Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tell me a story…

James told me that he wasn’t a fan of Ghandi.

“Really?” I’d never heard anybody say that before. I almost wanted to tell him to keep his voice down – we were sitting in Credo Café, one of the main hubs of Urban Seed. In that organisation, to deny Ghandi is getting close to denying Christ! “Why?” I wanted to know.
“Well Ghandi called off the independence movement when it turned violent,” stated James, leaning against a wooden bench. A candle flickered while volunteers mopped the floor around us. “I think to myself: how dare he! If the people wanted to take the movement somewhere, stopping it was a complete abuse of power. It wasn’t his movement – it was the people’s!”
I sat there half-smiling, a little stunned.
James went on. “In fact,” he said, “The Ghandi story is simply a narrative that is popular amongst Americans. Same as Martin Luther King. He appeals to a white liberal audience, because he’s relatively nice. It’s all about racial harmony, as opposed to Black power. Actually,” said James, “the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech was made some years before his death. Before he was assassinated, his speeches took on a stronger socialist flavour. But those speeches don’t get remembered and quoted!”

I am not surprised that James has picked up on – or rather has been around people who have alerted him to – the socialist leanings of Martin Luther King. James believes passionately in the power of the grassroots. He is a self-identifying activist, and continually wears a cotton red-and-white scarf that he picked up during his time in Palestine. A dense beard belies a youthful face and a crooked smile, which persists whether he’s extolling the virtues of a polyamorous lifestyle or condemning Israel for genocide.

James reminds me that the stories of the lives of people we love and admire – like Ghandi and Martin Luther King – are simply that: stories. Like any narrative, some aspects are left out and others are emphasised, and this corresponds with the agenda of the storyteller.

The Ghandi story, for many of us, is a principle in narrative form that nonviolent good will always conquer violent evil. We underscore the nonviolent methods Ghandi demonstrated, such as long marches to gather salt and the burning of British cotton. James, on the other hand, emphasises the fact that at a certain point Ghandi calls the movement off – taking power from the people and causing the Indian people to suffer even longer under British rule.

Similarly, we pick and choose from the historical reality of Martin Luther King – constructing a story of the man as a peaceful defender of civil rights, rather than a man of socialist persuasion. In fact, the whole Black civil rights movement is framed by the figure of the peaceful, Christian King, rather than the Muslim Malcolm X who believed in disciplined, violent defence. We construct a narrative and that becomes history.

As I write this, I think that it all seems so obvious it possibly doesn’t deserve a blog post. But it’s something I need to continually remind myself of – that there are so many versions of history, and when you seek to emulate an inspiring figure, all you can do is imitate the ways of a character in a story. A story based on a historical reality, yes, but nonetheless a story.

The Jesus that I know is a story character. A while ago I posted an analysis of a narrative in Mark, in which Christ overturns the tables of the vendors in the temple. Actually my interpretation is very much a product of my time at Urban Seed, where we tend to view the figure of Christ almost as a social and political revolutionary. My Dad doesn’t share these views, and responded to my post with a lengthy comment, arguing that Jesus’ purpose wasn’t primarily political or social

“I don't believe Jesus came to Jerusalem just to cleanse the Temple,” said Dad. “He came to die […] so that Man might live.” Dad went on: “His death would enable Man […] to enter that Kingdom, because without Jesus' death and therefore atonement for sin, NO ONE would be able to enter it.”

For me, Jesus was about restoration on Earth. For Dad, Jesus was about eternal life in heaven. There are many other narratives you can create around Jesus – I even read recently that Jesus’ mission was to free women and teach us about sexual liberation and the ways of the subconscious. The Gospels give us four separate stories about Christ, and we pick and choose from them to construct a narrative that works well for our own agendas.

Somebody turned the main lights off and we sat in semi-darkness. James related a story about the people of Venezuela, who defended the socialist President Chávez against a CIA-backed coup. Of course, James has his own narratives that he follows – his actions are inspired by the stories in which the common people win. Like me, he picks and chooses from what actually happened, constructing something that is useful for his life.

What actually happened? Who knows? All we can do is tell a story. That’s called history.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Devoted to truth

By the time dinner was over, we were sitting like content cats, warm and sleepy, sinking into the corners of the couch. The conversation had relaxed to a steady rhythm, like the breath you listen for in a slumbering child.

