What Am I Gonna Do?

Ballot BoxEveryone in Québec will be willing to eat their shirt on August 1 if Premier Jean Charest doesn’t call a general election for September 4. All the tell-tale signs are there and, as bad as it is, it’s probably the best the political climate will be for his governing Liberals.

That’s not saying much, though. Charest in particular and the Liberals in general have been extremely unpopular since their majority re-election in December 2008. The government finally gave in to a public inquiry to look into allegations of corruption in the construction industry, and while its handling of the on-going student protests has been largely criticized, it probably believes that the findings of the Charbonneau commission will have the same effect as the Gomery inquiry had on the federal Liberals back in 2006. So, next week, the Liberals will be betting that they will somehow manage to form their fourth consecutive government by calling an election sooner than later, even if it’ll likely be with minority status in the National Assembly (that’s what Québec calls its provincial legislature).

Because I moved to Québec in April 2008, I didn’t manage to get on the voters’ list for the December 2008 election, making it the first election I ever sat out. So, for this election, I need to get on the voters’ list, no fail. However, this is the first election that I’ll be entering as a categorically undecided voter. Here’s why.

Parti Libéral du Québec Québec Liberal Party (QLP)
Provincial Liberal parties have no formal association with their federal counterpart. Therefore, while the federal Liberals are essentially centrist, often campaigning from the left-of-centre but governing from the right-of-centre, the Liberals in each province vary from centre-left, centre, and centre-right. And, although the political spectrum in Québec is more left-leaning than in the rest of Canada, the Québec Liberals under Charest, a former Progressive Conservative at the federal level, are generally viewed as more centre-right …but certainly not as much as those in British Columbia.

Right there, that should make the QLP a non-option for me, and the corruption allegations against it and the student protest debacle provide me further reason not to vote for it. The only thing that could draw me to it is that it is the only provincial party with an unambiguous non-sovereignist stance. That’s not much.

Parti Québécois Parti Québecois (PQ)
The Parti Québécois is obviously the main sovereignist party. It is traditionally a left-leaning or centre-left party and still officially declares itself as adhering to social-democratic principles, but it has had forays on the centre-right with leaders (and Premiers) like Lucien Bouchard, Bernard Landry and, I’d argue, Jacques Parizeau.

The problem for me and the PQ is its main plank: Québec sovereignty. However, my discomfort with sovereignty has less to do with a pro-Canada stance and more to do with a feeling that Québec would be far worse off economically as an independant nation. I think I feel more that way now in view of how this place has managed to succumb to corruption scandals after cleaning up its act in the early 1970s. What’s more, as a result of neglect and lack of maintenance, practically all our infrastructure is literally falling apart, and I find it hard to conceive that a province currently on the “have-not” side of the ledger among provinces could manage to fix this problem without mass infusions of cash from a higher, federal level.

However, even if PQ leader Pauline Marois were able to stay off the hardline sovereignists in her ranks if she did form the next government, the PQ in general has consistently managed to annoy me with its constant cheap shots against federal Canada and its tendency, despite itself, to lapse into low-grade xenophobic rhetoric. But if I were to ignore this (very significant) problem, I’d have to admit that, otherwise, the PQ should be my natural political home for being essentially left-of-centre under Marois.

Coalition Avenir Québec Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ)
Recently founded by former PQ heavyweight François Legault, the CAQ is pledging to put the sovereignty debate on the back burner for at least the next 10 years in order to concentrate on cleaning up the province’s public administration. Fundamentally on the centre-right (not to say the outright right), the CAQ has absorbed the right-wing Action Démocratique du Québec (ADQ) and has also drawn former members of both the Liberals and Parti Québécois. Toward its end, the ADQ had evolved into an “autonomist” party, meaning it wanted Québec to remain in Canada but with more autonomy in managing its affairs.

It’s not just the right/centre-right aspect of the CAQ that turns me off; it’s Legault himself. Despite claiming having a plan to “fix” Québec, he remains far too uncommittal with all his “On verra” (“We’ll see”). Plus, I still remember Harper’s 2006 federal pledge for more transparency in government, and here we are, six years later, with the most secretive, non-transparent and frankly unilateral federal government this country has ever seen. Hence, I just can’t trust the right.

