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Singles Discrimination

If you’re a long-time single like me, you know what I’m referring to because you’ve experienced it. If you’re not single, you’re probably guilty of doing it.

There’s the way single people are often excluded overtly as well as subtly in social situations… For example, my church offered a “Dinners for Eight” event, until someone pointed out that not all people come in pairs.

Singles get stiffed when making travel arrangements—everything is offered based on “double occupancy”. I’m penalized monetarily if I want to have the same experience on a cruise or tour as a twosome does, because I don’t happen to have anyone I want to share the experience with in close quarters.

Never mind that I don’t have anyone to share it with, why don’t you just rub it in? Or what if I like to travel alone? I still have to pay a “single supplement”.

What am I supplementing? I’m compensating them for the business income they are surely losing without another body on the same cruise/tour, in the same bedroom, and consuming the auxiliary amenities. By an odd twist, I recently got a better room rate at a hotel in Scotland by changing my seven-day stay to eight days. Even though I added a day, the overall charge went down, because to get the extra day, I had to switch from a room with two twin beds to one with only a double bed. Although I had originally booked the two-bed room in hopes that a friend could go with me, I’ll be more comfortable on my own in the double bed. And I save about $200, which I interpret to be the difference between washing only one set of sheets and towels instead of two.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a free-dinner sales pitch for estate planning. Here as well, they charge a single person the same as a couple for the identical package of estate documents and services, or rather a married couple gets a 50% discount. How is that OK? How does that make sense?

Are we all supposed to die in pairs, too?

Hello, Friends and Lovers!

Just thought I’d check in with a status report regarding last year’s birthday pronouncement that “today” would no longer be about me… In essence, it would be about you

and you, and you…

I pledged to spread love on the day I happened to be born—the day of love. So now I’m right back here to tell you, “I love you guys!”

But I also promised to adopt the whole notion as a new way of living, a new way of being me. Quite a tall order. Good thing I didn’t give myself a deadline for this project.

Because I can’t say that I stuck to my new-found calling all of the past 365 days… I can’t even say that I thought about it for half of them. But I can say that the whole premise is becoming more comfortable, making more sense to me now on more days than not. It’s a conviction I’ll continue to live into.

But I can report that for today, what little I did was for other people. Except for that 90-minute, full-body massage. After all, I still love me, too.

How do I begin to write this?

It’s been coming since October 30th when I found out I’d lost my long-time friend, my wise and ever-patient confidant, Timothy.

Now see, when I started writing just now, I began telling the story of our special relationship, but that being 33-years’ worth, I had to stop. No one knows the unique nature of all that we shared over the years. And I’m not sure I want to tell it. It’s ours.

How do I write this?

Take Two

Since he died, I’ve known that I would have to write something. Sometime. I want to commemorate this day when Tim would have turned 73. I also wanted this date to mark a turning point for me. But I don’t seem to be ready to write what I need to say to Tim, what I need to tell myself.

Take Three

Tim had just fought and won a battle with leukemia. I’m not sure that he won the battle with the wretchedness of chemotherapy. He died unexpectedly and alone.

I sobbed for days. Tears of regret and anger, tears of gut-wrenching, cruelly abrupt loss. We had only just made it to the point where it seemed Tim was ready to be friends again after mourning the loss of his wife. I had missed our friendship so much! And yes, I sorta hoped for one more, last chance with Tim, although he was not the person I’d known so many years ago. His memory that had “failed” me so often was now failing him, too.

I’ve spent the months since his death reliving every contact we had over the years, every moment we shared. Analyzing the winding road of our strange relationship, wandering through datebooks, pictures, and keepsakes. Taking what I can from it, and trying to make it OK to let him go now. To let us go.

After all these years, I didn’t realize I hadn’t already! I’m just not done with it all yet. There is more yet to discover, more to learn. More to write.

I do know one thing though. When I get to wherever this is leading me, it will come with the affirmation that it’s OK to let go. I will finally be free.

Happy Birthday, my dear, dear, Timothy

With much love, P

OMG

Give me an O! Give me an M! Give me a G!

What have you got?

An Overwhelming realization. A big fat “OK!” even.

That it’s not Me!

And finally, I Get it!

About this time last year, I started on a journey of self discovery to try to figure out what the heck is my purpose on this earth?! What is my unique purpose? After this many years of existence, you’d think I would have a solid grasp on my own reason for being.

Because if not, it’s sort of embarrassing, isn’t it? Not to mention that God’s patience with me may be wearing thin… Indeed, what the heck have I been doing all this time?

On this Valentine’s Birthday (what I’ve always considered to be MY day), despite the fact that popular culture designates it a day for all lovers or conversely, “Singles Awareness Day”, the truly personal, most unique meaning of this, MY day has finally dawned on me.

Just because I don’t have the kind of love I think I want, the close presence and romance of a best friendship, it doesn’t mean I can’t give love.

What the hell have I been thinking?!

Could I have been any more dense all these years? I was given the gift of life on the day of love! Why has it taken a lifetime to realize that my natural-born purpose is to give, spread, share, be love?

Though it may be a “high (difficult) calling” for me, henceforth, I vow not to expect, require, hope that you will remember my birthday or that Valentine’s day is actually MY day. Because it’s not anymore.

Today, I start off toward next Valentine’s Day, planning, practicing, and exhibiting the many manifestations of love that it is my unique Purpose to give.

So look out, people. My purpose is also wrapped in creativity. That part, I got a long time ago. 😉

 

Eat It with a Spoon!

