A SATURDAY AFTERNOON FOR YOURSELF

What would you do with a free Saturday afternoon, or even a Sunday?

SERENDIPITY

Home Alone, by Rich Paschall

So, it is Saturday afternoon.  You don’t have to go shopping.  There is no dry cleaning to pick up.  There are no appointments to keep.  Friends or relatives are not expecting you at a shower, football game, or bowling tournament.  Aunt Ethel is not waiting for you to meet her at Starbucks so she can fill your ears with the latest gossip.  It is just you and the afternoon.  What will you do?

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The desktop, laptop or tablet may be calling your name.  There is always the temptation to check your email, check your facebook, check your Instagram.  You may be lured by Tumblr and Pinterest.  You may wish to watch your favorite You Tubers.  I always think I will just watch the latest from Tom Law, Alexander Rybak or Eric Saade.

Perhaps you just want to check shopping sites.  You can check ebay…

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Alone

  A visit to the park                 

 small Midwest town church

A drab, older model, olive colored Chevrolet Monte Carlo pulled up directly across the street from the bright white colored Protestant church.  The driver of the car liked that particular spot because he enjoyed looking at the church with its impressive steeple and large cross at the top.  He was not a member of that church or even of that denomination.  He just liked looking at the church.  He never went inside and could not tell you why he liked it so much, he just did.

Harold exited his dependable vehicle.  It had taken him around town for a dozen years already.  He guessed it was good for a few more years, just like Harold himself.  His parking spot was not far away from Harold’s modest home in the small Midwest town, but it was a little too far for Harold to walk.  He did not walk much at all anymore, although he would be the first to tell you that he really should get more exercise.  He would tell anyone that, if only someone would ask.

Across from the white church with the tall steeple that could be seen for miles was the town park.  It was well-kept and was the pride and joy of the town.  It had a small pond stocked with swans, who could come and go into a little house where they were fed and cared for.  The door of the house was always open.  The pond was fenced in and the little house was inside the fence.  The fence was certainly to keep the people out.  Swans were to be looked at, but not touched.  They may look nice but could be downright mean. There were none around for Harold to see.  Maybe they went south for the winter, maybe they were inside the little house, maybe the town puts them away somewhere before winter.  Harold did not know and really did not give it much thought.

He took the path that led to a magnificent gazebo which was just about in the center of the park.  He could imagine bands playing there on summer nights to the joy of small town Americans with lemonades or ice cream cones in hand.  He had to imagine it because he had never actually seen it.  He stayed away from the park on summer nights when they had activities of any kind.  There was never a parking spot close by when bands were playing and Harold simply was not going to walk for blocks to go to an event where he knew no one and would have nowhere to sit.  Rocking away the evening hours on his front porch was his main summer evening activity.

When he reached the gazebo he went up its three steps and walked into the center.  It was on slightly raised ground and he could see all around the park.  “What a beautiful autumn day,” he said confidentially to himself.  “We are lucky to have such a nice spot.”  The “we” at that moment was actually just Harold.  Although the temperature was pleasant for that time of year, the breeze was alluring and sun was falling softly between the clouds and across the beautiful green grass, no one else came to the park that Thursday afternoon.  Children were in school, most adults were working and the rest did not know they could put on their best fall outerwear and join Harold in the park.

Having exited the other side of the gazebo, he looked down the path that led to the main street in town.  Right before the road was a tall flag pole with the American flag flying proudly in the autumn afternoon.  There were shorter flag poles on either side flying the flags of  the military services.  They were put there by the local VFW and the bushes and flowers that surround them were cared for by VFW members.  Harold wondered why he had never joined the VFW.  Of course, he was not sure if there was anyone he knew in the VFW and he certainly was not assertive enough to find out.

Rather than take the pathway, he decided to cut across the grass to a park bench he spotted across the way along another path.  Leaves were gently pushed out of the surrounding trees and were falling around the bench.  He thought it would be a pleasant place to sit down for a while and rest.  His slow movement across the lawn would have revealed a slight limp if there had been someone, anyone there to see it.  No one knew of the limp, however, except Harold and he was not about to tell anyone of it.  There were plenty of things Harold kept to himself.  He could not think of a single person he could tell.  There were no family or friends left.  He guessed he had outlasted them all.