Québec Solidaire Québec Solidaire (QC)
I used to love Québec Solidaire until co-leader Amir Khadir got elected to the Assembly in 2008. QS is the hard left, but it’s also staunchly sovereignist. But as I’ve aged, I’ve come to view hard ideologies on either the left or the right to be utopic and unachievable: it’s all too black-and-white for my liking. Khadir, for instance, shows zero subtlety with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian question, choosing to protest in front of a small shop in Montréal that has the audacity of selling a brand (among others) of shoes made in Israel. Just like G.W. Bush’s legendary “You’re either with us or the terrorists” statement, with which many Americans didn’t agree, this simplistic stance has an anti-semitic tone that denies that many Isrealis do not support their current government’s position on Palestine just like many Palestinians aren’t against the idea of a peaceful co-existance.

And while I’m by no means a monarchist, I do recognize that the monarchy is a part of our history and, over the centuries, it has evolved into a mere benign symbol; therefore, I found it distasteful when Khadir publicly ridiculed the monarchy as “parasites” during last year’s visit by Kate and Will. As a lefty, I understand how it’s fundamentally wrong to have people in positions based solely on heredity, but since good ol’ Liz ain’t exactly a blood-sucking tyrant, I do still hold some respect for the position of head of state she occupies.

Option Nationale Option Nationale (ON)
Founded last year by former hardline PQ MNA Jean-Martin Aussant when it looked at though the PQ was imploding, Option Nationale is a centre-left party that states that a vote for it is an electoral mandate for de facto sovereignty, to be followed by a referendum to bring de jure sovereignty.

‘Nuff said. I won’t be voting ON (assuming it will have a candidate running in my Outremont riding — a Liberal bastion provincially — currently held by Finance Minister Raymond Bachand).

Parti Vert du Québec Québec Green Party (QGP)
I don’t know what to say about this party. Given that the upcoming election is going to be a three-way race among the Liberals, the PQ and the CAQ (although the latter is trailing at about 20% and is the least likely of the three to form a government …although last year’s Orange Crush in Québec should swear one off dismissing a dark horse), it seems like voting Green, under our current voting system, is the epitome of throwing away one’s vote. Besides, the Greens are unlikely to make any headway outside the Island of Montréal, which is also the most fertile ground for Québec Solidaire which, with a sitting MNA, stands a better chance of picking up another seat or two.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Like I said, assuming I manage to get on the voters’ list, I have no idea where I’m going to put my X in this election, and it doesn’t help that I’ll be voting in a riding where the result is a foregone conclusion. So far, the options I have categorically dismissed are CAQ and ON, and I’m 99 percent certain I’ll pass on voting Green for the first time on this go. So…

Parti Libéral du Québec Charest has become annoying arrogant, and I can’t see myself pinching my nose and voting Liberal despite all the corruption just because it’s anti-sovereignty.

Parti Québécois Marois has tons of bad history from the days she was a high-profile PQ cabinet minister, plus the PQ manages too often to piss me off. But, otherwise, it’s closest to the NDP that Québec doesn’t have at the provincial level.

Québec Solidaire Québec Solidaire has shown itself to be too far left even for me; however, since it won’t form a government, perhaps positioning it so that it holds the balance of power in the opposition wouldn’t be so bad.

I never before felt so much like I was stuck for voting for the “least bad,” not to mention in a riding where my vote is the least likely to have any impact.

Despite my scathing remarks on Amir Khadir, though, I think I just talked myself into voting Québec Solidaire.

‘Cause It Just Does

Man TitsLet’s talk about my tits, more specificially what gets on them.

What’s that? You’d rather I talk about HIS tits? Hummm… I can see why you’d say that. Very lovely tits they are. I could probably go on and on about them and the thoughts in general this dude inspires. However, let’s keep those thoughts (good or bad) to ourselves and focus on what’s getting on MY (admittedly not as lovely) tits.

Humans CANNOT Really Multitask
A lot of the women I work with like to tease us guys by saying that “Men can’t multitask like women can.” I always laugh off that statement and sometimes even use it as an alibi for why I can generally only do one thing at once.

To be honest, it’s not the teasing or even the statement in itself that gets on my tits. It’s the implicit belief that humans who adapt the best can multitask. I could be running a load of laundry, watching TV and writing this blog at the same time; therefore, some would say that I can multitask. But the truth is that the moment I’m walking to or loading the washing machine, I, physical, am doing only that; the moment I’m thinking about a sentence I’m writing, I’m not really hearing what’s being said on TV. Of course, I can walk and chew gum at the same time and I can think about my next sentence as I take a drag off my cigarette, but that’s hardly high-level multitasking.

