"Two legs or four?"

"Think I will take four, two just wasn't enough for me last time. Besides, with four you get a better selection to try."

"No Wait."

"Whhaaattt!"

"Over there."

"Nice choice, thanks for pointing them out."

"Look there, that is a nice set. Getting to those first will be a challenge."

"They always set loose such a nice selection, don't they?"

"Well it took a little work but wasn't all that hard from what I understand."

"Explain?"

...interruption
Before you scroll down any further ... stop and ask yourself - 'What is this converstion leading to? Where might it be going?' To dinner is so obvious that we might assume that is the direction of the converstion. Yea, sure, it just has to be about food so perhaps it is two people talking at a wedding buffet, or a retirement party.

This was an assignment (and alot of fun I might add) that required students to write 'in conversation form' two or more people talking. Other students were then asked to read the conversations and share as much knowledge as they could from the clues shared about who might be doing the talking and what they might be talking about. No he saids, she saids or identifiers were allowed - the idea was to learn to lead the reader in some direction but be obscure enough that it wasn't too obvious about where it was headed.

Ok scroll down and lets see if you were close in your deductions? ...

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"You know that little planet, I think they call it Earth?"

"Yea, sure."

"Well while the Caydiers were searching for a supply planet for their hunts they came across this planet Earth. This is a slightly backward civilization; wars, disease, hunger and over population are a big threat. After a little investigation they discovered that the greatest power called 'us' had this creed it had long lived by ... 'give us your poor tired and hungry....' "

"I read about that somewhere. Go on."

"Well anyway they did a little planning and because of the hunger problem that existed in all the power populations there, they knew if they could convince the biggest, the us, the rest would follow."

"That is the way with these young worlds."

"Well, the Caydiers went to the 'us' and showed them how their galaxy needed inhabitants to settle some of their more hospitable planets and the ones in charge of the us fell for it like molites to a drulm storm. The Caydiers drew up what the 'us' called a treaty, same as a contract to you and I, that would send volunteers to far away planets to settle them."

"You mean they did it without having to give verification to the us?"

"No, the us was very adamant about knowing their citizens were well placed so the Caydiers set up a false settlement, took a few pictures to be used and adjusted over time and every time a new batch is collected ... well they take a few more pictures."

"Wow how long before the rest followed the us of Earth."

"This is the funny part it happened before the first hunt of the Earth prey was organized here. The rest were clamoring to send theirs out too."

The two hunters looked down upon the scattering fear gripped herds of two and four-legged prey.

"So Gl'csy'u'te, I meant to ask you the last time we hunted ... which ones are the Earthers and which are the heard beasts?"

"You're not going to believe this Ocy'ta'ce", Gl'csy'u'te was laughing so hard he could hardly form the tele-ported thoughts. "It's the two legged ones."

"Look how they huddle together and scream." Ocy'ta'ce joined in the laughter. "At least the four legged ones run."

"The Caydiers did them a favor you know. They don't have to worry about the staggering number of hungry anymore on Earth. After the first few collections the us and the others began to send out their forgotten and starving."

"How long before you think they figure it out."

"With the way the Caydiers have them played. I would guess it will be centuries in their time which accounts for the amount of time it will take for me and Ja'yat'um to have our children's children to enjoy."

"Ready to give chase. The two legged will run if you chase them."

"Well then what are we standing up here for?"

There are times when I am reminded just how out of place I feel. When Jake has plans to go out with friends, if it's a summer night like it has been and one of us has to stay at home with the sleeping kids, I just stay home. I elect to, usually, because he needs time away and I signed on for things like this and blah blah. The only reasons I might be bitter is either because while he's out I'm home, stuck with movies we've already seen, the internet, or the phone OR because if I were in his shoes and wanted to go out, I wouldn't have anyone to call. I don't really have any friends.

