Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Diane Sawyer was very unhappy! She stared in disbelief at her guest on the “Good Morning America” show and stammered an incoherent attempt at a challenge to what the noted scholar and author had just said … on nationwide TV … on air to millions of viewers who could not possibly misconstrue the woman’s point … and Ms Sawyer was aghast!

But there was to be no opportunity for either rebuttal or discussion. Ms. Sawyer’s sword of abbreviation of her guest’s interview moment … was to cut both ways. For the hostess’s earpiece was obviously abuzz with urgent demands for her to “cut to commercial … NOW!” And what had been designed to be a polite “kiss-off” to this woman who had devoted her life to the study of human behaviors and relationships … a woman who had invested untold years of preparation for; execution of; and writing about an in-depth study of the nature of relationships in all of our world’s most visible cultures … had turned into a statement that our Ms. Sawyer would have given anything to suck back into the studio and delete from memory. But, alas, too late!

It was with an air of obvious perturbation that the Academic/Author replied to Ms Sawyers request that “in light of our running a bit short on time … and I do apologize for that … I wonder if you could … in the very few seconds that we have available … give our viewers what you can about this very fascinating book of yours.” Being asked to provide a summary of her life’s passion and work, as contained in her book, in a matter of a rushed fifteen seconds, left this this woman looking in a state of obvious amazement at her “interviewer.” This accomplished scientist and researcher had been “cooling her heels” in the “ready-room” of the studio, whilst watching her interview time being frittered away by this television network “talking head”, with a bunch of silly inanities that mattered for naught. And now she was being given “the bum’s rush.”

Knowing full well something of the effort and time involved in this woman’s even being in that studio, in that city, and on air at that moment, I, as a viewer, awaited her response. She said (with a steely-eyed look of disdain for this imposition and discourtesy) something in the order of “ Well, Ms Sawyer, after studying the nature of male/female relationships in 37 widely divergent cultures, around the world, for these many years, we reached the unavoidable conclusion that men aspire to become the wealthiest and most powerful so that they can attract the most beautiful women … and women aspire to be the most beautiful so that they may attract the most wealthy and powerful men.” Ms Sawyer’s feminist Self recoiled … visibly! But … no time! The Author gave a condescending “Got Ya!” smile and said “We have overwhelming and incontrovertible data and documentation supporting that statement of absolute fact! It is all in the book, now available in bookstores everywhere.” (The network cut to commercials … with Ms Sawyer still stuttering and stammering … cheeks aglow with frustrated displeasure.) I sat, stunned!

“So” you rightly ask, “what brings us to reflect on this long-ago television encounter … today?” I am so glad that you asked! [chuckle] For, you see, I was reminded of that interview by some demonic little voice within my being (yes, I am being harsh and unsympathetic) that wants to validate the “legitimacy” of a recent occurrence in my most personal and intimate life.

I was soundly asleep, at exactly (I know because I just checked the saved ‘caller ID’ record) 10:55PM on the night of 17 March. That is when the phone rang. I was instantly wide awake! Inasmuch as everyone who knows me on a phone calling level is aware of my “early to bed” (8PM), and “early to rise” (3 AM) schedule (to begin my work at 4 AM), I always know, with a certainty, that anyone calling at that hour is someone dear to me … and in immediate need of … well … Me. So, I grab up the phone, create a “Oh, I was up anyway” tone of voice (lest the party in need feel guilty for the disturbance) and greet the mystery caller. I was met with a playful and quite pleasant female voice that I knew I was familiar with … but could not place. Because my ‘caller ID’ had been tagged with a setting that informed me that this number was a welcome one, I played along and hoped for some little clue that would make certain the identity of the caller. And eventually, of course, she became known to me. What followed was two and one-half hours of the most enjoyable and moving conversation that I had (as of that date) had the honor of participating in for a very, very long time.

And what made for a heightened and enriched level of satisfaction and enjoyment in that call, was my hearing all of the words that every fibre of my Being had yearned to hear expressed for all of my lifetime. Words of love. Words of desire. Words of devotion and appreciation. Words of adoration. All from an intelligent, articulate, vivacious, hilariously witty, woman. A woman who I had spoken to only twice before. And never in a context related to anything personal … much less intimate … even far less romantic. But then, on that late night/ early morning occasion, she spoke of “forever together,” and “love from the first sound of [my] voice,” heightened by “swept away by [my] words written.” All proclamations and declarations that I had had a starved hunger for … well, forever!

