Honey, I’m Home!


Recently I was watching a video (a funny one) that was on one of the late night shows about how there are these Robots with AI that are being used for certain ‘relationships’ I won’t really get into here. I’m not sure if it was real or humor in response to all the out pouring of sexual harassment allegations that have hit the news lately. In any case, it was a moment’s pause where laughing was medicine in an otherwise very un-funny situation.

But the whole idea made me think. Having been a single woman for a very long time, I wondered about the concept of Robot companions–not at all in the way that this particular video mentioned, but maybe more like an R2D2 sort of way. Could this be a possibility for the future? Our own home companions or partners?

I mean, let’s face it: I’ve “been there, done that” and bought every possible T-shirt for trying to date and find the right person for me. Over the course of years I’ve been single (and I’ve actually lost count now of the years), and the stories I could tell about the weirdos I’ve come across on the websites would make hanging out with a machine seem like heaven. Humans are scary and/or boring.

Picture it: instead of pouring through 100’s of  old photos and fake profiles of humans, you could simply pick out which Robot best suits your needs; short, tall; human looking (creepy) or not; male voice, female voice; appendages or just lights. Then, you could have the AI programmed to whatever things you enjoy or are interested in–think of all the data that could go in there. No more dates with someone who is clueless! Ah the dinner discussions!

Honestly, I’m not so interested in much of an emotional attachment anymore, although some of these Robots you see in movies are pretty darn cute, way cuter than some of the people I’ve tried to date! It’s all about communication anyway at my age, or maybe even helping out around the place. So if you read a good book together, you could discuss it. Or maybe go to a movie together. There could be special all terrain Robots built for hiking too.

The possibilities are really endless here. Robots are filling in so many areas of our lives anyway, why not becoming part of our family? Yes, I understand there is a bit of a spooky part of it; the whole bit of them taking over the world, infiltrating our homes and getting smarter than we are (which isn’t a stretch really). Sure, this could certainly happen…

But before they do decide to take over, having a companion that’s smart, reliable, predictable, neat, sympatico and maybe even agreeable would be such a nice change. And maybe having one on your side might just be an advantage when push comes to shove and Robots gain power over us.

Because, if there are bad ones, then there will be good ones, and they will be the ones we shared our homes with and loved.

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Poem: Strictly Platonic


Slices

through a multi-layered

marbled veined cake

Ribbons of color and texture

lathered with sickly sweet

frosting and fake flowers

dripping down the sides

They all come

to sweeten the palate

and give sugar rushes

in brain bursting fury

Different sized portions

doled out in snippets

or heart attack plate fulls

all sure to crash

sooner or later

 

 

Bitter Pills


It has been up and down the last 24 hours. My beagle ran away-burst through a window again, and took off. Silly dog doesn’t realize he’s too old to still be doing this these days. As beagles do, he loves to run–more than he has loved us. A rescue dog, he has never quite fit in. But we take care of him best we can.

After waking up, I also had an unexpected email also from a ‘friend’. It’s funny how we think we know someone, or how someone portrays themselves to you and we want to believe them. I suppose people honestly believe what they tell you about themselves. Maybe they want to believe what they say about themselves? Honesty, specifically when it comes to ourselves, it can be a bitter pill to swallow. Man, I’ve been chewing a few over the last couple of years.

But saying goodbye in an email or text seems to be the new norm. One I will never for the life of me understand. What ever happened to in person or at least on the phone? At least then the other person has the chance to speak their part or hear reasons, or try to understand. Doesn’t a friendship at least warrant that much? The pain of simply hearing finality via an electronic message seems so cold and unfair, yet so many lapse into this method now. Very cowardly in my opinion.

So how do we know who to trust and what words are true coming from another? Or can we ever? Time is certainly a factor in determining trust in another. In this day of quick and computer hook-ups (guilty as charged), getting to know someone on a deep level seems nearly impossible. And so easy also to toss them aside for someone else because there will be a whole list of computer entries waiting in tow. Everything, therefore, feels so superficial. Meeting people through other people, at work, or in real-time seems to rarely happen. And when it does, people don’t seem to want to take the time, have the patience or really communicate to make the relationship/friendship work.

For me, this makes not wanting to get too close to people feel much safer and joyful. I’ve enjoyed my last two years getting to know myself, making peace with the demons I have within me, spending more time with the people I already know, taking time for new things and simply just being quiet.

Understanding other people, what motivates them, what their needs are, how real they might be and expecting their standards within a friendship to be on par with mine seems a mystery. This is most certainly true when pertaining to the opposite sex. That completely baffles me to the point where I have given up. Each time I try dipping my toes in that water again, I plunge headlong within muddy waters of utter confusion and miscalculation. Best simply not to do it.

This seems sad, but being within these situations is more draining, more exhausting and strains all my resources trying to decode the interactions. I’ve gone through the gyrations of blaming myself, of blaming them or not caring at all, but now it’s simply time to say: best to leave it alone altogether. There are too many unanswered questions that people smarter than me can’t figure out.