I love working with the women I work with, but another truth is that I always know when they’re typing an e-mail or doing something or another while we’re talking on the phone. They think they’re multitasking, but they’re not really. However, what gets on my tits is how we, humans, are expected to be able to do something we’re simply not designed to do. I would correctly be considered rude if I were to divide my attention between a client whom I’m training and those blasted text messages that invariably seem to come only when I’m beginning a call with a client.

Texting & Walking
Okay, so while that gets on my tits, it’s more of an irritant than anything else. But my tits almost start bleeding whenever I spot someone driving while on a portable cell phone (which is illegal here) or when I have to step away because someone is walking straight at me on the sidewalk as he or she is too damn busy texting.

People and their blasted hand-held devices: It has gotten completely out of control! Who would have thought even a mere 15 years ago that we, as a whole, couldn’t get by with those blasted things in hand all the time. I could be out having a drink late one Saturday night, and invariably there are few people who check that damn thing a few times while we’re sitting there talking. One night, I was standing behind a family to watch the fireworks and everyone in that family below the age of 14 not only had one of those things but almost completely ignored the fireworks which, by the way, were particularly good that evening.

I honestly don’t think the chatter that goes on through those devices has enriched our lives. In fact, I think that, for the most part, it has empoverished our lives …and THAT’S what gets on my tits.

After Saying X, Do Y
There are a lot of times when *I* get on my tits — more times than I care to count, actually.

I had thought after writing my last blog entry that this act, in itself, would finally get me to stop thinking about NowEx, specifically “what would he think” and “why hasn’t he even bothered to respond to my e-mail confirming that we’re now divorced. But noooooo… What did I do instead, after finishing that post? I searched for him online again and, of course, turned up very little and nothing new.

That gets on my tits because it’s almost as if I wanted him to scold me again. But why? So that I could say, “There! Final proof that I did the right thing”? So that I could find evidence of his bad-mouthing me or Canada (or both) online? To see if he died and no one thought I’d be interested to know? Come to think of it, would I be interested in knowing? And for what purpose, exactly?

Now don’t get me wrong. He doesn’t inhabit my every thought. Far from it. And it doesn’t make me feel awful as it did as recently as just a year ago. In fact, most of the time I take pleasure at taking cheap shots in reference to him, as the novelty of this “divorced” status thing still hasn’t worn out yet. But the fact NowEx comes to my mind probably 100 times more than I come to his royally gets on my tits, and I may as well admit that it does.

Bell Aliant
Bell Aliant, the biggest phone company in Atlantic Canada, is pinching too hard on my tits, too. That company remains the only reason I can’t get my landline disconnected so that I could rely exclusively on my MagicJack Plus number.

It’s quite a quirk. The 514 area code for the Island of Montréal has reached full capacity. The last exchange that hadn’t been used and that the MagicJack people took up is 900, which in the North American Numbering Plan is also the “area code” for toll numbers. Had I not been such a snob for wanting an original 514 number and settled for a number in the new 438 overlay for Montréal, I probably wouldn’t have had this problem because my exchange would have been “regular.”

Thankfully, the Pastry Monster placed a service call to Bell Aliant and they grasped what the problem was, but how long will it take to get resolved? I’d like to start saving my $87 per month sooner rather than later!

Tit Balm
However, I did find out something good this week that acted as a balm on my tortured tits. Remember my telling you about switching to being a contributor on my pension plan and how I needed to figure out how to rejig my budget? Well, it turns out that, because I’m now contributing, I’m having to pay less income tax. So, in the end, the difference I have to make up is only slightly more — as in only $10 — than what I’ll save once my landline gets disconnected.

Therefore, it’s not like everything is getting on my tits.

In fact, work has been going amazingly well lately. It began getting much better after my sick leave last fall. Then it improved some more when I learned in my last sessions in therapy how to let go of the B.S. And since the divorce, I’ve been getting even more compliments from clients about how patient and thorough and friendly I am as I provide them training. Plus, since the beginning of the year, I consistently complete more training requests by a country mile than any of my teammates, and that makes me feel good as well because I’ve learned how to make my absence noticed, like when I’ll be on vacation soon.

