Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The "Minataur"

My little diatribe in the last post seemed to take the steam right out of me. Damned if I care about much of anything, history, politics, or the state of the onion. Mainly I feel like some kind of old locomotive, trying to muster the momentum to go uphill on a half-load of coal. This retirement thing's not all it's cracked up to be.

Plus, there's Mina. I'm getting on her nerves. She's not one to mince words. Doesn't truck fools and has even less tolerance for a whiny 68-year-old geezer, even if she married me. Fact is I feel like she's expecting me to answer a question she hasn't asked. Familiar feeling, that. And there it is, above: Me, the Minotaur, doomed to struggle in the labyrinth that is the female mind, when what I'm supposed to be is the Mina-taur, reading Mina's own ever- superior mind. Though she's the first to say this is not about her. This is about my own "pressing need" (her quotes) to explore who I am as a man past his prime.

Or in Mina-speak, it's about me taking a look at my anima, my female side. The yang needing to take a look at the yin, I guess.

Fact is, I'm getting on my own nerves. Don't know what to do with myself. Done teaching. Bored with the so-called scholarly research. Don't quite know who I am, retired. Isn't about the money; Mina's always made the big change. Never minded that, much. No man's value is quantifiable.

Or woman's.

But here I am. Not quite sure who "I" is any more. Or even where "here" is. Mina's the lucky one. Knows who she is, where she is, and what she wants to do. And she'll do it 'til the cows come home. Which you can see them doing here as they do every year at the end of September in the Désalpe de Lignières, courtesy of John Walker's fine photo.

I said it before. I'll say it again. Mina lives in the world, and I live in my mind. But my mind's no picnic these days. And if Mina's right and I should be exploring my own damn anima, how do I do that if I don't have a clue about the female sex? What do women want? Hell, even Freud couldn't answer that.

So I ask Mina. Here's the conversation, blow by blow.

Me: So how'm I s'posed to explore my own damn anima when I don't have a clue about women? What do women want, anyhow?

Mina (without looking up): Equal pay. Women still make only 77 cents on the male's dollar.

Me: Well, not a whole hell of a lot I can currently do about that, other than state the case.

Mina (looking up in exasperation): I'm trying to work, Hyde. Give me some space here. Don't look to me for answers. Find your own.

"Hyde." There you have it. May as well just disappear. Mina'd probably not even notice. And there's the rub. I don't have a clue. Can't go forward (we know where that ends), and don't want to go back (been there, done that). No wonder all those retirees kick the bucket shortly after retiring.

Mina: Don't go all feeling sorry for yourself now because I'm too busy to pay attention.

Me: How can I figure myself out when I don't even know where to start?

Mina: How about start with admitting you're mad as hell that you can't get my attention? All this "Marvelous Mina" stuff is just another ploy to make me responsible for how you feel. Not my job, Hyde.

Hmmph. Mad at Mina. Marvelous Mina. S'pose I can't rule that out. So that's what she wants, is it? Me to admit I'm pissed? Okay. I can do that.

Me: You win, Mina. You're not so marvelous and you're right, I'm mad as hell.

Mina: That's a start, Hade. I don't belong on any pedestal. I can't figure you out any better than you can figure yourself out. Retirement's what you make it. And remember what Bertrand Russell said, "Many people would rather die than think." It would come as some surprise if you were one of them.

At this she returns to her reading.

And I'm about as locked out of my own mind as this Defendius Lock below.

She's right. It's not her job to figure out my retirement. She could be a little nicer about it, though. Don't suppose she'd treat a client like that.

On the other hand, I'm not her client.

I don't want to be stay stuck in this maze, I'll tell you that.

"We are all minotaurs, lost in the sealed labyrinths of our brains." That was original with a man named Weir, I think. And the fact is, it's no Minotaur in the labyrinth above, but a Centaur. So maybe there's hope for me yet.

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