Saturday, August 28, 2010

Realizing I Am Wrong


How do you convince somebody that you didn't do something?

That you really honestly and truly did not do?

There is no evidence to suggest that you didn't do something.

But there is circumstantial evidence that might lead one's imagination to conjure up the worst action.

And when circumstances are explained – the open ear and open mind can understand.

You can list the facts.

Describe the scenarios.

Show how the path of events led to the current misunderstanding.

But when the ear and mind are closed to the explanation, you come to a standstill.

A stalemate.

A standoff.

And nobody wins .

And then pride comes into play.

And hurt feelings.

And anger.

When an apology is demanded for something you did not do, then what do you do?

In some cases it may be wise to apologize anyway.

"I'm sorry dear, I must have stuck the cat in the freezer and put the loaf of bread on the back stoop. I don't know what I was thinking".

Probably good advice for the small insignificant issues.

But for the bigger issues. The important ones.

The ones that can alter not only your life but the lives of all those that you love and hold dear to you.

Then what do you do?

You can't simply apologize to get it behind you – not if the accusation borders on a heinous offense of cardinal proportions. Doing so means you are saying to that person that you did something you did not.
That you cannot be trusted.

And trust is the foundation of everything.

And should you be stupid enough to actually lie about one of the items of circumstantial evidence – because you know that one action simply does not look good – well, then you lose all that persons trust to never believe another thing you could say.

Then you just blew it.

And then you apologize.

And then it's worth nothing.

And you are tried and condemned for the cardinal offense you did not do.

Oh my.

So here goes my truth.

The complete truth for the world to see. I have nothing to hide, save perhaps my pride.

My honor and my integrity - which is all I ever tried to represent with headstuffing.

On Easter of this year, my wife Darlene went away for the holiday to participate in a competition at the provincial level. It meant a lot to her. And she did very well.

But I was upset that Darlene would sacrifice an Easter holiday with our little girls – when not many more are ahead where Easter holds the mystery of Easter baskets and coloring eggs.

So on Twitter – in my frustration – I posted something to the effect of how sad it was that when you finally find Mrs. Right that you could be so wrong.

A horrible thing to tweet. To Say. To broadcast to the world.

And I did say that.

On Father's day of this summer – again via Twitter – Ian Aspin re-tweeted the link to the first post by a lady who recounted missing her father and remembering sweet moments with him. I read that first blog post and I re-tweeted the link as well – stating that if that was her first post ever – I will be back to read more.

The author – whose twitter picture was that of a beautiful young woman – wrote me back and thanked me for the kind words.

And we began following each other on Twitter.

At first it was merely to re-tweet each other's posts.

And we exchanged a few emails – discussing blogging and writing. How you define the boundaries of what you should and shouldn't write about. On the topic of religion we had a very good conversation as to the different ways the subject could be approached.

But there was nothing romantic in the conversation. We were both however very happy to have made such good friends.

We talked about how big a part passion plays in good writing. I truly believe that if you are passionate about something – the words just flow. And your best stuff comes out. And in the end you have that tremendous satisfaction that you accomplished something really good.

So what we established was a mutual respect as bloggers.

God I hate that term 'blogger'.

But as time went along, and she following people I followed and I following people she followed – we starting participating in each other's twitter conversations with each other's friends, And her friends started becoming my friends.

And since we are both witty, our conversations on twitter were very fun.

And since we are both adults some of our tweets could be considered to be flirtatious.

Now, to be clear – we never breached that line of platonic mutual respect. But some very light risqué topics came up – such as stiletto shoes – between my friend and her girl friends in Twitter. And I … well I jumped in the conversation with my usual smart –aleck remarks.

Let's also be clear that there is nothing private in Twitter. Even direct messages to another person can be viewed by the public. One time I tweeted on this fact stating:

"Twitter is like to people standing on cliffs on opposite sides of a huge village screaming to each other for the world to hear"

Because it was.