I suppose those are the kind of things that prevent my tits from just falling off.

When It Really Starts Sinking In

Boiling FrogLast night, I found myself watching and at the same time not really watching TV as I sipped my way through a bottle of my favorite cheap red wine. As a result, I found myself heading to bed around midnight, not drunk but certainly relaxed enough to fall asleep fairly quickly. However, as I fell asleep, I had a bunch of disconnected thoughts and memories floating in my head — some of those memories going back decades — which inevitably made their way into my dreams in a virtual hot mess.

One of those thoughts went along the lines of, “My ‘divorced’ marital status feels more real to me than my ‘married’ status ever felt.”

I was trying to figure out, as I was falling asleep, why that’s the case. I came up with two plausible explanations:

  1. the way I felt like I was in some kind of fog throughout most (if not all) of my marriage, and
  2. the comments I received from those who’ve read through what I’ve dubbed my 1,763-day weekend.

I’ve sufficiently described Point 1, so it’s Point 2 that interests me right now.

I believe there are two crucial premises — or two attempted cause-effect explanations — in “The 1,763-Day Weekend”: my tendency to rescue (to put it mildly) and the supposition that NowEx has BPD. My blow-by-blow description of events was my attempt to support that supposition, and it would seem many who read the series either implicitly or explicitly agreed with my theory. However, while I still hold onto that explanation, I can’t help wonder if I constructed it because it was more palatable than simply dismissing NowEx as a selfish, immature and rather evil asshole — or as one friend put it more simply and more bluntly, “that freak” — as that might imply that I was doubly in the wrong by virtue of being a poor reader of character.

That caveat aside, I wish to share some of the comments I’ve received, and don’t worry: I won’t attribute any of the comments in order to protect the innocent. 🙂

The Impossible Heaviness of Being [With]
One of the first comments came from a friend who confided having a good friend who ended up divorcing due to the spouse turning out to be very mentally ill. There was no sign of this illness until a very short time after the marriage. At the time, my friend, holding onto the “sickness and in health” vow, didn’t view kindly the divorce decision, but in the end my friend’s friend went through with it and has since happily remarried. But my friend further confided that reading my story, with all its excrutiating details, led her to rethink the position she had taken back then. Then, almost immediately after I read this friend’s musings, another friend expressed her belief that perhaps the most impossible type of relationship to maintain is one with someone with BPD that isn’t being treated. Those comments not only reinforced in my mind that divorce was the right decision but also banished forever any vestige of remorse onto which I still may have been holding.

The Frog in Boiling Water
Another friend who recently has had to deal with someone who is almost certifiably a BPD case proffered a concept that captured my imagination to explain why I stuck it out for as long as I did (even though it wasn’t really that long considering that the estrangement period was longer than the courtship and marriage combined). The concept is that if one were to drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it would jump out to save its life; however, if one were to drop a frog in tepid water and very gradually bring the water to a boil, it wouldn’t notice and would allow itself to be cooked to death.

Oh. My. Gawd… Yes, it was so like that! I felt the water getting warmer but thought I could endure it. But when the water reached the boiling point, this frog jumped out and it was the marriage that ended up getting cooked to death.

A Page Turner?
Several friends admitted that they either don’t read much or only read my (long-winded) blog postings diagonally. However, all my friends who commented back to me prefaced their remarks with a variation of “I read ALL the parts of your blog and…”

That certainly made me chuckle, but it also meant a lot to me. Many had already heard some of the stories, but not all of them and certainly not all at once. Many admitted that they initially thought “oh my gawd” when they saw that the narrative was 15 webpages long, but they told me that, aside from caring about what I had to say, they just got sucked into the narrative itself. Everybody who knows me knows how writing is important to me, so while I recognize that my writing is not of the calibre that would allow me to write a novel, I do enjoy the feeling (or delusion?) that my writing can occasionally be good enough to draw readers in.

