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9:28 p.m. - 2012-04-19
I interacted with people over age 5 today
I started my CNA classes yesterday -- and today -- and I love it! I'm really glad I'm doing it and relieved because I was afraid I wouldn't like it and would find the whole thing depressing. It's basically taking care of people in nursing homes and something some people would hate to do -- I know Matt would never would! And my mom is very disapproving -- "someone with your brains and talents!"

The people in my class are really cool -- genuinely kind, unpretentious and down-to-earth. It's not a job you want to do if you don't see people -- ALL people -- as worthy and valuable human beings, so it takes a special kind of person to want to do it. I've worked my whole life in newsrooms, and journalists are a pretty narcissistic, competitive, hard-to-get-along-with bunch. You are supposed to care more about "the truth" and "the public's right to know" more than you care about individual people. Wrecking individual lives for the greater good is part of what you do. Gossip, backstabbing and opportunism are practically part of the job description. I guess I believed in all of it and loved it when I was doing it, but after a couple years off I really don't feel much passion for it anymore, and I feel dread and anxiety every time I think of working in news again.

In comparison, my CNA classmates are a breath of fresh air. No attitudes of superiority or narcissism or meanness so far in the eight hours we've spent together, a lot of that in hands-on training where we work together and critique each other. They are practical and tough and down-to-earth and funny. And nice.

There's one guy in our class (and 11 women); his name is Brian and he is slightly chubby and has a stuttering problem -- he speaks very slowly, two words at a time, pause, two more... my classmates are great; not only do they not say anything mean, even on breaks when he's not around, but they rib him as much as they would anyone else about being a guy in a class full of women. That, in my opinion, is true acceptance. Have you ever noticed how overly polite many people are to a person who has a disability?

After I got home I checked my email and got an IM from Tom, the old high school boyfriend, and we chatted for a while and covered a lot of ground. He's a cool guy; I always knew that. He didn't know I'd been pining over him my entire freshman year and went to work on Larry Allen's farm that summer because he worked there ... which is where we finally became boyfriend/girlfriend. He didn't know he was my Prince Charming. I didn't actually tell him that -- the prince charming part -- but he said that before me, he had always felt like a flop with girls ... so I did get to tell him that not only was he a great boyfriend, but I had been pursuing him for a long time before it finally occurred to him to ask me out. We talked about a lot of stuff, our families and power outages in Senegal and the fact the rest area we use to go to to walk and make out was (i found out a few years later) a NOTORIOUS gay male hookup place ... we used to wonder why those men were sitting in cars staring out the windows at us...

He has a girlfriend; she is Senegalese, Muslim, and very sweet but reticent ... he cares a lot about her but doesn't know where they're headed. Still never married and no kids. For the record I don't think I'm at all attracted to him in THAT way; I just like him an awful lot and probably always will. He is a very special person.

After we said good night an e-mail popped into my in-box from Peter -- what timing! after a week of silence! He wrote about getting drunk and talking half the night with a friend whose wife had just died, taking down the laundry from a clothesline in the back of his house, and loading and playing with a nine-shot pistol and tossing it in a desk drawer in his bedroom, and waking the next morning and wondering where it was.

Apparently prior to this he had hidden it in the barn rafters because the girlfriend, molly, had played with it one night and shot a hole in the floor.

This is the sort of thing that has kept me at a distance from Peter, that has made me wary of ever being more than friends. He writes all of this beautifully, and of course he is writing about me too, since I'm probably naturally dark and suicidal and only resolutely and carefully happy. I understand completely and he writes about things that I can't or don't want to put into words -- but where does that get either one of us? I'm scared of Peter's darkness, and I know damned well from my own darkness that there is nothing I can do, or anyone can do -- that would change his extremes of depression and exhilerations and the brilliance and craziness of his world. He's probably either clinically depressed or manic-depressive and probably an alcoholic, but I don't think he wants to or will change either of those things.

I love him on some level and have for a long time, but I think I have some sort of survival instinct that says, No, NO, no and NO! to ever having a real romantic relationship with him. Two peas in a pod are not necessarily the greatest idea in that department...



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