And some of this is my fault, because I still, at 29, don't know how to make friends. True, most of Jake's friends around here are from work, and he is more easy to call people his friends that I wouldn't, pals and buddies and the like. And if you've ever heard things like this, it may grind your last nerve to have your boyfriend kindly suggest people you could call, people who he knows really like you, really do, but who don't know that I like them back. I feel like some 8 year old misfit, and the desire is the same, to just, I don't know, punch him in the mouth and go sulk somewhere, because no one really does understand, and I really am just some freak who doesn't know how to deal with people, can't let people in, can't trust people. Etc.

This is an eternal conflict for me. I want the people calling me to do things, to want to include me, to think I'm as cool as he is, but yet I am such a snob and so picky about who I call my friends that I virtually have none in this area. I miss my friends in New Orleans. I miss oenone, even though we never lived in the same zip code and got to hang out in person only 3 times.

At times, I miss my lonliness, because it was mine and I didn't have anyone around reminding me how alone I felt. But we all know why that couldn't last.

This feeling doesn't happen often, but it does happen and it seems to keep happening. I can't seem to get a grip on and accept whatever it is I am. It's like I don't want pity, but judging from what I think I want, that seems to be what I'm advertising for. Jake poses so many challenges to me, to my heart, to my sense of identity, to my role in our relationship and my own individual life. It's times like these, these feelings, where I want to just chuck the whole relationship, only because it reminds me of just how awkward I feel around other people.

I know that this sentiment isn't really how I feel, and that, overall, I'm happier than I've ever been. But I still feel like I'm missing something. I'm missing a female friend that gets me, that gets along with me and accepts me so much that I can be silly when I want. I miss being silly. I met this one girl, Deb, who is really cool and thinks a lot like I do, but is so busy with all her other out-of-town friends and work at the local arts center, that she never returned my calls and after a while I felt like a stalker, so I hung it up. We go to the same gym, and I've stood right next to her in the bathroom mirror and, 6 months after not talking to her or hearing from her, I am pretty sure she has forgotten who I am.

I went to this poetry open mic thing a few times with a lady I know from Jake's work (all the people I seem to meet I meet through Jake, which makes me wonder), and I wish I could throw some of my energy their way, but their style of poetry just isn't what I feel is poetry for myself. It's more the Beatnik-snapping-your-fingers-instead-clapping kind of way (literally, they do this), and so I feel that by trying to read something, I would be lying. I'd be putting on a mask to feel more comfortable.

I don't know why, but I'd like to think meeting people might get easier when I start teaching, that teaching might at least put me in a place with people who might have something in common with the way I think. Will they be just as empty-headed, but oh-so-friendly-and-nice, like everyone else?

I just don't get it. Where do you meet cynical, smart, interesting people in the world? What am I doing wrong?

Where there is room in the heart, there is room in the house
-- Norwegian proverb

Sorry for taking so long to post this thing. I am a bloody housewife after all.

I went to London to take part in hell hath no furry, and while the finer points of the nodermeet title somewhat escapes me, foreign whale meat eating thug that I am, the fact that you can spend a whole Saturday in a foreign country's park surrounded by people you don't actually know while having a sense of being in the right place have not.



Attempting flight
My travel itinerary was shot to smithereens upon attempting to check in at the local low fares airport, the kind of airport with only the bare necessities as far as airports are concerned, where nobody are in any sort of hurry cause they're all going to the next big city over to kill some time. No meetings, no businessmen or businesswomen with immaculate business suits, mobile phones or impatient binge drinking in the VIP lounge. There were no last minute phonecalls with strategy changes or antisocial carry-on luggage. Just a short SMS to my hosts saying that my original plan was at this point thoroughly destroyed and that I would be a tiny bit late coming to Twickenham.

It was all because of some computer, but that's not important at all. All I missed was a few hours on my own in London, something that wasn't part of the reason for going to the nodermeet in the first place.

