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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

War Path/Strip Away The Artifice

Tuesday and challenges abound.  First off everything about my new office needs getting used to. I'm not settled and that is unsettling. Typing on the new left handed keyboard which is more compressed than I'm used to - disconcerting.  Mousing with my left hand -  makes me feel mentally challenged. Too much gear on my desk - no place to write. Files and files to go through. Yesterday I purged all old employee files, looking for anything with a social security number or private information - plucked those pages and middle of summer found me stoking a fire in the fireplace, burning all that sensitive information. Neighbors must have thought I was loony to have a fire going during a heat spell. To say I'm crabby would be a huge understatement.

When our infrastructure isn't right, it's crazy making, right? I'm on the warpath and taking it out on everyone, including the animals. The cat has decided it's his thing to scream at the door to go outside - over and over and over again so that you want to twist his neck. Solution? Water bottle. I'll break the little fucker of the habit and enjoy myself in the process - he yells, I chase him down with water in his face. Joey has decided he belongs tangled at my feet under my desk with all the wires. Then, when something spooks him (he's easily spooked) like Shay standing in the doorway, he scrambles, getting himself further tangled and next thing the mouse cord is stuck on his collar and the trackball is being flung across the room, while the other cat decides to get in the fray and beat him around the head. I yell. He pees in fear while I drag him to the outside, feeling like an angry shit the whole time. The new phone rings loudly and incessantly - haven't figured out yet how to turn off the ringer and really, shouldn't I be answering the company main number? But really, it's always some old coot looking for Evanston Hospital. It's all I can do to not yell at the people who dial wrong, berate them for calling the wrong number.  I stop short of abuse knowing they probably have a sick loved one. And then there's the Landmark Forum who calls over and over again, wanting to talk with me and prep me for the upcoming seminar.  I don't want to talk with them so I just keep hanging up which makes them call twice as much. I think it's time for the shooting range again.

And today, Kaveh, which was just what the doctor ordered - oh, wait, he IS the doctor. Ran the whole hypnosis idea by him - he listened patiently and then told me, "no."  He gets to do that - veto me as he sees appropriate. I told him it had been too long - a year has elapsed - that I want to be free of the sadness, just cut it out of me. "A lobotomy, it seems, would be in order," he suggested. "Yeah," I agreed, "a lobotomy would be just the ticket." All kidding aside, he tells me I'm  doing great - the relationship, which was one of the most important of my life, has made me a better person. He tells me a year is not too long to grieve for such a loss. And the loss, he tells me, is about more than just Patrick - it's the love of a good man - something I never experienced despite the three fathers (Kaveh aside). Bottom line, I'm forbidden to cleanse my mind of him - apparently I'm doing better than it feels.

Last night, interesting evening at Petterino's - found me hobnobbing with socialites. I was invited to sit at the table of prominent regulars and I was shocked they intended to buy my dinner - I put up a serious fuss and was shut down - there would be no negotiation on that point. Uneasy, I graciously accepted - I'm used to paying my own way in the world. Then the next table over, a well known socialite and her new fiancee - their table is always reserved just for them whether they show up or not - if they don't show it remains empty. The buzz of the evening was excitement over her engagement ring. She showed it to me - I am not exaggerating a tiny bit when I tell you it was a ruby the size of a silver dollar - not a quarter, a silver dollar. And it was circled by large diamonds. I didn't know what to say - didn't know what one is supposed to say when confronted by such a display so I told her she needed an armed guard to accompany her wherever she went.  Her response was to demonstrate her solution by flipping the ruby around so it looked like a simple band of gold -how she wore it when out in the general population. 

Today, thoughts about her and what appears to be a recurring theme - lives of the rich and famous - remember last week - the philanthropist? This week it was my wealthy benefactors who bought me dinner and my new socialite acquaintance. Doesn't it seem almost cliche - the stuff life dishes you up? Lately I've been writing about embracing a simpler, pared down life. I've been excavating years of possessions, getting rid of 9/10ths of what I own. Therapy has taught me to strip away the artifice, to discover what's really important.  Feels like I'm living a really good book that starts out rough, the heroine hits a wall and discovers her own truths and then after a lot of soul searching and pain emerges wiser and happier - an arc worth living.

And if such a book were written, there would surely be a chapter where the heroine was faced with a crossroads - one path glittering and superficial and the other more plain but hugely more gratifying. So do I aspire to have a driver and a Rolls Royce a doting, dottering fiance, a ruby as large as a golf ball, so many horses I've lost count? Is it sour grapes when I say that stuff doesn't matter to me? Absolutely not. I'm seeing these people up close and they're not looking so very happy to me.

Challenge today is thinking about how you feel about wealth, status and stuff. If you're my friend and reading this blog, I know you are a person of substance - all my friends are. Real substance, not stuff substance. Fun to think about winning the lottery, having a different fur coat for each day of the week, a wine cave like my friend George, driving a car that makes girls swoon. Or maybe you would buy a Monet and have front row tickets to the opera. However you slice it, there is a cautionary tale there. Thinking if we want to get to the yummy chocolate center of our lives, we have to get past all the sugary layers.


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