When he reached the destination, he sat down on the cold metal bench.  The old wooden ones were more comfortable but these were going to last longer, if properly maintained.  With the awkward spacing of the metal slats, no one was ever going to get comfortable,  even Harold.  From a distance the bench looked quite inviting, but it turned out to be a poor invitation once you sat down, especially when the weather was turning colder.  It was of little matter to Harold, he was not going to stay long anyway.  First, he looked at all the trees and saw the yellows, oranges and even some greens.  Some trees had their colored leaves neatly decorating the green grass below.  “I wish I could get a thick, green lawn like that,” Harold murmured to himself.  “I wonder how they do it.”  Then he looked down the path to the right to admire some bushes with bright red leaves.  They were probably the brightest red leaves he had ever seen.  Finally he gazed off to the left to admire the white church.  He thought he should bring a camera some day to get a picture of the church from this beautiful vantage point.  Actually, he had that same thought many times before.

When he got on his feet again, Harold discovered that he had stiffened up in the cool breeze.  He moved slowly across the lawn feeling the effects of age and inactivity.  The slight incline toward the gazebo now seemed like a small hill but he conquered it just like he had conquered small battles in the past.  His impulses told him to turn around and take in the view one last time.  Across the lonely park he spied the black, metal bench sitting there all alone, just like he was doing not long before.

Note: Harold in this story is no relation to the Harold that has appeared in the short story series on SERENDIPITY (teepee12.com).  Apparently I know a lot of people named Harold. 

The short story as a video presentation.

Alone

  A visit to the park                 

 small Midwest town church

A drab, older model, olive colored Chevrolet Monte Carlo pulled up directly across the street from the bright white colored Protestant church.  The driver of the car liked that particular spot because he enjoyed looking at the church with its impressive steeple and large cross at the top.  He was not a member of that church or even of that denomination.  He just liked looking at the church.  He never went inside and could not tell you why he liked it so much, he just did.

Harold exited his dependable vehicle.  It had taken him around town for a dozen years already.  He guessed it was good for a few more years, just like Harold himself.  His parking spot was not far away from Harold’s modest home in the small Midwest town, but it was a little too far for Harold to walk.  He did not walk much at all anymore, although he would be the first to tell you that he really should get more exercise.  He would tell anyone that, if only someone would ask.

Across from the white church with the tall steeple that could be seen for miles was the town park.  It was well-kept and was the pride and joy of the town.  It had a small pond stocked with swans, who could come and go into a little house where they were fed and cared for.  The door of the house was always open.  The pond was fenced in and the little house was inside the fence.  The fence was certainly to keep the people out.  Swans were to be looked at, but not touched.  They may look nice but could be downright mean. There were none around for Harold to see.  Maybe they went south for the winter, maybe they were inside the little house, maybe the town puts them away somewhere before winter.  Harold did not know and really did not give it much thought.

He took the path that led to a magnificent gazebo which was just about in the center of the park.  He could imagine bands playing there on summer nights to the joy of small town Americans with lemonades or ice cream cones in hand.  He had to imagine it because he had never actually seen it.  He stayed away from the park on summer nights when they had activities of any kind.  There was never a parking spot close by when bands were playing and Harold simply was not going to walk for blocks to go to an event where he knew no one and would have nowhere to sit.  Rocking away the evening hours on his front porch was his main summer evening activity.

When he reached the gazebo he went up its three steps and walked into the center.  It was on slightly raised ground and he could see all around the park.  “What a beautiful autumn day,” he said confidentially to himself.  “We are lucky to have such a nice spot.”  The “we” at that moment was actually just Harold.  Although the temperature was pleasant for that time of year, the breeze was alluring and sun was falling softly between the clouds and across the beautiful green grass, no one else came to the park that Thursday afternoon.  Children were in school, most adults were working and the rest did not know they could put on their best fall outerwear and join Harold in the park.

Having exited the other side of the gazebo, he looked down the path that led to the main street in town.  Right before the road was a tall flag pole with the American flag flying proudly in the autumn afternoon.  There were shorter flag poles on either side flying the flags of  the military services.  They were put there by the local VFW and the bushes and flowers that surround them were cared for by VFW members.  Harold wondered why he had never joined the VFW.  Of course, he was not sure if there was anyone he knew in the VFW and he certainly was not assertive enough to find out.

