After the staff holiday party, held at Fogo De Chao and the metro ride back to my own part of town away from the relative sky-scrapers on a cold day, a nap to work off the small amount of wine ingested, I stare off into space. Mom could not take the cat in because of a blizzard. I didn't have much to say in therapy. We talked about maybe trying on-line dating.
Work defines one more and more. It is a practical world, and adults have made their choices. Harder to meet people when you get older, and it wasn't ever easy, because I've never fully been my job in the way most people are.
I made it down to Bar Pilar after my shift, Sunday night. There were industry people there, one an old friend back to Austin Grill days. Bartenders, just about all male. I have four glasses of wine, ride home into the wind, home by the time the depth charge takes effect, and I'm a bit bleary eyed before my kind therapist. They'd replaced a 12.5% Chianti with a 14% Nero D'Avola. I blend into the background. What am I doing here, but exorcising some angst about the coming holiday party. When I wake up there's evidence I've been on Facebook and eaten a hamburger, not clearly remembered.
The young prince has aged. Maybe that's the essence of Hamlet. You hit middle age. You lose your father. Not everyone is on your side, the teams of life having been picked. Your old friendships carry on as legacies of earlier times. You still can't make up your mind about things. You bear your scars, that's all you can do.
By the end of the party and home, I felt little happiness. The sense falls over me of a complete lack of accomplishment. Nothing to show for twenty five years work. Is there ever any thing as human happiness? I go out into the night for some groceries, Chinese carry-out for dinner. Feeling depressed, feeling alone.
I review something I've written, and it too is as untrue as it is true, a matter of relativity, of perspective, of standards, of incredibly complex issues, though still, one would praise the spirit of kindness in all things, even as that is impractical. You can try to write something, but that it could offer the final word is not so solid an idea.. The wine...
They let them into Amherst, and they were, soon enough, the cop, the guard dog, the lawyer. And then everyone was like that. Out to be accusatory. Say one more word to her... Leave her alone...
I think of the competitive quality, men and women fighting over the same turf, the professions. A trick played by a politician, Reagan perhaps, when he cut the support systems for the family and the poor, an ongoing spreading catastrophe of wrong-mindedness in the face of spirituality, and yet, Reagan is so revered, a substitute for God for a lot of people.
The wine at Pilar was slurped down for the wrong reasons. A trying to justify the business, an attempt to placate it, to think I fit in with it, that it would offer true friendships in its guild. Wine to let me slink my way, a weary soldier, down to the old staff luncheon with open wine and slices of meat. I like my wine medicinally, when I'm home alone and need some energy to do the laundry and the dishes, take the trash out, sort paper on the desk, keep the recycling intentions.
I sit with the two chefs at the table. I have a particular fondness for chefs. They have good stories. They work hard. Soulful people, in a guarded way, who, in trust, express sharing of life's vicissitudes. Drinking problems, business partners, travels various, good and sundry.
"Hostility is darkness," the Pope says. He speaks of the light, of the kindness of Christ.
The psalms sung by the body of the church-goers of the live tape from Rome preceding the homily of Pope Francis, emphasizing the humbleness of Christ's love, strike one as not being all that far away from one of those early uncomplicated love songs of The Beatles, different tempo, but related in spirit. Wake up the gentle nonjudgmental love of God. EWTN television delivering a lecture. To have the humility to ask the mother to show him to us. Papal Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany, from St. Peter's Basilica. The three magi, the searches with true faith, the conversion, the wisemen's experience.
Life is pain, causing humility. The ignore the depths of such experience, that's what one should fight against in personal ways, to always know, the cup of suffering isn't' far away, and that kindness is golden.
"Come to terms quickly with your accuser," Jesus says, "you'll never get out until you have paid the last penny." From Matthew's account of The Sermon on the Mount, the scenario might seem personally familiar, such things having played themselves out in a way. But the homily of Pope Francis helps:
Led by the Spirit, they come to realize that God’s criteria are quite different from those of men, that God does not manifest himself in the power of this world, but speaks to us in the humbleness of his love. The wise men are thus models of conversion to the true faith, since they believed more in the goodness of God than in the apparent splendour of power.