Saturday, August 23, 2014

Silencing the alarms

The call had come in around two am the other week, the ladies at the house were PISSED. The upstairs fire alarm had gone off-it's hardwired into the house--and woken them both up, and they did everything but rip the sucker out of the ceiling. It was 20 years old. It had died---sounding an alarm. Well, they killed it. And I was out at the house last weekend trying to install replacements. Without success. This was not like putting in a ceiling fan! But today, a workman came out, fixed the flickering light in D2's bedroom, and installed all the new fire alarms. Then had drinks with the husband of another couple in the neighborhood who's wife is going through chemo for cancer. He needed a break. Then back into town. The Mrs. and I had talked. Talked about D1 and the drama after the theater last weekend. About us. She loves me. She wants me in her life. I love her. Uh, I'm gay. She is still seeing Chris, though she does not talk about it with me. But as of this evening, I don't hate myself anymore. Hate myself for not being able to be something other than what I have been all along. Hate myself for impacting the lives of the ones I love so dearly. Hate myself for somehow failing to live up to the conventions I was raised with. I'm good now. For better or worse, in their own unique ways, the three love me. And in some odd way the alarms of life gone awry have been silenced.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hum drum

Back from Savannah, had trial this morning. Long drive back, several hours at the office. Took a lot of work home, been working on Friday's trial all evening. Bushed. Haven't heard word one from Daughter #1. Daughter #2 is going to try to settle her lawsuit against the woman who hit her 2 1/2 yrs ago. Contractors due in in the morning to repair the damage to the 2d BR of the condo done by a guest (OK, OK, we all make mistakes in houseguests, don't we? After all, Franklin is the one who said that fish and guests smell after three days, but after three days they do damage). This week we finally get summer here in Atlanta--mid-90's all week. At last! Been an uncomfortably out-of-sorts summer, weather-wise. Too much rain from storms, no normal heat. Going back to the theatre Friday evening w/wife and Daughter #2 to see the play again. Life lurches into perspective, and today was a very good day.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A night at the theatre

Well, we were all going down to the Shakespeare tavern to take in THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE--ABRIDGED, a riotous presentation of all of Shakespeare's works. The authors had a few years updated the script to make it more relevant to today's world. Well, what actually happened to us was horribly WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF. Daughter #2 refused to come because Daughter #1 was there. When the wife and I got there, we scarfed ten seats, sprinkled out between four tables. We were seated at the rear one. Daughter #1 arrived with her entourage of friends, and Son-In-Law hussled over to me, somewhat inebriated already, and said that it would be OK if it got out about our 'situation' because their friends were real cool and it wouldn't bother them. I asked what he meant about 'our situation.' Oh--the fact that I'm gay, my wife and I are separated? Why would that ever come up, I asked. He repeated what he said the first time, and I replied that I didn't understand, that there would be no reason for our personal domestic situation to even come up with these 'cool' people I'd never laid eyes on before this evening. The play started. But the real drama didn't start 'til Intermission. I was out on the back patio of the theatre smoking a cigarette (yes! I started back after 20 years! My bad!) and Daughter #1 came out distressed. She was acting that odd way she's gotten over the last two years. She was exhausted, taking care of the diabetic daughter, the race for a promotion at work, and the fact that her second husband had turned out to be a clone of the first. She started crying. I asked her if she wanted to go home. She said yes. We went inside, the wife helped her out of the theatre. I was gathering our things and hers, could not find the husband. Finally he appeared, I told him what was going on, he needed to stay with his guests & we could take Daughter #1 home. He never heard. He asked again what was going on. And again. And again. Same question, drunk. I finally raised my voice and said what part of she is sick and needs to go home, she's outside, and you need to stay with your guests. I then turned and left. By the time we got to the car, Daughter #1 was changing, changing into a person I didn't recognize or trust. As we got onto the highway for the long drive back into Buford where they lived, comes this voice: "Can we talk about the elephant?" What elephant, the wife asked. I think, I said, she means me. And then the real play started. We'd skirted around the subject for five years now and it was time to deal with it, Daughter #1 said. And she proceeded to try to ream her mother a new one. Now, I've felt for quite a while now that the two of them should be locked in a room for a day or two and not let out until they'd yelled and screamed and worked out their differences. Now, I was trapped in that room, a speeding car going down the expressway. Her mother shouldn't be in the house, she should move out and be in a little flat with two rooms. She needed to get a grip on things. Bitch and whore and all kinds of words she never ever heard from me started to come out of the girl's mouth. Her mother at long last stopped trying to argue rationally and the same words came out of hers. Well, I was the turd in the punchbowl that caused all this. Nothing was spared. Yes, Daughter #1 had told all our friends. And the wife's family. And my gay cousin (which means everybody now knows it). The wife and I have told one friend, and to all the rest of the world the story is that I stay intown due to work requirements and its regrettable but that's the way it is. And that story line has been there all this time because that's what the wife wanted. We pulled off the highway and into a parking lot and the two continued to go at it. Daughter #1 kept trying to exit the car and I physically restrained her because I knew she would run off. My god, and this is a 32 year old woman! On and on it went. We got back on the expressway and rocked onwards to Buford with epithets and accusations and screams and anger and finally the Mrs. lost it totally and talked about what it was like when a husband of over three decades comes out the closet and that explains the lack of physical interest beginning ages ago, that he had known all along, deceived everyone and everyone would question she knew, she knew all along, how could she not know, how could she have accepted, when she never knew from day one. Like I say, turd in the punchbowl. By the time we exited the expressway, there was exhaustion. And silence. I said, "Well, other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?" There was a snicker or two. More silence. And then Daughter #1 reignited the whole thing. Daughter #1 accused her of abandoning the grandchild, not having anything to do with her and we both countered with the fact that Daughter #1 had been using the kid as a weapon, deliberately keeping her from us. And it went on and on and on. A laundry list of slights and hurt and frustration and depression. Look. Nobody's innocent here. I'm gay. I came out. The Mrs.--my best friend--went into outer space. Once the leukemia struck, and then was conquered, she went out and found 'Chris'. That was three years ago. I moved out a year ago when she kept flouting Chris in my face. It's not that I'd been catting around; she'd been playing me and getting back. So we at length pulled up at the house. Daughter #1 got out, disappeared. I stayed overnight at our house at the urging of Daughter #1 and the wife, rather than having someone drive me back into town. The three of us stayed on the deck until after 2 a.m. talking about our collective situation. And so that's how The Complete Works of William Shakespeare--Abridged turned into a slasher flic.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Currents

