Tag Archives: Conversation

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

I’m not exactly a ball of delight and mirth. So, it wasn’t easy finding a place to make my stand last night with complete strangers at a bar or restaurant on New Year’s Eve. I tried to be kind and affable, with little in the way of real benefit. In fact, as I sat on my bar stool fussing over the pack of cigarettes I had in my pocket, a couple wished me a happy New Year. More genially than others in the establishment, I returned the greeting only to have them stare at their drinks immediately afterward. It was like instant withdrawal. No conversation, nothing.

 WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!

This is exactly why I can’t connect. This insular behavior is driving me crazy. If it isn’t arrogance, it’s apathy. After a beer and four squad cars (not a drink, mind you) later, I decided it was a fruitless effort to stick around ’til midnight. I went home to a finger of whiskey and A.C. Slater hosting the New Year’s Eve countdown. He asked a rather well-endowed woman what her resolution was for 2014, and she said “spend more time with my husband.” Now, that sounds like something appropriately trite to say when asked, but if you think about it, it’s 11:59 on New Year’s Eve… where the Hell is he now?! He’s not on the platform with you.

I’ve been working at the office today, as there is no one to visit. Either they’re busy, out-of-town, with family, moved, or sick. There’s also the possibility they’re trying to avoid me, but I try not to think about that. The biggest disappointment today is the most valuable commitment I have is to my job. I’m working on the last of the tax reporting, and hope my early efforts will cushion the time blow when I’m having my year end audit.

Side Note: My morning’s status update was “A happy new year? Yes, make it happen.” No more than a couple of hours later I see George Takei post something very similar. Yeah, that’s right. I’m on the cutting edge of Hallmark wisdom!

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Friday, December 27th, 2013

Now that Christmas is over, I can go on being slightly less miserable. Wednesday night held an impromptu trip to one of the few open restaurants around, 20 minutes north of the Fields. The others were jammed with cars of what I assume to be early travelers or people trying to escape from their relatives. I had some beer in front of a searing HVAC vent while watching the Americans trounce the Canadians 5 to 1 in hockey. Yeah, that was amusing.

I also happened to have light conversation with a man from the California/Oregon area. He was a happy fellow, touting the virtues of craft beer his employer sold down the road. I welcomed the conversation though. He was enthusiastic to escape his roommate’s family, and I was fond of discussing something that didn’t involve reminiscing about family affairs before I was born. Christmas Eve dinner is really for my parents and their siblings. It’s a stale situation for the likes of me.

January’s fast approaching, and aside from getting another year older, it’s going to herald reporting season with the various Federal, state, and local governments. I’ll churn out more paperwork than I do in six months to appease the self-righteous bureaucrats who think preparing even more will do a world of good. It won’t though. Cheater’s gonna cheat.

No apologies here, as an accountant, the Internal Revenue Code needs an overhaul. Expecting people to file their own taxes appropriately has produced abysmal results. The filer is so overwhelmed, they don’t care how it gets done as long as the government agencies are happy. They are absolutely lost when it comes to reading their own 1040. Been there, done that. The individual shouldn’t have to purchase software or go to an HR Block-type establishment to complete this. This tax code is getting too complicated for its own good. Just set a tax rate, have the employer send a reconciliation to the IRS, and be done with it.

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Unavoidable Exasperation

Well, good people, the Fields has shuffled its way into confirmation bias again. How often does anecdotal evidence have to occur before I’m not “just seeing what I want to see?” That I ask you in earnest, as the Devil if I’m just imagining it all. I’m not. I’m not going mad. Situations like this happen before, and it takes years for people to fess up. Gaslighting for fun and profit.

Of course it’s a dead night here in Hooterville. They’re all dead nights, filled with people either too insular to be social or too vile to be acceptable. I, with such copious amounts of opportunity, head to an old tavern of which I’ve been a patron for a long time. How long? So long that I know all the bartenders and they know what I drink.

As I fell off the wagon (a-gain), I stepped outside in the 1º C night to smoke a cigarette. Shortly thereafter two women, of whom I thought were attractive, enter the patio area to chat. Say what you will about proper first impressions, but your physical being is the first thing I see. There needs to be slack cut in this department. We exchanged salutations and I let them converse as they intended. Not so much a minute more two “men” stepped out, loud with liquor.