Rather than take the pathway, he decided to cut across the grass to a park bench he spotted across the way along another path.  Leaves were gently pushed out of the surrounding trees and were falling around the bench.  He thought it would be a pleasant place to sit down for a while and rest.  His slow movement across the lawn would have revealed a slight limp if there had been someone, anyone there to see it.  No one knew of the limp, however, except Harold and he was not about to tell anyone of it.  There were plenty of things Harold kept to himself.  He could not think of a single person he could tell.  There were no family or friends left.  He guessed he had outlasted them all.

When he reached the destination, he sat down on the cold metal bench.  The old wooden ones were more comfortable but these were going to last longer, if properly maintained.  With the awkward spacing of the metal slats, no one was ever going to get comfortable,  even Harold.  From a distance the bench looked quite inviting, but it turned out to be a poor invitation once you sat down, especially when the weather was turning colder.  It was of little matter to Harold, he was not going to stay long anyway.  First, he looked at all the trees and saw the yellows, oranges and even some greens.  Some trees had their colored leaves neatly decorating the green grass below.  “I wish I could get a thick, green lawn like that,” Harold murmured to himself.  “I wonder how they do it.”  Then he looked down the path to the right to admire some bushes with bright red leaves.  They were probably the brightest red leaves he had ever seen.  Finally he gazed off to the left to admire the white church.  He thought he should bring a camera some day to get a picture of the church from this beautiful vantage point.  Actually, he had that same thought many times before.

When he got on his feet again, Harold discovered that he had stiffened up in the cool breeze.  He moved slowly across the lawn feeling the effects of age and inactivity.  The slight incline toward the gazebo now seemed like a small hill but he conquered it just like he had conquered small battles in the past.  His impulses told him to turn around and take in the view one last time.  Across the lonely park he spied the black, metal bench sitting there all alone, just like he was doing not long before.

Note: Harold in this story is no relation to the Harold that has appeared in the short story series on SERENDIPITY (teepee12.com).  Apparently I know a lot of people named Harold. 

The short story as a video presentation.

Alone

  A visit to the park                 

 small Midwest town church

A drab, older model, olive colored Chevrolet Monte Carlo pulled up directly across the street from the bright white colored Protestant church.  The driver of the car liked that particular spot because he enjoyed looking at the church with its impressive steeple and large cross at the top.  He was not a member of that church or even of that denomination.  He just liked looking at the church.  He never went inside and could not tell you why he liked it so much, he just did.

Harold exited his dependable vehicle.  It had taken him around town for a dozen years already.  He guessed it was good for a few more years, just like Harold himself.  His parking spot was not far away from Harold’s modest home in the small Midwest town, but it was a little too far for Harold to walk.  He did not walk much at all anymore, although he would be the first to tell you that he really should get more exercise.  He would tell anyone that, if only someone would ask.

Across from the white church with the tall steeple that could be seen for miles was the town park.  It was well-kept and was the pride and joy of the town.  It had a small pond stocked with swans, who could come and go into a little house where they were fed and cared for.  The door of the house was always open.  The pond was fenced in and the little house was inside the fence.  The fence was certainly to keep the people out.  Swans were to be looked at, but not touched.  They may look nice but could be downright mean. There were none around for Harold to see.  Maybe they went south for the winter, maybe they were inside the little house, maybe the town puts them away somewhere before winter.  Harold did not know and really did not give it much thought.

He took the path that led to a magnificent gazebo which was just about in the center of the park.  He could imagine bands playing there on summer nights to the joy of small town Americans with lemonades or ice cream cones in hand.  He had to imagine it because he had never actually seen it.  He stayed away from the park on summer nights when they had activities of any kind.  There was never a parking spot close by when bands were playing and Harold simply was not going to walk for blocks to go to an event where he knew no one and would have nowhere to sit.  Rocking away the evening hours on his front porch was his main summer evening activity.