“If you can’t rely on the Bible for truth,” Dimitri was saying, “then where do you look?”

I gazed at a poster on the wall, not really seeing it. The Bible and me – yes, what a contentious relationship we’d had. It no longer made sense to believe all it contained at face value. Worse, often my efforts at understanding context and peering behind bad translations left me wondering whether I was getting any closer to truth, or just reading into the Bible what I wanted to read.

“I suppose you look within yourself,” I said. Even I wasn’t entirely convinced.
“But then you could end up believing just about anything, based on your personal circumstances or just the whim of the moment.”

Dimitri is not religious, but I agreed with him on this one. When you seek truth, surely you need some kind of reference point. People believe all kinds of crazy things because it feels right. There is good spirit within me, but I can’t know truth based on that alone.
“You need to talk to other people,” I offered.
“Yes.” Dimitri was nodding. “There’s something to be said for talking to others, and maybe for traditions, too. You can’t believe something because it feels right at the time, and write off centuries of thought and the experiences of other people.”

At some point Dimitri mentioned the word ‘listening’. Maybe truth-seeking involves good listening skills, I mused. Listening to other people, the voices in your own tradition, the voices in other traditions, the sounds of your own heart, the words of sacred texts, the movement of waves and the rustle of a breeze. I don’t think truth can be found in any one of these things. It has to be sought after in all of them.

The conversation reminded me of a prayer by Leunig:

In order to be truthful.
We must do more than speak the truth.
We must also hear truth.
We must also receive truth.
We must also act upon truth.
We must also search for truth.
The difficult truth.
Within us and around us.
We must devote ourselves to truth.
Otherwise we are dishonest
And our lives are mistaken.
God grant us the strength and the courage
To be truthful.

I haven’t known Dimitri for very long, and we continually marvel at just how differently our brains are wired. You really think like that? He is brain; I am gut. He is scientist; I am spiritualist. While I am intrigued by mystery, he would prefer to ignore what is unknowable; what cannot be measured or investigated. He wants concrete truths. I am content with the knowledge that some deep truths cannot be proven, but are still very, very real.

But the prayer struck a cord with both of us. While we seek our truths in different ways, we are nonetheless both devoted to it. We are both ‘listening’, but perhaps hear different things.

What we agree on is that truth must be lived. It is no good simply to believe. If the world is heating up we must do something to reverse it. If Christ calls us to befriend the poor then that is what we must do.
Otherwise we are dishonest
And our lives are mistaken, says Leunig.

We sipped tea, together and different, pondering the nature of truth.

God grant us the strength and the courage
To be truthful.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Always enough

The other day I received a newsletter in the mail from an organisation called ‘Manna Gum’. Jono Cornford had written an article about the manna story, from the Bible, which I found really inspiring.

When the Jews were released from slavery in Egypt, they set out in pursuit of the Promised Land. What they found was desert. While they were the cogs that kept the economic powerhouse of Egypt running, they shared, nonetheless, in a part of the wealth that was generated. “There we sat round pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted,” they complained, when they found themselves faced with the harsh emptiness of an Egyptian desert. It would have been better to have died in the city, they declared, than to starve to death in the wilderness.

God’s response was to provide. The Jews arose the next morning to find a layer of dew on the ground. When the dew evaporated into the desert air, a residue of mysterious white flakes remained, which apparently tasted like honey wafers. This was the food they lived on.

“He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little,” the Book of Exodus reports. “Each one gathered as much as he needed.” When people tried to save some for the next day, it turned smelly and grew maggots. The exception was the Friday morning, when they could gather double the usual amount – since Saturday was the Sabbath, no manna would fall that day. For each day of the week, there was always enough.

Sometimes I think the coins that commuters toss into my case are a bit like manna from heaven. Like the mysterious bread appearing while the people sleep, I cannot make the coins come. No matter how sweetly or how passionately I play, this means of survival is placed squarely out of my control. Some days I am faced with an abundance of small gold coins clunking softly into my case. The other morning, an hour’s work brought in less than $10. I sighed and wondered whether I should bother anymore – perhaps I should go back to my research job. But, just like the manna story, I find that there is always enough. A little today, a lot tomorrow – whatever rains down on me, there is always enough.

When you wake up in the morning knowing there is only 60 cents in your bank account, and the remainder of your savings sit in a jar on your desk, you can feel a bit like a climber with no safety rope. I love the feeling of freedom – of being weighed down by nothing but the clothes on my back.

