My Own Addiction

It wasn’t an exaggeration when I told The Guy that I have thought about him every minute of every day.  It was the absolute truth, and it is disturbing.  It’s been fourteen weeks.  Only fourteen weeks.  All of fourteen weeks.  Fourteen very short, very long weeks.

I can offer no explanation for my behavior.  There’s nothing I can say that would tell anyone why I let him touch me the way he did, when he did, where he did.  There’s nothing to justify allowing him to convince me to sneak into the never used stairwell at work to experience the first kiss with a man in my adult life, though, I suppose that experience helps to explain why I allowed him to convince me to do it again…  and again, and again…

Certainly there’s nothing I could say that would make any sense out of the fact that I really did fall in love with him after just six weeks of not dating.  We spoke every day during that time.  Flirted at work, had short private conversations, hours long text-athons in the evenings.  Back then, we really talked…  or so I thought.

I tried to really explore where that feeling could be coming from.  I wanted to be the first to disprove it.  “I can’t love him,” I tried to tell myself, “It’s just the newness.  It’s just that he’s the only person to express interest.  It’s just that it’s my only shot at this.”

None of that bore out.

It had long since stopped feeling new to me.  (Honestly!  Has it really only been three and a half months?  It seems like it’s been years.)  It wasn’t that he’s the only person to express interest.  It would have been more in character for me to discourage his attraction and to do my best to turn him off, than to reciprocate out of desperation, or loneliness.  I thought long and hard about the fact that this was my only shot at this.  I had to know that I wasn’t allowing that to affect my thinking on the subject.  I had to be certain that my feelings for him were based in something more real than fear of losing my one shot.  And the day I realized that I already knew I would be none the worse for the wear when this ended, that I wouldn’t have lost anything that I had before it began; that was the day I knew that what I was feeling, however absurd it may seem, however little logic there was in it, was, in fact, genuine love.  And really, who says there’s any logic in love anyway.  How you act on it, sure, but the feeling?  Not so much.  When I knew I wasn’t going to run away from this, just because it was destined to end, I knew that, for me at least, it was real.

And I still stand by all of that.  But at the same time, it makes it really tough that it’s still true, even though it’s over; even though any hope that once existed for a miracle has been killed.  The hope?  It is bloodied and broken and lies helpless and alone in the corner of some alley where reality and certainty ganged up on it and kicked the crap out of it, before leaving it for dead.  Even as I type these words, hope is breathing its last breath as it watches the puddle of blood in which it is lying, spread.

So knowing all of that, why is it that I still spend every minute of every day thinking about him?  Why do his words continue to waltz across the stage of my mind, reminding me of all the questions that went unanswered and that fact, ignored.  Why do I continue to search for, and yes, ask for, clarity where none can possibly exist.  I know I cant trust him to give me the truth.  Not that I think he sets out to be deceitful, but one minute, he’s ashamed of the truth, the next minute he doesn’t want to hurt me, the next minute he wants to push me away so he tells me things that might be the truth, but how can I be sure, because later he tells me they weren’t, that he just wanted to push me away.  And really, if he wants to push me away…  Why am I holding on so tightly?

This afternoon, even as I was sitting in the theater with Lil’B waiting for our movie to start, I was thinking about my conversation with The Guy on Friday evening and I thought about how badly we have communicated this entire time.  He says things that are cryptic, and I don’t always ask for clarification because I know that his hold on the emotional gravity of the situation is already tenuous at best. He misinterprets my words, (which I always think are clear, but apparently are not), and rather than ask questions, he goes off on an internalized tangent of what he thinks I mean and how he should react, to satisfy me, or to push me away, depending on what seems like his best course of action at the moment.

I made my usual, pre-movie trip to the bathroom, because apparently the 11-year-old has better bladder control than I do, and I won’t make it through the movie if I don’t do my best to empty the chamber before the movie starts and then I’ll make a mad dash for the restroom again after the credits, while he stands in the corner of the restroom and waits, (after having consumed an entire vat o’ Icee).  This restroom run, also gave me the opportunity to shoot off a “quick” text to the Guy wherein I established our poor communication and that I needed to be sure I had properly understood something he said on Friday.  I told him to tell me the truth, because it won’t change anything at this point anyway.

