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[I blog so infrequently now I’ve forgotten how to arrange sentences in proper chronological or thematic order or how to use punctuation to separate ideas because normally I simply write <= 140 characters then click send or submit or whatever the button says I don’t even know although I’ve clicked it 10,000 times but since I had news about me and a story to tell and some photos to go with and some time stuck at that airport gate in L.A. that you can’t escape from like that Canadian movie Cube I figured I’d just write some words and see what happened and this happened.]

I just spent the long weekend in San Francisco with Susie.

Our divorce was final-final-final on March 15, the day the registry of the Superior Court of B.C. stamped “ENTERED” on form F52 (Rule 15-1(1)).  Yes that’s the actual form name.

Beware the Ides of March they said, but I didn’t listen, no I didn’t, no no, mmm.

We married mid-May, 1996, which means we almost made it to 20 years though that would be totally cheating because we separated in October 2012, and we met (she says) in 1992 or (he says) in 1993, and dates are just, ah, like, an opinion, man, you know?

We found an AirBnb—have I ever mentioned I luuv AirBnB—to stay at in (in at?) Russian Hill, which is just up the (Russian) hill from North Beach. Hmmm… where do I know that name from…

Oh yeah! North Beach Pizza was the restaurant we ordered pizza to be delivered to our hotel room ... on our honeymoon.  Yes, we honeymooned in San Francisco, almost exactly 20 years ago, and the true-life tale kicker is, neither one of us remembered that until we got here this time.

Back in 1996, when I told North Beach Pizza it was our honeymoon, they also delivered us a bottle of wine gratis.  We saved it like a lottery ticket. And when we did finally drink it, years later, it turned out to be, surprise, not a very good bottle of white wine. Free pizza wine keeps about as well as frozen wedding cake, apparently. Though we did save it for perhaps too many years and who knows it may have gone off as we could not yet afford a wine cellar

I started planning to take a trip with Susie over a year ago. It was to be a Christmas present to both of us, a way to meet up and hang out because we don’t live in the same country any more.

But then I’m a bad planner sometimes and the timing just never seemed to be right and it got delayed and postponed for more than a year and finally this spring, the lights turned green and there we were in the California sun.

I didn’t know the court system would finally barf up our divorce papers right before our trip until a few days before I was leaving.

And even then, it wasn’t until I was wondering around S.F., past the tourist-peopled trolley car lineups that I remembered that we had honeymooned there, too.  I’ve been to the city enough times before and after that it’s not like that’s my only memory of the place.

And lovely though the occasion was, it’s not like my honeymoon is a memory I often bring out, dust off and set on the window ledge in the sunlight. It refracts sharply and I’d worry it would start a fire.

But there we were last weekend, bookending, as she put it, or returning to the scene of the crime as I joked, or even right back where we started from, or some other poignant song lyric.

However you sing it, S.F. has been a karmic touchstone in our relationship more than once.. almost since before it was a relationship.

It was there where we went on our first solo^H^H^H^Hduet road trip when we were living in L.A.  And it was also to there we went to land some of Hop Studios’ first big clients, and to visit many close friends over the years.

Even on this trip, we visited a few people we knew, including Susie’s high school friend Kim and her husband and kids, who I’d actually never met while we were married. I can only imagine what ... actually, scratch that… I cannot possibly imagine what Kim and Philip thought, meeting me in person after so many years of hearing about me, and only after Susie and I had split up and yet somehow decided to chillax for the weekend.

The woman whose apartment we stayed in seemed first flummoxed and then highly amused at our back story, which she said was a first for her among her many odd AirBnB experiences.

You see, at first arrival in S.F., honestly, I was also good and flummoxed. What am I doing here, now? Then I asked it again, once more, with feeling. What am I doing? Here, now?

I pondered and perscapated, and then I realized I was just fine with not eating the stereotype we’re dished about divorced couples being always combative.  To be sure, many of my friends have split from people whose absence I do not mourn; and there have been plenty of separations that ended in turmoil because the relationship was a tumultuous one throughout.

That’s certainly not the case with me: Susie was if anything, hard to argue with throughout our marriage, and we had a great majority of good years together.

Still, the road to hell and all that; it’s not easy to stay friends after any breakup; and it didn’t happen overnight for us; we worked hard to get to where we are. But we started out long ago committed to being able to love freely and properly the people in our lives who deserve to be loved.

We just have to be brave enough to trust that love, care, generosity and joy shared between people doesn’t diminish any love they grow with other people. And as I’ve tried, the more I’ve trusted that, the more I’ve found it to be true.

The Beatles said it well—they said so many things well—in their song, The End, which goes in its entirety,

“And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love
You make”

(listen)

Today, I simply feel so grateful to have Susie still in my life as my former wife (we’ve decided that the word “ex-wife” carries with it implicit and even explicit negative connotations, so we’re using “former X” as the best label until we can think of a better one).

And of course, I’m so so very grateful and as lucky as a fly at a GOP debate to have met and partnered now with Emily, who is so supportive, so trusting and as generous as a girlfriend could possibly be.

I don’t know where I would possibly be today without her—but I can promise that wouldn’t be as good and healthy and strong as the place I am now, that’s 100% certain.  She’s a rock, though she doesn’t believe it.

And Susie’s partner Mark, too, is more caring and patient and good for her than I could have possibly hoped, and I’m really happy that Susie has had him with her these past years.

I’m sure that if you had told me five years ago that I’d spend this past weekend marking my divorce with the very person I was divorcing, I’d have done a spit take and chuckled the rest of the day for more reasons than I have fingers.

But the universe apparently is taking good care to entertain me specifically with jokes that have extremely long setups, and that knowledge makes me appreciate all that I have right now so very very much more.  Far from coming to expect good things, when something like this happens, it makes me that much more aware that my good fortune is something I need to be thankful for, and not rely on.

Anyway, this isn’t the Academy Awards and I should probably stop thanking little people and God and my agent. Here’s a photo to distract you from my awkward writing.

So what did we do with our unhoneymoon? We went to City Lights bookstore where we’d heard the music years before, and to restaurant after restaurant beside restaurant, eating all the things: tacos, risotto, croissants, gelato, scallops, burgers, eggs benedict… no type of animal was spared our carnivorous ways… (Susie laughed in my face when I told her I’d tried being vegetarian for a month.)

We stayed up late playing computer games together, just like we did when we lived in France.  We walked until she had little blisters and I had sunburn due to our respective lack of walking and sunlight. We window shopped for jewelry (her) and camping gear (me) and tech gadgets (both of us).

We sat in parks to soak up the fickle S.F. sun, and talked and talked and talked and talked about ourselves, each other, our partners, our lives, our futures and pasts, our memories and friends, our mistakes and our sorrows and our regrets, our joys and our blessings and our gladnesses.

On the last day, someone texted Susie and asked what she was up.  She typed back, “I think it’s called ‘closure’.”



 
 

 

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Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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