And I honestly sincerely never thought I was doing anything wrong – although I honestly admit that I realized some of my tweets – if seen by Darlene – might be a bit hard to explain.

But again – there was never anything romantic in those tweets - perhaps only the fact that two people thought a lot of each other as friends.

And at the age of forty eight – I shouldn't have to ask permission as to who my friends are, should I?

Then came a fateful day in July. My youngest daughter's eighth birthday party. A conversation about stiletto shoes was going on in Twitter between my friends girl friends. And a picture was posted of a pair.

And I tweeted "The last thing I need before my daughter's birthday party is to have the image of your stilettos stuck in my head".

Well, in hindsight – that was probably a very dumb thing to tweet.

And I left Twitter to help Darlene and my mother get ready for Ashley-Rae's party.

And in the middle of that party – I started feeling nauseous from too much sun as the girls were splashing and jumping in and out of the pool on our back yard deck.

As the pizza was served in the kitchen – I took a picture of twelve crazed screaming girls hamming it up for the camera. And I posted it on twitter with the short comment "Please – kill me now".

After the last child left – I went into the bedroom to lie down. As I did, I wondered what the response to my picture was – so I rolled over and picked up the iPhone to see the responses.

They were all laughing at my misery – most of them with daughters of their own knew how rambunctious a gaggle of eight year old girls can be – and sympathy was expressed.

And as I rolled over to put my phone down – Darlene came in to see how I was feeling – and she asked :
"who are you talking to?".

I really was not feeling good, and responded "nobody".

She picked up my iPhone and read the list of tweets to me from women with cheeky Twitter names and pictures of faces or images that women use on their twitter profile.

I grabbed the phone away from her. I really wasn't feeling well, and I thought it was a bit rude. And I changed the pass code to access the apps on the phone. And then I deleted the Twitter app from my phone.

And I laid back down.

But that one single set of actions was interpreted as something to hide. As I look back on it now – I would have to say I probably was trying to hide it – but only to avoid a confrontation when I was not feeling well enough to respond to the questions I knew would be coming.

Darlene tried to get in to read more but she didn't know the access code.

As I felt better later in the afternoon and my head clearer – I changed the access code back to what it was before. And I put the Twitter application back on my iPhone.

And I left it there for her to read – every tweet still in the system. I expected to have to do some explaining – but I sincerely did not think I did anything wrong.

As time went on – I did send one or two emails to my Twitter friend. The first to explain that my activity on Twitter was probably inappropriate – and that I was sorry that I would have to drop off all together.

I then wrote a second email to tell her how great I thought one of her latest posts were. And I deleted that email as soon as I sent it.

But the email was in my trash folder.

And on one morning as I showed Darlene my email to prove to her I was no longer communicating with my friend – she found it in my trash folder.

She caught me in a lie.

And now – everything else that I had been accused of for the two weeks prior – which was not true – now all my answers were lies.

And all that would be accepted would be a complete and total confession to the extreme conclusions she had come to.

But those accusations were not true.

I really did stop using Twitter. And I never again emailed my friend. And I even separated myself from my friend completely.

It seemed like a small price to pay to restore my wife's faith in me.

I really do love my wife. With all my heart and soul. And when I use the term "my lovely wife Darlene" in my posts – it is not with any attempt to belittle her. It really is how I think of her.

She is my lovely wife Darlene.

So to answer the question "When an apology is demanded for something you did not do, then what do you do?" – I think I know the answer now.

I just had to write all this out to come to the conclusion.

The answer – in my case anyway – is to finally realize that I did do something wrong. I willingly let a set of circumstances unfold that would hurt the most important person in my life deeply.

And I really did try to cover it up – I realize that now as I put all this matter to type.

And I really do have to convey to my wife – who is also the best friend – the greatest friend I have ever had – and probably the greatest friend I ever took for granted as the result of ten years of knowing each other so well – I have to convey to my lovely wife that I really am sorry.

