Sunday, January 9, 2011

Good Friends and Life Journeys

Hello everyone. It's early afternoon. The New Year's party went terrifically. The only bit of kit I didn't have on hand was a corkscrew. Sadly, three guests couldn't make it. Mark and Wendy were sick and Ron had transportation issues. Two unexpected but very welcome guests were Adam and his girlfriend Jeanette. She was the second Jeanette I've come across in the space of a couple of weeks. She makes a very interesting match for Adam and was a much appreciated addition to the party. We kept things going until around three AM, much later than I had expected. No damage was done and cleaning up wasn't horrendous in the slightest. Admittedly, I kept coming across empty beer bottles for the next couple of days. Nobody got completely sloshed or anything so I guess I just didn't perceive how much beer was gone through. Nice to have people over who can really appreciate one's favorite beverage. It was odd though. I'd finish breakfast and hear a faint rattle on the dining table. I would have thought it inconceivable that one could have remained there undetected when both Stephen and I ate breakfast on it. I remembered checking the table thoroughly at one point and being completely satisfied that nothing was there I hadn't felt. And yet, a slight bump produced the unmistakeable rumble of a disturbed empty bottle rolling slowly across the wooden surfice. Having that many friends be there at the same time did wonders for my sense of connectedness. Especially when three more would have if they could have. When you go months without more than one occasional guest at a time, the world just seems empty. It felt like nothing was ever going to change that. Now that a larger gathering has actually happened, it no longer feels like I need not have bought that couch and chairs. They don't mock me with their continued emptiness any longer. I have that long-sought sense that they'll get used over time; that this place will be filled with more than just music, sound and writer's block ridden stark raving mad me. There'll be other living voices here from time to time who will feel welcomed.

That sense of connectedness was further strengthenned yesterday. I attended a going away party for my good friend Stephen Murgaski who will be leaving for India in around a week. He's going to volunteer at a school for the blind there for three months. It's so very like Steve to get into a wild adventure like that. He's approaching it in his usual madcap manner. He doesn't know exactly what they'll be asking him to help with. He's so versatile though that it won't matter a damn. They'll find plenty for him to do I'm certain. At his party were a number of friends from my days in Hollywood Public School. Everyone has changed in at least one profound way it seems. Earle certainly has. It's good to be back in touch with him again. Running into Meko was also a treet. Both of them were partners at one time and each has moved onto another relationship now. Life certainly can throw us some interesting curves over the years. Living out here in Mississauga, nearly getting married a second time and going into a hell of a tailspin when that fell through on me, I had lost touch with them all. Catching up with all of them was a real treet which has somewhat changed my perspective on life. With so much dead time, it can often feel like you've reached a sort of inescapable dead end. There doesn't seem to be any room left for the utterly extraordinary to come along and set you in motion. That's where people like Stephen come into the picture. You think that he's finally truly trapped in mundanity with the rest of us having no job and paying off university debt from his successful second attempt to gain a degree. "I'm going to India for three months to volunteer at a school for the blind there." he says out of the blue. Half your brain is just blown away as you try to absorb this. You're left absolutely gobsmacked for a bit. You made the mistake of thinking that you had learned better than to be so utterly surprised by what he gets up to again only to discover that this is a futile effort on your part. At the same time, part of your brain is like Gandalf catching Mary and Pippin up to their usual mischief in Fellowship of the Ring. I could almost hear his deep rich voice saying: "Off to India are you Stephen? I might have known.", as he hauls him up off the floor by the scruff of the neck like a troublesome little hobit. It's going to be an amazing and formative adventure for him. He's been fascinated by India for ages. I didn't really think any of our group would end up travelling that far afield. He'll realise a life-long dream and I can't wait to hear the stories and insites he'll come back with. Glad he was able to get to my New Year's gathering first. Best of luck Steve. God go with you.

It seems like we're all having different kinds of adventure. Earle finds himself a father and that has totally changed him from the man prone to drunken wildness I once knew. I think back to a particular New Year's eve more than a decade and a half ago which I attended in his apartment. You may read about that eventful night when I get around to publishing my autobiographical book in another decade and a chunk. When life experience comes at you in dribs and drabs, these things do take time. Like my divorce did for me, being a father has aged him in a fundamental way that possibly no other experience open to us could have. As for my own adventure, it's taking a bit longer to get going. I've been expecting some forms to sign for a while now and they ought to be coming next sunday or sooner. After my police check and whatever else I need to go through first, I'll be volunteering at The Dam once a week seeing how I can be a good friend and possibly a mentor to young people deemed to be at risk. Like Steve, I don't have an exact sense of what I'll end up doing there. However, they're eager to have me and that in itself is a damned nice change. Most organisations worry about what I might damage rather than ponder what I might do for them. It'll be so damned good to have somewhere to go to which is close enough for me to do so on my own terms. My big dream is more about living in a community and, dare I hope, a marriage where I feel wanted and useful most of the time. Stephen has enough physical courage, daring and mobility skill to think nothing of wanderring off somewhere or, flying off to India. My skills and hopes take a different direction. Volunteering at the Dam for at least a couple of years seems like a long-overdue first step toward the more tranquil sort of life filled with good stable deep relationships where I feel that I would be most able to have a positive impact over the longer term.

This week, I have my assessment at ADP for new equipment. That ought to be interesting. I'm also finally making some small headway on Enchantment's Twilight. Of all things, I'm having a breakthrough with the combat system. A story arc to pin all these game mechanics into still eludes me. However, that isn't getting me as down as it was. I've found my patience and good cheer again over the last month or so. It's like somebody threw some sort of switch and all the anxt and frustration at my lack of social progress here just melted away. It doesn't feel like one of those temporary reprieves from dull lethargy either. I think this new positive aspect is here to stay and it's very welcome indeed. Insomnia isn't quite gone yet. I finally caved in and took my usual Graval knockofs last night and got a pretty decent sleep but I hate that groggy drag that persists for a while after you get up. Once that lifts though, you feel like a million bucks. I'm expecting some mail from my apartment inshurance company this week. It must be close to the time when that gets renewed. I guess I'll be signing another lease with Peel Housing before long also. Presuming I remain single, I'll hang onto this place for keeps if I can. This spring and summer will be interesting now that I know where I'm going around here and don't need mobility lessons each week. It looks like the Dam is open through the summer so I'll be walking to and from the mall at least once per week. At long last, it seems like my social life is also starting to slowly pick up and recombobulate. I'll probably be seing a couple from church this sunday for a social visit rather than a religious one. I have yet to meet anybody here around my age who would get together and watch a mutually liked show on Discovery Channel or go out to some event or other with me. My expectations along those lines were clearly much too high when I moved in here. Everyone certainly knows snippets of me and plenty of people say hello when they pass me. Doubtless, I'm one of the most widely recognised people in the building. It just seems to stop at those brief chance conversations. However, Perhaps, over time, more folks like Jeanette from Lindsay will pop up. She wants to bring her son over to meet me at some point. That's four hours of driving for them. They'll come all that way and nobody around here will even come up or down the elevator shaft for a visit. And folks wonder why there's so much polution in the world. That's what happens when people geographically close to each other see no reason to get to know their neighbours. GRRRRRR!!!!

Looks like I'm off to a dinner with family friends. They'll be getting into the football so I'd best go and grab my netbook to bring along. There'll be some good conversation for certain but inevitably, there are moments where all of that stops as whatever happens on TV happens. I'll post this when I get back after looking it over.

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