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“It can be very hard to accept how disappointing life is, Harper, because that’s what it is, and you have to accept it. With faith and time and hard work you reach a point where the disappointment doesn’t hurt as much, and then it gets easy to live with. Quite easy. Which is in its own way a disappointment.” – Angels in America.

For the past three days I’ve been busy with chums who are visiting from Chicago. Last night after our trip to The Botanical Gardens we stopped at an Italian restaurant, which is located next to a bar we used to attend for its ‘Show tunes’ nights. Rumors of its closure were confirmed; it had become part of the restaurant. I ordered eggplant parmesan which is a dish I love but so seldom made right. Alas, it was soggy, not at all crisp as it should be. The bar and the meal both gave me a sense of disappointment. Disappointment seems the topic I was given by The Muses (or someone like them) upon which to write, so I will go with it.

It seems I’ve been experiencing a lot of disappointment lately. Everyday there is either more of it or I am more aware of it. Mind! None of it is especially major or devastating, nor am I heartbroken. Most of the many disappointments seem petty: the avocado pit failed to grow (again); the ancient windup clock I spent a lot of time and money to get repaired looks to need some more. At the other end of the spectrum are the more important types of disappointments, like mankind’s ability to learn from its mistakes and the lessons of history. I am disappointed in my fellow Americans how they act and in what they believe. In between are the disappointments of patients not doing what’s good for them and the many self-disappointments such as not getting things done.

I don’t remember this many disappointments from my youth, which makes sense. We encounter more as we age. One shouldn’t be surprised by this but seek to be at peace with this grim axiom. It makes me sad to hear of other’s disappointments. I recently learned of one friend’s retirement hopes thwarted by finances; another friend’s retirement will have to altered due to bad health.

I know enough not to dwell on the disappointment but do what I can when faced with one when it happens. Another trick is to not lose sight of the things that are not disappointments, which are more in number but easier to miss in one’s negative bias. Not having lofty inflexible goals helps, as does not seeing disappointments as some sort of cosmic curse.

As for the closed bar, there are other ones. As for the soggy eggplant parm, I made a mental note to order something else next time. The four of us had good cheer and talk, so the food wasn’t important. In that the true matter there was no disappointment.

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March 2022

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018