“You were being dishonest with me when you said you had not ‘done anything in months’, right?  You are still actively having sex with anybody who will, on a regular basis.  And when I started working there, you hoped I would be one of those people.  That fact that I was not going to be one of those people has not slowed you down.  Did I understand you correctly?”

“No,” he answered, “I never wanted you to be in that category and I have given that life up.”

He told me on Friday that all he wanted to do was have sex.  That he doesn’t want relationships or dating.  Just sex.    Now he says he told me that to push me away.  He wasn’t after that with me.  He would have pursued me differently if he had…  I can’t even imagine what that would have looked like.

When I pressed him, he did admit to having had sex in the last few months. He says he has “an arrangement that is fizzling out.” but that he hasn’t pursued anything new with anyone.

Like a sucker, I listed the contradictions he’s presented on this issue, asking him what I’m supposed to believe.  I wanted to know just how much of a fool I have been.

And then I told him never mind.  “There’s nothing to be gained by continuing to hash this shit out.”  I know how much of a fool I am.  The degree of my foolishness is directly proportionate to the number of breaths hope has left.  Except, it’s like someone has found hope and is attempting to administer emergency care.  Hope flatlines, and gets revived and flatlines again.  Some good Samaritan, determined to save hope’s life, is only prolonging the agony.  Hope’s inevitable demise is still on the horizon, it’s just taking longer than it should to arrive, and I continue to be slave to the foolishness that is my heart, imagining the possibilities of something that just becomes more and more complicated and seemingly impossible by the day.

I genuinely do not know how to put a stop to it.

 

Round Two

Go ahead and imagine the scantily clad woman holding a giant card with a big number “2” printed on it, prancing around the border of the ring, in high heals …

I mean, if that’s what you’re into…

 

“What are you still doing here?” I asked him as evenly as I could manage.  I wasn’t exactly happy to see him, under the circumstances, but I didn’t want to be uncivil to him, as I promised I would not be.  Besides, if we have any chance at all of being “friends” it’s got to start somewhere, right?

That’s the same argument I made to myself when I questioned whether or not I really wanted to go to lunch with him the other day.  That turned out well, right…

He stood there, hands on the edge of the counter with his head hanging down and looking at me sullenly.  I repeated the question, and after heaving a heavy sigh, he said, “I’m going in a minute.”

“Okay,” I answered, continuing to sort through the papers on the counter in front of me.  He asked me what I was doing with them.  They were related to a small, but important task that I had needed to accomplish for the three days, but hadn’t had the time to get to.

 

The Bay Area Rapid Transit system or “BART” is having issues.  Some union that they’re involved with has decided to go on Strike, starting Monday, and there will be no service for an indefinite period of time.  They went out a month or so ago for four days, and my 8 mile, usually 15-20 minutes commute was taking closer to 45 stressful, fuel guzzling minutes.  Some days longer.  I told my boss on the fourth day of that event that I was going to start taking my company issued laptop home with me so I could work for a couple of hours in the morning and then come in when traffic had died down.  She was fine with it, but as it turned out to be the last day of that strike, it didn’t even matter.  I spoke to her yesterday afternoon and proposed the same arrangement, to which she agreed, as long as I had things to work on, which I do.  Plenty!

As I was preparing to go home last night, I looked at the stack of papers in their folder, frustrated that another day had gone by and I couldn’t get this simple task accomplished, when it suddenly dawned on me; I’ve got lots of tasks that I have to struggle to get to because of all the distractions and interruptions I deal with on a daily basis.  There will be no distractions and interruptions while I’m working at home next week.  I can get the nagging stuff done then, as long as I plan ahead for it!  I took the stack of papers that I needed to sort and scan and walked to the counter in the open Kitchen, near the scanner.

 

Without looking up from my work, I answered, “I’m sorting them so I can scan them into a couple of emails and deal with them on Monday morning.  What’s happening right now?”  I asked the question so quickly after answering his it was almost a part of the same sentence.  I put the papers down and looked up at him waiting for an answer.  He just continued to stand there with that dopey look on his face.  “What?!” I asked again, slightly bothered.

“I don’t know,” he said, “you just seem so unhappy.”

