Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Frank Sinatra Can Kiss My Rosy Red Ass

Once upon a time there was a young woman who fell in love with a young man who liked Frank Sinatra in a hipster-ish "oh look at me, how clever and anachronistic I am" kind of way.  She loved him and he loved Frank Sinatra, so she saved up her money and scalped some tickets to surprise the young man for his birthday.  They went to see Frank Sinatra put on a show with a bunch of aging femme fatales wearing mink stoles and bright red lipstick and their husbands wearing tasseled loafers and English Leather.  

And it was all very ironic and adorable.  And time passed.  Periodically during the twenty years that passed, the young man would get out his Frank Sinatra CDs and wax nostalgic about a time before he was born.  And the young woman would murmur and nod uncertainly at the young man's range of musical appreciation.  From the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Dvorak and back.  Via Frank Sinatra.

And then the years of drinking that the young man had done turned him in to an old man.  An old man who put Frank Sinatra on his iPad and lay in bed for hours at night with the music so loud you could hear it across the room leaking from the earbuds.  With his eyes closed and a beatific smile on his face, bobbing his head up and down. So happy.  And so pathetic in his sappy happiness.

The young woman, now a "mature" woman, lay down next to the old man tripping out on Frank Sinatra and tapped him on the shoulder to tell him that the music was too loud.   Adding to the lengthening list of things she is dislikes about him, he is growing deaf.  He is gradually and inexorably descending into geezerhood.  He snores, he farts, he wears his bathrobe all day, then grows chilly and jacks up the heat rather than getting dressed.   He makes endless cups of tea that he lets get cold while he lies on the couch and lets the chaos of the household swirl around him unnoticed.

The mature woman calls to the old man.  "Honey?  Honey?"  He continues to lead the Nelson Riddle arrangement of the strings that accompany Ol' Blue Eyes.  She shakes his shoulder.  "The music's too loud, I can hear it across the room,  you should turn it down, you're going to hurt your ears."  She speaks to him as though speaking to a child.  As so many people do, he is becoming more childlike as he ages.  And more childish, too, it seems, because at her touch he sits bolt upright and yanks the earbuds away.  "What do you want?"  he growls.  He sets the iPad down on the bedside table.  He is clearly quite angry.  "I'm sorry," she says, as she always does.  "It's just that the music was so loud, I thought it must be hurting your eardrums."  She can see she has completely fucked up.  Of course he was enjoying himself, having a moment, transported in his nostalgia to a place and time before he was born.  And now she has ruined it.  

She tries to placate him.  "Go ahead, put it back on, I didn't mean you had to stop listening."  And as always, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," in an endless apologetic litany.  "No," he says. "Never mind.  Forget it."  He gets out his puzzle book.  He won't exonerate her by resuming his private concert.    She turns away, gets out her book and begins to read.  She stares past the words on the page, lost in bewilderment.  When had her life become like this, how did her marriage grow so diseased?  The years pass, and like lava, the discontent seeps, then spreads.  She is married to an old man she doesn't respect because he likes Frank Sinatra, not ironically, not as a hipster, but for real.  

The message she hears when he listens to his music is this:   This is who I am, this is who I have become, someone you don't like and didn't sign on for and can't understand how you came to be saddled with.  And you are trapped. 

And in reply the message she thinks is this:    Fuck that noise.  Fuck you  and your iPad and your earbuds and your pouting and your drinking and your denial.   Kiss my rosy red ass.  You and Frank Sinatra both.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Am Invisible. I Am Inaudible.

I did not want this boy to stay here and I said so.   I said it in a whisper.  I said it in a scream.  I said it in a calm voice. I said it in a trembling voice.  I wrote it.  I sang it.  I texted it.  I posted it.  I tweeted it.   I did not want this boy to stay here and I said so.

And yet.  He stays. Today he got a package addressed to him.  Here.  This is now his address.  This boy that I said I did not want to stay here.   Now gets mail here.  I did not want this boy to stay here and I said so.

And yet.  He stays. Today I was taking out the recycling and found a cut-down box that once held a mini-fridge.   I can't even bring myself to look because I know the mini-fridge is in my daughter's room. This boy that I said I did not want to stay here.  Now shares a mini-fridge with my daughter in her room.  I did not want this boy to stay here and I said so.

And yet.  He stays.  I am not comfortable with him here, I said.  It is not good idea for our daughter and her boyfriend to live together in our house, I said.   I have the right to say who gets to live here and who does not, I said.  But I was overruled by nothing.  By the nothing that was said when I said what I said.