So I eventually checked in, waited a bit, went through passport control and found a seat abord the almost empty airliner. Ryanair's newer Boeing 737's are definitely no-nonsense. They have ripped out anything not contributing to their bottom line, including legroom. Ryanair have managed to cram 189 seats into the 737-800, ten more than the SAS models on domestic Norwegian flights. I stretch 188 centimeters above the ground (that's six foot two to imperial people) when I get up in the morning, and the only body parts I could move normally while seated were my toes and to some extent my arms.

The menu describing the things you could have in exchange for money while being stuck in the plastic seat was attached to the little lid covering the oxygen masks. You know, the large white panel just behind the reading lights and the button which make the 19 year old Irish or Spanish stewardess come over and lean real close to you. In order to read the menu you only had to position your head in a slightly unnatural position and squint just a little. The in-flight magazine was laid right on the seat, and the passenger before me evidently failed to finish his mini box of sour cream and onion Pringles. Or maybe he dropped it. I don't know. I do know that if you drop something on the floor in a Ryanair plane, it's gone forever. Bending forwards to pick something up will give you a Ryanair logo in your forehead and leave you with a useless dangling hand, mid-air just below your knee.

But it didn't matter too much. I have sat in the back of a truck in the midst of a snow storm, pretending to not freeze my bollocks off for more than two hours. I have fallen asleep in a cramped C-130 Hercules, and upon waking up finding out that the only part of my body that didn't also fall asleep were my eyeballs. I have taken off on a road trip in an old Simca with just gear number one and four working. I drove 1800 kilometres in it. The reverse gear gave up halfway through. I have flown on chartered flights to Cyprus where you literally had to stand up for six hours. Compared to some of the rather uncomfortable ways of travelling I've done before, this was a luxury trip. And the people at the other end would definitely be much much nicer.



Twickenham
A couple of nights earlier, booyaa had given me just enough directions to get to Twickenham. I was to go to Waterloo station and from there to here. Navigating the London Underground is fairly easy, even for a slow moving guy with an enormous backpack, clogging the Friday evening bustle for the numerous men and women in nice suits and summery office attire. Did you know that over 80% of the women taking the tube paint their toenails? I have no empirical study to back up this claim so I'm probably just making shit up again, but that's what it looked like. Painted toenails sort of gives me back faith in humanity. On a short term, giving your toenails a completely unnatural colour sends a message to those around you: "Look! My toes are pretty. I spent ten minutes doing a useless thing, and after that I listened to Rachmaninov while the varnish dried." This is what separates us from the animals. We can flaunt our prettyness without necessarily becoming pregnant. Animals also probably doesn't do amateur anthropological studies in fast moving cars in tunnels under ground.

A little after nine I was hugged by princess loulou. All booyaa got was a handshake. I must rectify this at a later opportunity, but only after reading up on geek etiquette. Who knows, maybe I'm expelled from the secret Brotherhood Of Geeks after a possible faux pas like that? I had arrived.

Then we went for spicy food and a pitcher of Margueritas at the local Mexican joint. As could be expected, my spoken english was in tatters after being absent from nodermeets for about nine months, as well as from the dreariness of travel.

They have a roof garden, lou and boo. They have an air lock, a situation room and a server room too, but don't let this fool you. Above all, they live in a home. There is nothing as comforting as ending up in someone's home, air full of I'm glad you came, being offered tea, a chance to sit outside, barefoot in the humid London suburb night, slowly spending a cigarette while good people helps you lose the weight of a backpack and relent the clench of timetables.

"Picnic", said lou. "Duuude", said boo.



Under a tree in Hyde Park
Thirteen noders under a tree, merrily drinking Pimm's, eating cheese and wearing funny hats are not hard to spot. I felt like running, but history have shown us that running Vikings are dealt with in London. Poor little sock monkeys too.

There is not much to say about the meet proper, that won't be cryptic in-jokes and virtual high fives and other more or less self referential nostalgia of questionable historical value, except maybe for this: If you contemplate going to one of these things, just go. The worst that can happen is that you meet people that will become your friends. You'll perhaps get to climb trees. The police may come around, but only to envy your cold beer on a hot day. People will mention something you wrote, unaware of who wrote it. You'll hear Tom Lehrer renditions from people who ought to know better, see field surgery on knit toys and hear accents you have never before heard for real.



