an Online Journal of Sorts

By Alyce Wilson

August 31, 2007 - Googling Exes

CNN has been doing a lot of coverage the past couple of days about the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This got me thinking about my ex-husband, The Druid. The last time I spoke to him, which was admittedly about seven years ago, he was involved with a woman who had ties to New Orleans, and they spent part of every year there.

I wondered if he was there when the hurricane hit, and periodically ever since then, I've typed his name into Google, looking for any mention of him. But I've yielded nothing until I tried again this week.

Then, I found a paper someone had written for a comparative religions class, talking about how the Hare Krishna temple in New Orleans had weathered the storm. The author quotes my ex-husband copiously, from an interview conducted in 2006.

At the time of the storm, The Druid was living in Dallas, presumably at the Hare Krishna temple there, and he drove in a van with a couple other Hare Krishnas to New Orleans to help out.

The paper described him as an electrician's apprentice and cited his optimistic view of the storm. He said, more or less, that he felt that some things were just unavoidable and that we were meant to learn from them.

While I think it might be more accurate now to rename him The Hare Krishna, he was a New Age type when I knew him, so I'll continue to call him The Druid.

These life developments don't surprise me in the least. The Druid had expressed an interest in being an electrician while we were together, but he had so many troubles just keeping a normal job as a dishwasher that I didn't think paying for courses would be worth it. At the time, I was the primary breadwinner, supporting both of us for most of our time together.

When I knew him, The Druid was suffering badly from an undiagnosed psychological disorder, which seemed to include a disorder called Religious OCD, which is obsessive compulsive behavior manifested as excessive praying or engaging in other religious sacraments obsessively. For example, stopping in the middle of the street to pray loudly, because he was trying to purge a bad thought from his head. This quickly went from being endearing to being troubling, especially as the frequency and intensity of these compulsions continued.

He also showed signs of schizophrenia, such as hearing voices, getting advice from tree spirits, and the like. These are just a few of the many symptoms of his disordered mind and why he had such trouble living a normal life.

After our divorce, he most likely met up with the Hare Krishnas at one of the annual Rainbow Gatherings, which is sort of a hippie convention, held every year on public lands.

The Hare Krishnas frequent these events, setting up large tents where they chant and sing all day long. They cook some of the best food, and it's free for anyone to share. I have no doubt they find many lost souls like The Druid there.

What a better place for him to be. After all, his tendency towards Religious OCD would fit perfectly within a religion that believes in strict sessions of chanting; the Hare Krishnas believe that the more you chant, the purer you are.

Other aspects of the lifestyle would no doubt be healing to him, such as the strict disavowal of drugs and alcohol, and a strict vegetarian, but healthily balanced diet.

This is exactly why The Druid and I could never have worked out. I wanted him to seek mainstream treatments, such as medication and speaking to a psychiatrist, while he wanted to roam free and give the voices in his head free reign. I never would have followed him to a Hare Krishna temple, but in the same way, I'm certain he's happy there. In many ways, it's the only place he could fit in, the only place that would accept him the way he is and provide some pathways towards healing.

I know many people are suspicious of the Hare Krishnas, but from what I've seen, they are a pretty sincere group. While I wouldn't live their lifestyle, they seem happy the way they're living. Considering that, given his mental health issues, he could easily have ended up homeless, filthy and starving, perhaps dead in a New Orleans squat, I'm happy things have worked out the way they have. I guess you could say, he's found a healing pathway.

So I'll no longer worry when I hear about bodies being discovered in demolished homes in New Orleans. I know that they're not him; in fact, he's one of the people who's helping!

Because I'd hit pay dirt the first time, I Googled a couple other names of people I'd once been involved with. Two of them had names too common to trace, with a flood of results linking me to unrelated people.

I did find out one interesting tidbit, though. Seems that a guy I dated in high school, The Drum Major, my first serious boyfriend, can now sing along with the Weird Al Yankovic song, "I Lost on Jeopardy".

In January of this year, he competed on one episode. Apparently, he did fairly well throughout the show, then lost it all in Final Jeopardy. The Jeopardy web site shows a photo of him looking, shall we say, chagrined.

Still, the fact that he could even win a spot on the show and had the guts to compete, I think that's pretty cool. And he got his 15 minutes of fame, so rock on!

Some exes join the Hare Krishnas; others compete on Jeopardy.

Copyright 2006 by Alyce Wilson

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