Category Archives: People, relationships, dating

I will always love you… or possibly until trash day

In October I found wood shelves tossed out on the curb. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with them but finding real wood furniture always makes me happy (pressboard or particle board crap just isn’t the same). About 29″ tall and¬† 33″ wide, they weren’t too heavy so I carried them home; I knew I could pass them on to someone else if I couldn’t find a use for them. Otherwise they were almost certainly going to the dump – trash day for that area was the next day – and any other passerby wouldn’t likely see their potential since they didn’t look like much at first glance.

The paint job, likely a stain, was uninspired.

IMG_20191014_121900

Before I even brought the shelves home, the words on the back caught my attention and sealed the deal.

IMG_20191014_121920_kindlephoto-157401

Now that was curious!  Who are Louisa and Joe and why were their Рor his Рshelves chucked out for trash? Does she no longer love him? For whatever reason, were they no longer together (if they once were)?

It happens that I know someone by the feminine name but she spells it differently and moreover the woman on the shelves wrote her last name too, which I’ve edited out of the photo for privacy. It was an unusual name and googling it got no hits, further compounding the puzzle. I wonder if it wasn’t either of these two people who threw the shelves out but someone else. Maybe Joe nor Louisa was still the owner? Those words are an unusual thing to write on nondescript shelves anyway. Shelves aren’t all that romantic.ūüėē Maybe she painted them for him? Or secretly wrote the words on the back for him to find? And when was this written anyway? It just raises a lot of questions, the sort that intrigue me.

Now that the shelves were mine, the first order of business was fresh paint. I decided I could use the shelves in my room, if only temporarily, so I used this green that’s close to a shade I have on half the walls. The shelves aren’t ideal here because they extend past the window but I found myself in need of a little extra clothes storage, at least between seasons, so these will do. Painted, they look like a completely different piece.

IMG_20191018_093459_kindlephoto-157074

After I fixed up the shelves I found these interesting fabric bins at Dollar Tree. This setup may be temporary but for now it’s fine. And I will never paint over or otherwise change the words written on the back. In the end, I find the “secret” declaration of love, whether it lasted or not, kind of touching.

IMG_20191109_061535_kindlephoto-172413

Inevitability

Years ago I befriended a widowed man. A couple times in my life I have met someone and knew they were going to be my friend. This was one of those. There was an¬†inevitability in play. I even held off on it – this relationship I sensed was inevitable – because I’d fairly recently had complicated emotional experiences going on in my own life that related to someone’s death – the predominant of which was sticking very close to someone else in the months after his (ex) girlfriend killed herself and devoting my energies to making sure he was okay. I was personally grieving other deaths as well and was feeling, for want of a better term, deathed out. I wasn’t ready for a widowed man and dragged my heels for awhile regaining my equilibrium. As I say, I intuited that we’d be friends. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be, I just wasn’t ready yet.

In time, with my propulsion, we did indeed become very good friends. I felt like, given my own experience with death/grief (and here I don’t mean the ones mentioned above but another far more significant to me), that I had something to offer, something perhaps that wasn’t really available elsewhere. This man, whose wife had died after a very long marriage, was blown open. He had that shell-shocked look many bereaved people take on in the months and sometimes years, after a death. He had family and friends but as the¬†new friend, someone who hadn’t known the couple, I was in a unique role with a different vantage. Bereavement aside, he wasn’t an¬†extroverted jocular fellow and I suspect that while the people already in his life definitely cared for him, they probably didn’t know quite what to do for him after the earliest activity and commotion following the death of his wife subsided.

This was not if you are thinking it, a romance. I didn’t see him that way and that wasn’t the point, and while one can’t always know the future, I didn’t believe it ever would be. We were quite different. He was a lot older and had been the proverbial long-time family man. He’d had a long profession. I, on the other hand, had been much more footloose and independent, having a number of shorter relationships over my life and jobs of many stripes. He later admitted he initially thought I was much younger even, than I actually was. It was, though, a meeting of intellects, a conversation-based relationship. He was introverted, reserved by nature, bookish and a talker in the one-on-one sense. His physical appearance and demeanor could be seen as stern and unemotional to those who didn’t know him; they didn’t invite familiarity. His humor, not abolished by his grief, was dry and under-stated. A person needed to be paying attention. I was paying attention and breathed life back into his world. I’m certain of it. For my part, I got an intellectual equal, someone who listened to me, a man of depth. At the time, I considered him and our friendship the most grown-up I’d known. That was a lot.

