Sunday, August 23, 2009

The anxiety builds...

Yes, a second post on the same day, just to unveil the thoughts running through my head...again.

I spoke for a while with my friend Julie yesterday. We haven't seen each other in ages, and we are incredibly close. One of the things we do best, besides proclaim our perpetual love for one another as the dearest of friends, is worry about each other. I worry about her, and she worries about me. An ongoing joke between us is what will be written on her tombstone in the future. "Here lies Julie. She worried."

And, of course, she is incredibly upset about my moving in with Siege. "This is just some person you know from the Internet. You have no real idea what your life is going to become when you move there. In fact, you tell this person that if they hurt you in ANY way, I will drive all the way [to where you're moving] and kill him."

This received two responses. First, there was the lengthy description of Siege, and Siege's apparently concern for my well-being. "It's a Playgrounder" isn't enough for Julie, and so I covered some of the details as to what we've discussed. The radical difference is that Siege is more concerned for those things I deem important, and not twisting my arm with a fee for this, and a fee for that. When I say I need to establish medical care, Siege is searching the area for doctors I'll be needing. When the same things were brought up with Stu, his frame of mind was, "Whatever, Rob. First we have to do this, that, and the other thing, and work out how much you'll have to pay for all these things."

Again, I'm astounded by people's ideas of what's important. In the past, when I've had to fly somewhere, my carry-on bag has my medications and usually a couple of changes of clothes. The latter is not even important to me; it's just a convenience in case my checked bags find an alternative destination. And I tell people, "I can travel to Florida, and my bags end up in Hong Kong forever...as long as I have my insulin, I'm okay." The rest of it is "just stuff," and easily replaced with a little money. But try walking into a pharmacy and just saying, "Yeah, I'm a diabetic and need syringes," and see what kind of response you get.

Well, Julie was as understanding as she could be with my explanation, and she definitely thought it sounded infinitely better than what was brewing with my brother. But then I poked fun at her "threat," reminding her of what I said about the guy with whom she's living. I believe he's ex-special ops for the marines, or something like that, and so I said, "The same applies to Joe. If he hurts you, I will travel to New York and beat the crap out of fist with my face!"

The thing is, I don't want to paint this move to Siege's place in the colors of gloom and doom. I'm hoping the move will only require a few days, maybe a week, of recovery, and then there will be a lot of activity for a month as I settle in. Following that, I will be the kind, considerate housemate anyone would hope for. No, at this time, I can't do much...but then I remain unmotivated to work very hard, even for myself. Perhaps...hopefully...I will be filled with a sense of gratitude that kicks my life back into gear. I'm talking about enough activity in my life where my hands and feet can handle doing chores. (I scribbled a note to a friend yesterday, and my hand started cramping by mid-note because I was holding a pen. How pathetic is that?)

Meanwhile, the call to my father looms closer. I'm going to wait for this evening, when it's close to 7:00 or 8:00 PM on the east coast. I don't want to hear some nonsense like, "Oh, I was going to call you later." I'll give him the whole day, and then he won't have the chance to feed me a line.

Most disturbing is that I'm already on the defensive. It's those imaginary conversations we all tend to have at one time or another. You get ideas as to what you're going to say, and you THINK you know the other party so well that you dream up their responses. Responses that conveniently fit everything we think of saying. Have you done that before? How well did it work out?

I'm still doing it, no matter how many times I've engaged in that exercise and seen it work out in all the wrong ways. Like that girl in college I had a crush on. She had a boyfriend, and so we were just friendly enough so that I knew where she lived. When she and the boyfriend broke up, I saw my chance! It was to go like this: I buy a single red rose. I leave it on her car with a small, anonymous note. Then, on the very next day, just before class, I would ask if she got the rose and if she was interested in going on a date. How could she possibly say no? I mean, it contained a little romance, a little mystery, and I thought that she might like me, if only just a bit. In my head, a nice little romance was blooming as I tucked the wrapped rose under the windshield wiper on her car.

The next day arrived, and when I saw her, we had the following conversation:

Me: So...Did you get the rose?
Her: Oh my G-d, yes! It was so sweet!
Me: Great! So does that mean you'd be willing to go out on a date with me?
Her: Wait...The rose was from you?
Me: Ummm...Yes.
Her: Oh. I, uhhh...I thought it was from my ex, wanting to get back together. I called him up right away and we talked, and we're dating again.
Me: So the rose he didn't leave got you two back together?
Her: Yes. We talked for hours, and worked everything out, and...I'm so sorry, but...well, you didn't sign your name, so the only person I could think of leaving it was him.
Me: Yeah...I guess I don't make a very good secret admirer.

So much for her swooning and falling into my arms to deliver a tender kiss.

The thing that's happening in my head now is my explaining to my father what was happening between Stu and I, and how my trust in the whole situation has been crushed. I would need a powerful show of faith on my brother's part, and when I try to make it clear that my brother would only have to OFFER me a rent-free home, my father will explode, telling me that that's the most unreasonable thing in the known universe. Of course I intend to pay rent. No one rides for free. But then the rent I'm willing to pay is less than what my brother actually wants, and so it would never work out anyway. If he wants that $350 each month, it will have to include all the fees he was adding. I absolutely refuse to pay more.

Why have I become so stubborn on this issue? Because I was willingly bending previously to my brother's every whim. I was ready to follow the growing list of rules, including the most disturbing, "No complaining allowed." And when he first started tacking on the first few fees, I was like a willow in the wind, just moving along with the establishing atmosphere. "Yes, Stu." "Okay, Stu." "Whatever you say, Stu." The more I agreed, the more he pushed. And then, when I cautiously approached him with a request to lower my rent, he threw a fit. Honestly, it was an incredibly childish response to what I deemed a reasonable request. And it was a REQUEST! I wasn't even making a demand. I was just asking him to talk it over with his wife...and he shouted, "THEN JUST FORGET THE WHOLE THING!"...and he hung up.

What, pray tell, would it have been like if such an event occurred once I was under his roof? Where would I have gone? What would I have done? No...It would take a miracle to get me there now, and my brother isn't one to provide many miracles. My father lacks the emotional depth to grasp much of what goes through my mind.

And the worst of it...? There's a good chance that the conversation with my father will bring me to tears. It's one of the symptoms of my depression, where the pushing of a few mental buttons turns on the waterworks. My father doesn't understand this. Thus, his most common response to me trying to hold back a crying fit: "Oh, don't give me the tears!"

I can only pray we have a calm conversations...but I'm already wound tight, and I have a feeling it's going to be a very upsetting evening for me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It just occurred to me...

What if these things Stu is saying are not so much coming from him but from his wife? It sounds like she's the one that really runs things, and, not being a real blood relation, she seems like the kind of person who would be, naturally, less eager to take in a sick man. And there would be the "No complaining!" rule involved because it's the only way Stu can find to try to convince her that you won't be a burden to them. And perhaps the reason he's being harsh about the money is that he's using it too to convince her?

I dunno, I may be totally wrong. But perhaps it could be possible. After all, put yourself in her shoes, and not as the kind, nice person you are, but as someone pretty much detached from the whole thing. She might not know you for the person that you are, but for the label of "disabled". And a disabled person IS a good deal of responsibility. She may have kind of freaked out at the whole thing and hence Stu may have gone "Okay, let's get him a phone so that he won't get in trouble. And his own this and that..." and of course, he'd be concerned about the cost. Because it's what he sees as necessary for you to be there.

Possible, perhaps? Again, I dunno. This idea came to me while I was half-asleep. I just thought it had enough merit to say so.