Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mad World

"I think it’s kind of funny
I think it’s kind of sad
The dreams I have of dying
Are the best I’ve ever had."

Sample conversation among our cast during our morning out to a corporate vision of a children’s aquarium, having gone out yesterday to see a movie pitched to the 4-8 crowd.

DOB: What’s that on top of that house?

UCC: (playing along) A roof?

DOB: I don’t know.

Later, lunching at a restaurant DOB visited a day earlier, having placed our orders and proceeded to drink our first bottle (of wine) of the day, wherein we silently toast and think our own private wishes, and after our food is served by a wait person named Pebbles:

TCG: (to UCC) Would you like to eat the crap she ordered but doesn’t like the look of now that it’s here? You could trade your lovely sandwich - made on bread she can chew with her tooth - for the one she got which has a hamburger bun with suspicious seeds on top?

UCC: No.

TCG: (after a brief pause while DOB groks her lunch, to UCC) You didn’t get the bread you wanted, and you go the bread she wants, so do you want to trade your lunch for hers?

UCC: No.

DOB: (to the Lunch God) I can’t eat this bread. The.... seeds.....

TCG: (to DOB) Do you want to trade for her sandwich, it’s on better bread?

DOB: I don’t know.

TCG: (To UCC) Are you gonna eat that? (paraphrased)

UCC: (impatience creeping in on little cat feet, like the Viet Cong in the jungle) Yes (paraphrased).

WI (meant to) SIMH: I want to eat the fucking sandwich I ordered. Also, I don’t want to have to repeat myself four times before you give it a fucking rest.

TCG: (That Eye-Roll of Disdain that precedes any particularly ugly passive aggression) Why you gotta be that way? (paraphrased)

UCC: (Impatience wrestling my restraint to the ground like a jungle ambush) Why indeed (paraphrased).

WISIMN: Why the Fuck Indeed. You Dick.

TCG: (after DOB ventures to the lady’s room with visiting daughter who happens to know everything, especially more about the stuff you thought you knew but you were wrong) How are you doing?

UCC: I’m having a wonderful afternoon.

TCG: (Long and pensive pause that precedes any merely mildly reflexive passive aggression) Like I’m having the time of my life blah blah (actual words, not paraphrased).

UCC: Hey, I said wonderful! Much preferable to, say, a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Please order another bottle of wine.

WISIMN: Makes me want to laugh just to keep from killin’.


Martha in Michigan said...

So how come I never knew about this secret space? Thanks for letting me in. Damn, you can write! I plan to enjoy these scribbles regularly, along with K's two that I found through this one (you need to fix the link to the second one, though) and J's (if she ever writes in it again). Have to critique, however, the white-on-black format that is so hard on old eyes (even with spiffy "computer" glasses).

So, tell me: is it genuinely therapeutic? I remember writing rants and screeds during the Vietnam war to deal with my outrage, and I think it DID help. Maybe that only works for really verbal people, though. Perhaps others need to create visual art or to physically abuse someone, according to their own gifts.

Unindicted Co-Conspirator said...

Seriously? In a word: hell yes.

I need to conduct intelligent conversation or my brain gets overheated. Conversing with my cat can only do so much. (BTW, I'm back into the recent Harrington books - great escapism!)

I began with the idea that I'd try as accurately as possible to record actual conversations. But once I get started, things start echoing around in my head, and lately, I find the What I Said part is often somewhat menacingly mad.

I don't aspire to the Saint Kathleen, or even the Blessed Martha (note, not yet canonized, Mother T is first in the queue).

But I fear my caregiving duties involving a paranoid demented lady, and her 67 year old son who is studying to be a complete invalid, using his COPD as the latest excuse for him to become barely comatosely present wrt/conversation.

I think despite our present trials and tribs, we're still in this together and our love gets stronger for the challenge. It's just that his needy desperation is sometimes so soul-sucking, I've got to figuratively throw an alarm clock at the drywall.

Martha in Michigan said...

You set me to thinking about the imperfection of people and relationships. I think back to when my girls were teens and so self-righteous about how they would NEVER "settle" for the kind of relationship I had with their father—too many compromises, too much coddling of a supposed adult, too little apparently in it for me, in return. I recall noting that, as I was less than perfect myself, I certainly could not demand perfection in others.

Now, a bit over and a bit under 30, and somewhat experienced in the relationship wars (actually, much more experienced than I, in a way, since I only ever had one mate), they are less judgmental. If you commit to stay with someone, through thick and thin, you do so in the hope and expectation that the positives will significantly outweigh the negatives. The latter are obvious to even a slightly perspicacious teen, but the positives can be subtle and undervalued by mere observers. Both of you change over time, and not always simultaneously or in compatible ways. Any long relationship will have less satisfying or more troubled periods (many related to stages in child rearing), which you must have some confidence "too shall pass" and some integrity with which to hold up your end of the bargain in the meantime.

Of course, even if you or your partner allows selfishness and betrayal to overcome your bond and commitment, that need not (she opines theoretically) be fatal. As the old saying goes, good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment. Perhaps true wisdom and till-death loyalty can only arise from the annealing fires of great troubles. I will admit that I am glad my own tempering did not stem from the cruel blaze of infidelity. We had our own trials, of course, but none as personally wounding as that.

My theory (I will never know, now) is that old age should be when you realize how much you depend upon one another, when you no longer take one another for granted, when you finally know each other so well that simply being together is deeply relaxing and satisfying. By "relaxing," I mean that there is no longer any need for pretense. G & I never got there, although we were closer before the BT-induced paranoia took over. Clearly, from your need for this outlet, neither have you. Is this a romance-novel pipe dream? I know so few old men who seem to get wiser, as opposed to more childish. (What's up with that? Is it cultural? Hormonal?) And we sure can't reach this stage of nirvana without their contribution....