Archive for February, 2012

Without you I wouldn’t be writing this blog post this morning. A person who lives solo in a house and for the most part in this big big big world needs a someone, and since my parents are passed, since I’m single-handedly self-exiling myself from people who have disappointed me significantly in recent weeks, you readers of Honey & Quinine are my collective, alternate “OTHER” consciousness. In the absence of a close friend, YOU are what I must have: an OTHER.

I wrote a short poem published in one of my books, I don’t even remember the title that came before the poem, but the words are . . .

I can’t make love when I’m depressed
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .but I know
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .you can
. . . . and that depresses me.

When my mom was alive and retired from Springfield to Tavares, Florida, I didn’t write her because my life was a litany of coming up short. I called her every on Mothers Day and either Thanksgiving or Christmas, mostly to wish her the best and to explain I hadn’t written because there was no good news. I am adopting the same outlook with my acquaintances in Springfield, though not at Facebook. Not at Facebook because I feel no need to explain the mind’s excreta deposited on my “woed to nowhere.”
It’s like explaining what my neighbor’s dog leaves behind in the yard: I see it, I smell it, I know what it is. I don’t care to know the details.

Years ago, my parents and I were walking down the hall at Benjamin Franklin Junior High School after attending a chili supper and open house. I had introduced them to the smartest student in the entire school: John Neal, a classmate who I admired a lot because he earned nothing but straight As. I still remember where we were in that hall — had just walked past my Art classroom (taught my Mr. Terry Black) on the way to the exit to the parking lot. Dad said “Son, consider that young man you introduced us to as we were leaving. He’s very bright, a good example for you to follow. He’s not an ideal athlete with his build (short but not skinny and not hefty) and he probably doesn’t have many friends, so he’s making the best use of his time by concentrating on grades. (Truth is, John had lots of friends.) You should do the same, son. Use your time to concentrate on what will do you the most good over the long-term. He will be a superior student the rest of his life, and he will reap the benefits from that dedication. You have the same potential. I see it when you shine occasionally. Follow his example,”

I listened, and I did not forget what Dad said. I also ignored what Dad said. My academic record for most of the rest of my time in institutional education was just enough to get by. (By the time I was excelling with grades that would have qualified me for a dean’s list, I was attending a university that didn’t have a dean’s list. I was riding a ticket to a Masters Degree in Public Affairs Reporting, truly wonderful classes with wonderful schoolmates and professors, and by then it was too late.) What I chose to excel in what I with a capital I chose; not what those more intelligent than I, with genuine interest in guiding my path to success, sincerely advised. One reason I chose this path was that I didn’t believe I could succeed in following that path, and I chose to concentrate on what I wanted to do: to become a writer, to become a poet, but before that, before everything, including compromising enough to get married, was aviation. I have told many people “Aviation is my WIFE.” and I’ve always put aviation first. Since being given space at the local airport,  I have encouraged friends to come see the museum, and in that year and nine months since, I can share the first names of people who matter to me in less time than I wish it would take: Cheryl and Mark, Tim, Tom, Dale, Darley, Donna, Jim, Kim. The rest? I understand that courting people for their validation of myself is a fool’s game, but it has been part of my life. I’ve never courted people I didn’t like and respect, and their reaction to the museum has been a big surprise to me.

It shouldn’t be. Does a basketball player feel bad because some of his friends don’t attend his games? Only if he’s a sillyperson. Local acquaintance Russel Brazzel one told me that if he had to predicate his regard for his friends and associates solely on the basis of whether or not they attended his classical guitar concerts, he’d have almost no friends and associates. So this unhappy wallowing in disappointment as a result of the dearth of visiting friends is illogical, against my best interests, and as productive for my growth as a person as shooting myself in the foot — which a friend of mine did to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War. (I didn’t have to shoot myself in the foot or flee to Canada as another friend did; I flunked my pre-induction physical exam.)  As long as I feel this way, I am warming the bench; taking myself out of the game where I used to be a player. Those who continue to regard me at least with nominally-kind wishes deserve more than a sorehead who is disappointed with them. My solitary life among associates I encounter daily as a result of my chosen path is generating results in the form of productive time at the museum. I’m accomplishing something. I want to accomplish something.

It hasn’t helped that my hours at work have been cut by TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT so my employer can give his son’s girlfriend a part-time job. There goes my discretionary income for dinners at events, and for the promises made at the height of the Christmas season to pay off some long-term debt to good people who once thought better of me than they do since the second week of January.

When I had both hands in a broader life, a life in which I supported the arts community with my presence, my talent as a photographer and music man, my telling the world about them, my persona as “a poet,” I expected they would visit the museum, and since so few have, and since it matters so much to me that so few have, I have decided that until I cannot make this game so conditional, until I can return to that life sans expectations re the museum, they are better off without me and I without them. But there will be a time when I will return sans conditions. I must believe that.

I must believe that.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

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