It was a beautiful spring day yesterday. Clear, pale blue sky overhead. Enough heat in the air to make me regret wearing jeans but not enough heat to make me want to strip out of sweat soaked clothes. I found a nice quiet spot on an old wooden bench to just sit and listen to the sound of water splashing into a koi pond, an overly furry and half-deaf dog laying in the rocks by my feet. It was the kind of moment that Hollywood often depicts just before the hero gets flown out to some war-torn country like “U-cant-istahn” to take out the evil terrorist “Mook-bacca Ne’er-laid” or perhaps is about to deal with a emotionally painful funeral.
But my moment wasn’t a prologue to tragedy or adventure. I was escaping the never-ending negativity that has become a miasma at the house of my in-laws. When I step through that home’s doors (and I use the term ‘home’ loosely, because who in their right mind could call such a depressing place a home?) I feel as if my shoes are instantly covered with week-old argument vomit. My skin crawls to such an extent that I’m sure any moment it will free itself from my musculature and slither it’s way under the door to escape. But there is no escape, as family obligations and the “gift” of car repair comes with the price of diving into the shit-storm of stupidity.
And I’m the in-law who does not live in the home. You’d think that would grant me some protection, but no. Instead, I’m treated to endless complaints about how it’s the “other person’s” fault. The “other person” is irrational and domineering. If the “other person” was just not around, everything would be fine. I just want to take my engine to the shop to be tested, quietly and without fuss, and then leave. But every second of the drive must be about how terrible “this person’s” life is when that “other person” is around. In fantasy novel terms, a soul-sucker is attached to my aura and desperately trying to corrupt me to evil while I try desperately to find the right spell to free myself but until I can I simply have to use my willpower to resist.
The joy which used to come from visiting the Den of Depression has been corrupted as well. I no longer have playful nephews, I have Electronics Zombies who can’t avoid looking at a screen of some sort for five minutes without having an emotional breakdown. It’s so bad, in the Local-not-quite-Mega-Superstore where I had been dragged because of “Chores!” which had nothing to do with me, the smaller Zombie wanted to go watch screens in the electronics department that had… wait for it… advertisements on them. In the car… “Must play tablets.” When we get to the house… “Must play video games.” The loud whining and bawling that ensues when “this person” refuses to go upstairs and unlock the Xbox One profile was reserved in my day for a leather belt across a bare ass cheek. And… wait for it… the bawling causes a different family member to go unlock the electronic drug so the Zombie can get his fix.
And if it’s not tablets and Xbox… it’s watching television in the parents’ room. I can’t remember being allowed in my parents’ room ever. That’s where they kept their porn and drugs!
Oh, and let’s not forget that even though I’m worthy of being complained to, I’m not worthy to be actual family. I can be yelled at for trying to “parent HIS kids.” Okay, next time I’ll just continue letting one Zombie throw fists at the other. But if I’m not going to “parent” your kids, maybe you and that piece of milk toast you call a spouse should… I don’t know… fucking start parenting them yourselves! You spoil them whenever they want anything. If you’re not spoiling them, you’re yelling at them in fits of rage usually reserved for politics and drunken bar fights (of which “this person” is an expert). Which causes your spouse to yell at you about yelling. Which causes “other person” to yell at both of you for the yelling about the yelling. Which causes “this person” to play the martyr card of, “See? Other person always has to butt in.”
But yea… me trying to “usurp your authority” as a parent by trying to separate a Zombie from beating on his brother (over a box of Legos he doesn’t even play with because “Must play tablet…”) is the problem. I mean, biologically my wife and I can’t have kids… so that must mean we don’t know what we’re doing and are just jealously trying to take your kids from you… right? My degree in education, with classes in child psychology, means dick… right?
But it was a beautiful spring day yesterday. The sky was a pale blue and the sun warmed me just the right amount. And for those fifteen minutes I escaped into the backyard, to sit upon an old wooden bench and listen to water splashing into water, slowly stroking an old dog’s fur, chatting with one of my submissive friends (Hi Ais!) as she shared her happiness (and nude photos) over her new Dom’s latest visit, I was at peace. I thought of my girlfriend (Hi Cheri!) and my now confirmed trip to see her in June. I thought of my wife (Hi Deni!) and how happy she can make me with a smile. I thought of my newest relationship (Hi Aurora!) and the energy it has brought into my life.
Okay, so Hollywood leaves a few of those particular non-conformist details out of their movies.
But eventually I returned to the muck and tried my best to say nothing and survive. As my wife and I drive home, after an awkward barbecue dinner of raw hamburger patties, she gets a call from her dad (the most sane person in that house, but that ain’t saying much) where she gets to give her opinion about the kerfuffle’s cause. And my sweet loving wife, never wanting to add to anyone’s stress and always seeing the best in people (lucky me – seriously. The fact that she sees the best in me…), simply says she didn’t feel it was anyone’s fault in particular.
The father doesn’t ask for my feedback. I guess I’m not “family” enough so I don’t get to say, “It’s everyone’s fault – you’re all fucked up idiots who need a large amount of family therapy. And that’s coming from a guy who hates how often “therapy” is given as a solution to problems!” I don’t get to say how sick just being around that house makes me – how when I get home I won’t be able to lie in bed next to my wife until 3 a.m. because if I lie down, then the soul-sucking will win and crush what little joy I have left for that family into dust. So I stay up until much too late to fight off the blackness that your household caused.
And then I write a blog to exercise the last of the demons. Life moves forward. And it’s another beautiful spring day.