Most weekdays I ride the transit and use the mindless time to muse. Sometimes I stare out the window, past the little sign telling me how to push out the glass in case of emergency. Today the view reveals an unnaturally blue sky. It is bright morning and already hot and it's not even 7:30.
I wonder if this is the day my life will be adjusted.
It would be OK if it happened. I need a little adjustment in my life right now.
I need some balance.
Anyone who reads science fiction knows Philip K. Dick, and anyone who knows Dick (heh) knows one of his finer writing moments is The Adjustment Team. They're the people who make sure things happen according to plan.
Hollywood made a movie loosely (and I mean loosely) based on the Dick story called The Adjustment Bureau. It was ... OK, I guess. I saw it during an especially weird time in my life so perhaps that colored my judgment; I read way too much into the film's story about a cadre of strangers keeping a man from what he thinks is his destiny.
(He does spout a great line in the film: "All I have are the choices I make, and I choose her, come what may.")
The choices I make. That line still resonates in me. It makes me think of something Chuck Palahniuk wrote: "Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. Every time you don't throw yourself down the stairs, that's a choice."
Calliope said something today that gave me pause and made me think of the way she chooses to think about us. "I don't know if I'm ready to be responsible for your happiness," she wrote. "That's a lot of pressure."
What I wrote back, in so many (too many) words was this: "No offense, but you're not my happiness." And it's true.
As much as I care for the misfit muse, my happiness does not live or die because of her. What is true is this: I am happy in the knowledge I know her, happier still when I am lucky enough to spend time with her. I am unhappy when she pretends I do not exist — not because we aren't hanging out, but because ignoring someone you claim you like and acting like they do not exist is not a cool thing to do. It's actually pretty shitty and selfish.
Doesn't mean I'm angry or that I'm throwing a hate shadow. Just means I don't like it and I'm not going to let it happen without saying how I feel. It's not (in the vomit-worthy words of that cable network) a fair or balanced thing to do.
Balance: Calliope is known for her all-in, all-out ways. There's nothing balanced about that mindset; it's an unhealthy recipe, ripe for ruin. We all need equilibrium or else we get loopy and fall down, just like a kid who spins himself sick. I see this in Calliope, and I see the way her pole-to-pole mindset has in past made me loopy, too.
Hence the need for a healthier future — the need for an adjustment.
Since the stroke I've gradually been able to look at her in a much different light — not necessarily more critical, but definitely without as much unhealthy bias in her favor. What I hope she will eventually realize is that my happiness doesn't depend on her. Part of my happiness is based on knowing her, having her as part of my life, being an acknowledged part of her life. But only part of it. The sun doesn't rise and set on Calliope's curls, as beautiful as they may be.
Any day with her in the mix is definitely brighter, and spending time with her is splendid, but a lack of Calliope doesn't mean there is no sunshine in my life. That's silly, and she's right about one thing: that's too much pressure for any human to bear. That's putting someone in the position of being a god, and that sort of power has to be reserved for owners of ant farms.
I don't want her in that role in my life, and Allah knows I don't want to be that person in anyone else's life. I'm a great badass but a terrible god.
I find happiness in my friends, in the Amazons, in work, in el gato, in the memories I have made and continue to make. Of course I'm not always happy being alone, and sometimes it gets lonely. But I don't think being with Calliope 24/7 would make everything better — in fact, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't. No matter how simpatico any two people are, they have to leave room for each other to grow. They can like each other, enjoy each other's company, but they shouldn't have to need it to survive. They can become the Fourth Jockey.
That's what I seek in my relationship with Calliope, moving forward — a healthy balance. Not all-in, not all-out. Balance, dude. A necessary adjustment for the both of us.
A happy medium.