66 Mebane, United States
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My self-summary
Each moment of our lives is like a grain of sand in an hourglass, part of a finite supply. Each moment is unspeakably precious—once it passes, it’s gone forever, except as a dulled memory. None of us know how many moments we have left. Still, we march on as if there’s a never-ending surplus. We lose touch with the sacred, as routine and stress gradually drown our joy. We forget that every moment is an exquisite reflection of an unimaginable miracle.
Jamie Zimmerman MD

Here and now, I cannot see most of the stars as the Dark Skies environmental movement has not made many inroads nearby. My inability to see the Milkey Way makes me long for my childhood, growing up in the country. I’m looking forward to moving to the mountains, a lifetime dream and a more recent goal. I love those waves of stone that make up the ancient Smokey and Blue Ridge mountains. Soon, I hope.

Okay, a few "housekeeping" items here. Will someone please tell me why so many women on OKC and other such sites identify themselves as conservative? A few identify themselves as "middle of the road and fewer still identify themselves as "liberal, progressive or even Democrat". Compared to the general population of women, conservatives seem to be way over-represented. I am, for the purposes of my question, assuming that these terms referring to political and social views. As for myself, I would claim to be socially progressive, with a touch of libertarian and radicalism. I can get pretty pissy about people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. Not to mention Sarah Palin, but mostly because she seems to be as dumb as a post. If you feel you must regale someone with political screed from any point on the social compendeum, please pass me by as you'll likely make my head explode. I promise the same in return.

I am unable to fit myself into the ideal height and weight chart, which indicates I should weigh about 178. I weigh quite a bit more. But still, I have negative bouancy - that is I don't float and never have. My best weight, occuring up to about 20 years ago was 225 with 4 percent body fat. Of course now, due to my age, a plethora of sports and motorcycle injuries, my weight has increased as my activity level and ability have decreased. If men's clothing sizes help you picture me, I wear a size 40x32 pants, size 11.5 extra wide shoes, a size 20 shirt, a size 54L sport coat. I also wear an XXXL hat and large gloves. My head size is pretty much proportional to my body and everything together makes me look to be pretty much average in size. But with most men and women, I can put my chin on your shoulder and the top of my head will be marked higher than your neck and head together. Hope this helps.

I suppose the primary thing that I would say about myself is that I have lived a richly textured and colored life, and have a richly textured and colored history, intellect and personality. Not all good or all bad, some brightly colored and some dark or drab, some rough, some smooth or soft, but a complex interweaving of many threads.

I am a free-spirited and very independent individual; free from everything but myself and the hammer and anvil of my personal evolution. I'm disinclined to follow others, particularly to places I don't want to go - generally some spiritual or intellectual nowhere. I color outside the lines; think outside the box; take the road less traveled; march to the beat of my own drummer; think for myself, don't play by the rules. I'm sure you get the picture.

I am also a retired civil/sanitary/environmental engineer with additional degrees in literature and history. I can confidently converse in diverse subject matters ranging from English Romantic Poetry to 19th Century European History to the deleterious environmental effects of maintaining grass lawns. However, smalltalk doesn't particularly interest me, so I don't generally do well in that area.

I am a lover of art in most of its many forms: symphony – Scheherazade to Rhapsody in Blue; ballet – Swan Lake and the Nutcracker; art – Starry Night to Michelangelo’s Captives; theater – Death of a Salesman to The Crucible; cinema - Dr. Zhivago to Blade Runner; literature - Shakespeare’s sonnets to the novels of James Lee Burke; and rock and roll music – Cream to Alice in Chains. I have not yet learned to like opera, despite my best efforts, though I love the music from Carmen.

I was raised to be their idea of a Southern gentleman – at least in terms of manners and treatment of women - by my grandmother and her sisters. For the most part, completely unsophisticated and poorly educated working women, through the very hard times of the Great Depression. Most without benefit of assistance of working husbands; being widowed by death or alcohol; and having many children needing their care. I generally reflect their values with the exceptions of religion and the prejudices of their own status and day .

Today, I find myself to be a large – NFL large and still muscular - intelligent, mild-mannered, grizzled, doubtlessly difficult and eccentric, introspective, and analytical man. I lay no claim to being sexy, at least visually. Nor to “cleaning up well”, as no clothing designed can make me look to be a cultivated or stylish man.