Quotes
Black Pawn: "In year seven in the Australian schools, they start teaching us about the really important things. They teach us about sex, parenting and that you should not drink Foster's."

StrawberryFrog to wertperch: "You are a very unconvincing old fart."

minisecret to StrawberryFrog, commenting on the feel of his hair: "Are you sure you're not three month's old?"



Things I didn't know before coming to Hyde Park
The London Metropolitan Police is a very friendly gang. They pose with goths and stuff and play frisbee with the local nutters. Foster's arent sold or consumed in Australia. How about that? spiregrain is teh keg ninja. HugoRune is probably kidnapped from the Chariots of Fire cast and is one of three people on this planet who has read one of the same books as I have. minisecret has the brightest smile this side of Tau Ceti. la petite mort sleeps with monkeys. If you need to do a high speed beer run or negotiate confusing public mazes, hire pookie and booyaa. lou's potato salad kicks ass in a nice kind of way. The English deposit rubbish like the Italians make wine. I could go on and on, but I won't since I honestly can't remember any more.



Sunday
Since the Twickenham flat was now occupied by five people as opposed to the normal two, getting everyone through the bathroom ritual, breakfast eating and whatnot took a while. After that, we sorta managed to get nothing done apart from conversing on a wide variety of subjects and see wertperch off to the trains. The four of us left behind went out to try and find Pope's Grotto, but it is apparently only available to the public once a year. We had to comfort ourselves with drinks before heading off to eat some Indian food.



Monday
Before leaving England, I had half a blank hour on the travel itinerary. It was spent sitting on my backpack in Bishops Gate, taking in the locals scurrying to work on a late Monday morning. Then it was off to the Stansted Express and a sandwich. So long, noders.

And then I was home again.

Angst-ridden whining ahead. If the following annoys you, go read "Someone call the waaaambulance", "Here's a quarter. Call someone who cares", and other similarly mean-spirited writeups to make yourself feel better. Please don't take it out on me -- not this time.

The List of Crap to Fix™
Sunday evening, Belinda suggested that I should write a list of things I have to work on fixing. She might be on to something, but I think what she wants might be too "high level" to be useful to my stupid analytical brain. She suggests something like this:

  1. Major depression
  2. Unemployment
  3. Lack of safe living conditions
  4. Lack of companionship
  5. Lack of wife and children
  6. Lack of comfortable house
  7. Lack of satisfying hobbies and interests
  8. Lack of happiness, contentment, and peace

That seems too "high level" to me. While I've listed these in the order I think they should be fixed, "major depression" is a monstrously fucking huge task to tackle. I can't handle all that. I think, then, I need to break it down into smaller pieces before I can even try to fix all this. Hell, let's just look at the very first piece. Clearly, the remaining items can't be fixed until I take care of #1 here.

Major depression

I'm suicidal. I have tried to kill myself now three times. I feel hopeless and abandoned. I feel unwanted. The people I most hoped would help me have abandoned me. The one woman I really hoped wouldn't hurt me has not only hurt me, but robbed me. Even though she's not in my life anymore, she still controls me by withholding this money until I "give in" and go & do what she tells me to do.

The hardest part of this mess is the realization that this isn't clinical depression (at least, it's unlikely) -- that would imply that nothing's really wrong in the outside world and that my depression is caused by a chemical imbalance.

That's just not true. I understand it now -- people have been fucking treating me like total shit for years. Everyone has -- Erica, Gayeleen, my friends, former employers, even my parents. For years I've tried and tried to make people happy, always at my own expense, never trying to make life better for myself. The problem with people is that in general, when someone like me comes along, they will take everything they can. I can never make anyone happy "enough." People always want more. Eventually I can't keep up with the ever-increasing demands.

Obviously Erica wanted or needed more than I could ultimately provide her. Gayeleen clearly needs more than I can give. So does everyone else.