Other times you feel the fear. For me, it’s not a fear of starving or being rendered homeless – I don’t pay rent and I live in a place whose mission is to eat food. But I fear other things: rejection from friends because I can’t pay for drinks; being overly dependent on the generosity of others; a strange sensation that I might be whisked away in the next strong breeze, because my wallet isn’t heavy enough to hold me down. I am no longer a cog in a machine, but somehow that machine is a source of comfort and security!

Every now and then, I am faced with a decision of whether to keep money I have found in my possession (stimulus package, back-payments from RMIT etc.), or pass it on. If it sits in my bank account, will it go bad? Or is it wise to hang on to a few of these dollars, for rainy days and emergencies?

Like most things in life, there are no hard and fast rules. For now, an existence with less cash is serving me well. New growth defies a bank balance that shrinks. I am becoming more practiced in releasing tense stomach muscles when I think about all the things I need money for, and trust that I will be looked after (like the lilies of the fields and the sparrows of the air, I remind myself). Somehow, maintaining a loose fist helps me stress less about money – rather than seeing it as a scarce commodity, I prefer to view it as an abundant resource that needs to be moved around. There is enough for everybody.

Less money keeps me awake. My eyes are open to the ways of God – to the grace, the magic, the serendipity, if you will. I bit the bullet and gave a chunk of money away to a friend who wanted to travel. But I walked away with a wad of cash – an old housemate my friend and I were visiting had finally jumped on ebay and sold a table we owned (but didn’t use); a friend paid back some money she’d been owing me. I graciously received – it was my manna from heaven. For me, it was more life-giving to live within the goodwill of the universe, rather than rely solely on my personal prosperity. Perhaps this is the lesson Jesus was trying to teach the rich young man, when he was told to sell everything he owned. The rich young man walked sadly away.

But, I can envision a fuller bank balance in days to come. There will be times when having more money will be life-giving. Money can be used as a tool for fulfilment.

Perhaps when that time arrives, the money will fall, ready to be harvested when the dew clears for the day. Should I look for it; seek it out? Or do I simply need to open my eyes?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A flower...or God?

Something a friend said, describing a past relationship: "I looked at a flower and saw a flower; she looked at a flower and saw...God."

I could expand and write 800 words on the topic, but I'll refrain because I have to write an essay!

tourist icon

This morning somebody took a photo of me while I was busking. It was at a new spot I've found, at Melbourne Central. I didn't say anything at the time - just gave the Asian girl, cradling a tiny digital camera, a strange look. It wasn't til afterwards that that the incident settled in my chest and I began to feel angry. I suppose I felt objectified - like I was a tourist icon, rather than a real person who deserves to be asked before having her photo taken. Just part of the city landscape. I imagined finding myself in a Melbourne Information brochure - a two-dimensional thing that adds to the 'culture' of this city, but devoid of background or personality.

I remember going to Mexico City and guiltily taking my little disposable camera out of my backpack and taking a picture of a scene of people eating outside a street vendor. I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway, and I still remember the looks of annoyance on people's faces as they found their images imprinted - as though they were monkeys at a zoo - on the film of a tourist's camera.

I guess now I know how it feels.

My Jumper

My jumper is big and dense and made with green wool plus copious amounts of love. In the dead of the winter, when I’m tapping away on my computer late into a Saturday night, my jumper holds me close like a zealous lover. Together we keep each other warm and fight off the icy fingers of an encroaching dawn. His arms are thick and wide; I feel safe and protected as he nestles against my chest.

The sky lightens and a small, white sun creeps up over the buildings, throwing a beam of winter warmth through the glass and onto my desk. It moves onto my cheek. Suddenly it all gets too much and I pull my jumper off – quickly, urgently – and dump his vast green mass onto the floor beside me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An unexpected friendship

Dad came into Credo with the intention of bonding with his daughter. He sat down opposite me at the big table, poking at a bowl of chow mein with his folk.
“So, what’s news with you?” Dad asked, earnestly.
“Oh, you know, the usual.” I launched into a vague description involving my studies and my work.