Truly and deeply sorry that I ever allowed these events to ever unfold in the way that they did.

And as I reflect on it further – I understand what it is that drew me to my Twitter friend. She is an awful lot like my very best friend Darlene. The same humor. The same likes. The same tastes.

And I didn't need Twitter to find the very best friend I ever had.

So Darlene, please accept the above to be my most complete and detailed confession. And know that I am really very sorry for how much these events have hurt you.

I understand it now. I just had to write it all out to see it.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

A Simple Summer Sunday Morning


It's a beautiful sunny Sunday morning here on the back deck.

The cast of characters that comprise our home are all in their proper places.

All of our company has either gone home or off to visit other places – leaving our house unfamiliarly quiet for the coming week.

Empty.

Suzy is on the deck floor sitting between myself and my lovely wife Darlene, who is frantically typing an email to our Irish friends Ray and Shell on her iPhone.

The two grammas have dispersed – one back to her house on the other side of town, the other having survived a turbulent flight home to Pensacola – after circling for twenty minutes then being rerouted to nearby Ft. Walton for a cab ride back to Pensacola - and then another to her home.

Not an easy trek for even the healthiest of soon-to-be octogenarians.

The Irish are away up north in Midland enjoying time with our friends Dave and Michelle – taking jazz band boat rides and losing money in the casinos of the area.

They are having a ball.

We knew they would.

We wish we were there too.

It's very easy to be sucked into the leisurely lifestyle of vacation.

Vacation days that start by waking up to good cups of coffee and conversation on the deck with visiting friends and family. Then the dispersal of all to go their ways to get cleaned up and ready for days activities and travels – with the discussions of who will travel with whom in which car to go whatever destination is planned for that day.

Then all reconvening back on the deck later in the evening for drinks and dinner.

And more conversation.

And more drinks.

But it is a nice day today for us to simply remember what it is to be a simple family of four in a quiet Canadian subdivision.

Roars and cheers can be heard over the trees to the north, coming from the ball fields of the Turtle Club. It's the weekend of the big baseball, softball and t-ball teams from all over Canada and the States.

We really should take a walk over to see the commotion.

But we don't have to go far for commotion – my girls in the house provide a constant stream of it.

Home grown commotion if you will.

Still it is quiet.

Not even a lawn mower – just the occasional cheers for a well hit line drive off in the distance.

There are no real pressing or urgent chores to be done at home. The laundry is done. The kitchen is clean. The grass is cut and trim and the gardens freshly weeded. The pool has been vacuumed.

Perhaps I could wash the cars.

Perhaps.

I will take in this quiet today and savor it.

It's the end of my week's vacation. And there will be a pile of items demanding attention tomorrow morning at the office.

Emails of questions, system change requests, confirmations of requirements a week old, and problems that require resolution. Phone messages and little piles of paper with yellow sticky notes attached.

But that is tomorrow's concern.

Tomorrow.

The girls have just taken off to go bike riding with the neighborhood kids.

Now the house is barren except for my lovely wife Darlene and I.

Perhaps we will just go for a walk.

Happily, Ray and Shell are returning to our place at the end of the week.

And we do have a golf tournament to play in next weekend.

And my lovely wife and I are planning a nice overnight trip in the coming days to simply have a change of scenery – and to remember who each other are.

So the summer's vacation time is not over by any means.

We are just having a little reprieve.

A reminder of how live was before the holidays – in the normal flow of life. The day by day experience.

Relaxing.

Did I mention it was quiet?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Holidays With The Irish


Good God I am tired.

As I look around the morning faces on the patio deck, I see that I am not alone.

We are all sleep-deprived.

Baggy-eyed.

With only coffee and tea to recuperate for this morning's nourishment.

It's a holiday week for me. And the world is staying at our house.

I love it.

Our friends Ray and Shell from Dublin Ireland have the starring billing on the marquee. And my Mum is up from Pensacola Florida as well. My lovely wife Darlene's parents provide frequent drop over visits. And the neighbors seem to be frequently dropping in.