THEN! The invitation. “Can you cross the bay … now?” “Can you be with me right now?” To which my adolescent exuberance and indiscretion screamed an unrestrained “Of Course!” (Never let the sixty-two year old vehicle fool you. The engine and all working parts are programmed, and in full racing form and fitness. [smile]) Warmth, tenderness imploring and welcoming were the theme music in her voice. Until … my brain kicked in, and Reality announced itself. I live a very sparse life with an income that is twenty percent below the official government standard for Poverty level. “I can not drive across the bay tonight. I have neither the fuel, nor the means to buy fuel for that drive.” I said. She laughed (a nervous, unbelieving laugh.) “You are kidding … right?” “Oh no … not kidding at all. If only it were possible, I would be there in haste. But, alas, I haven’t the means to do so. And, even if I did, I must be at work shortly. So, it would be impossible in any case.”

We talked for a short while more. And I discerned a hollow chill where a warm soundtrack had been (for the previous two hours) playing. She was immediately tired. And her voice lost all of its enthusiasm. ‘Forever’s became a forgotten thought in the presence of ‘not now’s. Adoration was displaced by discomfort. And … I have not heard from her since.

I willingly allowed my “All-of-Me” to take flight on wings of Idealistic fantasy … because, I am, after all (by nature, disposition, and temperament) an Idealist Romantic. And I have listened for the ringing of that phone since. Until this morning’s awakening reminder of that interview by Diane Sawyer. And I have been in a mode of recollection of all that I turned my back on in 1988. The culture of conditional … everything! All allegiances, all attachments, all affections and endearments … subject to and dependent upon status, power, influence, material accumulations, and position. This was the world that this Idealist/Romantic accomplished his ‘successes’ in. And I had to work with a compassionate and highly skilled psychologist for the last five of those years, just to maintain my sanity (which some may still question.)

So, today I live on an income that is less that most spend on drive-thru snacks … in a tiny cottage that is cluttered with my collection of hand-woven baskets (I do love them), books everywhere (my passion), and the stuff of sixty-two (as of today) years of living. I drive an old van that has a ‘lovely’ coating of green mold growing in expanse on its roof and on its sides (because such a sight used to disgust me … in the days when [as my youngest daughter so delicately says “I had a life”] … and I am declaring [to, and for my Self] my independence from those shackles of arrogance and snobbery.) I live just out of the grasp of homelessness. That is a fact! When anything goes amiss (air conditioner, vehicle, tires, whatever …) I call on one of my loving siblings and they generously come to my aid. And they all … without exception … proclaim their happiness in supporting my reaching out to my world from this … the happiest place that I have ever been in in all of my days.

So, on this anniversary of good old family physician, Doctor Faber’s slapping me on my rosie pink arse and declaring “It’s a Boy!”, I am struggling, afresh, with a tsunami of unhappiness with my “Aloneness.” I am not “lonely”, mind you. Oh no! Most certainly not that. But my sensitivity to my life-long hunger for that never-realized intimacy of companionship and loving togetherness was awakened by that phone call. And now I am in the birth-anniversary heightened throws of dealing with its absence.

So, my Dear Friend, that is about as vulnerable, open, candid, naked, and honest as I have ever been with anyone. But you, My Darling One, have earned that place of trusted sanctuary in my Soul … by your loving and accepting embracing of … Me. And I love You for it!



Suldog said...

It is rather amazing how "forever" becomes "never" when someone's expectations aren't met. Knowing what I do of you, through your writing, I'd say that it was her loss, not yours. God bless, John-Michael!

John-Michael said...

No other voice on the face of this planet is more welcome to my Being than yours, Jim 'SulDog' Sullivan! This was a cathartic exercise to chase away the 'demons' of this day, and your endorsement 'closed the door' on them, My Friend.

I thank you!

NAMASTE (always)

CrazyCath said...

And you know I love you for your honesty, the candid way you write, what you give to the world.

Now, dear John-Dad-Michael, we have been here before. Your spirituality is what fills you and makes you whole. You are a very special person. I sincerely hope yo find that one [physical] relationship you yearn, but you and I know it is not the be all and end all, although that is easy for me to say sat here comfortably knowing I can walk over to my husband for a cuddle when I want, some one to talk to, bounce ideas off, know ME.

But I have been where you are, and one never knows, may be again. And that is when I relied on my children (young as they were) and most importantly, my friends. So valuable are my friends, including YOU, that they are part of my life and my husband celebrates it, not competing with it.

Money and goods are nothing. Love and companionship and understanding are everything. You have it. Here. Hold on to it and let shallow people go.

Love you.

John-Michael said...

Darling, Sweet, and oh-so-kind, Cath-Daughter, I thank you, Sweetheart, for your patient indulgence in my "bucket dumping." I have had that garbage festering inside for a couple pf weeks now ... and it was past time for a good diarhetic (so to not-so-delicately speak.)

You are the best of the best!

I love the (as Grandad used to say [and I have never understood])"pee waddling hooie" out of You!

silvia said...