Actually, I felt quite a bit better than I had the day before, but that’s not really saying much.  There are a number of factors about work that have had me really stressed out and this emotional turmoil with The Guy has only added to the stress and tension.  It feels like there’s been a lot of tension in the air in general and I don’t know if I’m imagining it because I’m so tense, or, as I’m afraid might be the case, it’s just wafting off of me and affecting everyone around me.  I just looked at him.  I didn’t know what to say.

“I feel like it’s my fault,” he said.  Fucking genius, that one!

“I don’t think it’s unrealistic or unreasonable that I would be hurt and angry, six hours after being told what you told me,” I said, referring to our text argument on Wednesday night.  “The fact that you think I shouldn’t be, just pisses me off more.”

“No, I guess it’s not,” he said.

We ended up talking for over an hour.  It was one of the most emotionally open conversations he has had with me.  I suppose, in some ways it was for me as well.  I’ve always been honest and sincere with him, but I’ve also not said a lot of things that I knew he would have a hard time hearing.  There was no reason to hold back any longer.

He changed his story, not for the first time.  He claims he didn’t say, “not ever”.  To be fair, I don’t remember word for word what he said, I just know the gist of what he said and the tone of his voice.  The “ever” was implied, if not actually spoken.  He said that he thought about me the entire time he was in the UK.  He and his friend were “running around at all these different sites,” and all sorts of events and the entire time, I was on his mind.  He couldn’t understand why that would be.

“I have thought about you, every minute of every day, since I met you,” I told him.  “The difference is, you think it’s a bad thing.”  The look on his face caught me off guard.  He seemed genuinely surprised by that.  “Do you even understand what I meant when I told you I ‘completely fell for you’?” I asked him.  “I haven’t said it because first of all the word terrifies me, and secondly, I knew you couldn’t handle hearing it.  The Guy,” (obviously, I used his real name here), “I fell in love with you!  It’s stupid, really.  It shouldn’t have happened.  There’s no logical, explicable reason for it.  But here we are.  This doesn’t happen to me.  But I thought you were worth taking the chance.”

I think if I had exhaled a little more forcefully, he would have fallen over.

One of the most tragic things about this situation for me, is that something new happened in me and I thought he was worth taking a chance.  Something new happened in him and he didn’t think I was worth taking the chance.  The fact that he doesn’t think I’m worth taking the chance, is probably why I was wrong about him.

There are a lot of things I need to sort through, now, things he’s said to me over the months that I have to figure out.  It would be better, of course, to not rehash any of it and just let go, but that’s not really how I function, especially not with him right in front of me every day.  Even if I made the “decision” to do just that, it wouldn’t actually happen anyway.

He opened up a lot last night and a lot of the aspects of his damaged psyche that makes him who he is came to light.  The recovery he’s claimed to be in for the last seven years, is really just an explanation to use to when offering up excuses for his lustful behavior.  He admitted that his efforts in that arena have been minimal at best.  Which lead to the revelation that he lied to me right at the start, when I asked him what his intentions toward me were in acting the way he did.  “So you really were just trying to get in my pants.” I said.  “You really just wanted to fuck me.”  When he nodded, I climbed down off the counter, picked up my papers and walked away.

I finished at the scanner and walked back to the kitchen.  I was silent for a long time.

“The bottom line,” I told him, “is that I have never lied to you.  Everything I have ever said and done has been completely sincere.  But I’m no magician.  If you think about me as much as you say you do, that’s because at some point along the way, something happened inside of you and I started to mean more to you.  And that scares the shit out of you!  But it’s all! Inside! Of you!!

 

We went back to our desks to pack up and go home.  It took me longer, but that’s not a surprise.  When he walked past my desk on his way to the door, he stopped.  He just looked at me for a minute and then without a word, he walked into my cubicle, put his arms around me and pulled me to him.  With my head against his chest, I listened to his heart beat while I put my one free hand on his back and squeezed lightly before giving him the thanks-for-the-hug double tap, but he didn’t let go and neither did I.  It felt amazing to have his body pressed against mine, again.  It’s a feeling I’ve missed and longed for.  It’s been three long weeks since the last time I felt that.

When he finally let go, he just whispered, “Good bye” and walked away.

…and Other’s Require More Effort!

I hadn’t really intended to resume writing at this site just to disappear for a month, but the last several weeks have been tremendously, and unexpectedly busy.

