Eleanor Rigby

Disneyland CrowdsOn Tuesday last week I dragged myself into work at 11am and stared blankly at the screen for a few hours, producing very little of any value. No, that’s not a usual day for me, quite the contrary. It turns out I had contracted the flu and simply couldn’t concentrate.

So, I dutifully went back home, took some bed rest and water and waited for it to subside.

It didn’t.

So, on Friday, I went to see the doctor, he prescribed me antibiotics of all things and so I waited the weekend out. It’s Monday now and I am still sick and (as the Texans would put it) going stir-crazy. Let that be a warning to you, oh reader of my blog: this post is the result of a week’s solitary confinement and delirium brought about by that wonderful substance pseudoephedrine.

For a software developer I am usually quite active. I like to go out socially; I can afford to eat out almost every week night and drink out almost every weekend, so I do. I like to go running or walking or driving or just taking pictures, I like to live life and experience new things, so I do. I like to be busy, I like helping people and teaching people and serving people’s needs, so I do. Ironically, it’s most likely this “Joie de vivre” that has run down my immune system lately. So this week, all that has stopped and there’s been a lot of peace and quiet around me where there hasn’t been before. Philosophically, I interpret it as God putting a little punctuation mark in my busy lifestyle: a moment to pause, a moment to reflect. 

It’s moments like these that highlight for me just how alone I really am. Don’t get me wrong, I treasure my independence. I like the fact that I come and go as I please and can organise my life in a way that’s comfortable for me, but we all crave that connection with one other person, a partner to travel with us on this journey that is life. I am desperately sensitive to the fact that most of my friends & colleagues at around my own age are already paired up and having children whereas I haven’t even had what most could call a normal relationship yet.

My mother often asks me “have you found someone yet?” she asks out of maternal concern, because she’s worried that I am lonely and possibly because she’s worried about what kind of person I have happened upon to cure that loneliness. Let’s face it, my last foray into romance ended up in a very untenable situation; no one wants a repeat of that scenario, least of all me.

I always answer “no” and smile wanly, but that’s not entirely true. One person does consistently spring to mind, though I don’t mention his name. He’s taken, but that doesn’t stop me pining after him in a most undignified way. He’s Mr. X from my previous post, a very nice chap who spent his previous life as a caregiver for people with mental disabilities. Now, he’s a chef in a popular little restaurant in Auckland and flourishing. He and his partner plan to get married later on this year and I am not sure how I’ll find the grace to go to that ceremony.

In many ways I am grateful for the feelings I feel towards him. To steal a quote from one of my favourite movies (As good as it gets):

“I think most people miss that about you, and I watch them, wondering how they can watch you bring their food, and clear their tables and never get that they just met the greatest [person] alive. And the fact that I get it makes me feel good, about me.”

I stop short of calling it “love” because love implies a two-way thing. Perhaps the words infatuation or limerance would be more appropriate. That said, I am grateful for it because there was a time in my life (not too long ago) when I didn’t think I was able to have those feelings at all. It’s this ability to love that is part of what makes us human, it’s a great thing to experience.

It’s this knowledge that keeps me happy: these heart-rending, jaw-dropping, butterflies-inducing feelings let me know that love is possible, and possibly just around the corner.

The title of this post is taken from a Beatles Song, one of the first pop songs to seriously deal with the issue of loneliness.
Here, Dad, I’m referring, specifically to “Eros”, while not excluding the other three Greek words for love referred to by CS Lewis.