Gazette About Books Archives
The Thaddeus Gazette

Getting Engaged

It's time to quash the rumors, end the whispering and speculation that has run like wildfire through the Thaddeus Gazette community: I'm not dead, incapacitated or in prison. It's worse. I'm engaged.

No, it didn't occur just like that. How long has it been since I've posted, three months? A lot can happen in a season — remember your first year of college? It's been right exciting round these parts this summer, and the Big Heat wasn't a patch on the weather in my heart.

Losing a life partner of 30 years is your basic radical amputation even if all you ever did together was watch tv. For me it was worse — my business partner retired, my roommate moved out, my hot girlfriend dumped me, my wise and sagacious counselor closed her practice, my best friend left town and my caregiving contract expired. For the first six months of my bereavement I was on autopilot — stuff got done but there was nobody running the board.

Long about half past Yule rat, though, a breath of defrosting wafted through the Frigidaire of my soul. I had bestirred myself sufficiently to clean up my house in the wake of Rodant The Scuttling Monster and even started in on the back yard. While hacking away on the tree platform, it occurred to me to ask what the heck I was doing this for. The answer came in the form of tiny early-adopter birds, industriously flitting amongst the bushes with stuff in their beaks, scouting the desirable building sites. I was nesting.

Sometimes the intuitive sciences are hard to explicate in words — that's why they're intuitive, after all. The confluence of imagination, pattern-recognition and metaphorical cognition that goes into astrological interpretation or casting a decent spell doesn't always submit to logic-chopping. Like a poem or a musical composition or a painting, the process of woowoo is already in its most succinct and expressive form, and any attempt to pry it apart with the nut-pick of analysis leaves you with a lot of shell-shards and not much meat.

Even so, I think I can unpack some of the terms of the working I did over the winter and spring, born of loneliness and an overwhelming desire for intimacy. It was a period in which I began to let go of my recent past and attempt to look forward, personally and artistically. I was clearing land for a garden in my back yard, simplifying and distilling my personal musical style, cleaning up and throwing away the accumulated detritus of thirty years of previous marriage. Whether I considered it rationally or not, I was making space, in my life and in my heart.

My musical repertoire moved away from "There Will Never Be Another You" towards "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" and "Someone To Watch Over Me." And I finished writing a song that I'd begun several years earlier, "The Art Of The Possible," with references to evicting the elephant in the room and going out for coffee.

All this went on without my conscious intervention. Superficially, I was living alone and liking it. One look at the Craigslist personals was enough to convince me that the contemporary world of, um, personal relationships was a staggering quagmire of truly epic proportions that I'd be maximally insane to even dip my merest tippy-toe into. Besides, I wasn't particularly crushing on anyone I knew, and I was never any good at drive-by's, even before I was married.

I was doing fine, or so I thought. Then I broke the cardinal rule of the service industry and got funky with a client.

Oh yeah, office romance, the old story. Actually, it was the real old story: when the right one comes along, you know. Ada (long first "a", rhymes with "play") was another veteran of the spiritual philosophy wars, a self proclaimed "unorthodox Jew" who also read tarot and taught yoga, an RN and masters-prepared nursing instructor (who could make twice as much working part-time as I do all year — with benefits), a jeweler and textile artist, an aficionado of SF who used to attend cons and a goof with a collection of Barbie dolls she used to conduct orgies, looking for technical support starting a side business she described as "teaching adults to play." Oh, and she had a red ragtop sports car.

I mean, really — did I run a psychic personals ad? "Fit, secure, generous older gentleman seeks hot younger yoga instructor with red convertible. Please send photo of red convertible." And then when it got answered, what was I supposed to do — say no?

It was clear from our first phone conversation (she contacted me at the instigation of another client who described me as running "a funky little recording studio" in my home — ah, word of mouth...) that, all discussion of guided meditation CDs aside, we kinda li-i-iked each other. And when she came out in the middle of the evening to continue the conversation, I had to work pretty hard to gently shove her out the door at 11 pm. For the next few weeks we skirted and flirted around before I finally gave in and cooperated with the inevitable.

In the throes of Big Love we almost tried to repeat history and get married immediately. Partly, Ada wanted me on her health insurance. But (slightly) saner heads prevailed and we decided to have an extended engagement instead, long enough to be sure that one or the other of us wasn't paralytically allergic to this or that quirk or baggage. Despite her not being a musician and possessing a greyhound, despite my being a musician and not normally open to dogs, despite her and my mood swings and economic vicissitudes, the whole affair seems to be chugging along quite effectively.

Truthfully, we're swell together. We even bond over power tools, of all things. The other day I introduced her to the joys of the pneumatic nail gun. Her response? "Cool!"

That's my girl.

Gazette | About | Books | Archives |