Normally, this scene is mildly irritating. Bothersome drunk men at a bar is a common occurrence, however what happens next always cuts me to the quick. The one male that looks like he hadn’t missed a meal in his life starts speaking loudly about his exploits with another woman. He obviously thought he was a comedian, as he tried to deliver it as a stand-up routine. His act included his jest with roofies and about this unidentified women’s threat to toss her rag in his face. I will not clean it up, as the raw statement evokes such a visceral reaction out of me. The hardest, and most painful, part was these women aside the would-be Bill Hicks were giggly and twittering as if they had been taken for a spa day.

Now, I’ve heard it all before:

“Nate, you don’t know the context of the relationships.”

“Nate, some people won’t change.”

“Nate, they’re simply a bad apple. Don’t let it spoil the bunch.”

“Nate, you wouldn’t want a woman like that anyway.”

Good gravy, how much context does one need?! If I’m not meeting any women around here giving me the time of day, or choosing a disgusting human like that instead of considering me, what do I have left? Not a thing. Not a thing is the correct answer. Go pound sand, Hooterville, you rotten town in denial.

On a brighter note, I relocated to a bar in a different city and had a conversation with an architectural student from Savannah, GA. He was originally from the area, and was there for the Thanksgiving holiday. We talked about how Savannah was like the human body in civic planning terms, which was a welcome change of pace.

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Knowing Nothing Can Be Done

I’ve put in quite a few hours with the house, and several fixtures are installed as a result. My mother asked if she could see the progress thus far, which wasn’t a problem to me. After a few day’s time, she decided today would be perfect to stop by and view it with my father. Being a respectful host and dutiful son, I waited for any sign of them before I started the heavy work on the house… and waited… and waited…

“They probably needed a nap. They like those on a Sunday afternoon,” I rationalized. I know she hadn’t forgotten, as we spoke about this last night. There have been several times in my life where she’s simply forgotten what I was doing, as she was so wrapped up in her own business. Over and over I would be questioned about where was I going or what I was doing simply because she couldn’t remember and wouldn’t write it down. She also asks way too many questions, until her dialog is nothing but question marks. I find that a little much. It’s an inquisition at that point, not a conversation. Why would you ever do that to a person?

Finally, at the six o’clock hour, I called her cell phone with no answer. I’ve stopped leaving messages, as she never listens to them. She simply sees that I’ve called and calls me back to find out what I wanted. It has frequently ended in me regurgitating everything on the voice mail I left. So, I’ve stopped. 

Highly agitated, I went to work. I had house chores to do, as the remodeling had made the place very dirty. I was vacuuming with my gym trunks and no shirt, as I work up a sweat that drenches all my skin touches. After cleaning up the kitchen, laundry room, and part of the dining room, I spin around to see my mother at the back stoop. Startled, I angrily dropped the sweeper attachments and trudged upstairs to put on a shirt. No warning. Nothing. Dammit!

The visit was unpleasant, because I wasn’t happy and she was clueless about how I operate. Voicing any concerns initiates her defensive side, and I will be blamed for being absurd or mean or “on edge” or just plain wrong with what I have to say. In this case, it was simply an asinine request to call a person ahead of time and tell them when you were arriving. How foolish of me to think I would be informed of what time to stick around my house.

This got me thinking. We don’t know how to be a family. We don’t know how to be cohesive, and my family simply doesn’t know how to handle me as an adult. This is infuriating to no end as they tap dance around being a part of my life with no real work. When I say “real work” I mean remembering our interactions, remember my preferences, and otherwise interacting like adults do.

My mother would deny this flat out, but after tonight, she has demonstrated that her life uber alles, and her service to others is to satisfy her martyr complex. My father’s not a martyr, rather self-interested and prefers living in his own world rather than interact with the real world. My personality cannot have a deep, meaningful relationship with them as my desires will always play second fiddle. I need to see eye to eye with people. I have earned that.

I am metaphorically alone, and with them in a state of denial, there’s little that can be done. Acceptance is hard sometimes, but may be necessary in this situation. We can’t always get what we want, I suppose.

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