‘To Name is To Destroy’ available at http://www.intelligentmachinery.net
Photo by Jeff Fowler
Hope says she’s going to blame me if she loses her job. The issue is over the fact that she wants Starbucks Coffee. And she wants me to go out and get it for her. Obviously, there is some kind of narcotic substance in the coffee that makes the user revert to infantile behavior if not obtained.
A little background. Hope works at Talbot’s, a small but upscale women’s clothing store. She hasn’t been doing well because of several factors including the fact that the women who work there have poles stuck up their asses so deep they would need serious medical and indeed surgical assistance to retrieve them. Hope feels that she is required to run around like a manic, hyper dynamo in order to satisfy the increasingly demanding performance standards that her superiors decree.
None of this is my problem. What is my problem is that Hope has a habit, not necessarily peculiar to her sensibility, but a problematic habit nonetheless. The habit is not Starbucks Coffee, whatever I’ve led you to believe in the first paragraph of this entry. The habit is sleeping late. Even more than the Starbucks Coffee, she is addicted to the feeling of the mattress sheets caressing the skin on her back. She is hooked on the sight of the inside of her eyelids. The horizontal is the position her body craves most. And no, that’s not a sexual reference.
Yet there is this thing called timing. Sleeping late ignores the issue of timing. The operative word in sleeping late is late. Being late means having less time. Less time means some things simply cannot be accomplished within the time frame allotted. Taking a shower, ironing her outfit, drying her hair, putting on her makeup… etc. These things are integral to Hope’s routine. They must be done. And they take a certain amount of time to accomplish. Sleeping late means there is no time to do other, auxiliary things, things not part of the ordinary routine, such as trading cash for caffeine.
Hope has a husband, however, and since he is not doing anything but sitting in front of the computer, he is the obvious resource for fetching coffee. Problem solved. What? You mean, the husband is not willing to run this errand? What excuse could he possible have?
And here is where the very fabric of society begins to shred and disintegrate in the hot, white light of blinding truth. You see, the favors we do for one another really provide the glue that keeps the relationship intact. Once the favors stop, the relationship begins to come apart through the inertial effects of everyday stress. Some think the glue is ‘love’ or some such nonsense.*
Now, I am to blame for Hope’s problems at work. The burden falls on me. I did not offer the catalyst that would allow the relationship to continue in the face of this stressor. I did not fetch the coffee. I did not obtain the drug.
Yes. But, really, what I’m actually doing is weaning her off of her sleeping late habit. I know of no bigger baby who has suckled on a larger teat. The task is a large one.
*These are hopeless romantics who dream instead of actually relating to other people for an extended length of time.
My wife lost her cell phone somewhere on her way from work to where she met me at an Assisted Living facility where we’re contemplating having her mother moved. While I was there my cell phone rang. It was a skater punk who skates at the secluded 6th & Cary. “Did you lose a cell phone?” were the first words I heard when I answered. Long story short – the skater punks looked up the last number called, informed me of the lost phone and we agreed for them to leave the phone where they found it in the middle of the deserted (and secluded) parking lot. I went and picked it up within a half-hour from the time they left. The guy at the Assisted Living facility summed it up – “There are good people out there.”
Friday, the temperature was in the 60’s. So when we heard that it was supposed to snow in Richmond Saturday, we were a bit incredulous. Though, I remember such things happening here when I lived here going to college. We travelled to York County to visit my brother and his family. Watched football, shot some pool, played a game called ‘Apples to Apples’* and basically had a post-holiday chill-out.
Sure enough, though, on our way home, around 11:00PM, there was thick, wet snow coming down blown about by strong winds such that as I drove down 64, the snow came directly at me, vertically, in large snow globs. Fortunately, this let up around Williamsburg and by the time we arrived in Richmond there was hardly any wind.