My new job keeps me very occupied, which means that, unlike my last job, I have not had any time for messing around at work,  (well…  I say I haven’t had any time for messing around at work…  I have managed to find a few minutes here and there for some “messing around”…  But that’s another story for another time, or maybe not…).  I certainly have not had time for writing blog posts!  On top of that, my evenings and week-ends have been pretty hectic as well.  Making time to write blog posts has been nearly impossible!  When I’m not working, which has been mostly on Saturday’s I’m hanging out with Lil’B, or other friends, or shopping, or whatever…  And when none of that is going on, I’m often engaged in the ongoing text-a-palooza with “A Guy” that has been, in equal parts, ripping my heart out, and showing me a world of possibilities I never believed existed for me.  He is less so “a guy” now, and more so “the guy”, though it’s still really complicated and not without its share of frustration…  But I’m getting ahead of my self and it’s much too late to get very far into that tonight.  Besides, I’m still processing and not sure what or how much to say.  So apparently I’m just a big tease…  But then again so is he…  Er, what was I saying?

There are a lot of things to write about and I really must make the time to get it in, but for now, there’s this…

In the early middle of June, I went one Saturday afternoon to K’s house in Berkeley, for her son’s graduation party/barbecue.  At the end of the party, I was in the kitchen packing up the things I had brought along, when K’s father, in from Arizona for the event, said, “Kevin?  Is that your car out front here?”  I confirmed that it was and he said, “cause this guy just smacked your car!”  Now my car was parked at the curb, at the edge of K’s driveway, with at least 20 feet of open curb between my rear bumper and the corner.  Remember that.  It’ll be important in a second.

K and I ran out to the street to see what had happened as the late-model Honda Accord drove away from the scene.  he drove halfway down the block, turned around in a driveway and then parked his car at the curb.  Seeing K and me standing there, he strolled slowly, and with empty hands, back to where I was standing, behind my car and examining the damage.  The first words out of this guy’s mouth were, “Oh, sorry.  I thought I had enough room to park there.”

I turned around and looked at the expanse of curb behind me and said, “Um, I think you had plenty of room to park there”

We surveyed the damage to my car and it was minimal.  I told the young man, “It doesn’t look to bad.  I’m sure it won’t be too complicated to fix, but I should go ahead and get your information.  Do you know he actually rolled his eyes at me, and then sauntered back down the street to his car to get his insurance information?!?

My Honda Insight, Damaged Bumper, Taken outside K’s house, Berkeley, CA

A week later, I had dropped my car off at a body shop to get the damage repaired, and I was on my way to the Hertz Local Edition lot to pick up my rental car.  When the driver pulled into the lot, I saw it right away.  The car of my dreams…  all most.  They had one white, Convertible Mustang on the lot (I don’t care for white cars, but otherwise it was great!) just waiting for someone to pick it out and drive away.   I was meant to be that someone.  My whole life a Mustang has been my dream car, though I never really thought I would be a Convertible guy.  Since it was an insurance replacement (my insurance policy covered $25.00 a day), they were offering discounted rates.  I don’t know what the Mustang would normally cost, but with the insurance company discount, it cost only $40.00 a day including Taxes.  My portion was only about $15.00 a/day.  When the lady at the counter told me that, I had only one response:  “Why not!  It’s time to kill the dream, anyway!  Let’s go for it.”  I thought the likelihood of it living up to my expectation was pretty low, so once I had driven one, I wouldn’t be so excited any longer.

I picked the car up on Friday morning, and I already had plans to go on a photo expedition on Saturday, with K.  (In April, just before starting my new job, I went to Albany, NY to visit my sister and her family, finally getting to meet, not only the new baby baby, but also, the nearly three-year old I hadn’t gotten to meet at that point.  Before going on that trip, I bought a fancy pants new digital 35 millimeter camera and I’m itching to learn all of its secrets.)  Naturally, while we were out, I had to have some pictures of the Mustang.

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The Mustang which did nothing to destroy my dream!

I had that car for a week five days, three of which were rainy, which I thought was completely unfair of Mother Nature.  The rain tapered off on the third day, but it was still a bit cold.  I didn’t care.  I had a Mustang for only a few days.  I was not about to lose a single precious moment in that car!

