I went to Chris' beautiful apartment overlooking the Pacific, close to the old Sutro Baths at Seal Rock. He can boast spectacular views, fresh salty air, clear and warm breezes, and shaded paths through Land's End under a carpet of green leaves. We caught up on news, having not seen each other for several months, and then made our way to the Legion of Honor. The company was wonderful, as was the art. The scholarship of the exhibitions, by contrast, was execrable. Cases of Roman coins, identified by ruler, but grouped together only by the fact that they have animals on them? Animals signifying things that I as an expert understood, but that wouldn't be clear to someone wandering through the gallery. Mosaics of animals from Syria identified only as mosaics from Syria with animals. Roman glass jars in cases with no further explanation. The main mosaic from Lod described as being from a public room in a Roman villa in Lod. How about a floor plan of the villa, curator? How about contrasting different types of mosaics? Ugh. The low level of thinking was hugely annoying. Poor Chris got an earful as I shredded the wall labels and lamented the paucity of creative thoughts. I am lucky that Chris says I am quite entertaining when I am snobby.
The Pulp Fashion exhibition was interesting and quite lovely; I mooned over the paper version of a dress by Paul Poiret. I would love to have worn a dress in that style back in the early 1900's.
The day wore on, and we shared a delicious lunch at a tiny pizzeria close to the museum. In the late afternoon I returned home and waited. Still no word from A or C. The doubt started to eat at me. I could believe that C was still in Paris, but A? What was happening?
At seven I went to Callum's Tiger Cub meeting with Mark and Tobey, sitting and fidgeting while watching the boys perform skits and sing songs. I finally gave in to my anxiety and texted A. "I am little sad that you forgot my birthday." Shortly thereafter, I received a reply: "This is T. You will have to forgive him (again). He has been on call and it has been a horrible week. Be mad at me as I should have remembered."
The fact is, I am not mad. I am sad. Nothing can be done to fix it. I am not in their consciousness, as this proves. It doesn't mean that they don't like me, but I am not important enough to be remembered.
I wrote back: "Being on call sucks."
T responded: "Yes. We haven't seen him all week and W has been driving me crazy. I am sorry we forgot. Happy Birthday."
"Thanks," I texted.
Half an hour passed, and T texted again. "Please don't be mad. We will make it up to you, I promise."
Thing is, forgetting a birthday isn't something that can be made up. It will take a year to see if they remember next time, and by then they'll probably have forgotten again, with the horrid little waiting game starting fresh.
It has taken so much for me to try to trust them after last year; I *want* to trust them. I can tell myself that I don't care about their forgetting, that it doesn't matter. I have plenty of other friends who regularly forget my birthday, and I forgive them. But this is my FAMILY. At least *I* think of them as family and *want* them to be my family. From their point of view, though, not so much.
I thought carefully, and wrote back: "I am not mad, just sad. I wish it didn't matter to me. I know I am a stranger to you, but I really like you guys."
She jumped back in: "It's not like that...we want you in our lives."
We will see. C warned me that it's hard, horrifically hard, to make it onto A's radar. That's just who he is. But he doesn't forget other family members' birthdays, from what I understand. Again, I am not family, I suppose. It sucks.
I have since been plagued by a cloud of disappointment. It's not completely debilitating, and I haven't cried. But I feel like I am walking through treacle again and that my equilibrium is upset. I am grouchy and short tempered, probably because all this presses heavily on the part of me that feels lost and abandoned by my nfamily. They've left me more than once; they can do it again. Why does it all have to be so difficult?