03 February 2009

Forty Days and Groundhog Day

Yesterday I was so tired that when I woke up today, I couldn't remember going to bed. Or even getting home. I had a cold that seems to have turned into something that feels suspiciously like the flu. Except, I'm not supposed to have the flu: I got a flu shot. This reminds me of the winter before last, when I got the flu shot and had lived on antibiotics during the month of January.

Today I woke up late and notified the prof of the class I'm taking that I'm not coming in. I'm feeling kinda sorry about that. I still don't know whether I'll like the class although I enjoyed that first session last week. At least this prof seems good.

And so far I'm liking the classes I'm teaching. But being at the college is really dreadful sometimes. It's odd: From the time I lock the door of my place behind me until I step in the classroom, I feel angry or tired or both. The college seems more and more like a troubled and tense place, and the department in which I teach is becoming a microcosm of the place. The department meeting yesterday was one of the most excruciating meetings of any kind I ever attended: filled with so much egotism in the guise of intellectual debate or concern for the welfare of the college or its students.

It's not even about me anymore. I mean, I'm not even thinking about how some people in the department, and in the college, have treated me. Or how certain administrators seem to feel the need to insult my intelligence every time they open their mouths. That stuff bothered me, but now the tension between some of my colleagues has made the atmosphere acrid at times. Almost nobody's happy about being there, especially one English prof who is clearly more intelligent than just about everybody else (I include myself) there.

There used to be an apron printed with these words: "I spent four years in college for this? " That's a pretty good summation of how I feel when I'm in the college but not in one of my classes. I went to graduate school--for that?

And we're supposed to be role models for our students. Well, I guess one does have to know how to bicker and engage in all manner of otiose orotundity. And you have to learn to see people only as labels--the black, the tranny, the Spanish girl, the whatever.

For all that, yesterday was the first time in forty days I didn't write in this blog. Forty days....No, I haven't seen any floods and I'm not in an ark. I have two cats, but I don't have pairs of any other creatures.

Forty days: the first time since Christmas Eve. And yesterday was Groundhog Day. One groundhog saw his shadow, the other didn't. So who're ya gonna believe, as the sage said.

Yesterday was also the birthday of the brother who's not speaking to me. Yes, he cut off contact with me after I "came out." Sometimes I wish I were one of those people who could forget, at will, anything she didn't want to remember. Then again, I don't want to forget. After all, he just may decide to reconnect our relationship. Mom thinks it will happen some day. That's what I hope. And I want it to happen while Mom's still alive.

And two other people who are no longer in my life were born on the second of February: my ex-wife and the first woman I dated after my divorce. Weird coincidence, huh? I also dated two consecutive women whose birthdays were on Christmas Eve.

So what else happened on Groundhog Day? Well, on that date seven years ago, Tammy said that she no longer wanted to be my partner/lover. We had stopped having sex some time around Christmas; she said she no longer felt like she was in bed with a man. Well, wake up and smell the chorizo, sweetie: You never were in bed with a man, ever. Admit it, get over it, get used to it.

Still, we stayed together for another few months. Well, we weren't a couple, though we were still presenting ourselves as one. I don't think anyone who knew us believed it, but they didn't question us. That, as she and I were in denial. Funny, I think that in some ways her denial was even stronger than mine. I was clinging to the relationship and the memory of the good times we had in its early days; she was holding on for life to the notion that I was a man who would simply get tired of wearing women's clothing. As you might imagine, this was one of the more excruciatingly lonely and depressing times in my life. Given that I spent about 40 of the first 44 years of my life in a clinical depression of varying intensity, that's saying something.

But of course that time had a good outcome: I moved out and started taking my first steps toward my current life. At least I have that to look forward and come back to when I'm in a meeting like the one I endured yesterday.

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