The problem really must be with me: as I said in this space recently, there are lots of places worse than Louisiana to end up in. I dreaded holidays from the time when at the university the facilities that I relied on, whether for a new typewriter ribbon or access to the library stacks when I needed to consult some rare book or to the cafeteria to eat cheaply in a clean, well lighted place, and short of going to San Luis Obispo, when all my friends had gone home for the holiday (or gone skiing, maybe), I couldn't. By now I know no one there, either. Perhaps for many Americans 'family' really is the ultimate eff-word, and as one grows ineluctably older, and the friends whom Life hasn't taken elsewhere, everyone one has known is either dead or unavailable to be invited to dinner. Certainly, other invitations would be more fun than mine. It really doesn't work, either, to join something just to get a place to contribute on these dread days.
The trouble is, strains of long standing get stressed, and one's clumsy efforts to link to one's family by long distance, for example, lead to laying bare the absence of a pleasure being a shared one and causing as well as feeling pain.
And folks wonder why the internet is so popular. The pain of alienation and the helplessness of efforts to bridge it can be avoided in writing a nice e-mail. No one wants to be uncivil, and the wrong thing can be deleted before sending. The telephone, though, is truly the devil's invention.
Anyway, these feast days in the calendar do irritate scar tissue, whatever the cause of that may have been. But for St. Patrick's Day, Lent would be perfect.
No wonder a Seventh Grade teacher told me I wasn't well adjusted. I never understood that, but knew it was a reproach, an unacknowledged reproach.
My old cat is maladjusted, too.