Driving the rented Mustang with the top down on the first available opportunity.  It was about 60 degrees, but I didn't care!
Driving the rented Mustang with the top down on the first available opportunity. It was about 60 degrees, but I didn’t care!

At the end of the week, I did not want to give it back which meant…  There was only one thing to be done:

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SOME dreams do come true.

Under the Rainbow

It’s funny how things can turn, almost on a dime.  I sat in Deb’s office last night, smiling and happy, and telling her about how much things seem to have changed over the last six weeks, since I started my new job.  I’m confident in my work.  I’ve had an easy time of making friends with the people who work around me.  (A bunch of us are going roller-skating after work in a couple weeks.)  I’m out to pretty much everyone, and comfortably so.  I’ve fairly well tolerated the inefficiencies and poor co-ordination of some things that go on there.  I’ve taken, relatively in stride, the fact that the things I believed to be the reason I was hired, my “expertise” in such things as moving large groups of people and managing all the issues that come with that, had been relatively ignored, due to the timing of my arrival.  (We were hip deep in a 60-person move when I started.)  I’ve met someone with whom I have a lot of chemistry and genuine, mutual attraction.  I’ve been relatively adept at letting the little things slide off my back.

Monday night at dinner with Lil’B, for reasons that are too random and confusing to explain, we began talking about Vincent van Gough and bipolar disorder.  One of the activities in the kids menu he still gets was to draw a picture of a character from the menu after they had just visited the Louvre and he decided he wanted me to draw the picture.  I’m not really sure how Vinnie came into the conversation, but as I was using one of the only two crayons they gave Lil’B to draw the picture, the yellow one (I held the red crayon in my other hand), I was telling him about my drawing, about the Louvre, and about Vincent van Gough.  I drew a living banana, with two twig legs, and a suit coat, with lapels and long sleeves.  He had a yellow face, with a protruding nose and he wore a monocle.  I told Lil’B about the emotional troubles that Vicente had and how unappreciated he had been because people couldn’t understand how he was so up one minute and so down the next.  We discussed the fact that he likely thought himself a terrible artist (something I learned form a little educational documentary I watch called Doctor Who).

The assignment was to draw the character right after they left the museum, so as I was putting the finishing touches on the picture, LIl’B asked me why I had used only the one crayon.  Just as I reached the point of telling Lil’B how in one of his fits of deep despair, van Gough had cut off his own ear, I switched to the red crayon and our debonair, snappily dressed, monocled banana-man suddenly gained a bloody gash on the side of the head where, once his little banana ear had been.  The boy in Lil’B thought that was pretty cool.  The innocent and naive young human being in him, the one who has never been exposed to the kind of emotional turmoil that Vincent van Gough went through said, “so he was crazy.”

As I was trying my best to explain to my young friend how, mental illness does not necessarily mean crazy, that there are plenty of people in the world who experienced these types of mental illness but who would not qualify as being “crazy” and that, in fact, I have struggled with depression, even during the time I have known him, but that I was not crazy, it occurred to me for the first time, that I was not depressed.  Not just that it was at bay.  Not just that it’s lingering in the shadows waiting to destroy me again.  For the first time since I could remember, I did not feel like I was struggling against Depression, working to keep it at bay all the while knowing that it was just over there, just beyond the great barrier waiting for my next moment of weakness, to take over.

I shared this with Deb last night.  But I tempered it by telling her, “I’m not dumb enough to say that ‘I’m cured’.  I think it’s dangerous to make such claims but right now, things are good.

And then today happened.

Only….  Nothing particularly special or significant happened, just a whole lot of little things.  I told a friend t0night, via text message, “I think I’m just having a moment.  Several things kinda crumbled (not caved, just crumbled) in on me this evening and I’m just trying to deal.

“I think I need a hug.  Well, a hug and some company and some comforting…”

A whole lot of little things piled up on me all at once, right around 5:00.  Because I’m now hourly, and didn’t get to work until around 9:00 this morning, I planned to stay until six…  I was there until 6:45.

