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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Early 1968, Late 2009

We met on the telephone. I was in an algebra class with his younger brother, but that is not who gave one of us the other's phone number. A mutual friend thought we might enjoy talking to each other and that began to occur in February, 1968. He was a college freshman uncertain what he wanted to be in life. He had lots of talents and interests. He didn't need to decide immediately. I was a high school sophomore who didn't even know what life should look like. The initial phone call was made and our mutual friend turned out to be completely correct. We enjoyed talking to each other.

Between school and jobs and lots of time on the phone, we didn't rush to meet. We wanted to meet, however, and it was arranged we would do just that in the earliest part of spring break. He arrived at my door at 10:00 a.m. on April 8, 1968. I remember the way the sun shone over his shoulder and the shy smiles exchanged and a nervous little, "Come on in." Something immediately shook me to my roots. He was gorgeous. I was 15 and I had never wondered, even once, if he'd be good looking. I just wanted to meet my friend in the flesh. I got more than I wanted. And the feelings were mutual. Immediately apparent. Call me a drama queen or a romance writer, folks, but there was electricty exchanged, molecules intertwined on that spring morning. It's 41 years later. There's still a lot of activity down at the electrical plant. There's still a mutual pull. We have been many things to each other over the years. We were nothing to each other except glowing memory for the 30 years we didn't know if the other was still alive. Today we're evolving into the next version of us - "evolving" is his word. My phrase is, "We're seeing what we can be to each other." This should not be mistaken for a "less than" or a "just _____" relationship. We simply haven't defined it yet. Changes have been made that are too new to have taken root. We look at "us" every day of life. We discuss "us" every day of life.

We spent part of each day of that spring break together. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated days before we met and we talked about that endlessly. My friend had a hot little red MG convertible and one evening when it needed to be jump started, he put me in the driver's seat while he pushed. I'd never driven a car before. We were unsuccessful in starting that convertible. So we walked to get something for dinner. We've walked a lot of miles side by side since 1968.

I broke up with him in May, 1968. I did it on the day that he planned to ask me formally to be committed to him and no other young man. I did it as callously as a 15-year-old girl can do it. He still says today that my breaking up with him colored every relationship he has had with a woman thereafter. I have seen pain in his face when he speaks of May, 1968. Never mind that by September, we were back in contact. And through the spring of 1971, we tried over and over and over again to land on some solid ground upon which to build our relationship. Alas, it didn't happen. In March, 1971, we hiked in the mountains, sharing a glorious day. And we didn't see each other again afterward until October, 2002. There were some letters after the hike. And then silence as each pursued a life, married, had a daughter, experienced things with others.

You see, some people connect with certain others and never disconnect. I don't know how that happens, or why. I'm a student of human beings, but not a human being scientist. But I know I have a story to tell about two people who may not know exactly where the boat is headed, but they enjoy all the ups and downs in the waves. It happens that I am "difficult" and he "ain't easy". We are intense, each of us. There is no slow drifting on this river. Rather, we are both composed of angles and vivid colors and sharp tongues. We're each a bundle of energy. He has said, many times, that when the two of us are in a room, the light bulbs spin in their sockets. I concur. And we understand each other. Deeply. Understand what the other needs from us. And mostly we give that to each other. Still.

Once we spoke of coauthoring a book about a relationship. Now we're both bloggers. I don't think it's an exaggeration to claim we have exchanged millions of words across decades ~ handwritten, typewritten, spoken, e-mailed. For the next several days I will blog about the accomplishments of this person I know so well. Strides he has taken with determination. Successes he has earned through hard work. Fears he has conquered by, damn it, just doing it. And I will speak of my part on the support team.

He will surely blog more about the technical aspects of the Skull Valley Road Race I (his first outing in 2008) and the Redux this weekend. I will blog about how it came about that I was and am included, what was funny, what was amazing, why certain things were important, what made us crabby at each other. It's meant as a tribute to him whom I admire. I have a gift tucked away to present on race day morning. It is appropriate to a manly cyclist sort. Home dudes have all admired it and said, "Right on, Limes. That's somethin'! Where do you find stuff like that?" David said, "Yeah! That looks like something I'd want to have."

In my ears right now: Red Hot Chili Peppers, "The Bicycle Song". What'd ya think?

Something that charmed me: That my manly men at work admire and approve of the gift I bought the Badger. They "got" the significance. They think it hits the target.


  1. Beautiful piece, L. I would add:" and woe betide any woman" who unknowingly tries to get involved with him. She is dead in the water, whether or not even he is aware of that". No one could be all you have been to him and I wager that he would wither without you and your unconditional love.


  2. So THAT's the history...and the present. I wondered, but couldn't quite put my finger on the connection. Obviously it went way back!

  3. TR, I can't make public comment on that. I'm *not* any woman. I'm just me, riding on the bus, trying to make my way home. I try to treat all people the way my heart tells me they want to be treated.

    TOB, that's a very *tiny* part of the past and the present. More to be told over the next few days. It will be about cylcing and races and it will be about us. As we roll off to the next race. Our road is so long and so winding that probably no one could quite figure it out in detail.

  4. Isn't life fascinating?? Some connections just can't be broken, and some can't be bent to our will. My kayaking buddy and I have dated twice--15 years ago and 7 years ago--and now have settled into a lovely friendship. As for meeting in the flesh...a couple of years ago I had an intense, romantic email and phone relationship with the singer Jewel's dad (yes, really!) but when we met in person...pfffft...nothing! Ha! Life is fascinating...

  5. Dooz, there's something new to be discovered at every single stop the bus makes! I *love* what you wrote: " . . can't be broken and can't be bent to our will . . " I need to chew on that one and will likely reuse it.

    Jewel's dad was no jewel, huh?

    You've mentioned the dating thing before and I have some draft posts I intend to put up after this race weekend. Some of it was hurtful and I wont write about that. But some of it is hilarious and I *will* write about that.