Everybody got how the exercise was cathartic for me. Everybody who already knew some of the stories has said something along the lines of “I knew it was bad but I didn’t know it was that bad!” One friend who hadn’t known any of the stories even went so far as to admit never having wanted so much to get in a car to drive the long distance to Montréal for the sole purpose of giving someone a hug. And yet another friend said that, as he was reading, he would think to himself that he never thought I was the kind of guy who would “put up with so much shit” …until he remembered what I was allowing to go on in my life when we met more than 15 years ago. (Yeah, another rescue operation that didn’t end well…)

What Would He Think?
I mentioned at the beginning of this entry that all these thoughts “made their way into my dreams in a virtual hot mess.” I suppose the reason for that is that probably the very last thought I had before falling asleep is that NowEx did not respond to the e-mail I sent him a few days after I got the letter confirming that the divorce had gone through. Although I figured he wouldn’t since he hadn’t acknowledged my lawyer’s letter advising him I had (finally) filed for divorce, I suppose I was hoping for at least a “fuck you” or “good riddance” kind of response from him.

Why? Maybe it’s because I believe and resent that he has occupied so much space in my head for as long as he has while he has probably succeeded long ago in making me persona non grata not worth even a cursory thought. Or maybe it’s because there’s a part of me who still fears him and how he’d react upon reading my diagnosis of him.

So my dreams last night brought me to a place that posed as Mexico City but that wasn’t the real Mexico City. It felt like I was only passing through, recognizing certain landmarks, and simultaneously hoping that I would and wouldn’t bump into him. Eventually, someone I supposedly knew, though he didn’t look like anybody I ever met, got the word to NowEx that I was in town and *poof*! There he was, right in front of me, wearing that ridiculous (woman’s) winter coat I bought him in Halifax. But when he removed the hood from his head, letting his long hair tumble out, it was not his face but that of a woman — a friend I lost touch with since 1999 when she jumped the fence from “dykedom” to “straightdom.”

Like I said: these dreams were a virtual hot mess.

Maybe I should just reconsider my liking of that cheap red wine…

On the other hand, there are five fingers.
It’s become a platitude to hear that divorce (or the circumstances leading to divorce) can be traumatic, and that might explain why I still have some stuff to purge despite already spilling so much virtual ink on this topic. But I suppose it’s only now that it’s all really starting to sink in: that I am divorced; that I am grasping what is probably the most important lesson of my life; that I have an uncanny capacity to put up with a lot of shit but that I probably won’t put up with as much for the remainder of my life.

As it really starts sinking in, I find that what’s on the other side is territory that’s unfamiliar to me. It’s not scary; it’s simply unfamiliar. In the past, I either remained friends with my ex or held no animosity. But for the first time in my life I do hold some animosity, and I worry that I won’t be able to totally let go until I let go of that, too.

Or maybe that’ll come when it will have all sunk in rather than just start sinking in…

Dog Days of Summer Upon Us

Dog Days of SummerWithout a doubt we’ve reached those dog days of summer.

Much of the United States and the eastern half of Canada have been baking under the sun for several weeks, since well before the official start of summer. Here in Montréal, the water level in the lakes and rivers, including the St. Lawrence River, is at a low that hasn’t been seen in at least a decade, and the situation is worsening by the day. We’re currently under a high heat and humidity advisory in southwestern Québec, and I can vouch that it’s damn hot and sticky here today in la métropole — the kind of day it’s best to stay put and do little safe perhaps seeking an air-conditioned environment.

So, in that spirit, I decided to stay in to keep out of the sun and throw together a “grab bag” blog entry.

Oh, What a Relief It Is!
It may seem silly to you — or maybe not — but writing that long series of blog entries actually did me more good than I thought it would when I started writing it. It allowed me not only to unload but also to make connections with many things I’d already posted in my blog. It wasn’t the first time for me to make connections to stuff I’d previously written, but some of the links I made this time were more striking to me because they came as either blatant contradictions or repetitions.

It also wasn’t my first time to come out as a (recovering chronic) rescuer, but clearly that account now stands as my most explicit and detailed admission of this “condition.” It was (and remains) unsettling for me to see the words of total candour stare back at me; however, I think that was part of the exercise of writing. It has allowed me to do more than place the memories of NowEx’s antics elsewhere than in my head; it has forced me to understand myself better and, moreover, seek ways and means not to repeat my history. Of all the backward links I made, two in particular stand out: to what I wrote on my wedding night just minutes after NowEx wondered out loud if we’d make a mistake, and to my reflections on Amy Winehouse’s passing.

With the hot weather upon us, I’ve been going out more. Last summer, it would have been to mope; this summer, it’s been to beat the heat and just do simple, pleasant things. I know that, for people who know me both in the city or at work, my good mood has been palpable and increasing not only since I got word that the divorce has been finalized but also since I finished writing that series of blog entries. My take on this good mood is that I know and feel that things didn’t just get better; they’re going to get even better.