So for now, the good news is my dog is home. Battered and tired, but home where he belongs. The best news is I’m free and unencumbered,with no wondering, no deciphering, no disappointments, feeling that simple joy and peace of knowing my own soul.

And as my Mother says: it’s better to be alone than wish you were…..

 

Flying Solo!


Recently I was fortunate enough to reach another rung  in the ladder of my life. One that has given me much puzzlement, anguish and lead me down many unsatisfying paths. It’s a part of my life I’ve spent searching for answers both internally and externally and has never seemed to turn out the way I had imagined.

But the other day, finally, after one final try–the epiphany came to me and I now know where I stand within myself and can breathe with ease. I no longer need to seek or to listen to anyone else’s advice, chiding or clichés about what I should be doing.

I received an email a week or so ago on my smart phone and I had no idea who had written it. Opening it cautiously, so as to not spam my computer (I did it on my phone), I found out it was from a man I had approached quite some time ago (well over a year) on match.com. At that point in my life, I was still hoping to date and maybe find a companion to meet for occasional things to do.

At that point in time, this person had already met someone and was polite enough to say that but I gave him my email in case anything changed in the future. Never in my wild imagination did I expect to hear from him again! One usually never does.

The relationship fell through for him, and since we had some things in common (mostly fire fighting things), he wrote me. I recalled him after he reminded me who he was and we exchanged some pleasant emails. Then some nice phone calls. He seemed a pretty decent guy so I decided to meet with him.

We did, in fact it was on Christmas day after the kids went their separate ways. We were fortunate enough to find a lone bar open! It was a nice afternoon exchanging pleasantries, sharing some food, laughs and stories. Yup, he was a sweet guy.

At the end of the visit, he asked where we would go from here. I was kind of stunned, because I really didn’t know. He had sort of fallen out of the sky at a time in my life where I had no interest in dating. But he seemed like a good person, so I left it at: let’s just see what happens.

A day or so passed and I found myself wrestling with it all! It was rather crazy. And then I woke up one morning soon after and realized in an instant, that no, I didn’t want to see him with the intention of dating him! It was like the fog of so many, many years suddenly cleared–just like that!

The only thing I could liken it to was loving to eat a certain food–you even craved it. So you ate it all the time. You made all sorts of dishes with this particular food, and was almost gluttonous about it.

And then one day you realized you were sick of it. You lost the taste for it, in fact it made you sick. The thought of it was too much, overload. So you decided to give it up for a long time. But it nags you that you have, because you used to love it so much–and people keep telling you that you should really try it again just in case you changed your mind. Once in a while you do try it, but you find it makes you feel bad when you do. And that’s when you realize you’d rather just hang onto the memories of when you loved it!

That’s where I’m at with relationships and men. I’ve been blessed really: three marriages, too many dates and short relationships to count. I’ve been there and done that so much that there’s really no need to go there again!

I’ve finally found me now. Underneath the layers of garbage that I’m slowly scraping away. The needy feeling I had to be with someone is gone. It’s so freeing! I’ve got three wonderful children and now I have myself. I’m still learning about that self. It may take a while. Honestly I don’t want anyone distracting me from that task.

There are some things in life that we can simply have too much of and then just grow tired because of overdosing. Relationships can be one of these things. But if we learn from them and don’t become bitter then there’s nothing wrong with flying solo. We must just realize who we are and what’s best for us and not let the outer world dictate our fate.

 

 

Be Careful What You Wish For


What seems like a million years ago I used to lay in bed next to my husband and dream for the days I would be single. I would imagine the apartment I would get, how I would decorate it, the freedom I would have, how I would feel and how much better off I would be. Endlessly I would contemplate this dream and want to make it so. When I would go for my daily jog I would think about it too. Being unhappy within my marriage, being single seemed the solution to all my troubles.

Tonight, sitting at my dining room table, alone once again, eating my dinner and listening to NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion with my dogs circling my feet–I was struck by how long ago that wish was and how my life has turned out. I got my wish and I am single. While I have had boyfriends on and off for many years, none have ever really stuck and so have remained mostly alone. Alone except for in the earlier years when my daughters lived with me and now occasionally when they come home for a bit. And of course I live in the company of many furry friends.

So was this dream a good thing and did I get what I wanted in the long run? This is what we always end up asking ourselves with so many things we want I suppose. I have a routine in my life it seems that pretty much follows the same pattern all the time. Partly because I’m pretty obsessive compulsive and I like it that way and partly because dogs tend to like it that way too. But I do find this can become boring and mundane. And when you have no-one in your life to share things, it can be especially dull.

Getting out of the marriage was probably for the best. But I suppose I never figured I would continue on this was for so long! There used to be a desperation surrounding the way I felt I needed to be with someone. That certainly has changed for me–especially after all the terrible experiences I’ve had dating and in relationships. I’m not even sure I do want to be in a relationship again. What I do know is that there are certainly moments where the silence echoes pretty loudly and I have a huge sense of being disconnected from the world. Plus I guess there are days I simply miss love. I don’t mean sex because I don’t miss that at all, but just the caring part of being in a good relationship. So there is a huge ambivalence.