While I was talking, a man with a red face and a fluff of white hair sat down beside me.
I turned to the man. “What’s your name?” I asked, also quite earnestly.
“I’m John.” John didn’t seem to have any teeth and his voice was soft and muffled.
“So John,” I began. “What brings you here?”
John turned out to be a particularly candid person. “I want to find someone who can live with me.”
“Like a girlfriend?”
“Oh. Right.”
“I’m very lonely. Maybe you can come and visit me?”
“No!” I said, smiling. “You’ll want me to move in with you!”
John grinned. “You can if you want!” he said.

I decided to change tact. “John, I’d like you to meet my Dad, Frank.”
“Hello there,” said John.
Dad looked up from his bowl. “Pleased to meet you,” he said, a little unsure as to whether he meant it.
“Where do you live?” asked John.
“Ah, Whittlesea.”
“That’s near me.”
“Oh really?”
“Yes – I live in Mill Park.”
“Oh yes well I suppose…that’s not too far from where we are…”
“Will you come and visit me?”
Dad cleared his throat and threw me a slightly startled look. “Oh well I’m not sure if…”
John pulled out an old docket and scribbled some words and numbers on the back. “He’s my address, and my phone number as well.”
Dad reluctantly reached across the table to take the piece of paper. As he did, John grabbed his hand. His eyes spoke desperation. “Please visit me.”
Dad tucked the paper into his breast pocket, saying nothing.

“So will you visit him?” I asked later as I walked Dad out to the laneway.
“Well – you know how it is – you say yes once and you have a friend for life!”
I laughed. I knew exactly what he meant.
We walked slowly to the end of the laneway. When we got to Little Collins we kissed and parted ways.

I watched Dad as he walked a little way along the narrow street. He pulled the folded docket out of his pocket and opened it up. He stopped walking to read the scrawled words. Then he carefully refolded it and put it back in his pocket, before setting off again to his car.

I stopped watching and wandered back to Credo. John had gone. Somebody had turned the music up loud. I filled a bucket with soupy water and began wiping down the tables, humming along to whatever was playing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Going up the mountain

Today Mum offered to take us up the mountain to see what it looked like after the fires. I didn’t know what to say.

The first thought that popped into my head was ‘disaster tourism’. I remembered how in New Orleans companies ran bus tours of the flood-devastated Lower 9th Ward. It seemed wrong. It was wrong.

Yet when I found myself in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina, I wanted to go down and see it for myself. The other Australian interns at the law office and I took our hire car down and drove quietly around the narrow streets, cameras guiltily poised. We took home our pieces of Katrina – images of buckled lives burnt into our minds and onto our films. I’m glad I have those photos, but I’m still a little ashamed.

So when Mum was doing the last call for the bushfire tour, I was in two minds whether to go. I badly wanted to see it. Somehow it seemed more valid and less disrespectful because I’m from Whittlesea. I have a connection; it’s not blatant stickybeaking.
“Is it wrong?” I asked my sister, Rebecca.
“I’m not going,” she answered, decidedly.
I chose to go anyway.

Mum was a good guide, pointing out Coombs Road, where Brian Naylor died, and the O’G-’s property. Andrew sat in the front while Kat, Elizabeth and I squished in the back. Mum complained about the council, which was holding up the rebuilding process. I stared out the misted windows. I followed the valley and the bare, hard crest in the distance with my eyes. Trees jutted from a smooth dome like spikes of hair on a bald man’s head. An army of blackened sticks descended down the hills and across the land, on and on.

I felt sick. February came back. Helplessness. Taking the train and the bus back to Whittlesea the day after it happened, only to do nothing. Asking what I could do. Can I cook dinner? Can I water the garden? Can I pray? Being told: no, no, no. Those things are all wrong. Looking at a candle. Deciding it’s a bad idea to light the candle. Setting up a vigil in my old bedroom. Nobody coming. Everybody rushing around. Feeling alone. Feeling stupid.

We winded up the road, specks of rain gently tapping the windscreen. I imagined what it would have been like – trees splayed across the baking bitumen, trapped screams, an inferno hotter than hell.

Bronwyn coming around. Words of hope that nobody believes. Fighting with Mum. Crying into Dad’s chest. Praying with Dad. Hearing the news. Watching Rebecca rush off to be with Bronwyn. Nothing to do. Feeling alone. Feeling stupid.