I am something of an aging Boy Scout in that I love the outdoors and wildlife; respect the environment; and adhere to most of the original list of boy scout virtues (clean, kind, trustworthy, loyal, friendly, cheerful, courteous, and brave). A few of the other listed virtues - obedience, reverence and thrift, not so much. I long ago substituted being faithful and true for reverent; never saw much benefit in being thrifty, given that tomorrow is promised to no one; and I'm far too independent to be obedient. I am known for having a well developed sense of humor, generally witty, dry on occasion, bawdy and rollicking on others, and nearly always nuanced and edgy.

I love hard and deeply but also playfully. I don't know that I am a romantic, though I very well might be, depending on how deeply one peels away the layers. Though I have not been particularly successful in these areas as I'm still looking for my first great love.
I do believe in marriage and love; perhaps not "true love" as I really don't understand exactly what that means, and definitely not love at first sight. But I believe that the best things in life spring from love and that nearly all of the good things that come to one from love, come not so much from being loved but from the love one gives. And I love long walks along a deserted beach at night, regardless of the presence of moonlight or company. But with both is usually better. Nonetheless, I deeply value the combination of solitude or near solitude with great natural beauty.

I enjoy domestic and foreign travel, in the sense of aimless or whimsical wandering as well as adventure and cultural enlightenment. Accordingly, I'm well traveled insofar as the US and Europe are concerned, but there are still many places left on my bucket list to see or see again at a more leisurely pace. As much as I enjoy travel, I hate flying. The military took care of any interest I might have in helicopters as they are uncomfortably noisy and have a nearly vertical glide slope. As I cannot afford to fly first class, I find myself very uncomfortably wedged - in terms of width and length - into airliner seats. I cannot sit in a middle seat. My butt fits, but my shoulders and arms extend about 6” into the seating spaces on either side. I can at least lean away in aisle and window seats, but it’s still no picnic for me on a long flight. And most puddle-jumpers are much worse. The damn overhead storage won't even hold my hat, though I'll admit it's a large hat.

Left to my own devices, I am primarily an outdoorsman - camping, hiking, whitewater sports, sailing and kayaking, and target shooting. I am not a fan of blood sports like hunting or fishing, though I can and would do either if it were a matter of actual survival. I cannot take, or even understand, pleasure or entertainment in or from the death of any living thing.

I enjoy a simple life and I am undemanding of a significant other or of people in general. On a neediness scale of 1-10, I’m probably about a 2, with one being the lowest possible score and generally allocated to the deceased. I don't expect anyone to defer to me or take care of me. I am not in the least manipulative or controlling (I believe that control of people, events or things outside oneself is illusion) and I'm not easily or readily controlled or manipulated by others. If and when I realize that others are trying to manipulative or control me, I generally react in a noticeably negative manner - I am not the least bit passive-aggressive. I am financially comfortable, but I'm not a accumulator of "stuff" and don't have a great deal of interest in material things other than my outdoor gear, photography equipment, motorcycle and music - though if someone offered me a Monet, a van Gogh or a Porsche, I wouldn’t turn them down.

I am neither a hermit nor a loner, though I can be alone comfortably and successfully in any place or situation. I am not a fan of crowds - say the sidewalks of Manhattan in the vicinity of Macy’s at midday - and I typically do not like most large cities for extended periods of time (generally measured in hours). In spite of that, I have a real fondness for San Francisco, Seattle, Paris, Amsterdam and Rome. New York, LA and London not so much, even though New York and London have such wonderful museums. I am certainly not a social butterfly, more of a social bumblebee (a flying insect that aeronautic sciences say cannot possibly fly, but somehow manages to do so anyway) if one is to adhere to the metaphor.

Should you be interested in knowing more about me, without actually communicating with me, I refer you to my often detailed answers to more than 2000 of OKC's questions and tests which may or may not be either relative to or reflective of my nature. While I am not necessary completely upfront on all things concerning my psyche, habits, traits, successes, failures, shortcomings, etc., I believe in full disclosure and will answer most questions as honestly as possible. Unless I don't answer at all, finding that all truths need not be spoken.
What I’m doing with my life
Being retired, I can do pretty much as I please, at least within the limits of my budget, family responsibilities and the law. Many of those responsibilities involve overseeing the care of my now 89 year old mother, now deep in the clutches of some form of dementia, and her finances. She cannot be left alone, and lived with me for the last 18 months or so, though she has recently been moved to assisted living. I expend effort renovating my home and landscaping since it is sorely needed and I have the time, skills and tools to do it. As I have recently purchased some beautiful mountain-top land the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of NC, I expect that I will be spending much my time preparing my home for sale and getting a new one ready to inhabit on that land.