There are so many components to this depression that I may never find them all, even with professional help, but I will try to identify them:

  1. I feel worthless, and this feeling is backed up by lots of evidence and a lot of fear.

    In the literal sense of the word, I am worthless. There are no liquid assets left at all. The checking account is empty (probably negative now). The credit cards are maxed out, overdue, and closed anyway. All of them are over-limit, fees are piling up, and none of them are usable at all. They're coming after the cars.

    In the metaphorical sense, I'm worthless because I've let it get this bad. People treated me poorly, but it's mostly because I let them do so. Everyone has lied to me; they do it because I keep trusting them.

  2. I am lonely.

    I have given my very best to two women I thought were wonderful when they were with me. Gayeleen always treated me like shit, and it doesn't seem as bad now. Erica, though, treated me with such warmth and kindness in the beginning, even after she broke up with me at first. That she so suddenly turned around so completely and now seems to truly hate me is so painful I can't stand thinking about it. But I always do.

    I felt a strong emotional bond forming with Teresa, too. She could just look at me -- just a single glance -- and instantly know what I was thinking, hoping, feeling. She knew just when to hug me, when to talk, and when to listen. She dropped her guard around me and shared thoughts with me that she preferred to keep to herself. Just like Erica could, Teresa could dive straight through the facade I put up (what little of it that's left) and see the real me. She seemed to even like it. She wasn't "irritating" and "annoying" around me like she was around Andrew and Gayeleen. She was just herself. As much as it embarrasses me to admit, I love the woman who lived behind her facade.

    She's gone now too. Belinda of course isn't interested in anything, and she's not anywhere nearby anyway. Gayeleen doesn't even really want me back. She wants Andrew. Every woman I've ever loved is in love with someone else. Probably better people than I. Erica's love interest Grant (who she broke up with to date me then broke up with me twice over to go back to him) has his own job and side contracts. He's raking it in, independently of her. He depends on her for nothing. It means he can take care of her later if she ever needs it. I know she wanted that, and of course I couldn't give that to her. That kills me, because I would have given her all I had, even my life. I really would have taken a bullet or knife blade for her. I would have killed to save her life. I would have given her any part of me to improve her life, or to save it. I don't know that he ever would, but she seems to have made her decision.

    My parents are pissed at me, and they're gone. Surrounded by people, yet I'm totally alone.

  3. I have low self-esteem.

    I find my physical appearance nauseating. Inside, I am a shattered, broken, meaningless person with nothing to offer anyone. The only thing I'm good at is sex, but that's never enough, and nobody wants to have sex with me now anyway.

    I have never been a success, and I never will be. I genuinely believe that all this pain and suffering is somehow deserved and I just haven't figured out why yet.

  4. I feel guilty.

    Everything going on right now is my fault. I let it happen. Even now, I'm imposing unfairly on Gayeleen, Belinda, Christina, and my parents. I'm not worth the trouble they're going through, and no matter how I try to convince them they will keep trying anyway. As they realize my worthlessness as they have, they get frustrated with me and bail. It's okay, but it makes me feel guilty because I couldn't make them understand sooner.

    All this is happening to me because I'm a bad person. Deep down, there is just nothing but darkness inside me. Somehow, I've earned all this misery; I'm repaying some old debt. I hope I at least enjoyed earning that debt. Maybe in a past life I got laid every day and had tons of money?

  5. I am unworthy of help.

    I tried to go talk to someone yesterday, but it didn't work. Nobody wanted to talk to me, because everyone can see that I'm a meaningless human being, not worth saving. It turns out that going and trying to talk isn't enough. Now I have to "announce my presence." I wonder what hoops I'd have to leap through once I clear that hurdle? The only goal of any "free" mental health care systems in this country is to convert me back into a wage slave -- get me back on the grindstone making just enough money to get by and stay in working shape so I can keep toiling away to line someone else's pockets. I am but a resource, one that is nearly exhausted. This society doesn't want me anymore. I'm not worth an investment -- there's nothing left to salvage.

