bunt sign

January 23, 2000

Even though I don't make friends easily and have few of them now, there have been times in my life when I've had people to hang out with. The last time, though, was when I lived and worked in San Bruno, and I left there in 1985. I've been working for the Company since 1986, and I've never had any relationships outside the office with anyone related to the business. And of course since 1997 I've been working at home exclusively.

I've lived in the same duplex for ten years. People have moved in and out of the other unit. Most of them never talked to me, and I never even knew their names. Some were friendly enough to exchange greetings as we passed in the driveway, even an occasional conversation. But I was never inside that unit, and none of my neighbors were in mine, until Grady moved in last April.

It's hard to be my friend, and hardly anyone who's had a chance has thought it was worth the effort. I've never had any confidence in my ability to maintain a conversation with strangers. I can't convince myself that my words are worth anyone else's time. Until I'm comfortable with someone, I'm tentative about speaking freely with them. I get tongue-tied and awkward trying to form simple sentences. I don't share thoughts or feelings with strangers, but I admire people who do.

Then came email, and instant messaging. And now this journal. I can write much more spontaneously than I can talk. No one can hear me stammer, or stop in mid-sentence, searching for the right word. I can lose my train of thought and none will ever be the wiser. It's incredibly liberating to be able to say things online that I can't find the words for face to face.

Yes, it's human interaction one step removed. It's not exactly like having a friend to hang out with. But it's a big improvement over how I've been leading my life. I have more people I'm at ease with in this world than I have in the three-dimensional world. And I'm even able to be closer to some people in that 3D world through the magic of the Internet.

There are still other things I have to do to complete my life, but for years little has altered it for the better as much as this.

Honestly, I don't know how this is going to read to someone who doesn't know me. I don't really know how anyone who does is going to see it. But it's here mostly for my own benefit, for the sake of my ongoing attempt to be honest with myself and to keep me pointed in some positive direction. I would hope to read these words a year from now as a different person. But in the end it's just words, one way or the other.

Already I've made some improvements in my life. I'm cooking more now than I ever have, and learning something each time. I've seen more movies (most of them by myself) in 2000 than in the last several years. Small steps, but steps.

Of course I'm happy that Toy Story 2 and American Beauty, two worthy films that I have seen and enjoyed, won the Golden Globe awards tonight. But Denzel Washington's acceptance speech was truly the saving grace of the evening.

So the third day into my Slim-Fast diet, Grady brings me a piece of the chocolate birthday cake from his party that I avoided last night. This is in exchange for helping him unload the empty wine bottles and glasses from his car. Did I eat the cake? Naturally. I'm a weak, weak person. Anyway, it was a small piece, not like the three donuts a week ago that turned me into Taz.

previousbunt signemailnext