I’ve been lucky in my life. I’ve had at least four angel men in my life. My dad, of course, who shared so much with me in my childhood, taught me the importance of art in a working life, showed me how to carve, draw, photograph, sculpt, paint, and cope with chronic illness with continual learning.
My unknown angel, who sat with me on the bus home the time my dad was in the ICU and not expected to live. He taught me the beauty of casual friendship, the gift of displacing and postponing emotion until you are not needed. He let me arrive at 6 AM in Haymarket after no sleep, and go to Mass General, see my dad on a ventilator, and be able to joke to make him smile. He needed that. He needed to be himself, while surrounded by machines. And my family needed to see he was still there, still his funny charming self, even while his life hung in the balance.
The first man I dated after I separated – a kind man with a fascinating mind that taught me there was still life in this old girl yet, that despite years of living alone in a marriage, I was still desirable and desired, still capable of having fun with men. Still sexually powerful, if you will. It wasn’t anything I had appreciated before. It gave me the strength to cope with a lot of challenges the first year. He allowed me to see that I could have a new relationship if I wanted one.
And my dear friend for the past many years who is always on the end of a phone line, always ready for a laugh or a voice of support, who shares books and the love of them with me. He understands me, perhaps too well. We get along best at a distance, but I don’t know what I would do without him. He’s saved me many a time and I cherish every moment we share. Even if he did refuse to let me go see the Frick. He’s taught me so much about the world and about the benefit of long term friendships. I haven’t had too many, given all my moving around when married. And he’s a fellow life-long learner…
I mustn’t forget my wilderness angel, who brings me pickles and wine and is universally kind to friends and strangers. He’s shown me that being kind is never too much effort, that giving and sharing should come naturally. I’ve never met anyone like him. Plus he can do anything, or he teaches himself how. More lifelong learning lessons.
These men give me hope. But today, as I went on my rounds, I saw men shouting at other drivers and their partners, I saw guys being jerks everywhere I went. The US is led by a collaboration of jerky men, men who shout and bluster and have to crush others to make themselves big. Men who shout ignorance instead of speaking knowledge.
You may notice the abundance of the word shout in the above paragraph. I lived with shouting for years and I react like a beaten dog whenever I hear it. All it takes is a raised voice in my direction and I want to be out. I obviously have to figure around this but I am damaged after the time living with an angry person… A friend raised his voice at me recently and I was shattered for an entire day. The worst part is BEFORE the shouting, when men’s faces get closed and violent and you know there is going to be an unpleasant outcome, whether hitting things or yelling, or both.
It’s worth noting that my angel men all managed to be strong without shouting, charming without dominating, argumentative without being rude. It’s a rare commodity and seems to be becoming rarer. I don’t know about my angel man on the bus, but all of the others are intelligent and knowledgeable without being certain they are right. They allow doubt, they try to learn. They can and do change their opinions.
Where are these strong men? There must be more of them out there somewhere. I do hope they will step forward and bring sanity back to our world, to traffic, to relationships. All I know is I am tired of the bellow of revving motorcycles and of men shouting, “You fucking idiot!” at anyone who causes them the slightest inconvenience. And hitting when shouting isn’t enough. And killing.
Calm down, everyone. Take the time to be polite and charming and learn new things. And please stop taking everything out on the women around you. Please.