Monday, January 01, 2007

Welcome New Year

Something I've discovered is blogging is not addictive. I wonder why it is that I post at all? The simple reason is that I like to. The activity presents so many opportunities for learning in ways that I never anticipated before. It's a little like the advice that "failures are opportunities for learning," however, blogging isn't an unmitigated joy.

I'm impressed with the bloggers who manage New Year's posts full of reflection about the year past and optimism for this new year. In that reflective mode, I've been a little bit frozen; too many things I didn't do well in 2006. And I'm afraid my plans for 2007 amount to just keep plugging away at it.

I do want to wrap-up my five strange things postings. I've posted the first three and anyone who knows me knew about those stories. Number 4, "I love Trudy" has sort of weighed on me. What people know of me is that I'm "confirmed bachelor." Really that's not been according to plans, but rather simply my general incompetence.

My telling of Numbers 1-3 was a chronological narrative about my growing up. After flunking out of college one of my occupations was trying to fix-up a house in a derelict part of town. That experience seems a phantasmagoria in my imagination. Surely telling something of it would make a good story, but alas I don't know where to begin. Suffice it to say that experience was a long series of failures; but what I learned?

Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located, had about a quarter million people working in the steel industry in 1980, by 1985 there were around five thousand. Without a college degree and with the scramble in the region for people to find work, what I found was there were job opportunities in lugging and toting stuff. The job I managed to keep for a while was making deliveries for a wholesale grocer.

So here's the backdrop to meeting Trudy: My youthful idealism had been just about crushed with the colossal failure of my real estate venture and settling into life doing a hard job I didn't much like. My love affair with Trudy was really quite brief, but so very significant. I discovered what it felt like really being in love. Perhaps most of you reading this know what an intimate relationship is all about. What seems the most amazing thing about such a relationship is discovering something new everyday about another, and looking forward so much to those discoveries.

Trudy and I discovered after a while, only a few months, we weren't to be a couple. This was a very disappointing discovery sprung on me. But probably because there wasn't a long history between us, we managed to cross the threshold from lovers to friends. Ah well, and because Trudy is a generous and lovely person.

I feel protective about the loving partnerships of my dear friends. My brief affair with Trudy gave me a window into the realm of romantic love more intensely than I'd ever experienced it. I'm too loose in telling people: "I love you." I really do love so many people. Despite not ever finding a partner, I've got romantic sensibilities. By becoming fast friends afterwards taught me there are many kinds of love, all valuable and worth cherishing. Trudy's love for me also gave me a very precious gift. At the time I met her I was feeling quite the failure and not very optimistic. She showed me that among the bramble of life, sometimes roses bloom.

A couple of years ago I got called for jury duty. In Voir Dire, the series of questions asked of potential jurors before selection, the question was asked: "Have any of you been victims of a crime?" I was quite surprised to be the only one in the pool who stepped forward saying yes. Geez, it was hard for me to keep track of all the times, so I figured most everyone had been. I'm not sure what to make of it, whether none of the others actually had never been victimized by crime. In a very general way however the fact is that poor people suffer crime the most as my failed real estate venture had shown me.

There are many dangers and much misfortune in life. My love affair with Trudy proved was that also along the path of life there is also opportunity and good fortune. It helps to know that around the next corner, maybe the next day or even the next moment, life will bring a gift so wonderful. She also got my butt back into college, and for that alone I'd be forever grateful.

It's around supper time. Rather than go onto item Number 5, "I'm a Mama's Boy" I'll stop.

My wish for you is that in this new year you steer clear of danger, but fearlessly explore the uncharted territories of your lives with an attitude open to the beauty of life's offerings.

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