So for all the determination to get out and be single I find now, years and years of it are maybe not what I expected or imagined. Like they say: be careful what you wish for! In my mind’s eye I never pictured never-ending nights of dinners alone with only the radio for conversation. Or that as I got older it might have been nice to have someone help shovel my roof when the snow got two feet deep. No, I didn’t think of those things as I dreamed of independence and freedom and what my cute little apartment would look like once I was unencumbered.

I am not unhappy, but I’m not always content either. And still I wonder is this where I should be and is living alone the right thing for me? It surely felt right all those nights I imagined it laying in bed next to the husband I wanted to divorce. But now that it’s reality and has been for so long? Well….I don’t know? Maybe I’ll ask the dogs what they think about it?

Online Dating


Well I’m embarrassed to say I’ve stooped again to the online dating thing. Yes fellow bloggers, here in my lonely NE town, after my accident, winter approaching…I don’t fly south, I register on an online dating website to keep me from going crazy during the dull winter months. No actually, I shouldn’t say that, I really do want to meet someone–and around these here parts, there is no other way to do it. At least no way I can figure out! I’ve been at this single scene for years, and as a second-half-lifer, it just ain’t easy!

Not that it’s easy doing the online thing either! Yikes. This time I did one of the free ones. Why waste my money like I have in the past? None of them have ever panned out. And my friend just met a gal on this one, so why not? It was totally quick to sign up. And ironically the last guy I was seeing (that I met a long time ago, then stopped seeing and stupidly started seeing again) I met on another dating site. He actually took some very nice pictures of me recently that have become my profile pictures for this site! I guess he was good for something, eh?

They must have been decent–or maybe it’s just that the site is free, because within minutes of publishing my profile I started to get hits to my inbox! It was like seconds after…very strange. And then my cell (because I downloaded the cell app for this site) was buzzing for hours. Wow, I’m so popular?! I think I had more hits in 24 hours on this one than I did in 3 months on the paid one. What does that tell you? Yup, free is good.

So how do you weed the roses from the crabgrass? I always hate that part. I’ve never had to really do that before because I’d only get like two people even interested. Sheesh, now it’s like a veritable bouquet! I’m mean I’m flattered, but I hate hurting people’s feelings. Sometimes it’s easy, like when they live two states away. Or they smoke, or they are 20 years older than me. Or 25 years younger. I do have some specifics. Not that they wouldn’t all be very nice people (maybe) but I have to cull the herd somehow? Right?

Then you do this online/email dance for a while–trying to decide if you want to even talk on the phone. That is, after you’ve read the profile. Oh and, admittedly, looked at the pictures. If there are any, that include some besides ones of their dog or sunsets. Now, I don’t want to judge a book by its cover, but seriously dudes, sometimes these pictures could be in the post office or on America’s Most Wanted. Good Lord! I’d rather see the dog. So then what do you do? How do you say, uh, no thanks…you look freaky. I mean, I don’t want to be superficial. They might be lovely human beings (to their mothers).

But once you get past all this stuff, if they write more than: Hi. (Seriously? Hi?) How am I suppose to get to know you if all you say is: Hi? Anyway, once you get past all the profile stuff and you talk a bit, then you move to the phone stuff. Ugh. I hate giving out my phone number, but you have to go there at some point. So the phone rings, and you answer it and you  pray you don’t hear Mickey Mouse at the end of the line or someone who has a laugh like Phyllis Diller. And then you talk….or I talk and hope they talk. I’ve had men say some crazy things and had to hang up. But if it goes well, it’s on to ‘the first date’… (dramatic music interlude….)

Hopefully that takes place in a public place where we can sit and talk. Not running after someone on a hike or something. Yup, those never work. Nice in theory, but huffing and puffing after someone the first time you meet, um, no. It’s always interesting walking into a place trying to find someone going by pictures you’ve seen online. I’ve always been honest about the photos I post, and usually the men have been. But let’s face it, people just look different in person. Sometimes better, sometimes well maybe not. That’s the difficult moment when someone looks way older or different from what you expected and you try really hard not to show it on your face. But the worst is when you can tell they really think it will click but you think ‘dud’. Awkward….

Ah, the joys of online dating. I have found some friends, but even these have never been lasting friendships. I’m not sure why. But hey, what’s a gal to do? This seems to be the wave of the future. Pick a partner. I know my friends all worry for me and thinks it’s highly dangerous. But we must keep our guards up no matter who we meet in this world. Gosh we read about domestic abuse all the time–and these people know each other! So with online dating like anything it’s a matter of being careful and exercising good judgment the best we can. One learns the tricks. If anyone has any other suggestions for meeting people, hey, I’m open to hearing them. Otherwise…wish me luck!