Gilligan on the AT Revisited: 08-Sep-1993

Date September 8, 2008

This is a 5-month long series of blog posts that are the entries in my journals written on most evenings as I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1993. The journal entry appears first — indented — and then any additional commentary from my 15-years-removed perspective follows.

9/8/93 – Wed.

Glen, Buck, and I continue to hike together and tonight we are staying at a tentsite — Buck and I have our tadpoles pitched on one platform, and Glen is just across the trail on another platform in a bivouac sack. It’s been raining lightly off and on since shortly after Buck and Glen got here, so Buck and I both threw caution to the wind and cooked in our tents. Buck pitched her tent, tossed her pack inside, went to the privy & got water, and than crawled into her tent for good for the evening. I was in and out between showers so as to try to get my gear organized and ready to go tomorrow.

Back that undescribable “it” that I wrote about several nights ago. We talked about it again today, and I think I got it. “It” is the lesser degree of emotional involvement that men share with those they are close to…so Buck alleges. Or maybe it is the lesser degree to which they show that involvement. If a man achieves something he is proud of, his partner will be equally enthused, if not more so. If a woman does the same thing, the man tends to show less excitement for her accomplishment, whether he feels it or not. The same is true for disappointments. These are Buck’s allegations, and I can begin to see where she is coming from. It is not that the man does not have the feelings, it is just that he does not express them in the way that the woman would herself. This is all old news, but an area that I had never really delved into before. I have to wonder if Julie has ever been disappointed by the way I have responded to some of the ups and downs in her life in the past two years. Overall, I think I have done pretty well, but I can think of a couple of times when perhaps I could have done better — meaning that I was still thinking of myself when by all rights I should have been thinking only of her: 1993 Nationals — the “glory” moments as well as the “mall” moments; when she got the award at the awards banquet (see — I can’t even remember exactly what it was); and when she got the NCAA scholarship. All those things are in the past, but I think by thinking about the issue now I might actually be able to be a slightly better boyfriend in the future. I certainly hope that I don’t read back over this in a few months and think that it is a bunch of nonsense.

I realized today, too, that Buck’s presence is a bittersweet thing. She is so easygoing, so quick to laugh, and so much out here for similar reasons as myself, that she takes away some of the daily grind of the hike. But, too, she makes me miss Julie even more. Here I am in daily contact with a female whose company I enjoy, who is only a couple of years older than me, who is fairly attractive…who is not Julie. Buck, like Julie, hates to be cold, always orders a cinnamon raisin bagel with honey walnut cream cheese at Bruegger’s, and has a birthday in late November (B – 24th, J – 20th). Buck is a constant reminder that I am apart from Julie, and I was painfully aware of that already on my own. More & more it seems that Katahdin cannot come soon enough.

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