  6. I have lost everything I ever valued.

    I loved Erica more than life itself. She is gone. I was proud of the beautiful house I bought last year. It is gone. I had a 5.5 year marriage that, while rocky, did hold together for awhile. It is gone. I had built a reasonable amount of success for myself. That has gone.

    My parents are gone. My possessions are gone. My friends are gone. My beloved is gone. My freedom is gone. My work is gone. My interests and passions are dead.

    What is left? Nothing at all.

  7. Everyone I ever trusted, everyone, has betrayed me and/or lied to me.

    "We won't call the police. Just come home." -- my mother.
    "I'd have your child right now if you'd just come home." -- Gayeleen.
    "Grant and I aren't going to work out. I'm giving you a real chance this time." -- Erica.
    "I will help you through this." -- Erica.
    "I'm not going anywhere." -- Erica.
    "We just want you to be happy." -- Gayeleen, Erica, my parents, Belinda, Christina.
    "We're worried about you." -- everyone on #lcdproc, right before they stopped talking to me entirely.
    "I still want to be your friend. I care about you." -- Teresa.

  8. I feel teased.

    Why did God/the universe/whatever the fuck stop me from dying, but then won't let me live? Why does this place make me meet and fall in love with people who toy with me for a little while then drop me, moving on with their lives with the people they really wanted while I sit here, static and unchanging, unable to live a life of my own? Why does it force me to cross paths with people who insist they want to help, then refuse to do so when I ask for help, then get angry that I haven't accepted any help?

    Why am I being tortured like this? Why do I have to keep seeing happy couples sharing their lives with each other? Why do I have to keep seeing happy parents cradling their newborn children? Why do I have to keep hearing sappy stories of undying love that cannot be torn asunder by any force? Look at Teresa -- her boyfriend cheated on her after being explicitly told not to, lied about it, lied to the woman he cheated with about his feelings for her, complained about Teresa non-stop, then admitted he did have feelings for Gayeleen. Teresa knows Andrew won't ever want kids with her. He won't ever marry her. But she clings desperately to him anyway.

    How much of my soul do I have to give away to earn love like that? What price do I have to pay for that kind of love? I'm not a person who would abuse love like that, so apparently I don't need love like that, right? Since I would never hurt a person that way, it's not necessary that they love me that blindly. Yet again I'm apparently held to "different" standards than other people.

    How is it that I didn't earn that kind of love, trust, or affection from anyone? I helped a pregnant woman (then later of course when she was a single mother) when no one else would, abandoned by the baby's father, for no reason other than she was my friend. I held my ex-wife's hand when nurses forced a tube down her throat to pump her stomach after she'd taken them to try to kill herself after telling me she'd been cheating on me. I have constantly been, until recently, the absolute best person I could have been. I took more abuse than I had to, I gave more than I should have, and I loved as much as I could.

    Today, my reward for all that kindness and love is loneliness and constant teasing -- a constant reminder that other people are happier, and put in far less work to achieve it.

  9. Treatment seems hopeless.

    From everything I've read, even if I were to "start" the "getting help" process right now, I wouldn't begin to see any change or improvement for six to eight weeks. That's right, two fucking months, whether it's chemical or talk therapy or both. I have to endure two more months like this before I can even hope for an end to the suffering?

    I already can't sleep. I'm already alone and unable to work. I feel "disabled" in the sense that I cannot do anything. No focus. No concentration. Not even skill anymore. I don't know how I make it through each day. I don't know what makes me even get up each day. I cannot foresee existing tomorrow, much less next month. I cry spontaneously. Every time I look in the mirror I want to leap through it and beat him to fucking death. I want him to die for ever caring about anyone, for ever falling in love, for ever trying to become a human fucking being.

    I was better off as an idiot nerdy geek. Wait, no, I suppose I wasn't. People still fucked with me then, too, and it still hurt.

    There is so much old shit to deal with that never got dealt with ... how could a therapist or psychiatrist or psychologist even begin to cope with it all?