I said I did not want this boy to stay here.  And he said nothing.  I said if this boy were to stay here, he would have to sleep on the couch.  And he said nothing.  I said I didn't want this boy to smoke pot here.  And he said nothing.  I said I didn't want this boy to drive our car.  And he said nothing.  I ranted and raved and shook my fists.  I ranted and raved and stomped my feet.   

And he said nothing.

I am invisible, inaudible.  My rage makes me shrink to nothing to fit inside the nothing that he says.  

"I am not listening to you because you are yelling.  I do not respect you because you cannot contain your anger."  That is something that he says.

"I am yelling because you are not listening to me.  I cannot contain my anger because you do not respect me."  That is something that I say.

There is a boy living in my daughter's room with her in my house and I said I did not want him to and no one is saying anything and no one is listening to me and no one respects me. 

I do an invisible dance with my fists and my stomping feet.   I sing an inaudible song with my whisper voice, my scream voice, my calm voice, my trembling voice.  I did not want this boy to stay here and I said so.  And yet.  He stays.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Shit's Gettin' Real. Yo.

I walked out on my husband today. 

He's an alcoholic.  He's completely in denial.  As far as he's concerned, there is nothing wrong with him or our family. As far as he's concerned, any problems that I see are merely my own distorted perception.  This has been going on for years.  Decades.  He's a dysfunctional alcoholic who manipulates my children against me.

We bring the lights up on a bedroom with at least four piles of puppy shit on the floor.  The horrified mother has begun to clean it all up.  The rest of the family is absorbed in other things.  The mother begins a tirade that includes a torrent of f-bombs.   The woman's young adult daughter gets up and comes wandering into the scene.  

Daughter:  What are you so angry about?  Calm down.  Jesus.

Mother:  <insert swears as you see fit>  It was irresponsible to get a puppy when you work and go to school all day.  It was disrespectful not to get my permission first.  You don't care for the puppy, you don't supervise her, she is not being housetrained.  I am happy to take on that role and care for the puppy.  But if I do, she becomes my puppy and I will take over her care and training.  <turns to husband>  Is there NOTHING you care to offer by way of support in all this?  <the way she says it implies that this is a conflict she has been struggling with for a long time>   

Father:  <silence>

Daughter:   God, mom, I just got up. Can you wait until I have some coffee before you begin screaming at me?

Father:  <stage whisper>  I know. I got a raft of it yesterday morning. 
The two share an exaggerated eyeroll


So I left. Quietly and under the pretense of going to the gym. I did go to the gym, but then I went to my friend's house and talked and cried all day and got my resolve together.

Then I came back.  I came back to take care of my son.  I came back because this is my home.  I came back because I live here. The rest of them can go fuck themselves. I will come here after work for a bit to check in with my son, make sure he's done his homework, make sure he has clean clothes and something for lunch the next day.  I will sign the permission slips and make sure the band uniform is complete for concert night.   If he wants to and can be ready in time, I can drop him off at school on my way to work. I am figuring out where I will sleep. Maybe here. Maybe somewhere else on nights when I feel especially angry and need to detach.

When I got back, I told my son that if the puppy shits in his room, he is sadly going to have to handle it himself. If he doesn't like that, he needs to talk to his sister about it, and make her do it. Essentially he should keep the door to his room shut. He is on board.

I ignored my husband.  Last night we had a long talk about how his drinking is going to kill him.  A couple of weeks ago, he was hospitalized for the second time with acute pancreatitis, in his case, a disease directly related to alcohol abuse.  His doctor told him that he had to stop drinking.  Anything.  Ever.  During the course of our conversation, however, he let me know that that's not what the doctor had said at all.  And that he will drink a little every once in a while because he can do what he wants and it won't be a problem.  Which means that he will drink four or five shots of whiskey as he has done EVERY NIGHT FOR THIRTY-FIVE YEARS and it will make him deathly ill and it will be a huge problem.

Okay, I said.  If it won't be a problem, then I won't have to worry about you washing down some Ambien with your drink and I won't have to listen for you stumbling around the house and embarrassing everyone and falling down in the bathroom so hard that you BREAK THE TOILET TANK.  And I won't have to take your sorry ass to Urgent Care when you get so sick that you are doubled over and cannot drive. I am glad to know that it won't be a problem because doing those things was getting really exhausting.  

Tomorrow I am going to my first Al-Anon meeting. (Well, not really my first.  My first as a spouse.  The other meetings I went to were as a daughter.)  Then I am calling an attorney.

My dysfunctional alcoholic husband is manipulating my children against me and destroying himself and our home and I will not allow myself to be sucked into this madness.  

Namaste, Nutjobs.  Let's do this thing.