One Aspect of “Looking Ahead”
Every June at work, each of us has to decide if we want to keep our same medical and dental coverage or change it. Additionally this year, we had to decide on two other matters: whether or not to get optional long-term disability coverage beyond the basic offered by our employer which is no longer providing optional LTD, and whether or not to switch pension plan. I found myself having to make these choices just days after learning that the divorce was finalized, so that made my decisions easier and clearer. NowEx hadn’t been eligible for any of the medical stuff even when I was registered as married to him because he hadn’t achieved PR status, but the line about pension was blurry during our “separated” phase. Not any more.

Long story short, given that I started my job at age 40, my pension at 65 won’t be too hot. However, had I stayed as I’d been, it would have been pathetic. But clearly my employer, like all others, is trying to reduce its costs on pensions, for the new plan that’s being rolled out for newer employees would see the latter contributing much more but receiving much less upon retirement. So, I’m holding onto the old plan but contributing to it, which I hadn’t been until now. And since I could never go back to the old plan if I opted for the new one, you get bet your right nut (or tit) that I’ll be sticking to the old plan unless one day we’re forced to abandon it.

Under New Management
I’ve written a lot since last October about my efforts to bring more order into my finances.

Although, as I’m writing this, I’m a few weeks behind in updating my monstrous spreadsheet, I’ve generally kept to my budget and I’ll probably “balance the books” later this weekend. Part of the reason why I’ve been procrastinating on this task is precisely because of the changes I mentioned above, that came into effect on July 1. I no longer knew what my net income would be with the slight increase in my elective medical coverage, minus the optional LTD that’s now gone, plus my 5% contribution to the pension plan. But now that I know what that amount is going to be, I need to find the easiest way to bring my budgetting spreadsheet up to date without affecting the data from the past.

That said, there are a few more outstanding variables.

  • First, I did finally make the plunge and got myself the MagicJack Plus, thus eliminating the need for my basic landline. There’s one problem, though: I haven’t cancelled it yet because my mother and one of my brothers, who are in the same telephone area code, can’t call me although I can call them. But if I could finally cancel that service, I would be recovering nearly half of my extra payroll deductions.
  • Second, I’m the worst self-advocate in the world. I could be making a monthly claim from my employer for my Internet connection since I work exclusively from home, but I haven’t done so yet. That, plus disconnecting the landline, would recover nearly 70% of my extra deductions.

Basically, it’s the difference between rethinking only thirty bucks per pay period and ninety bucks per period. Neither is a huge amount, but every little bit counts as I’m sure my dear Gail would agree. In fact, I can almost hear her telling me, “Get off your duff and look into those things right now!”

Altered Vacation Plans
It’s not finance, however, that brought me to rethink my summer vacation plans; it’s the heat of this summer and, to a much lesser extent, my failure to lose much weight this spring.

I had initially thought of heading down to Provincetown for a few days at the beginning of my vacation before “going home” to the Maritimes. Then, not relishing the thought of exposing my gut on a beach, I got more ambitious and thought of perhaps looking up and visiting Lonestar in Nashville, setting Jamestown, NY, as the midpoint between Montréal and Nashville in the hope of finally meeting and having supper with the delightful Julia.

But then one of this summer’s heat waves hit Montréal just as news came that Nashville was shattering heat records.

Mind you, Junior, Dog bless him, provides wonderful air conditioning. But it would still be terribly hot and exhausting, and I only have two weeks off. I’m already feeling tired and in need of the break from work; after a long, hot trip like that, I would be even more tired the day after my birthday when I’d go back to work. If I had three weeks off, maybe… but I don’t.

So, I decided to stick to Fredericton (maybe), Moncton and Halifax, and I’ll probably pad some “slow time” in Montréal at the beginning and the end of the two weeks. I am very much looking forward to visiting friends and family down there, but I think my overly ambitious plans had been motivated by an equally strong desire to break out of a rut. However, the dog days of summer made me realize I might live to regret overextending myself for the sake of “doing something different.”

Weathering It Out
Tonight is Canada’s turn at the fireworks festival, and the shows will be held twice a week starting this week. The temperature tonight is not expected to go below 23C / 73F (not counting the humidex) and there’s no rain in sight before tomorrow afternoon at the earliest, so this is a “must go out” kind of evening.

