Friday, September 30, 2011

No One Ever Gets There But You Can Try

Recent events:

This past Sunday, I was the soloist at church. I'm the soloist at church regularly, mostly because I'm a reliably good singer, but also because I'm willing and able to sing without much notice. This last time, for example, the music director sent out an email to her list of soloists and small groups, and she had a series of dates for which she needed music, and one of those dates was ten days after the email. Other people started responding quickly (reply all? yikes!) for the later dates, but I was pretty sure that I'd be the only one to say, "Sure, I can sing a week from Sunday." That means I get one thirty-minute rehearsal before choir practice on a Thursday night, plus a run through before the service on Sunday morning. I've been singing for a long time, so I can do that, provided I don't want to do something difficult. So no Handel arias, but I do get a fair amount of freedom in deciding what I want to sing, so long as it's arguably appropriate to the sermon topic. This past Sunday, the sermon was about learning, so I chose three selections from Schoolhouse Rock. It's decidedly kick-ass to get to sing Schoolhouse Rock in church. I did "Interjections" for the prelude, "My Hero Zero" just before the sermon, and "Conjunction Junction" as the postlude. They were very well received, particularly by people about my age, for whom they were moments of major nostalgia. Saturday morning TV from the 70s. That was before Scooby Doo jumped the shark, y'know.

Also in attendance was That Guy, whom I have been dating for about ten months now. He'd never heard me sing before, neither had he been to my church, so it was nice of him to come. His comment, after hearing and seeing me do "Conjunction Junction": "Who knew you had so much rhythm? We have to go dancing sometime." There's no pleasure without pain, I reckon.

I am somewhat unfamiliar with the world of intermediate-term dating. The last two times I dated anyone for over six months, I ended up married to and/or cohabitating with said person for a period of thirteen and six years, respectively. I don't foresee any such outcome with That Guy, but then I have given up on trying to see what's coming. I'm content with the way things are.

This past Tuesday, EFU came home from classes (she is now pursuing a Master's in education; she is also doing a student teaching internship this year) and announced that there was "a situation," by which she meant that she'd picked up a stray dog on her way home. The stray dog had been running in traffic on a major highway, and I could hardly object to her having saved a dog (her mother, on the other hand, would certainly have turned the dog away). This particular dog was an extraordinarily well behaved golden retriever who, alas, made me itch. A craiglist ad and a visit to the local humane society later, Lexi (we had temporarily named her Lola, which seemed appropriate because we were having trouble getting a good look under the hood, so we thought she was a she, but we weren't certain) has been returned to her owner, who was apparently having some issues with her invisible fence. Operator error, I reckon.

Earlier this year, I had started the process of adopting a rescue greyhound, but then EFU had said that she might seek employment abroad next year when she's finished with her master's degree. Part of the deal with getting a dog was that I'd have someone else around to walk him or her during the part of the year when I regularly work fourteen-hour days. Now that Lexi/Lola has gone, EFU very much wants a permanent dog, so I will likely restart the adoption process, provided I can satisfy myself that the allergy issue either won't recur or will be manageable. I'm not allergic to That Guy's dog, but it's a Labradoodle, a breed known for not causing allergy. And for the first few years b&c and I were living together, he had an elderly Sheltie who never caused me any problems at all. My mother's dog (a Shitzu) also doesn't make me itch, so the whole thing is a puzzlement.

September has become a month when a lot of things happened. Personal things, that is. February is the biggest month for commemorations since I and the girls were all born in February. September holds the anniversaries of my father's birth (80 years), his death (1 year), and the purchase of my house (2 years). These are not occasions for which one sends greeting cards (at least not any more), and the actual dates tend to sneak up on me and then pass so that I only realize a day or two later, but they're still big time reminders of that whole tempus fugit thing. I reckon in two -- or at most three -- years I'll have to think for a while to remember how many years it will have been since any of those events happened.

I don't much like to dwell on the passage of time because it makes me sad, and it's not like I can do anything about it. I mean, sure, there are people who say that a keen awareness of the brevity of life helps them live life to the fullest, but lately I've begun to wonder whether living life to the fullest isn't more trouble than it's worth. Don't get me wrong. If you're the sort of person who wants to climb Everest or worry about his legacy, then go for it, and good for you. I'm just not convinced that, in the long run, achievement is better than contentment. I go back and forth on that one, but consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, right? Some days I want to get stuff done; other days, I just want to sit on the couch and watch the girls play Legend of Zelda (Wind Waker is my favorite, but I'm really not that picky) or make out with a nice guy. I'm convinced that the relatively breathtaking technological progress of Western civilization is mostly evidence that Europeans were bad in the sack. Nowadays, I reckon Europeans are more content than in the past (which likely means that they're better lays, but I suppose it could be all the alcohol; let's hope it's both), but I think that's because they're mostly over the notion of conquest.

I don't know exactly when I got over the notion of conquest, but I'm clearly a lot more content these days than I used to be, and it's not only because I'm so much better in the sack (I jest, but then again, I don't) than I used to be. I'd like to think that it's something like wisdom, but the more likely answer is that it's just time.