Friday, October 20, 2017


When I was old enough to go in to Chicago by myself, I’d start getting antsy the day before in anticipation. I’d not sleep very well that night, and wake very early on the day of the trip. I’d catch the Greyhound bus at the Hotel Faust (Rockford’s 11-story skyscraper and classiest hotel), and be off on my adventure.

When I took my first trip in an “airliner” (a 21-passenger DC-3) with my mom from Rockford to Chicago’s Midway Airport (O’Hare didn’t exist yet), probably around 1950, I was an anticipatory basket case for days before we actually went.

When I first began going into gay bars, I would be horribly embarrassed by the fact that I was so nervous…anticipating what the evening might hold…that I would literally shake. More than once I had to explain to someone who was bold enough to talk to me and noticed my shaking that I had a chill.

I’ve always been big on anticipation, even at times when I would prefer not to be, such as now. I’ll be on my way to Rochester, MN as soon as I post this entry, for my six-month checkup following my successful treatment for tongue cancer. I have done this more than a dozen times, now (for the first couple years after my release, I was on a three-month-checkup schedule). Every time I have gone, anticipation starts setting in a week or so before my exam.

August will mark five years—the magic milestone beyond which one is considered to be “cured,” and I’ve gotten a clean bill of health every exam thus far. I have no reason at all to suspect that this checkup will not go as well as all the others, but that logic does not keep me from being beset by anticipation. What would I do if…. But then I realize that if there were an “if” I would deal with it just as I did the first time. I would look on it as a horrendous and disruptive inconvenience, but have absolutely no doubt that I would get through it just as I did the first time I got the diagnosis.

Anticipation is simply a part of being human, though like everything else having to do with our species, the degree varies from person to person. I sometimes ponder the totally moot question of whether, if one should accept an offer to know the future, it would be a good or bad thing. It didn’t turn out too well for Cassandra and I suspect, tempted though we all are to know what lies ahead, it’s just as well we can’t know what will happen until it happens. (I, for example, do not want to know when I will die. I want it to be a total surprise: and preferably a “boo!” moment where I’m gone before I can worry about it.)

We all tend to waste an awfully lot of time on anticipation, which often does not live up to its press, particularly when it is anticipation of something unpleasant. The time and unhappiness we put into anticipating a visit to a dentist is almost always far out of proportion to the actual visit itself. But even realizing that doesn’t seem to have any effect on the fact that we will do it anyway.

I had a friend who had frequent attacks of severe heartburn, and each and every time he had one, he was convinced he was having a heart attack. The fact that the last 47 episodes had passed without incident did not forestall him from the certainty that the 48th was a heart attack. I always tended to be derisive of him. But then, he wasn’t going to Mayo for a checkup.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from and; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/ You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site: 

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