Why did I do that?
Why didn’t I do this?
Why didn’t I wait?
Why didn’t I hurry up?
Why didn’t I do b instead of a?
What the HELL was I thinking?
Or was I thinking at all?
Here I am, today, diddling away the morning playing pointless computer games: the mind on autopilot. And while the brain roams pointlessly, yea verily on true autopilot through the empty silicon labyrinths, various memories and various long-gone puzzlements come to mind.
The weirdness of it, Life: the very weirdness of it.
Quite possibly the weirdest experience that comes to mind was the time my father and his bit*h wife (then a.k.a. the sweet, socially active, nice church-going future wife) showed up in our living room to share some Big News with us.
They wished, said they, to get married. (My mother hadn’t been dead a year…but that was OK, because at 70-something my father didn’t have all that much time to waste.) Would I give them my blessing?
If he had come to me or called me on the phone and said i’ve met this woman here at the Institute [by this time he’d sold my late mother’s and his home in Sun City and ensconced himself in a brand-new life-care community] and we get on really well. To make it legal and forestall any gossip, we’re gonna get married, I would have said “Fine! Congratulations! Good for you, and many happy years for both of you.” And I would have thought that was all I could say, because what he chose to do was none of my business. And I knew he would have thought it was none of my business.
But PLOP down on the living-room sofa and ohhh here we are in love, may we have your permission to get married?
I was so nonplussed, I didn’t know what to say. All I could think of was “Congratulations! May you have a long and happy life together.” Even though I strongly suspected the whole idea was stump-dumb stupid. I barely knew the woman — if I had known her better, I would’ve yelped Are you crazy??!!???” But that was outside the realm of experience just then.
Today, from the vantage point of experience (a goddamned Mont Blanc of experience!!), I know what I should have said.
Ohhhh I’m sooo happy for you! Congratulations. And…uhm, by the way…
Why don’t you wait a year? You’re still relatively young. Why not just be an item for a year, so you can get to know each other better before you make the giant leap to living together…and, forgodsake, to making it a legal contract?
But of course that’s not what I did say.
What I said was “Duhhhhhh…. Yeah, sure, that’s cool. Congratulations. How wonderful for you both.”
Jayzus! Pass the bong, willya?
What WAS I thinking then? I wasn’t thinking anything. No. Nothing.
In the first place, of course, I didn’t know the bit*h in question. If I had, I might have registered some response. This was only the second or third time I’d met her.
In the second place, I did not then and would not today consider it to be any of my business to advise my perfectly rational father on his personal life. But if he’d asked and I’d had a clue and I’d possessed about 10 years’ more life experience, I suppose I would have hollered RUN, DADDY! RUN!!!”
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down,
And still somehow
It’s clouds’ illusions I recall.
I really don’t know how…