Family from up north has come down to see. More friends are due to arrive as the week rolls on by, from Midland and Collingwood up north.

And the neighborhood is enthralled with the Irish as well. The Irish have adopted a new local pub around the corner down at the end of the street as their own. And the regulars there quickly are adopting our paddy friends as their own.

And the two Grammas are here as well, sitting at the kitchen table playing card games with names like Kings In the Corner, Patience, and Pepper. And of course Hearts.

The two Grammas have been enjoying each other's company greatly – almost as boisterous inside the house as the gaggle of friends out at the patio.

And Ray still owns my pool table – running off all takers with the smoothness and grace of a Minnesota Fats – hitting angles that any physicist will tell you do not exist – leaving the cue ball set perfectly for the next shot.

The kids have pretty much beaten the water in the pool to death – splashing and jumping and horsing around – the first ones in and the last ones out … until the light of day is eclipsed by the western horizon.

As well my girls have had sleepovers here, and at friend's homes – with trips to the Rodeo and late nights of girl talks in sleeping bags.

It's a great holiday for sure. The kind of days that make the highlight reels of one's deathbed – as one lays there and reviews the happenings of their lives in the momentary replay of important events. These days will be important scenes on that reel of memories.

As well, in the midst of all this hedonist decadence, my lovely wife Darlene has come to the conclusion that we both need to better our health – and so we have started each morning with very long hard walks from the house down to the river where we look across to Fighting Island and Grassy Island – historic landmarks of the War of 1812.

On our very first long walk down to the river – we passed the pub adopted by the Irish as their new local. And the Irish of course were inside – holding court with the regulars – enthralling them all with their charm and their wit.

Ray and Shell make friends so seemingly easy.

Some are friends they knew from trips over in the past. Old local friends with names like Earl and Mitt and Scoop. And new faces that have not yet had the names placed on them. And each offering the Irish new adventures like fishing trips on Lake Erie and Sunday dinners with their families.

Quite incredible indeed for this social wallflower to witness. And quite a learning experience as well. I am taking notes such as "be very nice to everyone you meet" and "greet all you encounter with a smile and twinkle of the eye".

Skills that come naturally to the Irish.

Perhaps it will rub off on me somehow.

The best part is that these fantastic days of holiday are only beginning. There is a whole week left to come of my vacation days.

… a birthday party for one of the Grammas …

… a game of golf with Ray and the neighbors – to be followed the next week with our foursome in a golf tournament …

… and more walks – and more barbeques - and more swimming.

And more pool.

Perhaps even a Tigers baseball game at Comerica Park.

And, of course, no doubt each of those days will again evolve into more boisterous nights around the patio table.

Should the neighbors call the authorities to complain of the noise - I can see the scene now. Two young officers sauntering into the back yard by the side arbor gate.

"We've had some complaints …" would say the young rookie.

"Ahh good to see yer lads … what'll ya have…" will say Ray.

"Oh nothing thanks … you see we had a complaint …" would insist the senior officer.

"Well who would complain?" I would ask from the corner?

"Oh my …", would say one of the neighbors now sitting at the table enjoying the fellowship, "I'm afraid that was me. But that was some time ago, before I knew …"

Ray would appear then with a pair of cold drinks for the Good Constables, and hand one to each with a smile and a wink.

"So where are you folks from anyway?" would ask the young rookie.

And around four in the morning, the little radio on the one constable's radio pinned to his chest would blurt out the command "please report your status!"

"err … Roger that, we are just leaving the scene of a reported disturbance .. a false alarm" …

"So are we on for fishing on Friday then Ray?"

"That would be grand Stevie…"
And the Good Constables would honk a goodbye as they drove away – flashing the lights on top of the squad car to show off.

Hmmm.

I am so tired this morning.

But times like these are rare and far between. I can sleep when the holiday is over.


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