but the point is that these will not kill you either.

"...don't ask me what exactly for."

Indeed, and without a clear standard of value one is left with a journey hindered by the absence of a map and compass. It is sometimes amusing to contemplate the ironic analogies between love and war. It has been said of war that the amateurs discuss strategy and tactics, while the professionals discuss logistics.

Re: Rejection? Humiliation? No, not after marriage.

Well, I'm trying to be focussed in my search, only seriously talking to people who I think are in the right parameters.

This is internet dating, so I'm kind of only agreeing to meet people I'm sure I have some kind of feel for. Would you call that logistics ?

Logistics vs tactics. [Was: Rejection? Humiliation?]

Logistics is the art of knowing where you want to go, why you want to go there, with what, for what purpose, and in what time frame. These are the kind of questions that the mere tactician ("What's the best pick-up line?", "Does internet dating work?") never asks of himself.

Re: Logistics vs tactics. [Was: Rejection? Humiliation?]

So maybe pragmatism isn't so bad after all.....?

Re: Logistics vs tactics. [Was: Rejection? Humiliation?]

If anything, pragmatism sacrifices principle to expediency, and the long term gain for the short-term gain. No, I'm not a pragmatist.

Re: Logistics vs tactics. [Was: Rejection? Humiliation?]

I'm kind of thinking aloud. I've been sort of on this project for six months and I'm no nearer to being sure if I'm going in the right direction or not.

Sure you will. Just open your eyes.

Well, that is the trick, isn't it. Heh.

The only problem though with being observant is that you can still miss things that hide in plain sight.

Re: Well, that is the trick, isn't it. Heh.

The Purloined Letter trick works very well.

This is really interesting, because I think so many of us use "logic" to give credence to our fears. I sure know I do. And, perhaps, our moms are well acquainted with our grandest fears. Hopefully, this insight will help you to give your heart a good listening to in the future.

This also reminds me of a story my brother-in-law told me. He won an Emmy Award for creating the cartoon "Rolie Polie Olie." And he told me the story of flying to the south despite the fact that the author of the original book had told him "NO." He went anyway, told the guy he was in his small town and wanted to take him to lunch. The man relented, and the rest is history!;) I always thought that was fantastic initiative.

Yes, parents do tend to know us, don't they, and don't we hate it when they're right!

As for listening, well, my heart is talking all the time. It is figuring out what in the heck it is trying to say that is often the greater task.

Sometimes I think mine speaks Greek!

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