Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Friends, Unexpected Expeditions, Summer Goodness, and More

Hello everyone. It's a somewhat brisk windy monday morning. I've had quite a spectacular weekend. On saturday, I thought I'd go out and get a walk round the lake in before the day got rainy as was forecasted. I met a very nice lady named Carine who has recently moved into the area. She lives very amicably with her ex-boyfriend Kevin. They seem to have negociated through any awkwardness and just got on with being good friends and housemates. Could I just put aside Janene's having decided not to marry me and simply be friends with her should she call one day? I don't think so. We crossed so many lines and went so much farther than simple friendship that anything less than a life-long commitment just seemed like such hollowness. For me, it's more an all or nothing thing. Had she refused my engagement ring on that weekend I offered it to her, there may have been room to retreet to friendship gracefully if not painlessly. Once we were engaged, that window just closed for me. Her subsequent walking away from me simply hurt too damned much. Somehow, these two have managed to keep a very high level of trust and friendship.

Carine was originally going to see her long-distance boyfriend but that never panned out. I suspect some texts sent to each other got lost somehow. Not being one to text with my own phone, I don't know how common or rare a problem that is. The end result was that she ended up going out for lunch with me to Symposium Cafe while hoping, worrying and waiting for a text from him regarding their planned outing. That never came so she spontaneously decided to go to Canada's wonderland with Kevin and I. They had season passes and I got a day pass from Shopper's Drug Mart. Kevin's a great guy who I felt very comfortable around very quickly. We all just seemed to click remarkably well right off the bat. There was none of that "Oh gosh! He's blind! What do I do?" hesitation at all. We just started relating and enjoying the day. I doubt they have any idea whatsoever of just how long I've been hoping something like this would happen or just how refreshing their attitude towards me was. Who'd have thought that a decision to take a walk around the lake rather than just make a bacon and egg brunch and get on with another solitary saturday would lead to such a fun and successful day? It makes up for a whole lot of frustrating lonely time when stuff like this happens.

It was fantastic to be back in the theme park I knew so well as a child. I haven't been back since that trip I wrote about in A Life of Word and Sound. By far, the Bohemoth is the best new ride and best rollercoaster I've ever been on. It's smooth, the drops are thrillingly steep, and the turns are exciting without feeling the need to thwack your head into the restraints. It's even got some actual length to it and you don't walk away feeling like the ride wasn't worth waiting in line for. Of course, that waiting is made tremendously more pallitable by the company one keeps. In that department, I was in very good hands indeed. I very much look forward to getting to know Carine and Kevin better over the next while. There are so many occasions where you know people don't mean to follow through with friendship, getting together and such. This doesn't feel like such an occasion. They both struck me as interested in hanging out on future occasions.

In another major development, I've ultimately decided to explore the possibilities of a serious long-distance relationship with Janet, the very helpful lady who I met at Lake Joe. She seemed very interested in my being her boyfriend right from the start and remains so now. I was somewhat indecisive due to the distance involved. We won't be able to just go for coffee or short visits. Both of us are on ODSP and have the same financial constraints. She understands that I'm ultimately after a marriage and would prefer she moved in with me here. I want something more than just loving words. I want a life lived together with someone who respects my efforts contributing to society. Someone who doesn't negate my positive attitude or cripple my ability to be friends with and give to other people. Here in this apartment and community, I've finally begun to truly set down roots and build a life worth sharing. I'm also close to family. I doubt I'd ever get such a suitable subsidised apartment again should I leave this one. Ultimately, I suppose I'd be willing to but the level of convincing I'd need that I wouldn't be left high and dry would be formidable. Perhaps, as some people suggest, that slow build-up of confidences and conversation will lead to a relationship built on a better foundation. I'd have to eat my words and old ideas about how frought with uncertainty and anxt such relationships seem bound to be. God has certainly delighted in proving me wrong many times before. I, in turn, have typically been very delighted to be corrected. There's still a whole lot of uncertain territory to explore. However, it's high time to try something new. God knows I've tried damned near everything which seems the least bit sensible and sain to me by this stage. You'd think one of the 600 or so women more local to me would have taken me up on the long-standing offer to treet for coffee, or perhaps, on a long shot, someone from my church. But no! It's a lady from Peterborough with a learning disability who has somehow gleanned enough about me over a week in an abnormal environment to find me worth pursuing seriously. Go figure. I certainly have a good sense that our core values match up well. We're both Christians who go to church regularly. Both of us have come to terms with where society has stuck us and decided to make the best of the situation rather than spend time being bitter. We both deeply value time with our friends and the whole art of friendship. Both of us have an innate sense of responsibility to others around us and try to be helpful whenever possible. She has a good sense of humour and doesn't get all upset when teased. All that seems quite promising. However, there's still a lot of ground to cover in terms of finding common interests. When a good book absorbs me for hours at a stretch, is she going to be interested also, have her own equally absorbing amusement which bores the liver out of me, or be pulling her hair out in frustration wishing I wasn't such a damned deep thinker? How about when insomnia rouses me from bed at absurd o'clock in what can only generously be called morning? And then, of course, there's how irritable I get when writer's block sticks around for an extended visit. Having a cheerful partner who pulls me away from the keyboard and helps me engage more with the rest of life at such times would certainly be helpful there. Unlike Rebecca, there won't be any conflict between my efforts to contribute to the world despite not getting paid for it. Janet admires my drive to do what good I can with the talents and time I have. She instinctively seems to have approached her own life in much the same way. Neither of us want children so that's another big source of dissatisfaction among couples out of the way. Those are just some of the things to be explored as much as long distance allows. Due to our week at Lake Joe, I've had the chance to determine that I find her physically attractive. She certainly seems to find me to be so.