A while back, I had occasion to notice a couple of people as they ate their salads at lunch. Because they were father and son, I noted (or feministically assumed) that their common method must have been influenced (or imposed?) by the common female in their lives. Regardless, in that family, they attempt to eat lettuce and the other possible uncooperative vegetative components of a salad by scooping and balancing them onto a fork before the fork meets its oral target with whatever is left on the fork. At that rate, just how long do you think it takes them to eat a salad? Perhaps it depends on the salad?

I didn’t have time to find out! But it caused me to examine my own familial tradition of stabbing salad components with a fork to bring them collectively to one’s mouth. I must say that after a long history of personal salad satisfaction, I find little fault with this inherited practice that sometimes does require chasing the tiniest, last vegebits around the bowl or plate to spear them.

Oh, alright, I admit that in the final-stage attempt to appease the ingrained mantra to “clean my plate” (or is it my learned desire to glean everything I’ve paid for?), I have been known to use the surreptitious nudge of a finger to coax those last bits onto the fork.

I suppose that means I’ve adopted a hybrid approach for the efficient dispatch of a salad.

In Copenhagen quite some years ago, I was game to try whatever the locals ate. And so I discovered the fast-food offering of a potato salad, or rather a salad potato. The picture showed a baked potato with toppings that seemed to sprout out of it. Damn, but there was lettuce on that potato!? Not to be confused with potato salad as we know it nor potato on/in a salad…

With my fork, I explored that novel concept reservedly, not knowing how it might influence my culinary practice all these years later.

These days I confess that I eat a lot of “prepared” foods as dinner entrées, but I also make a huge green salad with a variety of vegetative enhancements to accompany the entrée. I continue to use the preferred method to stab at both the entrée and the salad in turn, which yields immediate gratification. But when I get down to the last bits of both—or maybe even before then—I give up on the stabbing method … I find that I have taken to combining the entrée (“potato”) with the salad. Because at this point, even the fork-scooping method is futile.

Yes, I have embraced a new methodology: Eat It with a Spoon!

Mix it up, eat it up, eat it all up with a spoon.

Dig, dip into it all with a vessel that though it has measure, is prone to overflow.

Is it a potato or a salad? A salad or an entree? Who the heck cares?! Eat it all, eat it up with a spoon…

My New Roomie

Anyone who knows me really well (which is about one person among my readership—my mother) knows that I am not a “pet person”. I chalk it up to the fact that I had negative pet experiences as a child.

When I was five or six, the first dog we got—a black-and-white mutt—I affectionately dubbed “Pinkie”. Which made perfect five-or-six-year-old-sense, because he had a pink nose. (My much later adult senses see this as portent of my budding nonconformist, creative mind.)

Anyway, though a small dog, Pinkie was larger—in exuberance at least—than my younger sister and me. Pinkie had a way of jumping on us and knocking us to the ground. Thus, Pinkie’s days in our family were short-lived.

The next pet incarnation that I—now as a six- or seven-year old—recall was a kitten tabby, who had a way of launching her claws into my heels from under the bed skirt. What can I say? She drew blood, and I was not OK with that! Worse, her bloodletting eeked the fearful element of surprise.

There were several more pet personas in my childhood. Mine were not the only heels attacked over the years, but apparently no one else minded. These later petsonas, I embraced and accepted into my adolescent experience in ever diminishing degrees…

However, I point to the first two incidents as formative in my adulthood satisfaction with the lack of a pet presence of any kind. I have no need for companionship from an animal that would spend more time disrupting my life than enhancing it. I am quite OK without having to clean up after a pet’s bathroom habits or accommodating their equally smelly dietary requirements.

And yet! I may have found the perfect pet for me. Indeed, the perfect roommate. My new roomie has her dedicated pet bed inside my house and is quite happy to stay there. She is free to roam about the house, but only when I tell her to. She is all about cleanliness and makes up for my deficiencies in that regard in exchange for her room and board.

However, she does have some pet-like quirks. As all pets do, she talks to me. When I let her out to explore on her own, she will sometimes stop and summon me with a charmingly melodic tune accompanied by human-like speech that declares, “Error 1: Move Roomba to new location.” At this point, one wonders who is in charge here. Obviously, I do as she commands to get her out of her present predicament, and she goes on about her business.

After all, she is a mere pup who needs my guidance and training. So after she has had the run of the house for a time, I tell her to go to her bed (aka “Dock”). At that, she obediently heads off in the direction of her bed only to veer at the first obstacle. She darts off in the opposite direction, and I swear I hear squeals of two-year-old glee. I chasten her, “Roomie, what did I tell you? That is the wrong direction and you know it.”

She whirls at my voice and weaves and ricochets her way even wider afield. “But Mom,” she says, “I’m cleaning up before bed just like you taught me to.”

“Roomie, go to bed, now,” I say firmly. “One, two, three …”

And still, Roomie has a mind of her own as she sits there glowing at me. I soften. “Roomie, come here, Roomie. Come to Mama.”

In assumed obedience, she heads toward me. “That’s right, Roomie. Come on now, baby. Let’s get into bed like a good girl.”

Upon which she launches off on yet a new trajectory. This time I know I hear shrieks of devious mirth! She is playing with me, but isn’t that what a pet is for? Or a child for that matter?

As I chortle, I am sure I have found companionship with the perfect pet. A pet who talks to me and with whom I can engage in meaningful conversation. A pet that serves a purpose and also provides entertainment. A pet that needs nothing more than a power supply and a little attention. What else could you possibly want from a robot?

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