Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Weekend

Saturday evening my aged mother fell backwards and hit her head and got a cut and called me for help all shaky with fear heavy in her voice. No real problem, but a sign of encroaching infirmity. Another five years? Ten? Then, later that night, around 1 a.m., she called me again; her husband, my stepfather, was in another insulin coma. Couldn't wake him, breathing funny. Called the EMTs, and I spoon fed him frozen honey until they came. Five big guys in their bedroom, an IV line of glucose, and they took him to the emergency room. I stayed with him until 6 a.m., then took him home.

Tonight around 7:30 I got a message from my mother again, that my father had called for me all panicky to come and rescue him from the woman who was trying to kill him. Well I do know how that script plays out, but one of my brothers also got that call, and he went, so I went. When people are fighting, they need other people around to make them pretend to be good. It doesn't always work. A lot of it has to do with just letting people vent until they run down. But some people never run down. They start again at the beginning.

Let's just say it was a domestic squabble, sick sick sick, between two really twisted people who have lived together in profound bitterness for a decade. She's moving out finally, and wants x amount of money. He's only willing to give 3/4x, and NO WAY ON EARTH will he give a penny more, and she won't accept anything less, because she's owed, and he would rather blow his brains out and be destroyed than give that xxx what she wants.

Obviously, both are trying to control the situation. My brother K wanted to bring up old wounds of his own, and they got into it, a bit, my father and my brother -- you pounded us like you wanted to kill us what kind of a father does that -- you're not my son -- did you hear that? what do you mean by that -- and K was up and ready to storm out and I just said his name a few times and he got the point. It was off-topic. Not productive. K has issues too, you see.

And I'm the calm rational observer, balanced between amusement and disgust, unafraid, at all, to laugh out loud at the recriminations and what fools they are -- you're a slut -- well you're a liar and a cheat -- and you're crazy and were in a mental institution for a month -- and so were you, and I could destroy you but i'm not like that -- then why were you pounding on my bedroom door for an hour calling me a ... and ... and ...? -- but i could show you photos of when he painted slut and whore and get out on my door -- well she is and she slept with a mexican and an armenian with unsafe sex i hired a detective and i bought her a bunch of condoms and begged her not to bring disease into my house -- i did not sleep with a mexican i did not he's a racist a racist -- i was on the phone three ways with her sister who's a doctor and she says she's crazy -- well you're a gigolo always after women with money ... -- ... -- ... ...

The intimacies we share in love can be used against us in bitterness. How are we to know? Like laughter. Who knew that it is a form of aggression, of ridicule and invalidation? And who could possibly fault him? -- laughter after all is a good thing. It's only laughter. Like kisses. Like love. Like adultery.

And of course
then everyone needs to talk at once, my brother and my father and his former paramour, and my father says, and meant it, "Alright nobody talks but me now." And they shut up for a moment, because, well, because it is after all an astounding thing to say and mean, don't you agree?

They each wanted me to see how right they were, and agree with them, and take their side, poor victim of that other monster. Reading from the long, carefully rehearsed list of how bad the other one is. Plucking out from their bag of stones the ones with just the right edges to bring down the Philistine. "I don't care who's right. You're both wrong, because you're both so disrespectful to each other."

They had such a hard time not engaging. It must be love.

"You do know what fools you are, both of you, right? How ridiculous you are? Slurping up the bait like it was good for you?" Sadly, only one of them could admit it and she didn't really mean it. Idiots. The role I cast myself in is optimal. Disengaged, objective, fairminded, the honest broker with some compassion but with a sharp sense of humor. Understanding the need for analysis, but even more their emotional need to act out the kabuki puppet show written in their hearts. So rationality can't really help. She wants to be paid for her emotion. He wants to give her nothing. I don't know what a court would decide. They're both right, about the money. And they're both wrong. She has the advantage of being a 100 pound woman in a feminized society. He has a gift for sarcasm, which is sort of like a gift for sodomy.

Because they're such fools, they don't understand, meaningfully, how much more horrific their lives could become. They think their bickering and resentment is as bad as things can get, and they savor the succulent drama of it all. Yet they both understand what real pain is, where there's nothing left to suck off the bone.

As we left, my father said to us, "No matter what you feel about me, you saved my life tonight. If she didn't kill me, I would have had a heart attack." Maybe it's true.

Cut your losses, morons, and move on. Like what I should do.



bob k. mando said...

Because they're such fools, they don't understand, meaningfully, how much more horrific their lives could become. They think their bickering and resentment is as bad as things can get, and they savor the succulent drama of it all.

sounds like a good synopsis of "The Lion in Winter"-1968.

a thoroughly morally rotten film shot through with homo zeitgeist.

Jack H said...

Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?

bob k. mando said...

never have seen that. i take it i don't have any interest in doing so, either.