28 June 2008

O, What A Tangled Web

Watch House?

You know, the misanthropic medical genius who diagnoses weird diseases on Fox? It's the only program on that network I watch, and only then because my misanthropic son recommended it.

Well, the poor folks who come to him are put through tests verging on torture. You have to be pretty sick and really desperate to need him and to put up with that battery, which word I use in both meanings - assortment and as in "assault and."

Anyway, this convention I am attending usually gives me the feeling of being assaulted. As I wended my way here I told myself I would ask why; that is, reflect on my mixture of feelings that make me want to go and at the same time want to flee. I would give myself the Gregory House treatment.

You saw a piece of that in my last post. That happened on Wednesday and I wrote about it on Thursday.

On Friday I had another moment, equally unpleasant, disturbing and instructive.

I was at my seminary alumni/ae dinner. Gosh it is good to see the people, and so touching to see us mellow as we age from young turks into old coots. Sentiment is a powerful opiate, easing the pain of age and folly, gently fogging our wincing hearts when we contemplate plans unfulfilled and goals unmet. We all need it as the analgesic for the moral and professional arthritis that comes upon us all.

Anyway, that's not what snagged me.

At the end of the evening the school thanked those grads who have been especially supportive financially. Having helped host a fund raising event the night before because we (my spouse and I) are among those who give generously - our names were so listed in the program that evening - we were surprised when our names were not mentioned last night. So was the colleague next to me by the way.

Now, the mechanisms of this are not what matters. What I am writing about is how irrationally angry I felt about it. It took real effort not to become visibly irate. There was no reason for me to speak to the organizer then and there, but I could not stop myself. Even as I couched it in a question not an accusation she could sense my displeasure.

I fumed as we walked home, and thanks to the tender offices of my dear spouse, teased out part of why I was so exercised by this small act.

Abandonment. There is a trail of moments throughout my life when I felt left out, overlooked, forgotten, ignored, invisible, and otherwise abandoned. No question this goes back to my very earliest memory which is when I was sitting in the back seat of the family car as we brought my baby brother home. I was alone in the back seat and they, the three of them, were up front.

Like ducklings who believe that the first creature they meet is their mother, this ancient experience got laid down very early and became part of who I am. And as I said last time, fixing it would be as painful as enduring it, for what I am now includes it.

Truly, I need to get better control of the infantile outrage I feel when these things happen, but something tells me this wound will never heal completely. The best I can do is find ways to cope with it. Damn if being a grownup really sucks sometimes.


michael crawford said...


Check out enneagram(anyagram) work.

Of course you feel the way you do, you have the wing of a four, which hooks your artistic temperament.

Prima Donnas want to be seen and not seen at the same time.

WFW said...

Any old gram will do me, even a Billy Gram.

Sorry to take so long, friend. I've been on the road and then catching up on work and stuff. Now off again on personal business.

I suppose I'll have to do some investigation of the enneagrams I've heard about. I remember the Enneads of Plotinus, but this is new, right? I mean more revtn than the 2nd century CE.