  10. Everyone says one thing but does another

    Everyone says "I want to see you be happy." Then each person, in his/her own way, proceeds to punish me for not being happy. Erica decided not to pay me. My landlord decided to steal my deposit from me. Gayeleen has me trapped here in Vegas now that I have no money and no income. My parents disowned me again. My friends all turned their backs on me. The few who remain keep putting obstacles in the way of actually getting help, or keep criticizing me or discouraging me, or offering advice I am unable or afraid to take.

    It's always the same lie: "Just do this one thing and it'll all be better." Here is a brief list of things that were all given to me to do under that guise:

    1. Calling The Bridge
    2. Calling The Bridge and begging for help
    3. Calling my parents to beg for money for The Bridge
    4. Going to the health care place on Charleston
    5. "Call me if you need anything"

    I did all these things. Notice I am still untreated, have received no help or care at all, and everyone is chomping at the bit to blame me for it all.

    I guess it was my fault for believing anybody in the first place. Everyone lies to me. I want to specifically answer #5 up there, "Call me if you need anything." My reply follows:

    "Um, yeah, I need fucking help. I need people not to be angry at me. I need someone to hold my fucking hand and help me through all of this. I need to be loved. Unconditionally. Without hesitation. I need some kind of release from this horrible pain, but I cannot find it because all you fucking people keep talking and not doing anything!"
  11. My body is failing me.

    I'm still losing weight. My knees are getting worse every day, and so is the musculature of my arms and legs. The stiffness I've been feeling lately has been getting worse and worse, and is now turning into pain.

    I feel sluggish and tired. My body is falling apart and I have neither the means nor the inclination to try to fix it.

So facing all that, just to get to a point where I can start looking for work again and trying to piece a life back together from these muddled pieces, is a daunting task I feel woefully inadequate to cope with. I don't think I'll make it. I don't even think it's worth it -- it will take months to even make any improvement, and even then, there's no guarantee that it'll be permanent, or even improve at all. There's no way to know if I'll ever find a mate, or if I'll ever have a family of my own, or if I'll even manage to be moderately happy ever again.

What the fuck am I doing here?

Memories coming in from the cold.

So, for seemingly no reason at all I mention Budd Lake, New Jersey today. This sets of a trigger of memories. From my birth through the 1980s, my family went to Budd Lake every year for Vasa Day, a Swedish-American festival of grand proportions that kind of faded in its later years.

At some point in the 1970s, there was a major event at Vasa Day. As I recall, members of the Swedish royal family appeared, which included a speech of some kind by the king of Sweden. I was eleven or twelve at the time and wasn't much interested in all that. I would hang out with relatives and look for kids my age. It was an annual ritual to break away from the family and find some kids. The place was like a giant picnic grounds and there were always kids down at the playground.

So, I'm down at the playground, on the swings or that ridiculous spinning thing they had that you could get to spin around with people on it at dangerous speeds. There were some kids there, including this one blonde girl who spoke with an accent and had a strange last name. I remember her laughing at my attempts to pronounce it. I would take her up to the bar where my Uncle Victor would always make a big show of serving me a Coke in a glass as if it were an alcoholic beverage. He made a big play about how I was buying a drink for the "pretty young lady."

Her family was strange, or at least I thought so at the time. They were very proper acting and were overdressed for a summer picnic. She had changed, but now she needed to change back. Every night there was a lengthy dance with a Swedish band, real ballroom dancing kind of stuff. She changed into this beautiful dress and I was still in my playground clothes. She wanted to dance, so I obliged, but I couldn't dance and felt foolish trying. She told me I was cute and kissed me. I remember talking and her saying she was leaving. It was the first time I ever kissed a girl. We sat outside on a bench while everyone else was dancing, holding hands and talking. She had this thing about catching fireflies in jars, but mostly that seemed to involve her brother catching them.

"Mom, I want to take dance lessons so next year I will be able to dance with her and not look stupid."

"She won't be back next year, honey."

