"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock and Roll

It's the last day of summer, a summer of many scenes, travel, exploration, some hard yards. You learn things about yourself, things you didn't even know you didn't know, those fabled unknown unknowns.

You might come back from Mexico and discover from your roommates that you displayed a rather more zesty case of wedding-fever the other weekend than was previously known. It's all second-hand knowledge because you honesty don't remember yourself, and it sounds kind of tawdry, but making out with your friends' ex-girlfriends is a staple of Portland culture, so it's all good, right? Right.

One just like the other, Sin's a Good Man's Brother.

You might have your friends from Burning Man roll through, and go on and on about your square-ass work history over pre-dinner cocktails, and find out that the one you had an eye for already has a man back home. It's all in the game, but would you have found this out if you handn't had a burned-up hand and talked a bit more pretty? Might it have played differently, more like you'd hoped? The world may never know, but you try not to stress it. You resonated. That's rare and true and more than enough.

It's been two good years since I've felt clear like I'm starting to, back around the last time I returned to Brooklyn, post-Vagabender, starting up as a legitimate young man. I found myself a pretty nice girlfriend then, or maybe she found me (as has tended to be my m.o.), but regardless we had a pretty good thing for six months or so in Park Slope. The Belle do Mois. As has also tended to be my m.o., I got lured away by another bright sweet one, a real peach, and then I moved to the hills of California and didn't come back, lost her too. I wonder in hindsight what was really behind that decision to run.

Back then, just after I'd settled in Brooklyn, I came home to Oregon for my man Dave's wedding to the lovely Jessica, and in the drunken evening after my mom and I had a kind of heart to heart. She wanted to know whether I was afraid of commitment, how often I was drunk when I met these girls. You know, good honest questions from the most authoritative Woman in your life. I was already in the process of re-evaluating my attitudes towards relationships, fucking, love, etc, but I think that kind of got me to face up to some real truths about what I wanted, where I was going.

My boys and I like to kick around "the 35 to 55" as an abstract concept, and it feels like roughly the right target for starting a family, but life and love don't really run on a logistical schedule. A plan is just a list of things that don't happen. I've done enough spins around the block not to care about being celibate for six months or more, but there's no denying I'm lonely, and also no denying I'm playing an active role in keeping myself this way.

It's hard to say. I've never been particularly talented at fidelity, and I've not always been so good at being up front and honest about this. It's a shortcoming. It's something I think about in guilty and regretful ways. I came out here and stuck myself in the woods, away from distractions I said. Took myself right out of the game. You can't fuck up if you don't play, but you also can't win, not to mention the fact that it's boring as hell.

With the 20/20 vision time brings, it looks more and more like a retreat of sorts. In many human ways it was a big move forward -- living with good friends is something that brings me huge growth and joy, and starting a company wouldn't have been feasible if I weren't here -- but in terms of Love, the big question, it was a kind of Final Ramble off the scene. I've been out a few times since I moved out here -- a picnic lunch, making out with young mothers -- but nothing past second base or three dates. As has been pointed out, apparently I need to fly across the country to get laid.

It's a different world from Brooklyn, for sure, but the truth is I don't apply myself. I'm not really "out there." I have to give myself the freedom to make mistakes again, and I have to work on being more forward. It's not really my nature to be aggressive or competitive when it comes to the ladies. Like I said, my m.o. is often to let them come to me, which doesn't really work so well in these parts, and probably isn't all that mature either.

I wonder about the times when I'm very drunk, superego peeled more or less all the way back, and this reverses itself. The other week's wedding fever is probably a good example, and thinking back a couple years again I remember the first or second weekend I was back in Bklyn, going out on the town, really hitting the scene. That's the last time I have blank spots in my memory. I left my jacket somewhere, made some questionable 2am phone calls that were only known because of outgoing call-tracking, etc.

Frank told me at the time I was like a Great Dane in heat, which is probably accurate and kind of funny, if not the most flattering image. I feel some unspecified shame around this area, but the truth is that this is how I've found Love in the past: going for it with gusto. So what do I have to do to get the cop out of my head without drinking myself blind? That appears to be the $64,000 question.

Life comes in waves, and patterns have a way of recurring. Not quite history repeating, but there are echos, resonance, familiar contours to the road. No moment is the same. There is no stillness. And yet, I feel like I've been here before.

Out at Burning Man, one afternoon I had a bunch of our neighbors over, interesting wild people a few years my senior, and was kind of bird-dogging this 30-something conversation about love and sex and relationships. When it came to my piece I was short and sweet, talking about being a romantic, a three-week wonder, looking for something true and being frustrated because "there's nothing you can really do to go find love, no action you can take."

"That's not true," my neighbor said. "The most important thing you can do is make sure you are at 100%, with yourself, with what you're doing. That's how you find love."

It seems like good advice. I took it to heart. Out there on my journey of spiritual cleansing, riding the dusty back-roads of Saturday night, head full of acid under a heavy moon and Johnny Cash and Bobby Dylan on the boombox singing about the Girl From the North Country, I realized just how much I wanted love in my life again.

It's obvious, yeah, but in my experience revelations are always obvious when you say them out loud. What makes them revelations is that they stick. They arc from idea to belief. They spawn new habits of action, as the Philosopher might say.

Anyway, that's about all the navel-gazing I've got for the day. It's a beautiful Saturday. I'm going to wrap up my hand, go out and enjoy the Equinox.


Well, first off, I'm all for navel-gazing, but only if you lift your head afterwards. Being a winner in this field, it's hard to give advice, without feeling like an ass hole. For what it's worth, your friend at burning man is right, I won, i.e. met Noreen, when I was at ease with me, 100% OK with who I was. Then it was easy. Before that, it was awkward, or worse, I didn't even want to talk to women. When I had come to a pinnacle of satisfaction and self appreciation(not arrogance), I was open to many other things, career, fun, friends, and yes my future wife. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20 but just wanted to throw that out there. I've defintitely made good, and I think that being cool with me is where it all started.

I really appreciate the sentiment. It's certainly not an assholic thing to be proud of yourself and Noreen. You should be! :)

First off, the picture of your hand. Just tell people you had to pimp slap a burning Cylon. They'll either get it or they won't. As for the wedding fever you got kickin', are you looking for a girlfriend or a wife?

I will immediately take you up on the Cylon suggestion. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

As for the other, I don't know that "looking for a wife" is a particularly helpful frame of mind for me, but I am (and have been for the past couple years) definitely looking for romance with legs, and not just the kind that are good to look at 'neither. I've always wanted a family, etc. I'm also more interested in the human depths that one can only get into over time, and also in the increased oomph that a steady relationship gives my life overall.

How that squares with tacky PDA is anyone's guess, but weddings seem to have a way of bringing that out in people.