Erik Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development

I left my role confusion in the New Mexican desert, setting it free with a whispered blessing before I got on the plane back home to Florida. I know the sort of man I want to be. I'm becoming him every day. But now there's a long-ignored question knocking at my door, begging to be let in and listened to:

To the extent that I allow myself to believe in 'meant to be' (which is to say, not at all), will I go this life alone, or in twos? Will I be happier on my own, or at someone's side?

I was in love once. We almost got engaged. I haven't dated since.

In the aftermath, I went through the usual rigmarole: shock, numbness, loss of appetite, being drunk a lot, some amazing spoken-word poetry, a drunken hook-up with emotional consequences and a general reshuffling of priorities and inclinations. I've moved past the desperation and flailing attempts to find another to fill the gap left by that last one; I've moved past the aggressively-defended solitude and late nights on the porch with music and intoxicants of varying degrees of potency and legality; I've moved past blaming others for my problems.

Above all, to thine own self be true.

I'm happy alone, and I doubt I'd be happier otherwise. I got shit going on in my life that makes it easy to push such issues to the back burner. I got friends, a job, a semi-regular volunteer gig, a garden, a bike, a decent set of cookware. I don't know what things are going to be like in a year. I don't know even if I'll be in the country, for all I know.

But the problem with putting problems on the back burner is that you might burn the soup and render the whole thing inedible, and leave you with a huge mess to clean up afterwards. I've not to much taken a vow of celibacy, as decided that being alone is simply better for me than the alternative. I've slept alone for more than a year. It's been even longer since I last said 'I love you' to anyone that's not immediate family. It's easy to imagine how this might be like this forever, at my age.

I shove women into the friends zone before they have a chance to do the same to me. The guys at work wonder why I don't look at women like they do, straining their necks to get a better look. They wonder why I don't participate in the great orgy that is the restaurant industry. I think they're making asses of themselves. And I still look, when no one else is looking. Covertly, I'm an ass and legs man.

I listen to my female friends talk about their relationships and crushes, how this one's always 'the one'. I think they're idiots, because I was once 'the one' to somebody, too. I will never date a girl that thinks I'm 'the one'. I hide behind my glorious introversion, make excuses for how busy I am, tell myself I'm not all that interested anyway.

And deep down, I wonder if I'm full of shit. Experience tells me I usually am.

It's all over the news that a woman was fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs. Which is of course a miscarriage of justice, an outrage, crazy, appalling, whatever you want to call it.

In reality, the RIAA and related groups have mostly stopped suing people ... part of my job is processing the big scary cease-and-desist emails they send to the university I work for. The emails include dates, times, IP addresses, files shared, etc. My job is to identify which sysadmin is responsible for the network the illegal filesharing incident occurred on, and to send the notes along to him or her. If the infraction involved our wireless network, I figure out who the student was and forward the messages along directly (and then deal with the panicky/angry emails the student sends back).

We get dozens of RIAA/movie studio notices each day, and have been for over a year ... I'm not aware of a lawsuit having emerged from any of them.

Mostly, the companies want to scare people into not illegally sharing/downloading movies and songs etc. -- so the occasional highly-publicized, wildly-expensive lawsuit fits into that scheme -- but in general they're not going after little fish other than to send warnings.

Occasionally, of course, a filesharer gets unlucky ... I don't file share myself for a variety of reasons, and one of them is certainly because I don't want to "win" the lawsuit lottery when it's easy enough to get music and movies legitimately.

The need for tort reform and the need to disengage our legal system from corporate influences aside, here's my public service announcement:

If you're going to share files on a traceable server, share the good stuff. Don't be like all these students I've seen who got dinged over filesharing "My Humps". There's just no dignity in that.


Five or possibly six people have told me to focus in the last two weeks.

I am afraid that they are now cursed to become single mothers in their next lives, as are the next five or six who tell me to focus, because I think that that would fit the Beloved's sense of justice and humor. I think the Beloved is messing with me again.

"Focus," they say.

I resist saying, "I AM focusing, just not on exactly what you want or in the way that you want." I resist saying, "Walk a mile in my shoes, as a single mother."

I am focused as a juggler is focused, like a laser, to keep all the balls in the air.

Here are the balls:

My children.

My son will be an exchange student to Thailand in August, we've now gotten the final dates, August 1-10 he will leave, not our choice. In last few days we got the paperwork re the visa from the country, did four more passport photos, I need to find my last two bank statements and photocopy, call the visa person, get it all sent. Ex was supposed to sign in blue but used black. Also my son cannot come to Canada with us so have arranged for my ex to be up here and they are going to do some road trip for the two weeks we are gone. Ex is 1400 miles away.

My daughter is 11 and we have just finished a nine month school and synchronized swimming year. She is rather enjoying me being fired because she is looking forward to not being parked in camps all summer. I have to get a note notarized plus put out her passport so she can go to Vancouver tomorrow for the weekend with a friend, oh and a medical permit too. She packs independantly.

Niece is here and have to wrest her away from her father to see her every so often.

Chorus just finished last weekend, between the three of us we had five concerts and a synchronized swim meet in five days, fairly grueling. Need to pick music for the July 12 Unitarian service I'm giving on death and dying and practice it and photocopy the duet for Marge, would be nice if we could practice a couple times.

Math teaching to the fifth grader best students, about every other Monday, now done, they taught the rest of the class about latitude and longitude as a culmination and we went for ice cream second to last day of school, day before yesterday.

Traveling plans for summer now finally have pretty fixed dates sort of and now I need to get tickets, to and from DC for all three and to and from Matinenda for two of us. And there is a little side road trip beforehand and meeting the kid's cousins for a day in Seattle, where are we going to stay?

New business. State has finalized, need master business license, need to price malpractice, pursued the cesarean sections today but would have to go do a fellowship so that is on hold, maybe in a year or seven when 2nd child goes to college. Also sent email to hospital re NALS and re cesarean sections. Moved the two of the four pieces of furniture today, so the jewelry desk traded for use of the logo. One of the other ones is two inches too tall for the mover I have next Tuesday. Hmmm.

Fighting McMedicine via the AAFP sent two of my poems through them to my senators who will no doubt still not respond. Oh, well. I'm now signed up for bulletins. My patient G called and says that NOW the newspaper wants to talk to me, it has been just over 4 weeks since I was fired, so I'm considering it and there are a bunch of messages on my machine. He wants a strategy and guidance meeting.

More business, need to finish last few hospital charts, finish my patient letter, get business cards made, retrieve my pendant that is now my logo, price malpractice, start researching billing services, read a bunch of things on the AAFP website, check if my ex-partner really will let me use/buy/have the equipment in his garage. Have looked at 7 sites, but the business plan comes first. I need to contact the EMR person and also think about phones and computer and copier/fax. Insurance and do I start with a nurse or room people myself? Four people have asked if they can be my receptionist. Three or possibly four more doctors to interview, get information from Dr. R who has kindly offered, an 8th site has shown up, job descriptions, HIPAA compliance and that new law about security related to having people owe the business money. Also forms to fill out so that I can bill insurances. Have lawyer but not accountant yet. Policy and procedure manuals and then office small equipment like sutures and tape and bandaids and so forth.

The CD we made is on hold and three knitting projects.

Need cats and bunny sitter for trips.

Pay bills, clean house, water plants, feed people, wash dishes, wash clothes, damn insurance bill, car was backed into, new windshield wipers on the one, daughter wants some water shoes for summer, son wants different on-line game.

Write serious and silly poems and prose to stay sane.

Check in with answering service.

"Focus," they say.

Yeah, well, try living in my brain for a while.

Or perhaps they should focus off.

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