I took the dance lessons anyway, even though I never managed to learn much from them. Later in life I lived with a professional ballroom dancer for a year and she couldn't teach me either, so it wasn't the instructor. I went back to Budd Lake the next year, but the girl wasn't there.

I had to call my mother about it. She only remembers vaguely the details and does not remember what year it was, but yes, the Swedish royal family was there one year, about a dozen royal types according to my mother. My mother only vaguely remembers me dancing with the girl and believes she was somehow involved with the royal family. That is all she remembers. However, I can recall some details now that eluded me for a long time. She had a younger sister and an older brother, but there wasn't much of an age difference between them.

The strange thing about this is that I may have just remembered the source of two patterns in my life, the result of an unresolved conflict. The boy who took dance lessons waiting for the girl from last year to show up at the big annual event and her not showing up. I remember it being completely heartbreaking. I truly expected her to be there the following year, even though I had been told she would not be there because she was going back to Sweden.

Except that a little research brought me to this: Princess Desiree Elisabeth Sibylla, sister of the King of Sweden (who was in fact there that year, that much is confirmed), has three children, Carl Otto Edmund, born March 22, 1965, Christina Louise, born September 29. 1966, Helene Ingeborg, born September 20. 1968. Three children close in age with the middle child being named Christina, who is about a year younger than me and fits the incomplete memory perfectly. I remember her brother being my age and her little sister being a bit younger. She even looks familiar in some way in the pictures I have found of her. It is possible that this is the girl in question. Her making fun of me for not being able to pronounce her name? The girl's name is Silfverschiold. However, I've been unable to get any information about visits by the Swedish Royal Family to the United States in the 1970s.

This is one of those weird things that melts your mind. It would explain the origin of the Three Queens pattern as well as the repeating Christinas and my need to attach royal names to my girlfriends for no apparent reason. Was the Baroness Christina Louise of Sweden my first real crush?

Oh, man. That is just too fucking weird, dude. I have just officially freaked out.

Her mother writes in her baby book at the age of 3 months, "fair, wise, good, gay, child born on Sunday".  Her journey begins at 10:55am on July 28, 1968 in a little hospital nestled quaintly in the mountains of West Virginia.  She was born to a mother separated from her husband because he abandoned her with 2 children, one a boy the age of 2 and pregnant with her second child.  Here new home would be a tavern where there would be 4 generations of women, of Cherokee descent living under one roof.  There were wild tales of the great grandmother living among and talking to spirits on a daily basis and beer brawls happening all around.

One day a handsome young man enters the bar and begins to court her mother.  After a stint of time, he begins to learn more about each child and grows to love them.  He marries their mother and adopts her and her brother.  They begin their happy lives together with no trace of the biological father.

36 years later, this young child has grown into a woman and has ventured out on her own, stricken with mental disorders and marries 3 times herself.  Finally, settling down with her third husband who helps her stay somewhat sane (whatever that is).  She is very happy, having her 13 year old son to spend the summer with her and her trusty husband always by her side.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, she receives an e-mail from someone spouting something about a "happy birthday" and a signature of "Love, Dad" and it didn't come from her father.  It came from that man who had abandoned her 36 years ago.  What was she to say to this man who had never left her a penny, a birthday card, a Christmas card...nothing as much as a "welcome to this world".

Her only response can be:  "Thank you for your birthday greeting but it comes about 36 years too late.  You never so much as sent me a penny, a birthday card, a Christmas card or so much as a "welcome to this world" so I would appreciate it if you would leave me alone.  I don't hate you in any way shape or form.  I thank you for not coming around so that I could be adopted by a wonderful man.  As for the "Love, Dad" signature, you can't love someone that you don't know and you certainly aren't my Dad, so please don't address yourself as being so.  I have a father.  His name is H**** B**** and he is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I just don't desire to have you in any facet of my life."

Now, after 36 years of waiting to address her biological sperm donor, she has finally told him what she thinks and she feels so damn good for doing so.

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