Thursday, November 29, 2007


I wasn't really listening. I find it's best not to. A few days ago the conversation seemed to be focusing around some fella's love life, the details of which were shared, apparently. I did my best to not hear it. Like I need that in my head. So later during a lull I decided to share some of my love life. "Hey guys, one time I was watching this girl? And then my weener got hard? And then my underwear got wet and I was all dizzy? Isn't that interesting?" Some time in the near future I'm planning on sharing other such stories. I have lots of them, being the stud that I am. Hey guys? One time I was naked in bed with this woman? And she wanted me to put my weener in this extra hole that she had? And then I got all dizzy? And then I fell asleep? It'll be great. They'll all be fascinated and think I'm so cool.

So again tonight, or last night, or the night before, I was making it a point to not listen. One of the fellas is going through a divorce. His estranged bride dropped by with their two little children, who giggled and scampered around on the mat. It was sweet. The mom sat off to the side, looking isolated. This was taken as bitchy coldness. They're all so young. Later there was some attempt at analysis about the episode. My only contribution was that they were reading too much into it. I don't think it's a good idea to support negative opinions. The husband can form his own ideas, and has, and doesn't need any ugliness reinforced. That's my take. There are children involved. People need to be encouraged to act responsibly and patiently. I'm so old.

I did hear or overhear something about his counseling session, though. A family therapist? A court ordered reconciliation attempt? I don't know. But it seems that the little boy had placed some sort of sticker over a picture, perhaps of the mother, and this was taken as hidden hostility, or symbolic sabotage, or some such darkly portentous onomatopoeic omen. I wasn't there, sitting among the bookshelves and the professionally framed graduate degrees, and I wasn't listening anyway as I rolled. But I did form an opinion. If this therapist wanted to know the meaning of the mysterious sticker placement, s/he should have asked the child, and s/he should have respected the answer. It's called courtesy.

I keep thinking I'm autistic. I keep going back and looking up the symptoms. It's just not a match. The lack of empathy. The delayed verbal skills. Clumsiness. It was quite the opposite, with me. Self-stim and ritual just never applied. I always wore a sweater, even in summer -- but that's not enough. I had an intense preoccupation -- books -- but that's hardly diagnostic. Well, I'm not autistic. Back when I used to be married I was much more normal, for all the unpleasantness of that marriage. People could touch me. We all noted this happy fact. I must have been more inviting. I've retreated to whatever defensive redoubt I carved out as an infant. It's far more intricate than in those early days, but unfathomably deep. It seems not to have a name.

We keep looking for answers. Give us a reason, a label. Something to grip, hard, that we might heave it and heft it and put it where we want it. I suppose that's all.



brent said...

The sticker incident is so subjective that it would be hard to make a case of anything, especially with limited info. Context and time will reveal the answer. Always ask and let it lay. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

The next time you see this guy, kick him really hard in the crotch. After he recovers let him know that this is how his son feels and it doesn't matter whose fault it is.

Jack H said...

You're a hard man, McGee.

brent said...

Sorry, my latent hostility was showing through.

Jack H said...

Uh, "latent"? Don't pretend that I haven't felt the bite of your lash.