*Each player gets seven red apple cards. Each red apple card has a person, place, thing, or concept ranging from Bruce Willis to The Vietnam Memorial to Ancient Rome. Players take turns being ‘the judge’/dealer. The judge makes sure everyone has seven cards and also take from the stack a green apple card. Each green apple card has a category. Players must throw in a red apple card that they feel best fits the category. For example, ‘Sultry’ elicited Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, and Denzel Washington. Players play to the judge, who in this case was my wife. She chose Tom Cruise, which was my card. Often the judge is picking the best out of a group of bad choices. They may not agree with any of the cards. The winner of that round, the player’s whose red apple card is picked, collects the green apple card. The overall winner collects the prescribed amount of green apple cards. In this case, with four players, it was eight.
Most organizational pursuits are designed to keep people out. All this talk of discrimination or racism or whatever is a smokescreen for the fact that birds of a feather flock together and people who are different can suck it. You can call this elitism and that’s way more accurate than any other term.
People relish the ability to keep others from getting in. This is why religions fail. If there was one religion where everyone was accepted no matter what, that religion would have already taken over the world. The very fact that there are so many different religions speaks to the point.
People like to exclude others. It’s not fun unless I can sit here knowing, on some level, that I am special, that others are not here because they are not good enough, cool enough, or don’t belong in so many other varied ways.
We all want to be unique with individual characteristics, and individual rights and powers. But we also want to belong to something bigger than ourselves, but not big enough that we lose our uniqueness. There is a happy medium and for everyone it is different, but it does rely on the ability to exclude. This is not accomplished, like so many paranoid people think, through racism. It is accomplished through logistics.
Time and place are simply communicated to those in the know. Those who show up are in. Those who don’t are out.
On my way to work every morning there is a point at which there are two short roads to get to a main artery that takes me towards the expressway. One winds up a curved road and is the more conventional route. Another takes a large right angle through a residential area with speed bumps. Whenever I am being tailgated by some inept motorist, I can always rely on the idiot to take the ‘shortcut’, which is through the residential area. Nine times out of ten, however, I have beaten the shortcut people and, yesterday, it was happening in reverse. On my way home, an impatient individual on a cell phone in a late model, grey Mercedes took the ‘shortcut’. Not only did I beat her, but two others behind me beat her. So she ended up sitting there at a stop sign, watching as we crossed over the railroad tracks, losing position. I drive a red, 1991 BMW 318is – hard to miss. She knew she had lost.
I don’t race the shortcut people. I maintain a reasonable speed (unless on the highway and then I believe that speed limits are for slower cars). There have been times when the shortcut person makes it ahead of me and I don’t try to catch up to them and speed past at the first opportunity. In fact, I enjoy it when someone speeds ahead. I’m happiest when no cars are around and I can drive in peace and comfort, listening to my music on the stereo. But, when the challenge has arisen, I’ve often beaten the shortcut people. And there is some happiness in that as well.
The true problem with the words ‘I love you’ is that there are some people for whom love is impossible. They are so wrapped up in their own selves there is no room for allowing another to have that important a role in their lives. And some are such sociopaths that ‘I love you’ is just another way of saying ‘give me what I want.’
Common words that are really only good the first time they are spoken to someone. Repetition diminishes the meaning. They articulate an observation of the internal interacting with the external.
Problems result when different meanings of the phrase and more specifically, different meanings of the word ‘love’ appear in a relationship. Funny how it all sounds alike, yet can be so completely disparate.
He: “I love you” (meaning: It’s very enjoyable to spend time with you, especially these times where we are having sex.)
Her: “I love you” (meaning: You complete my social circle and allow me to be a successful part of my community.)
These are by no means meant to be stereotypical. Just examples.
The words, though, mean nothing unless there are specific actions taken that back them up. You can’t tell someone ‘I love you’ and then do nothing to suggest such love.
If this sounds remotely jaded, I contend it’s merely observational.
Move quicker in slowing down.
Shake things up more.
Take it all less seriously.
Be less accumulative.
Be more interested.
Be less aggressive.
Be more interesting.
Be less dismissive.
Be more confident.
Be less submissive.
Deny less pleasure.
Accept less pain.
I’m blogging from my cell phone. Proof of concept more than anything. Definitely no time to be wordy.