My email box is full; thank you / a compliment; appreciated / for the most part; heartening. So why the hesitation to not sit back and wallow in the glory? I think it has something to do with attention deflection or some such faux psychological miasma. Which I definitely prefer to the store-bought kind.
It goes like this: You treasure kind words and feeling good but aren’t quite sure of their sincerity. Like when someone says, “Hey, you’re looking great!” or “Sure was nice seeing you again,” you don’t have a lie detector handy. Make of today’s opening what you will; I suggest you don’t waste your time trying to figure it out. First prize always goes to who’s first. There is no second. [What is a runner-up, anyway?] I’ve got a feeling one of those strange stream-of-consciousness attacks looms. Banzai!
My predicament is thanks to blank walls that I stare at every night. You see, KRH has this rule that disallows putting anything on walls, any thing, nada. No reminders of wife or dog, religious or laic. Which is probably why I am remembering Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy” portrait that graced the south wall of the living room pre-war; in a place of honor alongside Emperor Hirohito mounted on a regal white steed. Guess which came down in a hurry when rumor of an impending FBI raid swept through Riverside’s Japanese colony. It left a telltale outline on the wall that no amount of scrubbing could erase.
Didn’t matter. The agents never noticed; they were too busy confiscating a stash of fireworks my brother and I were saving to blow up March Air Force Base or scare the dickens out of grazing cows in yonder pasture.
For someone who doesn’t get sufficient REMs, let alone energizing zzzzzzzs, the picture-less walls rev up sensorial juices rather than lowering the heart rate. Eye “floaters,” those bothersome transparencies that hinder aging eyesight, add to the distraction. The reflected light from the bathroom (on all night to scare away the boogieman) casts a reflection on the flat TV that translates into all sorts of eerie images and thoughts. Sleep, perchance to dream, becomes as elusive as Tiger Woods’ likability factor.
The mysterious “tap-tap-tap” interloper now interrupts my reverie via one-ring early morning telephone calls and alas, the queen bed is not fit for a king. Finally, the a/c unit sounds like a baby Poston windstorm, which adds to a despoiled solitude. Mama Mia!
Despite the increasing mail volume, the breakdown continues at a rather remarkable 5-to-1 female ratio. Maybe not so surprising. I would assume it’s a safe bet that womenfolk tend to be more emotionally reactive than male counterparts; whether verbally or in writing. As I’ve boasted every now and again, I scored well with mothers of dates in my courting days; always making sure to be courteous, polite and all that Eddie Haskell (obnoxious) jazz. Which made for great maternal relationships but seldom translated into daughterly rapport. [In irony of ironies, CR2S wasn’t exactly Mr. Ichiban when it came to my eventual mother-in-law.]
It’s no great surprise that the bulk of the more pointed criticisms and disagreements come from male readers. That’s cool. Plus there aren’t that many of them and we’re all too old to engage in duels or fisticuffs.
After a lengthy, frustrating battle to achieve an acceptable level of manliness, it dawned on me that female of the species was much preferred over males in every regard: companionship, conversation, caring. Men want to question and challenge while ladies are prone to be agreeable and supportive. The reality is guys aren’t likely to sit down and write a communiqué of any sort — especially to another guy. Whereas, even before the advent of social media, women were more likely to scribble a note, write a letter or buy a card to make known their thoughts and feelings.
[A long ago time, I thought about starting a message service, a WimpyHallMark that would provide private messages for any occasion. An added filbert was going to be ghostwriting personal letters, an aid for the word-challenged. During my days in khaki as a company clerk, I had a side business writing letters for GIs (and two officers) who got “Dear John” letters while serving overseas. [Eventual score card read four successes; not bad.]
Emails and face-to-face encounters with readership have resulted in numerous entreaties to stick with it and “don’t ever stop writing!” Mistaken identity is always a possibility, but Crossroads to Somewhere (CR2S) isn’t contemplating disappearing into the sunset. Not soon, anyway. The inquiries do give me a chance to bewail the lack of Sansei/Yonsei writers, though. Wherefore art thou?
W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.