I still need to decide if I want to drive Junior downtown or take the métro. If I take Junior, I have to go very early if I want to park him and I can’t have more than one drink after the fireworks. But if I take the métro, it’ll be stiffling and I’ll have to come back home by the last train whether I want to or not. Or I suppose I could stay out all night and come back on the first train, but I don’t want to paint myself into that corner in case I suddenly long to come back home, and DUI is simply not an option.

Ah, decisions, decisions! But at least there are attractive decisions to be made in the dog days of summer in Montréal. And better still, despite the heat, I feel like making such decisions.

The 1,763-Day Weekend
Part 1 — Free to Tell the Tale

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I went to the Second Cup in the Village one night about a week ago to cool off by sitting outside and re-reading a Marge Piercy novel I’d read more than 20 years ago. When I got back home, I found the letter from Le Maître in my mailbox. That means it’s now official, so sing it for me, Tammy!

Yup! Just call me the Gay Divorcé but not Mimi, as my story has zero resemblance to hers.

Reading Notes

This recounting represents more than four years of held-back storytelling. In the first two years I didn’t tell the stories, in part due to denial on my part and in part because it would have amounted to a tacky exercise of “washing the [marriage’s] dirty laundy in public.” In the following years, I didn’t tell the stories because I didn’t want to publish anything that might come back to bite me in the ass during the proceedings. But now, I’m the Gay Divorcé and I can do (and write) whatever I want …at least on this topic.

Because I held back the stories for so long, I have much to write. That’s why I decided to break up this blog entry into several entries. However, because I have WordPress, the software I use to manage this blog, set to present the most recent entry first, I am publishing this series in reverse choronological order — last one first — so that the entries will appear in their logical sequence on the blog’s main or monthly search page.

Also, because I refer extensively to previous blog entries and other online sources in order to place every twist and turn in its rightful context, this series is better read online. Therefore, I am providing navigational aids at the top and bottom of each entry to help you see where you are and to allow you to move around among the entries — either backward, forward, or anywhere — as some of you may choose to read in more than one sitting. What’s more, all links within the text open a new browser window (or tab, depending on your browser settings) to prevent you from losing your spot.

What you’re about to read is, of course, completely one-sided: it’s MY side of the story. But let’s be clear: this has been my blog for nearly a decade so I call the shots around here. Besides, I’m writing this for me first and foremost because it has become too much for me to carry.

That said, I don’t think that this is a simplistic or maudlin account in which I pose as The Victim and depict NowEx as The Monster. I also don’t think that I’m stooping to trying and convicting the entire nation of Mexico based on my experience with one Mexican, except perhaps for occasional comedic effect. I mean, anyone who’s ever read me must come to expect me to inject some humour every now and then, because I certainly have to laugh about some of this stuff now that it’s finally over. But, at the same time, there’s no doubt that my bias does impose its limitations.

As much as I try, Mexico is now and probably in perpetuity low on my list of favourite places, thus making it a country I’m as keen to visit as Uganda or Burkina Faso. Moreover, as much as I try, I can’t find it in myself to draw a sympathetic picture of NowEx even though at one point I did fall in love (or thought I did) enough to marry him. Yet as I’m finally putting out this narrative for anyone to read, I’m prepared to accept that, to the reader, I, too, won’t necessarily come across as a sympathetic character, for I married him for the wrong reason.

Indeed, I was either unaware of or denying it when I did it, but when I married NowEx, I did so to rescue him from himself, despite himself. In marrying him, I repeated what I had done countless times before in my life, whether at work, at play, in friendships or in love: to try to rescue. Obviously that’s the worst possible reason to marry someone.

However, by now I’ve come to view this “urge to rescue” not unlike a disease, which I think I’m finally putting in check, borne of a sense of rejection whose roots I’ve only recently uncovered through therapy. The sad result in this instance was that a whole marriage ended up resting on the faulty premise that assumed that, once the rescue would be over, the flow of reciprocal love would be boundless: I love you so much, I just had to rescue you; I love you so much because you’ve come to my rescue even though I didn’t know I needed rescuing.

So while in this narrative NowEx may end up coming across as unsympathetic, I’m bound to come across as desperate and foolish for wanting so much to have someone love me love me love ME…

Not exactly glowing character traits on either side.
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