Over a period of years the friendship changed. From here, today, I’d say it ran its course and accomplished its purpose. At the time, while I’d felt he¬†had¬†deeply, genuinely appreciated me, I also felt that by having initiated, and driven the engine of the friendship, I’d established a pattern and made things easy for him (which wasn’t entirely wrong given the state he was in when I met him). However, as I saw him gaining energy and strength, I expected the relationship to become more balanced and well, it didn’t exactly.

Further, as he began to emerge from the worst throes of grief, my friend became less recognizable to me, less empathy-warranting. I believed that I’d known a¬†version of him after his traumatic loss and now the fuller picture was emerging. He had more energy, yes, and was putting it toward causes unrelated to grief. Whether it was good or bad is a loaded question and not essential to answer so much as to say that what was emerging wasn’t resonating with me. I chafed at what I was seeing. I told him, even during our friendship, that given how different we were, we’d done awfully well to have had as close and meaningful a friendship as we did. I still think that. Perhaps you could say the ending of the friendship was as inevitable as its occurrence. I know I left him better than I found him. I also knew I’d turned a corner in relationships and going forward would only have grown-up ones.¬†

 

 

Who to believe?

Some people think I’m brilliant. Some assume I’m stupid or of average intelligence at best. Some people think I’m funny. Some don’t get my humor at all. Some people are obsessed with me. Some don’t know I exist. Some people think I’m very talented and some don’t see anything special about me. Some people think I’m sexy and some look right past me. Some people think I’m difficult and some find me agreeable.

So what’s my point? If I look to other people to figure out how to see myself I’m screwed. Sure, I could just believe what’s positive or flattering but how genuine would that be? Not to mention that the way other people see YOU is often tied into how they see¬†themselves. It’s¬†commonly suggested that people respond to others’ perceived traits in relation to those same traits in themselves. If someone doesn’t like a particular trait in themselves chances are they won’t like it in you either (and the opposite as well). Then¬†again, their perception of you could be based¬†in their own histories; maybe you remind them of someone and they consciously or not attribute the other person’s characteristics to you.¬†

I guess you could opt to believe the things you hear most often, that is, from the most people. And there’s probably something to that, assuming those people come from various backgrounds or maybe just interact with you in various ways. If you have a tight clique and everyone in it agrees you have great style say, or are very honest, that’s not going to be as reliable information as the same feedback coming from a more diverse population. Still, while hearing the same things from a broad base of people is probably helpful or marginally indicative of your traits, it’s still not a sure thing. Maybe they’re all wrong!

This is an idea I’ve been chewing on for a little while and I’m sure I’m not done with it.

Short Thought 241 (hoarding)

I dated a man who was a¬†paper hoarder. He collected piles of newspapers and other stacks of various papers in his home, not sure what exactly, as I never looked closely.¬† Hoarding has deep roots in people’s psyches and I wasn’t about to try to “fix” this problem. I did however, offer the suggestion that he at least make one rule for himself, namely, not to¬†pile papers on top of the stove. I can’t say he took my advice.

Short Thought 239

I should have run after the first time we played tennis and he had a tantrum when I won. But the thing is – and I still feel this clearly so many years later – in the initial seconds I watched his display on the opposite side of the net (but directed at me)¬† I thought he was¬†joking. I didn’t believe he was genuinely acting that way after our fun-spirited game. But he meant it.¬† He was giving me a preview to his character and in time I’d pay for both not comprehending that and not possessing the gumption/forethought/sense to act on it.

Short Thought 230 (men)

I’ve had men I know, enough of them to notice a pattern – who I’ve never been on so much as a date with or had an argument with – act like wronged lovers when our paths crossed. And I thought: What the hell is THAT?? At least buy me a cup of cocoa before you start pouting and acting petulant.