Saturday, January 17, 2009

Something Stupid

I did something stupid tonight. I told a man that he's driving me crazy. Heh.

You see, a couple of months ago I adopted a soldier. It was going to be my gift to myself for finishing my book, but then I saw a TV story on and it was such a simple commitment, I couldn't resist.

But I got lucky! I got a soldier who actually wrote back!! I know. Crazy, right? They go through this whole song and dance on the SA web page about how you should never expect anything back from your soldier, and you're lucky if they write back. They tell you that you should only ever tell your soldier good news about your own life. Basically they expect us to think that our soldiers are so fragile that they can't understand that reality happens to all of us, and they expect us to bow down for a one-way relationship of sending joy and gratitude out into the ether, and never getting anything back. And I signed up for it, willingly.

I've written into the void before. Twice actually. People that couldn't or wouldn't write back, and I kept on writing them because I KNEW that they appreciated the effort. I KNEW that a letter from me put a smile on their face. It's a smug kind of joy I got from doing that, because my good act for them paid me back a great deal.

Now I was in a new situation. And wonder of wonders, the dude wrote back! But he didn't say anything. I mean, I know I'm a stranger. He's a stranger too, but we were both willing to try this experiment. And I kept diving in - sharing a bit about my life, thanking him for his service, asking him a bit about his life. And I kept getting nothing back. Now, by nothing I don't mean literally no response, I mean figuratively nothing of substance.

Have you ever had one of those conversations? Where you ask someone how they are and they say "fine." And then you ask them how their day was, and they say, "fine." And then you ask about work, and guess what? It's "fine." And every 'fine' is delivered with a smile and a wide-eyed enthusiasm to go on and ask more questions.

So you tell them a bit about yourself, and wait for a bit of reciprocation... yeah, not so much. And he was lovely. He was pleasant. He was happy to chat via e-mail, every day - so long as he never had to say anything. I know what you're thinking ... I'm too hard on him... he's an 18 yr old, thrust into an unpopular war, away from home for the first time and it's up to me to keep this ball rolling and make the kid feel better about the life he's living now.

But you're wrong. He's career military. Been in for over a decade. Took two vacations in the month we traded e-mails, loves his job and thinks every day in the service is fun and interesting. The man is in his early 30s and surely, surely by now, knows how to have a conversation. Maybe he doesn't understand the point of conversation? After a month though, I still didn't know. That's how little I got to know the guy. I would be happy to chat about anything he was willing to engage in. But there was no there there.

I know he's in the military and can't give out too much info - but believe me, I am not interested in State secrets. I just wanted to get to know the guy. Is he a jokester? An intellectual? Does he read political thrillers? Is Bill O'Rielly his hero? Does he have to have meat with every meal? Did he grow up with dogs or cats or a hamster? Soup or Salad? Truck or Sedan? Boxers or Briefs? Okay, I'm just kidding about the last one. My point is, talking with him is like pulling teeth. And tonight, I told him that.

In fact, I told him that I wouldn't be offended if he wanted to throw me back and pick up another 'angel'. I told him that he seems nice, but it doesn't seem like he wants to be friends. And that it's OKAY to not want to be friends. He didn't answer me. That was a habit of his.
I fear I offended him.
That wasn't my intent.

Characteristically though, his lack of response has proven my point. I didn't know how he'd take what I have to say, because I don't know who he is. And I don't know how he took my words because he won't tell me who he is.

Regardless, I signed up and I am happy to see my obligation through.
I just wish I could talk with him on his terms, instead of guessing what would interest him.

In other news, Bobo died on 1.9.09. It was awful to make the decision to end his life, but wonderful to be there at the end and feel the relief when he stopped suffering.

I was holding on to him for me, allowing myself a chance to say goodbye and apologize for not catching his illness sooner. He graciously allowed me the indulgence, but his body fought it every step of the way.

I made the decision late Wednesday night when he woke me up with a claw to my wrist, stinking of infection, and bobble-headed from dehydration. I spent the next two days crying about making the decision, about the pain he was in, about the pain I was in at saying goodbye to my friend and companion of 14 years.

By Friday afternoon (the earliest I could get in) I was taut from the stress, Bobo was exhausted from the ordeal of staying alive and we were both ready for it to end. The vet's office was very good. One woman even came in who wasn't on the case because she remembered us from when I first got the news, and just wanted to express her condolences. The doctor and techs allowed us time and our privacy, and when I finally said it was okay to give the final injections, Bobo was so pleased to be out of pain that I couldn't be sad about it any longer.

It was the right decision. He was his stubborn self til the end and I'll miss him.

Currently reading: Visions of Heat
Currently reading: Sexy Beast
Skimming: The Host (I finished it 5 months ago, but want to revisit the end again)
Just finished: Wolf Tales II
Just finished: Undead and Unwed
Just about to start: Harmony's Way


Robyn said...

I'm so sorry about Bobo. From the pictures, he was a beautiful cat.

Kate Douglas said...

Interesting about the soldier you adopted...yeah, that would be frustrating, but then I'm such an info-whore I want to know everything about everybody.

I'm very sorry about your cat. Our Rufus (little mutt) is getting older and I know that day is coming sooner rather than later. I can't let myself think about it now.

I am, however, really thrilled to see you're reading my books. Do hope you're enjoying the series--especailly since I'm still writing them!

kate douglas

Venus Vaughn said...

Thanks, Robyn. Bobo was so beautiful he never met a human that he didn't expect to worship him. He was cool like that.

Kate, I understand about your Rufus denial. I enjoyed my denial for a couple of weeks myself.

The soldier forgave me for my outburst and I'm back to my sane self again. We'll see if it made any difference.

As for your books, I am loving the drrrty. Thanks for writing them.