When my 27 year old son is off from home - yes, he lives with me, the consequence of low self esteem and lack of confidence, a sort of "Failure to Launch" syndrome - I try to go motorcycle riding or kayaking. When circumstances permit, I am open to relocating away from North Carolina for at least part of the year, hopefully to some place on an ocean with a rocky or mountainous shoreline (think Pacific Northwest somewhere along the coast between the California line and Vancouver, Grecian islands, southeastern or northwestern Italy). I wish that the government and politics of California weren't so squirrely and the land so pricey, so that I could say that I would love to live almost in any coastal location north of San Luis Obispo. I would probably avoid Southern California like the plague.

I also fantasize about buying some sort of truck that will allow me to sleep in the back and take off on a meandering driving tour of the USA or buying a sailboat and sailing to ports and anchorages around the world. Heck, I might even take my big old honking motorcycle and tour the US.

Lastly, I expend a lot of effort trying to improve myself with exercise, walking, beginner's yoga and tai chi, reading and quitting smoking. As of now I can't say that I've been entirely successful, but I have not smoked in nearly 6 weeks and I have not used any of the smoking cessation products other than nicotine patches for the first 5 days. Somehow though, I always feel as if I could pick up a cigarette and start all over again. Strange how that habit just won't let go, at least for a long time.
I’m really good at
I don't know that I'm really great at anything, but I am generally successful at getting whatever I need accomplished. I'm the equivalent, in almost every sense, of one who is a jack of all trades - master of none.

I'm also a pretty good or perhaps even very good listener. Knowing as I do that everything one says or hears must pass through the filters of ones own life, beliefs, experiences, etc., I tend to listen very closely and ask questions to clarify meaning that seems unclear. Conversations with me about significant topics tend to take a while.
The first things people usually notice about me
I actually had never given this any thought before filling out this section of the OKC profile. I suppose that most people take note of my size and the fact that I look directly at the people I encounter, even in passing. I don't think that I'm particularly or conventionally attractive, though my mother says I'm a good looking man. But what else could she say about her only child; and, besides that, she's more than a bit dotty.

My son says I frighten or intimidate people and project an aura of menace, though I expect that most of that is just a leftover from his teenage years and his guilty conscience. I certainly have no desire to threaten or intimidate anyone unintentionally. Nonetheless, those who are looking for someone to intimidate or otherwise molest seem to avoid me, even at my age. I find that useful.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
I love a wide variety of authors/books, films and music, so it's impossible to pick out just a few. Suffice it to say that my preferences range from the classics to the modern. As for food, I'm not much of a foodie, and mostly stick to a small amount of red meat, chicken, seafood, green vegetables and salads. I try to avoid most carbs and fats, even though I love bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, salty snacks and some deserts. I also love Chinese, Japanese and Italian foods but they're just not the same without the rice or pasta.
The six things I could never do without
The only things that I absolutely could not live without are air, water, food, some kind of shelter, health and local peace.

However, there are many things I would much prefer not to live without, including, in no particular order:
my kids
my automobile and motorcycle
adventures among the wonders of nature
arts (music, paining, photography, sculpture, ballet, performing arts)
my kayak and some rough water to put it in

I know, I know, that's more than six. What can I say? I don't care much for commandments, instructions, ultimatums, commands, requirements, rules, etc., and I try to disregard at least one of each daily.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Being both introspective and analytical, it's possible that I think too much, but somehow I can't seem to silence the machine. I have done much thinking about nearly everything that crosses my path, but I don't know that I (or anybody else) am any the better for it. But I do give a lot of thought as to how the world at large came to be in such serious distress in so many areas and arenas; what, if anything, can be done to put things back in order; and what role I can play in the solutions. I also wonder how I became what I am and where I seem to be, because it is nothing like I ever envisioned.
On a typical Friday night I am
Either at home or not.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
As I'm not or no longer a murderer, child molester, sex offender, wife beater, thief, adulterer, philanderer, tax cheat, sexist, drug abuser or dealer, homophobic or bully, I don't think I have much of note to admit. As for lesser things - bad habits, slight (or perhaps not) character flaws, etc. - it took my a long time to develop these traits and I'm not inclined to serve them up on a moment's notice. You will just have to discover them for yourself if it comes to that. I will admit that I can be a world class procrastinator. I can always find something useless to do in lieu of what I actually need to do.
You should message me if
If you find my particular assortment of oddities, eccentricities, peculiarities, or characteristics to be disarming, admirable, interesting, charming, amusing or otherwise attractive; or if I have somehow managed to give the impression that I would be interesting to know, fun, sexy, exciting, a terrific partner and lover or whatever. If you don't find these things attractive, know at least that I'm always trying to improve myself and willing to at least consider loving guidance.