July 28 1998, Tuesday
n the morning when I came down to the house my mother was cooking herself and my brother Don a breakfast of boiled eggs and vegetarian sausages. I hate everything about boiled eggs, particularly the fartlike odour they impart to rooms in which they are devoured, but I didn't think much about it as I ate my milkless bowl of Cheerios. I love the flavour of Cheerios for some reason. It's one of the few breakfast cereals you can buy that isn't needlessly pre-sweetened, and I hate pre-sweetened cereal, not as much as boiled eggs certainly, but enough to cite it as evidence of an underlying problem in American culture.
Suddenly I noticed my mother going off to the Shaque with her plate of fake sausages and boiled eggs. She often eats up in my Shaque; there's nothing wrong with that. But now she was going to eat boiled eggs up there, and that was way too much for me to handle gracefully. I ran after her and said, "You're not really going to eat boiled eggs up in the Shaque are you?"
I knew how she was going to react. She's stubborn and self-righteous, never willing to compromise on small things for fear of what it does to her pride. She basically told me it was her Shaque (which is technically true, though I built it and it's my only private place) and that I could fuck off.
Knowing I could get nowhere with her, I protested in the strongest terms to my Dad. He tried to convince me it was no big deal, but I wouldn't sit still. I paced the floor and said that this was an extremely offensive act. I have a biological aversion to eggs, particularly boiled eggs, and just the smell of them makes me physically ill. For someone to eat them in the cramped quarters of my Shaque is a slap in the face, akin to eating pork in a crowded synagogue. I was all set to depart immediately for Michigan, but my Dad went up to the Shaque and somehow spoke some sense into Hoagie. She returned from the Shaque, not exactly apologetic, but I don't think she'll do that again, at least while I'm around. I don't have a whole lot of power around the house, since I don't pay for anything here, but on serious issues I think I can get my way by threatening to leave. My parents may not consider my comfort especially important, but they don't want me tearing off on a bad note.
Projects, projects, all day I worked on boring little projects.
n the evening I was taking a nice little nap when Kim called from Ann Arbor, the land of Bob Seeger. Through my initial grogginess, I got the following message: she really wants me to get the hell back up there. She wanted me to say what day I'd be there. Most of the time I can hem and haw when people ask for my schedule, but this is Kim we're talking about here. Still, you know me. You know how I am. I don't like time tables. I don't like people being dependent on my actions. I like freedom, more than less. But I also want to accommodate Kim in some way on this - at least, I'm willing to try. So I said I'd be there by Sunday or Monday, unless, that is, I encountered a circus on the way. I've been trying to break it to her that I'm free now and want to live accordingly. If I'm completely free, without rent to pay and a job to go to, why should I enter the servitude of a girlfriend wanting me to submit an arbitrary schedule to follow? Things could happen, paths to explore could be found, but if I have to be in Michigan by a certain date, I might find myself saying, "Well, fascinating though that is, I can't do that; I gotta get with my girlfriend by 5:30 on Monday." See, that's not the kind of relationship I'm shooting for here. I'm willing to be a little flexible about the kind of freedom I want, but I'm not going to be anybody's slave or employee until I'm forced to be. We discussed this all in some detail, and basically agreed that we'll have to see what we're comfortable with once I get there. I agreed I was willing to compromise some, but I added that she might have to compromise some of her controlling tendencies as well.
She kept talking about how "beautiful" everything is, both where we might end up going in San Diego and across the country generally. I said that beauty was not important to me at all, that if an interesting time could be had against an ugly backdrop, I'd go with that quite happily. For some reason she found this to be an odd sentiment and she accused me of being enigmatic, though she said this in a way that indicated it was intriguing as well as infuriating.
She also did what she could to stress to me that she isn't your typical conformist yuppie girl, or (another possible label she might fear me attaching to her) a New Age nutcase. Kim isn't my usual choice for a girlfriend (as I should expect since she didn't come to me in the usual way) but I'm looking at this as an exciting experience, not as something that is necessarily problematic.
one year ago
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