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Mostly Harmless

If you’re looking for something optimistic, amusing or life affirming then I suggest you check out this blog for today’s entry is a bit self-indulgent woe is me need to man up crap that bothers me from time to time, and probably more sensitive to this since losing my soul mate, the one person who truly got me and loved me despite my flaws until her end of days.

I guess as child I was considered by many to be weird, having an unresolved focus and passion for electronics and computers and spent less time on learning complex human interactions. Janice would say “You’re so like Sheldon!”

Teaching myself assembly language (commonly misrepresented as “Machine Code”) from about the age of Eleven on variety of different processors, when others my age were getting into music, movies and sports has stood me in good stead in later life but at what cost?

I went on to make software used by millions of people and had a reputation for reverse-engineering code back in the 80’s and early 90’s until I had to get a proper job. Tinkering around with a soldering iron and code I’d create some interesting stuff, but bullied mercilessly for being a geek and not fitting in.  But guess what!  I guess the

“Geek shall inherit the earth!”

Excluded from school sports and PE after being diagnosed with Osgood Schlatter’s disease in the late 70s (Back then not much was known about the condition – we now know it predominantly affects tall people) I was told to expect to be in a wheel chair by the time I’d be a teenager, I’m still walking (well sort of)… and of course education and understanding is so much better than it was back then.

Why is any of this relevant? I don’t know lots of stuff swimming around in my head or random thoughts/memories at the moment, maybe it will make sense…

Doing what I do with tech means I find reading people extremely difficult, what may be obvious to most is not so with me.  People tend to make me uncomfortable so I compensate by either becoming a recluse and shy to standing up in a conference room with 300-400 professionals to give a presentation to try and push my boundaries and take me out of my comfort zone (More on that in another blog post).

When working in a pub as a teenager, a chap (let’s call him Scott) used to sit at the bar and there was always something odd/offish about him that made me and others feel uncomfortable, he’d try and engage in conversation, this happened for several weeks until one day he didn’t show up.  Three months later it was discovered that Scott had hung himself in his one bedroom flat, he’d been hanging there undiscovered until the landlord called around to find out what was happening with the rent.  Turns out Scott was just lonely, no friends, no family, no partner, no one, and in an attempt to try and make friends, people would back away from him.

Back in the 90’s a friend who had written a play invited me to play the drums.  The stage play was some existentialist far out crap for like-minded students who thought they were sticking it to the man by conforming to a stereotype.  When the play had finished (ran for a week) my mate threw a party for the cast.

I sat down talking to a girl (don’t remember her name or what she looked like) for a while before she said “I’m going home”.   I said ok, nice to meet you, she said again “I’m going home”, I apologised and asked if I was sitting on her coat, before she repeated it again and finally left.  At this point my mate came over and asked “What Happened?” I said “What do you mean?”, he explained that you don’t sit talking to a girl exclusively for 4 hours straight having a laugh together etc. without…  I simply hadn’t twigged, didn’t occur to me.

Fact is I find it easier talking to women than men, and as such have more female friends then male.

As many of you following the blog know, I’ve had a bit of a rough time of late, though during this widowed journey I’ve made some new friends (I hope) I’ve made more of a conscious effort to meet new people (something I wouldn’t have done before), make more of an effort to be polite and help where I’m able to do so.  But it gets to a point that these new friends, just disappear, become unreliable or avoid me like the plague.  If it was one or two people I can understand it.  A wise friend said to me that not everyone you meet on this widowed journey is necessarily your friend.  There’s an immediate need that needs satisfying, company, distraction, cup of tea and cake etc, but when the fog starts to clear, people revert back to a form of their earlier selves, such that there’s no commonality other than death of a loved one.

I get what they are saying, but it’s so hard not taking it to heart.  I make plans and arrangements and they cancel last minute or don’t have the decency to call/message and cancel or mess you around instead.  There will always be emergencies, there will always be the desperate need to hide under a duvet or blanket and not leave the house. I get that, and factor that into those interactions, given the frequency of it happening it gets to the point where I’m left wondering, is it me? Do I have bad B.O. / halitosis that no one will tell me, or have I too become like Scott and exude the stale stench of desperation? Am I the soft option, too generous, not generous enough with my time? I really cannot work it out.

Maybe I need to toughen up and stop dropping my own plans because a damsel in distress calls and needs support or help.  Especially the ones that never call or text to say hi, except when they need or want something.

I just want to know what it is I’ve done or do so fundamentally wrong to be treated like this by so many.

Conversely, recently since I’ve been more mobile, I’ve been photographed/selfies with some absolutely stunningly gorgeous women (all friends) and then get frustrated when other friends not in the know assume I’m dating everyone I’m seen with.  I get that people want to see me happy but even so… I’m frustrated by it all.  The weekends where I have no plans I tend to stay in bed and sleep through them to accelerate time sad huh?  I used to have focus, drive, enthusiasm and that’s been replaced with apathy and depression.

Thing is, since my Cat passed away, I’m left with no one to talk to when I’m home, unless friends pop by. Sometimes you just need to talk and get that inane conversation out of your system, and listen to the other persons day.  Totally fed up…

I don’t think any of this makes sense, but hey, I will clarify a few things I get asked a lot of late…


Q: You look so happy in your recent photo’s, are you finally over it and returned to normal?
A: Like a majority of widowers in love with their partners you never get “over”losing them, like many I have good days and bad days, I try and perfect the “Mask” because talking about this stuff is clearly uncomfortable for many people.

Q: I saw a photo of you and <insert name here>are you both an item?
A: No.  But who doesn’t like to be photographed with gorgeous and beautiful people?

Q: Isn’t that rather superficial?
A: Yes, it is, remember beauty also comes from within.

Q: Who are you dating/Have you started dating/Do you have plans to start dating again?
A: No one, I’m not dating, have no current intentions of dating, I’m still trying to come to some kind of terms of losing my wife and soul mate.

Q: Surely you deserve to be happy for the next 40+ years so what’s stopping you?
A: Me!  Currently I can’t see how I can share my life with someone to watch them or for them to watch me die.

Q: Surely you shouldn’t be thinking about dating it’s not been long enough.
A: I’m not, but if I was, your opinion means nothing to me as you judge from a distance in a relationship with someone to offload to in the evenings and weekends.  What is long enough? Where is this written down?

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: Sleep to make the weekends pass quicker.

Q: Why the title “Mostly Harmless”?
A: I’m a huge fan of the Hitchhikers series of books for as long as I remember, the six-book series in the Trilogy‽ have been part of the very small amounts of non-technical books I’ve read in my lifetime.

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