On the Other Hand
Here's how my five year plan unfolded:
I left my sweetheart, went east then went home then left my sweetheart and went to the Middle East then went home but my sweetheart had soured on the idea of me so I then went east again, married a California fruitcake with a smashing rack, and together the four of us went to the Middle East, anchored ourselves near the sea side for a few years, saved money, went home to set up the Fruitcake in a PhD program--bringing her five year plan to a successful conclusion, and along the way we bought land in New mexico, later opened up a savings account in L.A. then I returned alone to the Middle East. A few months later my California fruitcake and my savings went ahead without me. I punched an Indian for no good reason other than he pissed me off, became addicted to roofies, detoxed from the roofies then went to Lafayette Louisiana to a cublicle.
A year later, I first returned to the Gulf because return to a cubicle did not automatically earn me an enraptured audience, I went to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the land of higher earnings.
It was there in the country renowned for its Spartan amphitheater of the absurd that I develped nasty habits. Here's a rationalization. I have several. This one is most often used.
From the secretary to the librarian to the nurses in the clinic, skirts were not appropriate work attire. The only skirts which crossed my stage in KSA were worn by the wives of my American and British co-workers', all of the skirts seemed to be from the Philippines and all were selected by my co-workers from one of the hundreds of services in Manila which matched up trousers to skirts for a fee.
I had no desire to re-attach myself to a life-long companion for a fee. Also, I have never had an attraction to China doll types--publicly shy and demure subservients who were in private (at least according to legend) mattress burning boner busting bedroom firestorms.
It was not that I objected to the fee so much; in fact, I no doubt spent several times over what my co-workers had spent to nuzzle suppler skin. Asianettes do not sweeten my sour, moo goo my guy pan, steam my buns.
I was content for a few months to cross the causeway from the kingdom to what was then the Emirate of Bar None, and hand my pictures of dead kings over to Slavic sirens. In exchange for the cost of a dinner date in the US, I chartered my world, flesh and devil associates for a one-off, non-monogamous and non-monotonous hourly affair of the lower chakras.
A'fore too long this era came to and end when Captain Bringdown, Major Bummer and General Self Loathing confined me to quarters.
In the Flash program of my life, with my time line beginning to shorten, I went to Modify > scene . + scene and imported what I thought was an uncomplicated vector but later found out I'd imported a pixalated embittered bitmap.
Moved to the UAE, yadda yadda yadda, left the UAE, yadda,When I left here a few years ago, I told a few people why I would suddenly jump ship. Because my quasi-spouse had jumped ship months earlier, number crunchers working for the university felt I owed money which she owed and they were within their rights because we had convinced them (and the parish of East Baton Rouge, most fiends and family members, the US State Department and all of the above's cousins, aunts and uncles that we were indeed husband and wife.
Money was always a good reason for bailing, so when I clued in a few people to my secret intentions, that is, I was going home, I didn't mean to my accommodations provided by the university. I meant the United States.
I had a wife back there—or quasi-wife.
The miracle of the quasi-wife is no miracle but an action taken which opposes another action, like this: while waiting for a divorce to go through in one state and while in need of a marriage license from another state in order to travel to Muslim country and live sinless in the same home; a quasi spouse seems to be all benefits and no drawbacks.
We both agreed that when the time came to end our quasi marriage, we would simply pull on the cord which would open a hidden reserve chute that would quickly slow our descent from a rapid fatal one, which would have ended with a powerful slam dunk into a hard surface, shattering our body parts like a thousandshards of glass exploding across a basketball arena, to one which would prevented shatter and would end in a soft landing and a whistle announcing a tied game--all without lawyers, guns and money.
On the bus I ride to work, I listen to the same reverential reflections on how all of this Middle East twaddling about would end if only. . ., and how in five years all twaddle would end if only. . . if only the job in Equatorial Guinea comes through.
The position vacancy has appeared twice annually at the ESL café job search site for, as far as I know, at least five years. It is one of the hardest of hardship postings but the benefits include a salary paid in 50 gallon drums of hard cash and thirty days on/thirty days off with roundtrip flights to and from any point of the globe.
One Brit I've nicknamed Boswell because of his girth and his ability to amuse us all with auto-biographical anecdotes. He says, "Imagine it. You move to Equatorial Guinea, hook up with a jungle bunny, work for five years, and die of AIDS in your sixth year. And you won't have to come back to Gulf to work ever again."
During this phase of my existence, my first days back for good and back without a need to find my way to a cubicle, I took pleasure in an extraordinary type of simple contentment, like the inadvertent unearthing of a rejuvenating underground well, there were many tales to tell, songs to sing, my idea of pleasure had come across a new kind of passion. It was a renewed spot on self empowerment combined with the right sort of self forgiveness and it did not clash with my new role, the character "A man of audacity; a man of thoughtful abandon.
I was fearless. I didn't demean what I'd become or struggle to validate my goal, and I never questioned its foundation. I was transformed, resilient and understood intensely what it takes in this survive in the sweet old world. I believed I'd come home like a bolt from the blue, the born again man familiar enough with isolation to know the best therapies to cure it. I would turn fifty without heartache.
I was exactly where I expected to be when I finally met my daughter J. who had turned sixteen a few months before I returned.
I was living with a soullmate who had all the characteristics I expected.
I expected to find friends right where I had left them sixteen years ago.
Somethings I expected to be different. I expected that family had outgrown petty harms and had forgotten the source of ancient squabbles.
What happened was not what I had expected. My reaction to all of my expectations as they veered off course one by one was worse than anyone could have expected. No one was more surprised by my reaction than I was.
Expectations do the spade work for resentments and when resentments are handled through rampage, it is fair to expect contrition.
Finally, it is also fair to expect that a period contrition has a beginning and an end.