Tents and caravans dotted the sides of the road. A few Australian flags floated in the cold breeze – a symbol of strength and hope, I supposed. Up close, I could see that many of the black trees were clothed with a beautiful, defying green, like lace. In one spot, large ferns had popped up. They seemed to have even surprised themselves. A couple stood on the side of the road, holding a digital camera at arm’s length and peering at its screen.

I left Whittlesea a few days after the fires. There was nothing for me to do. The city was waiting for me. Nothing much had changed in the city.

The conversation rolled around predictably in the car. People should have left earlier. But there was no warning – it just happened! It was the wrong policy, this whole idea of defending. But it was the best policy we had at the time! I would have left. I would have left early; on time. They’re just things. Who cares about things? Oh, but a house is so much more than a house! It’s a life!

I feel better when I ascribe some blame to the victims. Foolhardy! Should have known the risks! My brazen words hide the truth that scares me too much to say out loud. It could have been me. It could have been us. That’s the one thing we don’t say to each other.

I’m glad I went up the mountain. I didn’t feel like a tourist – or if I was, it was equally a tour of an emotional destination I had spent several months trying to escape. I sit on the periphery and peer in – not knowing what to do but look.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why soldiers go to war

My sister Kathryn is being deployed to the Middle East soon. She invited me to her going away drinks at the mess and so I went along, my floral skirt and knee-high boots clashing with the surrounds as much as the red ‘visitor’ badge clashed with my pink top. But military people are almost always friendly, with a firm handshake, proudly Aussie accent and a stockpile of questions about my civilian life.

Kathryn shouted me a Coopers – it was Happy Hour and cost her about $2, which is half the usual price. No wonder they have a drinking problem in the army, I thought. I stood amongst uniformed officers and swigged at my beer, pleased not to be sipping on wine. When the conversation descended to a rattle of acronyms, I gazed about the room, observing the dark wooden panels and forest green carpets. A well-maintained windup clock hung from a wall, proudly paying homage to an era of old, its culture and traditions preserved like polished brass.

Kathryn introduced me to Luke, who was slim in his RAAF uniform, with fair hair and a cheeky smile. Luke was excited because he was about to be deployed to the Middle East. I was curious at this excitement – mainly because I’d witnessed the same sentiment in my sister.
I plucked up the courage to ask Luke. “So why are you so excited about being deployed?”
“That’s a good question.” He picked up his beer from the table and took a sip. “Think of it like this. Imagine you’re eighteen years old and you’ve just been drafted into an AFL footy club. You’re the first pick. Now, imagine that it’s the first game of the season, and before it starts the couch tells you to stretch your quads because you’re about to go on. So you warm up and do your stretches, but then he says, ‘Actually, we’ll put you on for the second quarter’. So you wait around but then when the second quarter comes, he changes his mind again. And so it goes on like this for the rest of the game, and then the whole season. You never get to go on.”

I was nodding – I got what he was saying. They want to go to war so they can put their training into practice. I could relate to that – it would be like practicing the flute day in, day out, but never getting to perform. None of us want to do what is frivolous – we want our efforts to make a difference.

I met Susan, who was also RAAF. She had down-turned eyes and wore a bemused expression on her face. She kept pulling a medallion out of her pocket to show people, which was still in its box.
“Look at my medallion,” she kept saying. “It’s the first one I’ve got!”
I asked to look at her prize. The small metal round bore a little map of Victoria, and said something about the Victorian bushfires. Susan told me she’d been very instrumental in helping with the defence contribution to the fire fighting. She’d finally been recognised for her efforts.
She told me what rank she was, but that she was really the RAAF equivalent of an acting-Captain in the army, which her salary reflected.
“Another Captain got picked over me for deployment,” she said. Her glass of wine was disappearing quickly. “It was only because of his rank – I had the expertise. I’m pretty much a Captain anyway.”
When it was just Susan, Kathryn and I, standing in a little female huddle, she told us that often people get deployed as a way of getting rid of them for a while. “The problem with me,” said Susan, “is that I’m too indispensable. That’s why they won’t send me overseas.”
The problem with not being sent overseas, however, is that you don’t get recognition for your work: there are no gongs or coloured panels that you can wear on your chest for being indispensable in Australia.
“The person who stays at home works harder than the ones who go,” Susan said, “but they just don’t get the recognition.”

