Monday, September 28, 2009


It’s the morning after The Great Snub, aka The Grand Shunning. All is calm on the river. A band of cloud cover appears to rest on the water just behind the small island that I grew up calling Big Island. As I type this, the honking of a flock of Canada geese distracts me. They’ve been journeying overhead for a week or two now. This band seems to be flying in the wrong direction and makes a descent. I follow them with my binoculars. They skim the water for a minute before landing just to the left of the island. It’s a retreat to the familiar, I presume.

Last night I caught a television airing of “Last Chance Harvey” starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. The actors play single characters, him divorced, her never married. For the first half hour, they experience rejection and isolation concurrently. His appearance as father of the bride at the rehearsal dinner and her encounter on a blind date are devastating. There was a moment when I could not help but utter “Brutal” aloud. Alone, each has to quietly suffer the indignity and somehow keep going.

The movie was brilliant, the actors as amazing as they’ve ever been. However, coming on the same day as The Great Snub, it was hard to take. After so many rounds of disappointment, how do you retain hope? Or do you simply expect to be let down? Isn’t that safer? Remaining positive in my twenties was enough of a struggle. How do I muster the feeling twenty years later after so many more defeats?

I know that resilience is key when facing any kind of struggle. Unfortunately, there are times when it feels hollow. And that’s when self-pity seeps in. I keep trying to put a new spin on things, looking for a new approach. Online dating. A gay running group. Looking in an entirely new city. A critic—likely someone well settled in a relationship (or my mother)—would say I’m not putting myself out there enough in each situation or I’m thinking about it too much. I don’t find much constructive in that kind of feedback. It’s ignorant and insensitive considering that I’ve gone so many years without affection.

As I walked the dogs this morning, I thought about hope and how to maintain or retain it. As soon as I turned on my laptop, I searched my blog entries for the word. It only appears twice and only once with respect to myself. Diminished by the word preceding it. Faint hope. Ouch.

I will rebound. Keep going to the gym and taking care of myself. Continue enjoying the quiet moments of my life. For the moment, I need to find my own retreat to something comforting and familiar. Music? Another walk with the dogs?

Maybe pancakes. With lots of syrup.

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