...spent with over 1,000 of my closest friends* at a giant-size Media Event.
I'm not going into a blow-by-blow recitation, but can relate two events that have proven to me that the universe is definitely interested in kicking me while I'm down.
And I am down, in case you haven't noticed.
For starters, I ran into the editor about whom I wrote yesterday. The one who loves my writing, remember? She was effusive about my stuff -- and I love her for that -- but revealed that the two stories I've done for her recently (both drawing loud praise) will run in January and February issues of her magazine. That means I won't be paid until...January and February. A difficult concept to explain to my creditors, to say the least.
Second, and worse, I ran into someone I have not talked to in seven years. He works for a major magazine and was responsible for interviewing me for a job 'way back when. I have not seen him since.
This -- the job application -- was an odd situation. I don't like the publication's biases, and didn't then, but working for them would have allowed me to move to the place I wanted to be, and live with the woman I wanted to live with. When said woman realized that I was pursuing the job seriously, she was eager to see me get it.
More important in some ways, when I talked to this individual back then, I realized that the attitudes of the publication wouldn't matter much. Working with him would be sheer pleasure. We were in agreement about damn near everything, and he was blown away by my resume and attitude.
In fact, he extended a job offer, subject only to approval of the bureaucrat-woman who ran his department. She turned me down. "Too qualified," she said. "Probably would want to take [her] job and change the publication's focus."
He was embarrassed when he had to told me I wouldn't get it. He understood that I had no such plans. All I wanted was to do a good job, make good money and live in peace with a sweet, sweet lady. Even if my enthusiasm never got into print, I could enjoy the gig.
So today, I met him again. We didn't recognize each other at first. When we were introduced, I said -- among other things -- I wished the publication had hired me back then. He looked at me and replied, "I've regretted that decision [not to put me on the payroll] ever since."
And I realized how strong was the effect of that one failure.
If they had hired me, I would not be alone. I would be with perhaps the best woman I could imagine being with, living in a nice area. She might not have made decisions she made that changed her (and not for the better). Certainly, I would not be sitting here wondering what shit-storm would strike next.
This is what you do when you get old and have trouble coping: you look at what could have been, and realize that there are turning points that could have saved you.
And you blame yourself for not having done something you couldn't do to make it happen.
I didn't realize it until today, but it has been downhill ever since that one job opportunity went away.
And I sit here hoping an earthquake, tidal wave or meteor strike will hit me before tomorrow.
I've really messed up, my friends. I didn't need to have the one great failure played back to me for proof. I loved and was loved then, and appreciated enough for my abilities to come close to being where I wanted to be.
Damn. How much easier it would have been to have my life blow up in flames years ago! I didn't need the reminder....
* I'm being sarcastic, of course.
15 hours ago