I was curious that Susan was so desperate for a medal. But then I thought – isn’t that what we all want? To be told that we are valued and that our labours have not been in vain? I said, “But civilians can work for decades in the same job and not get a gong or a medallion.” As I said it, I realised it was entirely different. In the military, the main way of showing a person they are valued is by presenting them with one of these formal rewards. If you don’t get it – even if they throw you a party and make you a cake – you feel jibbed. Medals are the language of the military, just as gifts and cards reinforce words of thanks in the civilian world.

This afternoon’s trip to the mess gave me a good insight into why soldiers go to war. I don’t think it’s usually because they believe in what they’re doing. I think it’s because going to war, for them, fulfills some very basic human needs, which all of us, in our different ways, spend our lives trying to meet.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I set up an RSVP account last night. I’d like to say it was just for fun; a social experiment or an experiential pastime…but if I did say that, I’d be leaving out a big part of the truth.

The truth is that, well, sometimes I get lonely. There, I’ve said it. Sigh. It’s the kind of loneliness that you’re not aware of most of the time because you’re distracted by the rest of your life. But it occasionally manifests itself in your gut like an indigestible mass of rice-starch after a big yummy meal at one of those cheap restaurants off China Town. Sometimes it’s more of an ache, and you can’t figure out why it’s there. Did I eat something bad? Am I stressed about that essay? Ah, that’s right, we’ve been here before. It’s loneliness.

Gemma hovered by my side as I worked on my profile description, giving me advice on when I sounded like an idiot. It’s hard to be honest and still give a good impression of myself. It’s hard to say what I believe without sounding trite and clichéd. I worried that what I was writing was a caricature of myself – a flattering cartoon image, if that’s at all possible. I sound fun and quirky, full of colour and soul. Anything vaguely negative that I write about myself is carefully placed to be balanced by a more overwhelming positive, and inserted for the purpose of making me sound fallible and thus, perhaps, more attractive.

There is nothing overtly dishonest in what I write…what feels unreal is in the very nature of what is a profile – a snapshot taken from a particularly attractive angle, like the photos we post of ourselves on Facebook. I would say ‘like the photo I uploaded that accompanies my profile on RSVP’, only I don’t really like my RSVP picture. It was one of the only ones I had of myself, and gets me on a funny angle.

Despite my reservations, the kisses came in thick and fast – these virtual flirtations stacking up in my inbox like unfinished drinks at a bar. My immediate response was panic. Do I have to talk to all these people? Most of them seemed completely inappropriate. Gemma and I sat cross-legged on my bed, giggling as we sifted through the pile of profiles from lonely men.

if u make me smile once...ill make u smile twice. no discounts. only double deals… I own a ship...friendship....safe to travel...will never sink in the sea...planning to own 1more...relationship... anyone wanna come for a ride?...

"Hmm, no thanks."

I am a hard working and committed gentlemen who works for a small chartered accounting firm in the CBD. I working in the Taxation, which may sound BORING to most people..


i am very fascinated by the quantum interactions that occur on the sub atomic level, sadly it is a topic that i can spend days discussing but i shall spare you the tedium of a long winded speech about the wonders of string and membrane theorems...lol

“He’s got to be kidding.”

We scanned through the profiles the way we run our fingers across the ‘best and worst dressed’ in the MX, sniggering at them for their sin of making themselves known and vulnerable. I cast them aside with the polite auto-reject of “Thanks for your kiss but I don’t think it would work between us.” Clearing them from my inbox and my life, I felt in control again.

Like a beautiful woman sitting alone in a bar full of men, I don’t pursue. To be able to send ‘kisses’ you have to pay $14.90 a month; each email conversation you open costs $9.99. So far I haven’t paid a cent – I let them come to me. Seems that the online dating world isn’t so dissimilar from the real world.

One man started an email conversation with me, deeming me worthy of his $9.99 ‘stamp’. He declared that my profile reminded him of a girl he’d once adored, but lost contact with. Seems that he’s pursuing me to live a dream with another woman he thought was long dead. I don’t know why he told me that, but to tell the truth, when I read that statement, I didn’t mind. I was kind of flattered, actually, that he liked me.

We emailed back and forth, and he wanted to catch up. I said, “Sure, why not?” I don’t really know much about him (he likes reading and LOVES to travel, apparently), but I guess I’ll find out more on Saturday. That’s when we’re meeting for lunch.

We’ll see if this RSVP thing fixes my loneliness problem. Somehow I doubt it…although it could prove a very useful distraction.