When he reached the gazebo he went up its three steps and walked into the center.  It was on slightly raised ground and he could see all around the park.  “What a beautiful autumn day,” he said confidentially to himself.  “We are lucky to have such a nice spot.”  The “we” at that moment was actually just Harold.  Although the temperature was pleasant for that time of year, the breeze was alluring and sun was falling softly between the clouds and across the beautiful green grass, no one else came to the park that Thursday afternoon.  Children were in school, most adults were working and the rest did not know they could put on their best fall outerwear and join Harold in the park.

Having exited the other side of the gazebo, he looked down the path that led to the main street in town.  Right before the road was a tall flag pole with the American flag flying proudly in the autumn afternoon.  There were shorter flag poles on either side flying the flags of  the military services.  They were put there by the local VFW and the bushes and flowers that surround them were cared for by VFW members.  Harold wondered why he had never joined the VFW.  Of course, he was not sure if there was anyone he knew in the VFW and he certainly was not assertive enough to find out.

Rather than take the pathway, he decided to cut across the grass to a park bench he spotted across the way along another path.  Leaves were gently pushed out of the surrounding trees and were falling around the bench.  He thought it would be a pleasant place to sit down for a while and rest.  His slow movement across the lawn would have revealed a slight limp if there had been someone, anyone there to see it.  No one knew of the limp, however, except Harold and he was not about to tell anyone of it.  There were plenty of things Harold kept to himself.  He could not think of a single person he could tell.  There were no family or friends left.  He guessed he had outlasted them all.

When he reached the destination, he sat down on the cold metal bench.  The old wooden ones were more comfortable but these were going to last longer, if properly maintained.  With the awkward spacing of the metal slats, no one was ever going to get comfortable,  even Harold.  From a distance the bench looked quite inviting, but it turned out to be a poor invitation once you sat down, especially when the weather was turning colder.  It was of little matter to Harold, he was not going to stay long anyway.  First, he looked at all the trees and saw the yellows, oranges and even some greens.  Some trees had their colored leaves neatly decorating the green grass below.  “I wish I could get a thick, green lawn like that,” Harold murmured to himself.  “I wonder how they do it.”  Then he looked down the path to the right to admire some bushes with bright red leaves.  They were probably the brightest red leaves he had ever seen.  Finally he gazed off to the left to admire the white church.  He thought he should bring a camera some day to get a picture of the church from this beautiful vantage point.  Actually, he had that same thought many times before.

When he got on his feet again, Harold discovered that he had stiffened up in the cool breeze.  He moved slowly across the lawn feeling the effects of age and inactivity.  The slight incline toward the gazebo now seemed like a small hill but he conquered it just like he had conquered small battles in the past.  His impulses told him to turn around and take in the view one last time.  Across the lonely park he spied the black, metal bench sitting there all alone, just like he was doing not long before.

Note: Harold in this story is no relation to the Harold that has appeared in the short story series on SERENDIPITY (teepee12.com).  Apparently I know a lot of people named Harold. 

The short story as a video presentation.

Being Alive

In the Company of friends

The Broadway musical “Company” is a complex study of a person’s character as only Stephen Sondheim can portray him.  The central character Robert is single.  He is alone although he has many friends.  His is a complicated life that does not want to be alone, but is afraid of commitment.  He is afraid of letting someone completely into his life.  He sings of his fears, but are they really good reasons to be alone?

HARRY: You’ve got so many reasons for not being with someone, but
Robert, you haven’t got one good reason for being alone.

So it is with many of us.  We can see the complications of having a mate, or even a date, and it makes us pull back.  When you think of all the things that may have to change by being with someone, life can seem a little too scary.  So it was with Robert, a little afraid and a little cynical and quite a bit alone. When you rank order all the things in your life and leave no room for one more thing, you can retreat from the very thing you should be rushing toward.

DAVID: You see what you look for, you know.
JOANNE: You’re not a kid anymore,
Robby. I don’t think you’ll ever
be a kid again, kiddo.
PETER: Hey, buddy,
don’t be afraid it won’t be perfect. The only thing
to be afraid of really is
that it won’t be.

But you might be afraid that it will be, and that is the worse fear of all.  There is the old adage that it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.  What if you are not sure the adage is true?  If you are afraid of the inevitable breakup, there will inevitably be a break up.  It stands to reason.  It is the self-fulfilling prophecy.  Of course a mate or a best friend will seem to crowd you at times, it goes with the territory.  Avoiding love in order to avoid pain, may mean that you are avoiding life in the process.