At 5:00 the last two people in the immediate vicinity of my desk (two of the four-person Communications department – a group of people who communicate very effectively…  and frequently…  and from great distances…) left and I was alone to concentrate on whatever I needed to do.  It was then, in the deafening silence, filled only with the sound of the air conditioner kicking on and off, and my own addled thoughts rolling around in my skull, that I realized how much I had been struggling.  Not that the work is too hard, or that the people around me aren’t awesome, because it’s not and they really are, which thrills me.  It’s that with my particular set of circumstances (I was formally diagnosed with ADD six months ago) it can sometimes be really difficult for me to focus on what I’m trying to do.  Suddenly the list of things I needed to accomplish before the day was over was daunting.  Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that this is not a new predicament.  Suddenly, I was distraught, and even a bit angry, with what a mess my very small, very cramped, very not-my-own-private-office-like-I-had-for-8-1/2- years-at-my-last-job desk was.  Suddenly, I was upset that I feel like my talents are being wasted, because I spend at least half of most days processing and delivering mail and packages (something that was not discussed as being part of my duties in my interviews or hiring process); all day every day subject to the random whims of our customers who don’t have any means of requesting things other than approaching my boss and me directly and interrupting whatever we happen to be in the middle of; and the other half of most days struggling to concentrate on what I’m doing over the constant bombardment of voices.  It’s not that they’re not talking about work, because they generally are.  And it’s not that they’re not friendly people, because they definitely are.  In fact, it might be easier if they weren’t, because then I wouldn’t want to be part of the conversation and I do.  Which makes it a complete distraction.

I sat at my desk, organizing, as best I could and growing more and more frustrated by the limitations that I have in my ability to do my best work and the list of projects that have been asked of me, that I simply can not get to because I’m overwhelmed with the little stuff that in the short term is high priority to people as they request it.  I spent half an hour, trying to get some semblance of control over the situation.  I got rid of some clutter.  I sort out and filed my e-mails so only current and relevant things were in my in-box.  I made a to do list for Monday, and I cleared my white board and made three columns on it: one for daily responsibilities, one for short-term projects and one for long-term projects.  I put completion percentages next to each project and put a sad face next to the 0% complete for the Emergency Response Team development project that is currently at the very bottom of my list of priorities, even though I would like it to be at the top.  Finally, I packed up and walked out for the night, despairing with the knowledge that I must talk to my manager on Monday about finding a way to mitigate some of these issues.  I need to ask her for somewhere else for me to sit.  A desk that will be quiet enough for me to focus on my work when I’m able to be at my desk doing it and which will take me away from the noisy, but fun Communications group and “the guy”, because I can’t get any work done when they’re around, and knowing fully that there’s a very good chance that there will be no where for me to move.

I drove home thinking about “the guy”.  Which, to be fair, is probably overselling it a bit.  The truth is there’s been little more than the two of us circling around each other, and around the idea of becoming an us, which I suppose makes him more of “A guy” and not so much “The guy”.  I’m frustrated.  I know what I want…. I think.  But I can’t figure out what he wants.  And every time we talk and I just about have him opened up and ready to be forthcoming he dodges and I’m left in the dark again.  He’s an expert at avoidance and if I didn’t understand it so well, I’d probably be pretty pissed, but I do, so I’m not.  I’m just annoyed that we haven’t managed to work through it yet.  I was feeling disappointed about his lack of response to a text message I had sent, and about the fact that, while he acknowledges that there is “unfinished business” between us, he has not made any moves to finish the business, and when I do, he just avoids.

And I realized I was feeling really lonely and low, and that if I could just hang out with somebody and talk about it I might feel better.  I reached out to three different people including The Guy via text, just really needing a bit of interaction, period.  None of them responded to me.  One still hasn’t.  One responded within an hour of my text but didn’t offer much in the way of comforting or consolation.  And The Guy finally acknowledged my first text hours after I sent it, but disappeared pretty quickly after.  All of which is to say that I’m absolutely giving them the benefit of the doubt.  It is after all Friday night.  Most people have social lives on Friday night.  Just because I don’t, doesn’t mean people are obligated to respond.  I realized that I’ve only had one person extend an invitation to me in months, while I’ve extended a number of invitations, most of which have been turned down.  And now I’m wondering what’s so wrong with me that people only want to be my work acquaintances but not my friends and, apparently, not my boyfriend.

I’ll get over it, like I always do.  But still, not exactly the smiling, happy go lucky, better than I’ve been for a while, guy I was last night.

Also, right in the middle of writing this post, and when The Guy finally got around to responding to my texts, my Internet crapped out due to an outage in the area…  When it rains it pours…