I share with my correspondents a certain sense of unfinished business when it comes to people who love us; we take that love for granted, give our friends, old and new, a kind of "one- hand- in- my- pocket- the-other is -hailing -a -taxicab" treatment-- and move on.
Or is it my Alanis Morisette obsession, where she writes to a friend in a song, saying, "My life was in a state of turmoil then and I really wish I'd given you the proper time and attention, back then."
Over the past forty years, people had been trying to contact me, enter into a relationship with me, but so fixed was I on the pain in my head that I pretty well fobbed them off, concentrating instead on some woman who was playing with my head, or another woman whose head I'd been playing with.
Harry the Rat with Women, will sometimes say to himself, "She loves me. That's her hang-up. Ah well. There's enough of me to go around. I'll eventually move over to her. First, I've got to get rid of Betty."
But the lover "out there" doesn't have all the time in the world, and Harry will get around to his ghostly love all right, but she'll be introducing him to Fred.
I swear that mankind's biggest problem is not climate change but our miserable failure in relationships.
Sin and neglect cause Global Warming?--Good a theory as any.
Icelanders, who haven't had global warming for at least 800 years, are now into sin and soul. Fishing is boring.
"We got nightclubs. We got hookers."
Interesting what will happen once the fjords start melting. And they are.
Snapped continuity in relationships.
You don't need to be a geopolitician to figure this out.
We either don't get along or turn a fishy eye to people who want to get along with us.
Hit me, says the masochist.
No, says the sadist.
Everything is altered, of course, if suddenly you lose all your money.
Then you dig up those old friends. Then you re-establish those old contacts.
The money will be forthcoming. But there will be a certain sadness in the giver.
"All these years, and you want to re-establish a relationship on a mere fifty dollar loan.
"Why did you leave us in the first place?"
How close our lives can sometimes be to the characters in the great novels?
Madame Bovary, the liberated hair-flowing-free adultress, letting her spirit run wild-- until one day she loses the money. Goes to the most effeminate of her lovers--and he doesn't have any money.
No money. And the old lover can't even get it up any more.
Becky Sharp runs out of gas.
We all, at different times, run out of gas.
Some years ago, I had run out of gas as a journalist, went to the editorial department of the Toronto Star, talked to all my friends there.
But I had omitted one.
The most important one.
My old mentor at the Star, Len Coates.
It took me a full week to realized that Len had been there waiting to shake my hand, to talk to me, and in the rush of people from the past, I had totally ignored him.
And he was really the most important one. And he'd had an opening in his sports section in the Star. I could have had a job. This I find out later when I meet Len on the street.
We have two beers and a Drambuie each and leave the taproom, a little saddened. We exchange cards.
In my carelessness, I had soured a lifelong relationship. Just when Len wanted to have a beer with me, reminisce about the past, offer me a job--I was too full of of trying to be the social mover, all the while trying to ignore the pain in my head.
The same with former Mayor Crombie, of Toronto.
We had been great friends.
Eight years later, I am walking down the street, David going the other way.
He moves to embrace me as a friend, and I just keep walking. What is on my mind? "Why that damn bitch!... took all my furniture, my guitar, my typewriter, my means of making a livelihood. All to support her %&*# ing drug habit."
It could almost see the hurt on David's face. A man of that stature does not wear his heart on his sleeve.
He had for years supported me as a poet and I all but tell him to eff off.
So the next time you're in a crisis, all in a flap, all in a hurry, The Sky Is Falling, pause, do pause, when you meet an old friend. Give him the time.
The pause may even result in your solving the problem right there.
The problem of you not getting along with people who love you.