I drove out to the Ponderosa Estates Friday night. Couldn't see what the point of hanging around here was, especially if my plans included nothing of import. Started a fire, though I cooked nothing on it. Ate tortilla chips and 7 layer dip while reading Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich by flickering fire light and the glazed white of the flood lamps on my grandfather's deck.
Sunset had already come to Beaver Valley before I arrived; a ridge to the west intercepts the last rays of direct sunlight long before the the almanac gives for dusk. However, a bright blue sky is still enough to read by for over an hour after the cabin is bathed in shadow.
Nevertheless, I was tired. I put in around 11 p.m., staying up to read some more before I nodded off. I slept on my grandparent's bed in the
master bedroom of their cabin. While small, the cabin can sleep ten without having to discover scar tissue in hidden places on my friends. But none of the sleeping places are of any substantial size. At first, I lay down on top of the sheets and read. At some point I nodded off, but early in the morning a chill overtook me and I slid underneath covers.
I'm comfortable sleeping in my grandparents' bed, in their cabin, and even in the
guest room in their condominium next to Ray's Boathouse on Shilshole. (It's really the sewing room with a Hide-A-Bed.) But this is rare. I don't like sleeping in beds that belong to others. A hotel bed belongs to no one, and poses no problem for me. ANd of course neither does my own bed.
But put me in a bed somewhere else, and I am uncomfortable. I often will get up and go home in the middle of the night. Since my first break-up with April two and a half years ago, I have slept a grand total of once in a bed that belongs to someone else. During the course of my relationship with April, I was convinced to stay at her apartment less than five times, and did not sleep well on any of those occasions. And not because I was up late fornicating. Give me 6 to 12 months of sleeping over regularly, and perhaps I might become comfortable. I wouldn't know though; none of my relationships have lasted that long continuously, with a couple of exceptions.
At some parties I've attended the host/hostess has provided for people to sleep overnight to prevent guests' intoxicated driving after the soiree. Once I attempted to stay over in that manner (even though I do not drink), but ended up leaving around 4:30 a.m. because I couldn't sleep at all. Surprisingly enough, last fall when I stayed over the night prior to my New Orleans trip with Lee & Deborah, I slept well. I was extremely uncomfortable before the sandman came, but for the first time I can remember, I actually slept through the night in someone else's place.
I've even been known to turn down sex simply because I was expected to stay the night. I knew an abrupt leaving would cause more damage than a turn-down at the beginning.
First on my reading list for the weekend was Hard Eight, by Janet Evanovich. Basically a mystery/caper novel of not-too-difficult material. I mostly wanted to start off with something light, and Evanovich fits the bill.
This is a Stephanie Plum novel. Our heroine is an accidental bounty hunter. In this episode, she takes on the case of a missing child, the grand-daughter of Ms. Plum's neighbor. Grandmother Mabel put up her house on a child custody bond, and now her daughter has skipped town. She's worried both about the house and her grand-daughter.
The signature of a Stephanie Plum story is the hapless nature of Ms. Plum. This time, every time she attempts to bring in one of her F.T.A.s, she manages to miss nabbing him and lose a pair of handcuffs in the attempt. But in the main plot thread, Evanovich has stopped making Ms. Plum do the wrong thing at every turn. She may be unskilled, but at least she is making choices from which even a novice mystery reader doesn't run screaming.
As usual, all's well that ends well. Except not with a Hollywood ending. And the story ends without every loose end being neatly tied up and wrapped for the reader. Fine fluff for a Friday evening alone in the mountains.
While reading my second book out in the mountains, I came across this passage:
Put three groups of rats in three separate cages, each equipped with a bar. The first group of rats got a pellet every time they pressed the bar. The second group never got pellets, no matter how often they pressed. And the third group got pellets just once in a while.
The first group … eventually gets bored with the guaranteed reward and the rats who never get treats give up, too. Bit the random rats will press on that bar forever, hoping each time they press that this time the magic will happen, that this time they'll get lucky. It was at that moment in class that I realized that I had become my father's rat.
I've always been that rat. I don't know much about those who depress the bar and get a reward. And I don't know much about pressing a bar and never getting rewarded. But in the area I am thinking of, I press the bar and at random time I get a pellet. I can't walk away.
I am describing my love life, basically. For some time, I've been really close with someone I adore. I don't get the whole thing. Unconditional love is a rare thing. She cares about me a great deal, but her own situation, and her background have conspired to keep her from plunging in. Plunging in might be a very bad thing for her to do. I haven't walked a mile in her shoes, so I won't be the one to judge.
But I do receive a caring and tenderness, and for the first time ever in a relationship, an adult partner. I don't get much time, and I don't get much attention though. I am well down on the list of priorities. There are other things I don't get either, which I won't go into here simply for the reason that I have a different point. The caring and love that I feel during those few moments when can scrounge together are wonderful.
I get a pellet sometimes.
So I keep pressing the bar frantically, hoping for another pellet.
Is this bad? Is it good? Temporary? Permanent? I don't know. But I finally have at a way to describe how I feel. I am the King Rat, pressing the bar for pellets in a grand experiment. I am wholly unable to stop pressing the bar.