First, the hard (or sorta hard) things:
dcatt had actually scheduled an ultrasound on Friday, specifically to coincide with my visit. In spite of my general discomfort with the medical profession as a group, I was determined to go with her. This also meant meeting one of her best friends, but it turned out Shauna was really sweet. I sometimes wonder how well Catt's support system here in Arizona views me, particularly in light of our unusual relationship, and I was very re-assured by both that and meeting others later that night (more on that in a bit).
What can I say about the experience? There's something very different between the impact of seeing a static image (like the one posted here some weeks ago) and actually seeing a live, moving image, seeing her move, even seeing her heart beat. I already knew this was happening, and believed it... this made it more real, somehow. Perhaps other parents can understand it better.
Speaking of which, that evening there was dinner with her parents. Before I say another word, let me make clear my respect for these people. They're both basically christian and conservative, but they still embrace and accept Catt for who she is, pregnant and all. That said, I was terrified of that meeting for reasons I'll leave as an exercise for your imaginations.
I wanted to make agood impression, so I trimmed my hair and shaved until I was as clean cut as I get, wore an unwrinkled button down shirt (a nice, dark number) with a pair of black cord slacks and the Z-coil sneakers. It says a lot for my evolving satorial sensiblity that I considered this a low key, un-dressy outfit.
Poor Catt wound up apologizing to me later for not explaining to me what the venue of the meeting was. It was a place where the 'rents would be comfy, as it was their personal hang-out... some place called "Boston's Bar", which turned out to be a classic sports hang-out, complete with more monitors/televisions than some electronics stores inventories. In short, I was seriously overdressed... as was Catt to some degree, as she had forgotten the type of eatery it was even in terms of herself. Even my hawaiian shirts would have been overkill... I actually hadn't even PACKED a tee-shirt.
She HAD warned me that they would be saying grace before dinner, and I only slightly muffed it by taking a bite from a crinkle cut fry before I rememebered and stopped. Yes, I bowed my head and prayed... thanking the horned one for his bounty borne of his sacrafice. Silently. I did say "So mote it be" at the end, but I'm pretty sure they took it as an "Amen", thanks to the ambient noise.
Under the "ironic" portion of the menu was a sudden craving for Tuna Fish in the form of what turned out to be a very tasty sandwhich. Careful observors will note that this was Friday night -- which means they wouldn't be eating meat. Catt, however, can't really eat fish, and thus wound up being the only person to eat beef. I think I earned some serious points, albeit inadvertantly.
There was an amusing attempt at blatant manipulation when Catt's mom (step-mom, actually, but for a variety of very good reasons Catt view her as just her mom) dropped broad hints about how well Intel, a major local employer, was doing... although her honesty kept getting in the way. After all, Intel does infamously mistreat it's employees. I didn't catch even this softball, however, but managed to deflect the conversation anyway by talking about they were in a bit of a jam thanks to having to cancel a chip development fairly late in that process. It wasn't until later that I realized it was an opening for me to consider moving to Arizona.
In case it's not clear: No, I won't be doing any more than visiting here. I simply don't fit. Maybe if I had come here in my twenty's, before California weaved a spell on me and my personality, I could have done it... there was a lot of stuff that was familiar here. As it is, despite having been here at least a dozen times before, each and every time was during the month of August. That's really burned itself into my mind as ar as what the summer is like here... no pun intended.
Later we found ourself at their place, as they pulled out a lot of baby clothes they had collected for Catt. I was mildly annoyed at the predominate pinkness of it all (grumble stereotype grumble) but I will not be so ungracious as to point such things out to them.
I think they were surprised by me to some extent. For one thing, Catt's dad seemed surprised to discover I wasn't anti-gun -- I *am* libertarian, after all. I think he wanted a chance to talk to me some more, but Catt practically had to stare him down with a curt "we already have plans." (She said later "even if those plans were eating pizza naked in fron of the tube...")
Later we stopped over at Shauna's where I met her husband (who is a CLASSIC unmedicated ADHD case... something Catt had warned me about) and one of her other friends. We hung out in their garage, which had been converted into this fabulously kitchy hang-out space, surprisingly cozy and fun. I mentioned my dismay at the discovery of how badly I had misjudged how to dress for dinner, saying "I looked like some dumb-ass californian dressed for a night of clubbing", and was justly ribbed for BEING a Californian over-dressing in Phoenix.
Good people. I liked them a lot.
Later, we headed back to Catt's, watched a couple episodes of "Medium" (she hadn't been able to catch it yet, so I snagged some of the first few episodes for her), and crashed.
Today was decidedly low key and (in Catt's words) selfish. We had a light breakfast, and I got some incredible shots of her (some of which she might actually let me share... they're wonderful!). Had a long talk about my photography, and the possibility that I might start doing more shoots again (showed her some of the new *8* megapixel cameras I lust after. At that resolution you can create prints up to 20" x 30" in size... WOO!), spent some "quality time" (that's what the kids are calling it these days) and napped for a bit.
She's thus still sleeping. I got up and managed to get a hold of Roni on the phone (I've only managed to leave voicemails so far... end of month is busy for accountant types), and decided to get all of this down while it was still more or less fresh in my mind.
Which brings me to now. I love Catt, but I miss Roni so damn much. I miss everyone, actually, but her especially.
I sometimes still feel incredible guilt at that. But Catt's take on it is pretty clear, as she told me what she told her parents as we were driving back to her place: "What, you should move out here out of some sense of responsibility, only to eventualy resent it? Or that I should move there, leaving behind my family and friends, and come to resent YOU?"
It helps. A tiny bit. But I'm still annoyed at the Goddess at times. Sorry, that's the truth... all the times I fuck up, and for once I DON'T... and that's when this happens. Feh.