August descends. The weather has been a little odd so far, with plenty of rain but in massive thundershowers which dump inches of water at a time. It has turned autumn-cool. I wonder if the coming winter will be harsh. The Mrs. continues to see her boyfriend, and the prospect of any type of reconciliation (were such possible)has dwindled. I stay permanently here in a mid-town condo, just signed a renewal of the lease. I'm through with the "Early Golden Girls" d├ęcor put together with the hand-me-down furniture and loans from the kids. I'm not running from the situation anymore, living in a self-made homeless shelter. I'm settling in, now, and am prepared to go forward from here. I'm just one of those people for whom it takes much longer to grasp a situation, assess it, and assimilate it. We're out there--we are not few in number. It just takes us a little longer than most folks. Work goes apace. It is no longer a refuge from a situation which was unbearable. Now, it's a job. And I no longer allow it to control me. I had a houseguest I threw out last week. Guy down on his luck, just needed some breathing space to get his act together and get his life straightened out. Well, eight months later there's no progress on that, but when I learned how much damage he'd done to his part of the place, there was just no excuse. I threw him out. Freeloader, mooch, user . . . all are terms others use. I just call it inexcusable acceptance of charity. So I sit here now, in a quiet place, nothing suddenly missing or used up or disappeared (or sold out from under me). Kinda nice.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Daddies and their kids

I'm there in the courtroom, my newbie about to try his first case. It's simple, he's done enough depositions by now and even done direct examination on a witness already in one of my team's attorney's cases. So he's ready. I've prepped him. I'm an ever watchful parent. Opposing counsel arrives, a little older than me, accompanied by his daughter, who's going to be trying--he's decided--her first case, too. And they sit at the other lawyer's table, and he's fussing over her and the exhibits like a dad seeing his daughter go off on her first date. The judge--who's as old as we are and before whom we've litigated for decades--makes the comment (laughingly) that the two of us should go somewhere. As I realize that I'm fussing over exhibits and such just like opposing counsel is, I decide to do the right thing. I walked over to the other lawyer and invited him out for coffee, encouraged him. A little befuddled, he put the exhibits down and as the two newbies stared in grateful shock, I waved to them both. And we exited. Time to leave the kids alone. It was the right decision. He and I had a nice cup of coffee together across from the courtroom, and after a bit I got a text from my newbie that it was over and where was I? My companion and I crossed the street, got our baby lawyers, and went on our respective ways. And as I drove my guy and I back to Atlanta to the office, I turned to him and said, "You're welcome." He just grinned.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April Tides

It was a long winter. Work was grueling and taxing. The Christmas holidays were overwhelming with bitter sadness over family matters. The combination led me to resume smoking after having quit twenty years ago. But in muddling through things, I have at length come into my own. I understand that what was before, is now foreclosed. All things must be made new again. I'm starting out new, without obligations . . . other than work. And all this got worked out while watching a dress rehearsal of Macbeth which opens tomorrow night in Atlanta. Good grief, I think I've got problems. So much death and mayhem and madness. But the production did one scene which lifted me out of my chair in perverse horror: Lady Macbeth's death. Oh, for generations, this scene is played by Macbeth looking at a candle, lamenting his wife's passing: "she should have died hereafter; there would have been a time for such a thing. Out, out brief candle. Life's but a flickering shadow, a poor player which struts and frets its time upon the stage and then is heard no more. A tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." But what happened on stage was this: maid comes out and announces the queen is dead. Macbeth in open grief, then filled with rage. advances on the maid, grabs her throat with his right hand and lifts her off the floor. He slings her onto the floor, kneels down and with that right hand strangles her. As she struggles pointlessly, he looks up and off to the left, saying calmly, "she should have died hereafter; there would have been a time for such a thing." The writhing beneath his right hand subsides. He turn and looks down to the right at the dead maid, slowly removing his and hand gesturing over her body: "out, out brief candle....life is but a flickering shadow....." as he slowly rises looking at the body nonchalantly. Wow.