vendredi, mars 09, 2012

On learning to like men again

There are times, I have to admit, when I don't like men -- men as a class of human beings.

Yesterday was one of those times.

Emotional space invaded by someone I think is genuinely crazy, I found myself wrapped up in fury -- and feeling helpless at the same time.

As I walked, almost blind to my surroundings, I kept weighing the questions.

How DARE he think that he can approach me?

How safe am I, a single mom living in a semi-rural area?

Am I overreacting?

Trust me, these are questions I don't even like to think about. And though the police were helpful, I don't feel a whole lot safer after having brought them up to date on my "stalker."

Dating is supposed to be about chemistry, fun, a little infatuation. It's not supposed to be about ongoing disappointment -- there should, as a new friend said in a whole other context, be some pastry along with the oatmeal.

But the fact that the fruit of my dating experiences (so far) has been experiences I either would like to forget or result in the fervent hope that the man will forget me does make me wonder about how toxic they have been. Ongoing exposure to bad behavior is probably like ongoing exposure to drugs or alcohol -- it changes one inside.

In my ongoing bid for perspective, I remind myself that, individually, there are lots of men I like.

The fact is that most of the men I knew are wonderful --- stable, funny, generous, sweet.

And most of them, of course, are married to women who are equally wonderful.

Yes, I've run into mostly cads and bounders online. But that doesn't mean the whole universe of men are jerks.

In theory, I'm choosing to return to a life that, without the "excitement" of dating, has more stability and genuine friendship with both genders.

The only way not to left bad feelings and atrocious actions drive the bus is to refuse to ride on it.

Time for detox.

lundi, mars 05, 2012

What he doesn't know

He doesn't know, this best-selling author, that there is a high likelihood that I'm going to review his book.

He doesn't know, as he turns down my request for a telephone interview, that the review will likely appear in a well-known media outlet with a reputation for being picky.

No way that he could know that I asked to review the book -- a chance to appreciate the work of one of my favorite writers.

He can't guess that right now I'm second-guessing myself. Did I sound arrogant? Does one approach famous writers with humility, however manufactured? Could I have been more tactful? Did I not play by the rules?

The writer cannot speculate (because he doesn't know) that right now I'm not sure whether to feel like an idiot or simply to accept principles overrode the chance to score an interview with a well-known author.

He can't know that, after years and years of writing features and commentaries, hard news and analysis, I feel like a total hick right now.

All of that can wait. It's time, once again, to play the professional. The review will be exactly what I would have written before we crossed swords. But I will often, probably, wonder what went wrong.

When Katie came to dinner

I have this friend whose name is Katie.

Last night, after about an eight-month interval, she came to my house for dinner.

It's not that we hadn't seen each other since then. We'd met at restaurants, even at my ex-husband's house while I was living there when he was in the hospital.

But not here -- in this reshaped, evolving space, full of light and promise.

At any rate, I had a great evening. We talked, non-stop, about family, friends, faith and romance.

We laughed. We debated. We shared literary dreams and career visions.

I hope that she had a good time, too.

The last time she was here, for reasons that had nothing to do with her personally, was a nightmare -- the beginning of a season of brokenness that left a mark on me that I haven't completely shaken.

That evening, my hospitality was abused by someone I trusted to be, if nothing else, compassionate. Spoiled I may be, but I'm not used to cruelty.

Last night, that same informality, amid the still unpacked boxes and pictures yet unhung, was appreciated.

In her return, alone, many of those wounds were healed. Though I know I'll regress now and then, I'm determined to throw off the shackles of past hurts And I'm grateful to Katie -- for fighting for our friendship when, overwrought and saddened, I sought to run away.

Thank you for your loyalty. Thank you for your bracing commonsense. And thank you for your encouragement to look forward, and not behind me.

With your courage and optimism, you show me the way.