Thursday, October 19, 2006

A city confused

San Francisco obviously doesn't know what season this is. It's over 70 degrees here tonight under clear skies. After the softest of rains recently, really just heavy fogs, look what is sprouting in my backyard. Grass!

Nevertheless, it is not spring; it's fall. The light is different, slashing in at a wicked angle that makes driving much more difficult than is normal. Everything seems backlit, standing out with clarity.

We can see every blade of grass, as it stands proudly erect, trembling slightly, fresh and new and apparently quite excited just to be here.

Meanwhile the last few apples have fallen and are rotting amidst the new growth. They, at least, know it is autumn. The fact that the World Series will start on Saturday confirms that it is getting to be late October. Pumpkins are in the fields and the stores. Candy's on "sale," which means it's specially packaged at a higher price than normal.

My 12-year-old son wants to be a bunny, not the cuddly kind but an evil one; my ten-year-old wants to wear only one part of a costume -- his Darth Vader mask; while my seven-year-old, who turns eight 4 days before Halloween, wants to be a "really bad witch."

So, there's a pattern here. Everyone wants to be a bad guy of one sort of another. I wonder why that is?

Maybe one reason is people are always telling them how sweet they all are. While this is true, they also all have their unsweet moments, as only a parent can know. But, in general, they are well-behaved, sensible children who care about others and try to be polite most of the time.

I guess their fantasies, by contrast, are to be powerful evil characters.

There is an assumption among many in our society that power equates with evil. I don't think so. Too much power certainly breeds trouble of many kinds. But I've watched just as many people wield power kindly and compassionately as abusively.
Since I've worked directly with so many CEOs, I've had a glimpse into power dynamics for many years now.

And, of course, I've exercised plenty of power myself.


Tonight, I've started accepting the likelihood that I will spend the rest of my life alone, not as half of a couple. This is a thought that not so long ago would have struck terror in my heart. But, tonight, I am feeling a bit differently about this prospect. As much as I love women, and enjoy being in intimate relationship with them, I'm also mindful of how much pain these relationships eventually can produce for everyone involved.

I really don't want to go through that much pain ever again. Plus, although most people who know me well would say I am flexible and accommodating to the women in my life, I've come to realize that is not necessarily a healthy way for me to live. It may be a positive attribute, but I also feel like being much more selfish these days.

That means I want to do things the way I want to do them. I'll bend and I'll adapt, but I also need to preserve my own way of doing things -- much like the way I write. I don't really care when people criticize me; it's amusing more than anything else. After all, nobody has to read this blog. As far as I know, it has not been assigned as compulsory reading by any professors anywhere.

So, tonight, watching baseball on TV, caressing a large stack of good books, preparing to cook up some fresh veggies and sausage for my dinner, I'm not missing anybody. Great women all; and I'll always love all of them. But there are many fish in the sea. (Thanks, Dad.) And I am not at all sure I am ready to let someone new in.

Does that make sense? I've led a life of twists and turns. My days of going after someone aggressively are over. If she wants to be with me, she will adapt to me as much as I will to her.

Otherwise, I can take her or leave her. It really makes no difference to me.

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