ROBERT:
Someone you have to let in,
Someone whose feelings you spare,
Someone who, like it or not,
Will want you to share
A little, a lot.

Of course, you have to let someone into your life.  Life is about sharing.  I swear the best times of my life have not necessarily been the highly anticipated events, but the surprises and wonder that comes from sharing with someone.  For my personal examples, I will say that I have had a lot of great adventures in recent years and they have all come about because they were shared adventures.  Of course, I have gone to shows or concerts alone because no one else seemed interested or was free, and I did enjoy them.  I am convinced now that they would have been even better if I could share the same joy with another at the same time.

Stuff is for sharing too.  I look around and see lots of stuff.  Stuff can be good.  Stuff can give you a sense of accomplishment, a pride in ownership, the joy of accumulation.  In the end, however, it is just stuff.  Chief among my stuff is my television.  I am actually glad to hear from visitors that the picture is remarkably clear and they enjoy watching stuff on it too.  It is a much better feeling to share stuff than to say, “that’s my stuff, don’t touch!”  You might tell children not touch for fear they will break something or hurt themselves, but if friends enjoy the stuff I enjoy, it feels good.  As a matter of fact, there is some stuff I would be pleased to hand off to others if they like it enough.  Living in a house for decades means you acquire a lot of stuff.

SUSAN: And what does all that mean?
LARRY: Robert, how do you know so much
about it when you’ve never been there?
HARRY: It’s much better living it
than looking at it, Robert.

It’s no good to just look at life, you need to live it too.  You need to be an active participant.  If you pull back so that you will not be hurt or that you will not lose something, you will never win anything either.  I can not explain it to you exactly, just like I can not explain the characters that populate Company, or Follies or A Little Night Music and sing the Sondheim lyrics.  I can see, however, that the layers of the complicated lives can be stripped away to reveal the characters are not really alive.  What have you got, if you have nothing you can share?

ROBERT:
Someone to crowd you with love,
Someone to force you to care,
Someone to make you come through,
Who’ll always be there,
As frightened as you
Of being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive.

In the final analysis, you must come to the realization that this is exactly what you need.  The business of “being alive” may be awesome and frightening, but that is the beauty of it actually.  To go through life with others, or perhaps just the special someone, is to help you feel alive.  This should be the conclusion of all our plays.  When I see Robert onstage at the end of Company I may feel a bit uncomfortable in my seat, being in the dark and knowing exactly what Robert is feeling.

Make me confused
Mock me with praise
Let me be used
Vary my days
But alone is alone
Not alive…

The incredibly talented Neal Patrick Harris as Bobby from the 2011 production of COMPANY with the NY Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall.  Music and Lyrics By Stephen Sondheim, Book by George Furth.

Alone

  A visit to the park                 

 small Midwest town church

A drab, older model, olive colored Chevrolet Monte Carlo pulled up directly across the street from the bright white colored Protestant church.  The driver of the car liked that particular spot because he enjoyed looking at the church with its impressive steeple and large cross at the top.  He was not a member of that church or even of that denomination.  He just liked looking at the church.  He never went inside and could not tell you why he liked it so much, he just did.

Harold exited his dependable vehicle.  It had taken him around town for a dozen years already.  He guessed it was good for a few more years, just like Harold himself.  His parking spot was not far away from Harold’s modest home in the small Midwest town, but it was a little too far for Harold to walk.  He did not walk much at all anymore, although he would be the first to tell you that he really should get more exercise.  He would tell anyone that, if only someone would ask.

Across from the white church with the tall steeple that could be seen for miles was the town park.  It was well-kept and was the pride and joy of the town.  It had a small pond stocked with swans, who could come and go into a little house where they were fed and cared for.  The door of the house was always open.  The pond was fenced in and the little house was inside the fence.  The fence was certainly to keep the people out.  Swans were to be looked at, but not touched.  They may look nice but could be downright mean. There were none around for Harold to see.  Maybe they went south for the winter, maybe they were inside the little house, maybe the town puts them away somewhere before winter.  Harold did not know and really did not give it much thought.

