Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Took the ferry in to do some writing at the downtown public library in Vancouver yesterday. It wasn't as productive as usual. Got stuck sitting beside an acquaintance on the bus ride from the terminal to downtown. He was running on about his business pitch. My eyes glazed over and I never fully recovered. My brain lacks the capacity for power tools, technology and business. Makes me not a very practical guy. Should have been a trust fund baby but, alas, that didn't work out. Now all hopes are on the lottery.

Of course, having a partner might offset my deficiencies. He could install the new light fixture that’s been sitting in my closet for two years and I could…well, I could thank him. And maybe that glaring imbalance helps explain my recent stretch at being single. What’s it been now? Six years and counting, I think.

Since February I’ve been emailing a fellow from Toronto. There seems to be some potential, but that may be because we haven’t met. He had a birthday recently and I didn’t hear from him for the next ten days. Seems being single and fortysomething put him into a funk. (I’m not a fan of birthdays. Too many of us mark it as an artificial point in time—like New Year’s—in which we reflect on growing older and what we have (not) accomplished. Reflection can be constructive, but when it hits at a time we’re supposed to feel celebratory, it can be destructive.)

When he finally resurfaced, he started opening up about feeling alone. He talked about what having a partner would mean. I especially liked his comment about two people being at a function and mixing with other people at opposite ends of the room and yet still being "together". Lovely thought. I'm a sucker for romantic comedies, even the terminally bad ones, and I even found myself watching "The Bachelorette" Monday night. (Shame.) I take comfort in knowing that others are out there (supposedly) looking for love.

When I can avoid wallowing in my single status, I am able to remind myself that there have been times when I was with a boyfriend in a crowded room and the space wasn't big enough, he couldn't be far enough away. I can remember pulling up to our house and breathing a sigh of relief when his vehicle wasn't parked out front. I recall hanging out at the UBC library until 11 p.m. closing time because the character house that I'd dreamed of no longer felt like home.

I know some couples that should no longer be together. I've sat through many a meal as the third wheel with my head down, staring intently at my mashed potatoes as they tensely discussed a trivial matter, behaving as best they could with a (reluctant) witness present.

I still long for a partner to share my life, to respect and support, to laugh with me when I bang into the cabinets (again), to console me after a bird hits the guest bedroom window—as happened this morning—and maybe even to figure out how to program my DVD—not show me, just do it for crying out loud!

At 45, there are many days when an irritating voice in my head tells me I may have missed out. Sometimes that voice from when I was 15, the one that said I nothing but a repulsive misfit, joins in and says, "I told you so." There are days when, even eating alone, it's best to just stare at my mashed potatoes. Or take the dogs for a longer walk in the trails. Or listen to En Vogue and Alanis tell off the guys that never looked my way in the first place.

Sometimes coping isn't pretty.

Fortunately, that 15-year-old voice doesn't come around much. It's probably off tormenting confused teens in a nearby high school. I no longer ask, "What's wrong with me?" Part of my being single is my own doing—my career, my isolated home environment, my inability to make eye contact with anyone I find remotely attractive. But then part of it is about things just not lining up right. I may think many of the good ones are taken, but they may be bores or brutes in their seemingly blissful longterm relationships.

I can obsess over being single. Heck, when I was 6, I thought I'd be settled down at 20. Didn't happen the way I'd planned/dreamed. My life is different. But it is what it is. I make the most of it. I can get exceedingly frustrated, but most of the time I can find something to laugh or at least smile about.

As I write this sentence, I turn and see one of my dogs, looking up and wagging his tail. It’s a reminder that to him, at least, I’m special.

1 comment:

Biswajit kalita said...

Always love ur thinking.I hope u find someone soon.