Ciao Dad,
well...I agree totally with sister Cath..."Love and companionship and understanding are everything. You have it. Here. Hold on to it and let shallow people go"...Unfortunately when this Loneliness "feeling arrives...it takes all the logic and love-for-your-self putting on the table only pity and misarable thoughts about ourselves...but..here are the Good friends:ready to remind you what a wonderful person you are...and that you don't have to waste neither another minute "crying" instead of laghing with us for that joy that you and us share in this life!

I love you dad!!!


Don Mills Diva said...

It takes great courage to live the way you do and to write the way you do...

Happy birthday!

John-Michael said...

Hey everybody! This is Wonderful! Two of my 'Gifts from Heaven' meeting here for the first time ... and on the occasion of my Birth anniversary. How good is this!? I am genuinely overjoyed! And I thank you, My precious Silvia ... (who is in Lucca Italy, Everyone! And for whom it has been my unceasing joy and honor to be Dad for three years now. [I am SO proud of her!])... for your encouraging and loving thoughts and words.

And here she is, introducing herself to Cath-Daughter today! So very, very cool!

I am aswim in Love!

I do adore You, my Sweet Bambina!

John-Michael said...

Absolute ...silence ... a stilled, quiet, and sweet moment of gentle adoration and gratitude. This is my Spirit's response to all that your Spirit brings to my loving awareness of You ... Dear, Dear, DonMillsDarling(you know that I simply can not use that other tag in even remote association with my respect for You.) You are my Guardian Angel's emissary. You touch and bless. Thank you!

I love You.

Jules~ said...

Dearest John Michael, I dare not even read what anyone else has written to you yet so that I may say only what is on my heart.
First and fore most...Happy Birthday to you! Can you hear me singing a chorus in your name and honor?
I am so sorry that you have found yourself to be in this vulnerable state, this place of not feeling fulfilled. It can be a double edged sword I know.
Dare I say, though your passions and heart wanted to speak and act in other things, if she could so easily change and turn away, then she does not deserve you. Your time together, had you taken it, would have only led to later confusion as you sought fulfillment of different heart and body matters.
I know you know these things...intelectually. But hearts and feelings don't want to always listen to reason...and so we hurt. For that I am sorry.
I do know from reading about you though, that you are a resiliant man and will still find cause and reason in life....to live fully like we spoke of yesterday eh?
Each day and moment we have breath, it is for a reason. For that there is cause for celebration and thanksgiving to God.

John-Michael said...

Darling Jules~, surely your voice is a welcome chorus whenever and singing whatever song your Loving Heart has to share. We needn't wait for days of note or remembrance ... we can initiate our very own days of note! [smile]

Thank you for your caring and sensitive insights and thoughts. You are a sweet part of each beat of my Heart. And your presence there makes me stronger as a Person.

I love you!

Vi said...

Happy birthday J-M. I'm so glad you've got some special comments on this day from people who obviously mean a lot to you. Thank you for sharing your soul with us.

CrazyCath said...

Just popped in to check you are still getting some support (I am working down my blogroll and catching up on friends!) and I see that you are and you should know by now how well you are loved.

And I see Silvia drop in and say "Hi!" Wonderful! Today of all days as you say!

Hi Silvia! You are so right too - waste no more time on tears but laugh with us instead.

Love you both!

John-Michael said...

Vi, my Sweet and Lovely Friend, I am listening to Satchmo sing this song (if you have your sound on) and dancing my favorite dance (brace yourself, a slow waltz) with You, in my Spirit. For, my Dear One, this is the Spirit that I have always sensed in You. One of gentle, smooth, and delicate movement and grace. You are the only One who I have asked to dance today ... I hope that you say "OK."

I love you.

nitebyrd said...

I think it's sad, more acutely for the person shallow and selfish enough, not to see the richness you offer in your simple life than it is for you. You might be a cubic zirconia among diamonds but you sparkle more brightly.

nitebyrd said...

Oh! MY! I must add my belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes, JM!

John-Michael said...

Hi Cath-Baby! From a day that started with me in the toilet of deep depression, I have been lifted to a high of loving care that I am without words to adequately express thanks for. The energy and force of Hearts from many corners of our lovely world of entwined affections has had an effect on me that leaves me quite spent with joyful satisfaction. this has, indeed, been a day for grateful reflection.

You are so much loved!

John-Michael said...

My Very precious, caring, and supportive NiteByrd, I hold no ill will, nor slightest unfavorable thougt or feeling toward that individual. Form thankfully, I am ever-so comfortable with my awareness of the very large percentage of our population of folks, who have as their inner value and perception system, a need for the 'safety', 'security,' and 'stability' of concrete and tangible, physical elements in their lives. The large majority of us are so inclined by their very nature. And I respect, accept, and endorse their part in the intricate balance of our world.