He took the path that led to a magnificent gazebo which was just about in the center of the park.  He could imagine bands playing there on summer nights to the joy of small town Americans with lemonades or ice cream cones in hand.  He had to imagine it because he had never actually seen it.  He stayed away from the park on summer nights when they had activities of any kind.  There was never a parking spot close by when bands were playing and Harold simply was not going to walk for blocks to go to an event where he knew no one and would have nowhere to sit.  Rocking away the evening hours on his front porch was his main summer evening activity.

When he reached the gazebo he went up its three steps and walked into the center.  It was on slightly raised ground and he could see all around the park.  “What a beautiful autumn day,” he said confidentially to himself.  “We are lucky to have such a nice spot.”  The “we” at that moment was actually just Harold.  Although the temperature was pleasant for that time of year, the breeze was alluring and sun was falling softly between the clouds and across the beautiful green grass, no one else came to the park that Thursday afternoon.  Children were in school, most adults were working and the rest did not know they could put on their best fall outerwear and join Harold in the park.

Having exited the other side of the gazebo, he looked down the path that led to the main street in town.  Right before the road was a tall flag pole with the American flag flying proudly in the autumn afternoon.  There were shorter flag poles on either side flying the flags of  the military services.  They were put there by the local VFW and the bushes and flowers that surround them were cared for by VFW members.  Harold wondered why he had never joined the VFW.  Of course, he was not sure if there was anyone he knew in the VFW and he certainly was not assertive enough to find out.

Rather than take the pathway, he decided to cut across the grass to a park bench he spotted across the way along another path.  Leaves were gently pushed out of the surrounding trees and were falling around the bench.  He thought it would be a pleasant place to sit down for a while and rest.  His slow movement across the lawn would have revealed a slight limp if there had been someone, anyone there to see it.  No one knew of the limp, however, except Harold and he was not about to tell anyone of it.  There were plenty of things Harold kept to himself.  He could not think of a single person he could tell.  There were no family or friends left.  He guessed he had outlasted them all.

When he reached the destination, he sat down on the cold metal bench.  The old wooden ones were more comfortable but these were going to last longer, if properly maintained.  With the awkward spacing of the metal slats, no one was ever going to get comfortable,  even Harold.  From a distance the bench looked quite inviting, but it turned out to be a poor invitation once you sat down, especially when the weather was turning colder.  It was of little matter to Harold, he was not going to stay long anyway.  First, he looked at all the trees and saw the yellows, oranges and even some greens.  Some trees had their colored leaves neatly decorating the green grass below.  “I wish I could get a thick, green lawn like that,” Harold murmured to himself.  “I wonder how they do it.”  Then he looked down the path to the right to admire some bushes with bright red leaves.  They were probably the brightest red leaves he had ever seen.  Finally he gazed off to the left to admire the white church.  He thought he should bring a camera some day to get a picture of the church from this beautiful vantage point.  Actually, he had that same thought many times before.

When he got on his feet again, Harold discovered that he had stiffened up in the cool breeze.  He moved slowly across the lawn feeling the effects of age and inactivity.  The slight incline toward the gazebo now seemed like a small hill but he conquered it just like he had conquered small battles in the past.  His impulses told him to turn around and take in the view one last time.  Across the lonely park he spied the black, metal bench sitting there all alone, just like he was doing not long before.

Being Alive

In the Company of friends

The Broadway musical “Company” is a complex study of a person’s character as only Stephen Sondheim can portray him.  The central character Robert is single.  He is alone although he has many friends.  His is a complicated life that does not want to be alone, but is afraid of commitment.  He is afraid of letting someone completely into his life.  He sings of his fears, but are they really good reasons to be alone?

HARRY: You’ve got so many reasons for not being with someone, but
Robert, you haven’t got one good reason for being alone.

So it is with many of us.  We can see the complications of having a mate, or even a date, and it makes us pull back.  When you think of all the things that may have to change by being with someone, life can seem a little too scary.  So it was with Robert, a little afraid and a little cynical and quite a bit alone. When you rank order all the things in your life and leave no room for one more thing, you can retreat from the very thing you should be rushing toward.

DAVID: You see what you look for, you know.
JOANNE: You’re not a kid anymore,
Robby. I don’t think you’ll ever
be a kid again, kiddo.
PETER: Hey, buddy,
don’t be afraid it won’t be perfect. The only thing
to be afraid of really is
that it won’t be.