This Summer has been truly profound for me. Hard on the bank balance but very restorative to the soul. I even begin to hope that this winter won't be quite so solitary as prior ones. Even if things do spread out more evenly in the year socially speaking, I suspect that Summer will always be a more active and expensive season for me. Things really seem to be permanently changing for the better though. I have a much greater sense of starting to fit in, like I'm building a life rather than rolling around like a ball too large to ever fall into a hole.

It's now tuesday morning. Been up since around four this morning but I'm feeling pretty good despite that. Yesterday was laundry day for the most part plus some writing plus other bits of stuff. Never got out for a walk but I'll be doing that today to the Dam and back barring sudden bad weather. My legs have long since recovered from my impromptu expedition to Canada's Wonderland. In a while, I'll make myself a nice bacon and egg brunch. I've finally polished off all the pineapple and strawberries for this order of groceries so it's on to the oranges. Just for variety and in case the oranges go bad, I have some of those fruit cups in the fridge. Grocery Gateway is owned by Longo's and they're quite rightly known for their quality fresh fruit among other things. It's rare that I have to throw anything out other than potatoes.

I was very sad to hear of the death of Jack Layton yesterday. He was such a caring thoughtful man that even the prospect of a Conservative majority government didn't worry me too greatly with him leading the opposition. I've grabbed his book, Speaking Out, Ideas that Work for Canadians. The CNIB digital library had it in accessible mp3 format. I've read the beginning and think I'm in for some thought-provoking stuff. I've no doubt that he planned ahead for this eventuality and that the NDP will live up to what Canadians who voted mainly for Jack expect of them. It must be so hard on his family. He never got to enjoy retirement with them like my parents are able to do. When you've spent so much of life having empty days blend into each other, it's always a bit of a shock when time runs out on someone so deserving of more. Rest in peace, Jack. You and I were after the same sort of community-based country and world where people aren't tossed aside in the name of the bottom line.

Family will be taking centre stage in my own life over the next while. My grandmother is coming for a visit tomorrow. She'll be staying with my parents for a few days before we take her to her sister Kay in Bright Ontario. It'll be Kay's 91st birthday in early September and at some point between now and then, my Uncle Neil and Aunt Cathy will be staying with mom and dad so they can join the celebration. It's been quite a while since I've seen either of them. It'll certainly make for a very different September this year. Everything feels different and fresh these days. Different and absolutely wonderful.


JanetMarieReader21212 said...

Hi Michael Honey it's your Janet Honey & I re read what you wrote about New Friend's Unexpected Expeditions Summer Goodness & More & I was really glad that you mentioned about meeting me at the CNIB Lake Joseph Centre this summer & that you found me atractive & feel in Love with me right from the start. I also liked when you mentioned that I felt the same way about you when we met at the CNIB Lake Joseph Centre this summer & you are right Michael Honey I do feel the same way about you that you feel about me. Talk to you in two more hours Michael Honey.

Care Hugs & Love Michael Honey
Your Janet Honey

Michelle said...

Hello Michael,
When I stumbled across your blog as part of a random google search some weeks ago, I clicked on it strictly out of curiosity. I recognized your name from our very brief encounters over the years, most of which I'd venture to guess you don't recall. It's been years since we exchanged a word on the dancefloor of LJC when I was working as a counsellor about 12 years ago. Once I delved into your writings, however, I found myself reading further than I had planned. I was fascinated by all the contradictory facets of your personality that emerged in these pages. Your eternal optimism for your own life combined with what feels like deep cynicism towards the sighted community. Your moving longing for companionship juxtaposed with your obvious enthusiasm for pursuits that are inherently solitary. Your keen desire to help others with disabilities contrasted with what almost feels like disdain for fellow blind people who have had fewer struggles in the sighted world. I am such a person. I work as a journalist in Toronto, live in a fabulous apartment with my partner and guide dog, have a busy and active social life with largely sighted friends...and yet I can relate to much of what you've written here. A blind reporter was a tough sell in the rapidly evolving media world, and your attempts at self-advocacy really resonated with me. I have also known periods of social isolation and rejection which made me want to send hugs down the wire instead of words. And I too have dealt with inexpressible heartbreak over the defection of romantic partners. I admire your candour in discussing it all so publicly and have enjoyed getting to know you from a distance. This comment is my way of reciprocating, proffering a virtual handshake and encouraging you to write more. I hope your extended silence means life has been treating you well in the past several weeks!
All the best,

P.S. Another connection -- your mother was the braille assistant replacing Millicent Tuck during my brief sojourn at hollywood School in the late 80's.