I simply must, yet again, remind my Self to "cool it" before allowing my Heart to race madly ahead in its desire to satisfy its longings. And for a nature as inclined to passionate freedom as mine is ... this is (and will always be) a challenge!

I am humbly grateful for your generous and loving encouragement. You are a total Dear!

And, I do, so love You.

John-Michael said...

Thank You NiteByrd! (I think that a quick 'b'day kiss is in order ... don't you? [smile])

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Happy Birthday to you!

JM.. we can only control our own actions not the minds and bodies of those which are not our own.

You can not give another person the power to ruin YOUR day. This has become an important mantra in my own personal experience

I hope your day was special and you found yourself released from the "funk" in which we all find ourselves sometimes stuck. Shake your boots off my friend.

Again, have a wonderful birthday evening.

Hilary said...

Just dropping by to add my wishes.. happy birthday to you.. and many more.

John-Michael said...

Beth (it is simply impossible to even write your name without a smile of admiration). You are, of course, quite right. And though I was without basic "boot shaking" ability at the start of this day, Life sent some marvelous "boot shakers" my way. Thank you for your part in my "de-mucking" of my spiritual footwear.

I love you.

John-Michael said...

I am a bit behind in my being current with your raccoon challenges Hilary. I look forward to finding out about your replacement of that not-so-inspiring roofer. You have been a presence in thought and concern all the while though.

Thank you for your kindness.

I love you.

Classic Charm said...

First of all Happy Birthday my dear friend!

Gosh, how do I put this. I envy you! Wish I could leave everything sometimes, and just have that small cottage, with an old car that doesn't have a payment attached, when life could be simpler, and I can truly have a moment to enjoy this planet's splendor....but duty calls...and I respond....

You are a gem...and what a loss to the lady on the phone...what a loss....sad how status defines our lifestyles really. Wish we could all be like you, what a wonderful world this would be indeed.

Double Hugs,

John-Michael said...

Thank You Rose, my Darlin', for your cheery b'day wish.

I surely do understand the discomfort that living in a demanding environment brings. I functioned (can't say "lived" ... it was not "living" to me) in the stock brokerage/financial planning world for many years. It nearly finished me off (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is its legacy with me ... hence the early morning, newspaper delivery job [all of the stresses of the 'normal' world are still sleeping.]). And, you are quite right ... I do drink in all of the world's splendor each morning ... and throughout the day ... comfortable (whilst very basically!)[smile]

So, you can see my design in planning to take my itty-bitty social security check and relocate to an environ where it will represent a comfortable, and even above average, income flow. (Eastern Europe is looking good for these parameters) I intend to present myself to the female populace as far more "marketable" than I can here. (Yep!! That is a very big motivator!) So, I may well be blogging from Bulgaria by Fall of next year. We'll just see.

I am doubly thankful and grateful for your loving and encouraging hugs, My Precious One. I do, indeed Love You!

aims said...

I don't believe you missed out on anything there dear JM - especially when her expectations revealed so much more.

I thought the story was going to go on and say that you made plans to meet when you could - but it is evident what she expected.

And that is not for you. I told you what I thought would happen for you - and that holds true. Maybe that was the little instigator behind this post? ah well...like I said - never fear. Your dream companion will walk through that door - or call on the phone - and you do definitely deserve that dream companion.

Be at peace dear JM - I know you are!

Corey~living and loving said...

So sorry I missed your birthday. What a great post, and so much love and support handed your way.
you are a very blessed man. :)

happy belated birthday.

John-Michael said...

Very blessed, indeed, Corey ... yes! Very blessed , indeed!

I thank you!

John-Michael said...

I am staring at that door, and listenin' to that phone (volume all the way up!), My Darling Aims. [big ol' smile]

You are such a Sweet Dear! And do feel free to keep on reminding me what to expect (lest I let my confidence meander [grin].)

Loving You more and more!

lisa marie said...

Happy belated birthday~

I'm sorry, I'm a little shocked at that woman! I would not have done that but hubby tells me I'm rare.

Hope you had a great birthday with no flat tires. :)

John-Michael said...

'Tis a glorious thing when One's "Hubby" knows them as "Rare." I applaud your blessing in that regard, Lisa Marie.

And, 'thank you', no flat tires on the birthday! [smile]

NAMASTE, Dear One.

stephanie said...

Happy happy birthday! And p-shaw to the woman calling in the midst of your beauty sleep...Some people are silly, and miss a lot of good stuff. (Some people are silly for the right reasons :)).

John-Michael said...

Stephanie, my Dear Sweet Friend!! How nice of you to remind me of one of my favorite (if not most favorite) definitions of a Friend. Towit; "One with whom I am free to be silly." Isn't that good though!?

Thank you Dear One, for your good wishes. You are, as always, very kind.

Loving you...

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