But you might be afraid that it will be, and that is the worse fear of all.  There is the old adage that it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.  What if you are not sure the adage is true?  If you are afraid of the inevitable breakup, there will inevitably be a break up.  It stands to reason.  It is the self fulfilling prophecy.  Of course a mate or a best friend will seem to crowd you at times, it goes with the territory.  Avoiding love in order to avoid pain, may mean that you are avoiding life in the process.

ROBERT:
Someone you have to let in,
Someone whose feelings you spare,
Someone who, like it or not,
Will want you to share
A little, a lot.

Of course, you have to let someone into your life.  Life is about sharing.  I swear the best times of my life have not necessarily been the highly anticipated events, but the surprises and wonder that comes from sharing with someone.  For my personal examples, I will say that I have had a lot of great adventures in recent years and they have all come about because they were shared adventures.  Of course, I have gone to shows or concerts alone because no one else seemed interested or was free, and I did enjoy them.  I am convinced now that they would have been even better if I could share the same joy with another at the same time.

Stuff is for sharing too.  I look around and see lots of stuff.  Stuff can be good.  Stuff can give you a sense of accomplishment, a pride in ownership, the joy of accumulation.  In the end, however, it is just stuff.  Chief among my stuff is my television.  I am actually glad to hear from visitors that the picture is remarkably clear and they enjoy watching stuff on it too.  It is a much better feeling to share stuff than to say, “that’s my stuff, don’t touch!”  You might tell children not touch for fear they will break something or hurt themselves, but if friends enjoy the stuff I enjoy, it feels good.  As a matter of fact, there is some stuff I would be pleased to hand off to others if they like it enough.  Living in a house for decades means you acquire a lot of stuff.

SUSAN: And what does all that mean?
LARRY: Robert, how do you know so much
about it when you’ve never been there?
HARRY: It’s much better living it
than looking at it, Robert.

It’s no good to just look at life, you need to live it too.  You need to be an active participant.  If you pull back so that you will not be hurt or that you will not lose something, you will never win anything either.  I can not explain it to you exactly, just like I can not explain the characters that populate Company, or Follies or A Little Night Music and sing the Sondheim lyrics.  I can see, however, that the layers of the complicated lives can be stripped away to reveal the characters are not really alive.  What have you got, if you have nothing you can share?

ROBERT:
Someone to crowd you with love,
Someone to force you to care,
Someone to make you come through,
Who’ll always be there,
As frightened as you
Of being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive.

In the final analysis, you must come to the realization that this is exactly what you need.  The business of “being alive” may be awesome and frightening, but that is the beauty of it actually.  To go through life with others, or perhaps just the special someone, is to help you feel alive.  This should be the conclusion of all our plays.  When I see Robert onstage at the end of Company I may feel a bit uncomfortable in my seat, being in the dark and knowing exactly what Robert is feeling.

Make me confused
Mock me with praise
Let me be used
Vary my days
But alone is alone
Not alive…

The incredibly talented Neal Patrick Harris as Bobby from the 2011 production of COMPANY with the NY Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall.  Music and Lyrics By Stephen Sondheim, Book by George Furth.

Sunday Night Vlog?

Being Alone

From time to time I actually post something on the vlog channel. Last weekend I thought I would try to turn the Sunday Night Blog into a Sunday Night Vlog, complete with the music breaks. It is hard to describe what is running around in my brain some weeks when I finally sit down to commit the weekly article to…uh, cyber paper. So, last week I thought I would turn the blog into a vlog. There was no way I could remember it and I really do not know how vloggers put up prewritten material, so you will see the glow of my laptop on my glasses. The text was there for me to read when I need a jolt to the old memory cells. It was an interesting experiment in editing for me. If you look closely you will see the edit in one of the sections. I will not explain how many sections were restarted as my tongue tripped over itself. In the end, there were a few lines I wished I had delivered as my brain originally heard them. Nevertheless, I am pleased that Sunday afternoon yielded an article and a video by Sunday evening. If you wish to see the text, jump back to the previous entry. Since I spent an entire 99 cents to down load the music from Amazon, I hope you will watch.