Thursday, November 15, 2007

We Birds of Autumn Must Fly Together

In July 2002, my ex-wife told me she wanted a divorce. The following months were the hardest time of my life. But in those months, as I was attempting to regroup and to start a new life, I noticed an interesting dynamic among my friends. Starting almost immediately, I had the support of three friends in particular. One was a roommate. He and I would have these conversations about the whole thing, standing in the kitchen or hanging out in the living room, that would go on for an hour or more. The other two were in touch by e-mail -- one, all the way from New Zealand. I leaned on them, and they were there for me. And then, after two or three weeks, they were done. They had processed the thing; they had worked through my divorce with me, in their minds. They saw how it was going to work out, and that was pretty much the end of it, as far as they were concerned. Now they were ready for me to be done with it too; and when I did not work through it as quickly as they did, they lost patience with me. Within a few more weeks, our conversations had pretty much petered out. There just didn't seem to be anything more to talk about, that we hadn't already exhausted. Those three, incidentally, were all born in the summer months. Two were born in June, and one was born in July. That doesn't exactly coincide with the sign of Gemini, the twin, but they sure did act like Gemini. The switch was thrown; the change was made. What's noteworthy about that was that then I moved into the range of interest of three other friends. The more I analyzed and examined the whys and wherefores of what had gone into my divorce, and what was coming out of it, the more interesting the whole thing became to these three other people. For them, patience was not an issue. Things like, we understood, need time to ferment. One must turn them over, again and again, before one can claim to have real knowledge of them. The birthdays of these three people were all between mid-September and late October. Again, this does not precisely coincide with the sign of Libra (my own birthday is October 12). But that's OK with me. I am not too interested in proving that astrology is valid. I would say it's probably not. But then, and on other occasions, I had noticed these remarkable coincidences in birthdates, and had thought that there probably were worthwhile similarities of some sort, somewhere in the mix. Thus, the birthday of the woman who was possibly my best match ever, whom I dated for more than two years in the mid-1980s, was October 15; but the birthdays of my two ex-wives both fall in the second week of April, five days apart from one another and almost exactly one-half year away from mine. Moreover, almost everyone acquainted with or related to the second ex-wife (the one who divorced me in 2002) was born between late January and June, while almost everyone on my side of the family was born between September and January. The main exceptions: her father was born in July, very nearly a half-year away from her mother's December 31 birthday. I don't really know what, if any, combinations of climate, nurture, or whatever would account for such patterns. I'm sure the matter has been studied. At some point, I would like to look into that. It is interesting. I would like to know whether, when I meet someone who just doesn't get it, just doesn't understand a perspective I am trying to present -- I would like to know whether that person was born in late winter or early spring. What raises the thought today is that, as in autumn 2002, I am going through a major change experience. Now, as then, I have lost someone who was a central member of my family. I don't know if these things are somehow destined to happen to me in autumn. Nor do I know whether these things, when they do happen in autumn, are especially likely to intrigue people with autumn birthdays. But what I am experiencing, once again, is that the three people in my daily life who are presently most supportive -- no, I should say, the three who seem most oriented toward engagement with the details and nuances of the experience -- are persons who have birthdays between mid-September and late October. This, as I say, is a matter of curiosity. I cannot help wondering, though, what it would be like to be a member of a club, or a neighborhood, or a political party, where everyone was born about the same time. Can you imagine? "When? Oh, February. No, you can't rent here. We don't have too much space for your kind here. You'll have to go over by 14th and Walnut and see what's available over there. Sorry!" We would have block parties, and everyone would be so very much in tune with one another. But we would always make sure to invite a few people from, like, May and July, and they would really tend to stand out. We would notice how they walked, how they conversed, what they thought was funny or interesting. They would be like the token black guy who becomes the center of attention -- the comedian, or the musician, or the cool & reserved sophisticate -- at an otherwise all-white party. Until I get around to finding the scientific research behind this, it will remain a matter of mere curiosity. There seems to be some commonality, of some sort, between me and other babes of fall. Or at least among some of us. What that commonality might be, or why, I cannot say. But I am glad for that sense of unity nonetheless. It is edifying.