July 29 1998, Wednesday
his morning a couple errands had been scheduled by my Dad. He tends to get worked up about simple little things that need doing, scheduling them far in advance and talking about them repeatedly as their time approaches. But the tasks themselves rarely take more than a few minutes to do. A case in point is a viburnum bush down near the basement door. He kept talking and talking about how it needed to be pruned so as not to obstruct access to the basement. I finally pruned the damn thing just to make him shut up. It took me all of two minutes to do a thorough job.
One of today's errands involved dropping off my Dodge Dart at a garage called Miller's in downtown Staunton so it could get a tune up (I dreamed about tune ups all last night, interestingly enough). My Dad woke me up at 7:30 this morning so I'd have the Dart at Miller's by 8:00. Once I dropped it off he picked me up and drove me back home and we attacked the main errand: a run to the recycling center. We have so many things that need recycling around here that we only focused on paper and non-recyclable trash today. Our house, you see, is heavily overrun with trash paper in need of recycling. This paper is mostly the result of Hoagie's yuppie mail-order spending habits, which has resulted in her being on all the various catalog mailing lists, including for gratuitously opulent catalogs such as Hammacher-Schlemmer.
On the ride out to the recycling center, I sat between my brother Don and my Dad in my Dad's '69 Chevy pickup. After noticing a large olive-green unpicked booger adhering to my brother's septum just inside his left nostril, I was creeped-out for the rest of the ride. I couldn't tell him about it because then he'd dig it out and I knew I didn't want to be sitting beside him with a booger on his finger. When I turned away and looked out the window at the countryside racing by, being slowly converted to bypasses, churches and housing developments, it all looked to be covered with grease, boils, sweat, zits and warts. I told Don about the booger the moment we got to the recycling center and I guess he dispatched it right away.
Don is looking as odd these days as he's ever looked. He's got a bright red beard and always wears a filthy blue-grey one-piece outfit that looks like a uniform from a lunatic asylum. He smells horrendous, of course, far worse than any gutterpunk. It crossed my mind that a chinese culture-jam I could pull in Staunton would be to put up flyers everywhere featuring a big picture of my brother and the words "Don Mueller for Mayor of Staunton." As an eye-catching perennial pedestrian on the streets and in the fast food joints of the town, Don probably has better face recognition than most of Staunton's fuddy-duddy Walmart-ribbon-cutting politicians already.
Unlike the Charlottesville Recycling Center, there's nothing in the least bit friendly or progressive about its equivalent in the countryside to the north of Staunton. The place is dominated by a massive trash compactor which is equipped with a hopper into which one can toss unrecyclable trash with ease. Far more difficult is the task of putting paper goods into the correct recycling bin. We had to fit it all through a rather narrow slot, and this required considerable hand-feeding. Obviously, recycling in Staunton is merely acknowledged, not encouraged. I guess we've come a little ways from the days when anarchists could prove their radical predilections by affixing "Recycle" stickers to their rear bumpers.
got back to the Shaque and went to check my email. Buried amongst lots of diary-l hysteria over the legitimacy and identity of a journal called Cut While Shaving was something from Kim. In a terse email typed entirely in capital letters, she told me never to contact her or visit her again. She didn't say why, but it appeared to be some kind of over-reaction to yesterday's musings, in which I stated my need for freedom. That was the last straw I guess, and she was writing to tell me that whatever connection we had established was now officially over.
Or maybe not. Knowing Kim the way I do, this was more likely some sort of provocation, hoping to force me to prove my love in some sort of brash display. But I don't operate this way. I deal with my friendships in a calm, collected manner. There's never reason for hysterics. I responded via email asking if she was really sincere, then I rolled over and took a nap. Oddly enough, I wasn't especially disturbed by this development.
But of course when I woke up, Kim and her sudden angry email weighed heavy on my mind. The best way to get it off my mind was playing in the stream. I shoveled many pounds of stream gravel up behind the dam to impede water flowing through it.
Further into the evening I got another email from Kim. This one laid out the particulars of why she didn't want any more to do with me. Basically, the problem as she sees it is that I'm making her into a musings character in the non-flattering role of "controlling girlfriend," and she wants out now. I suppose that makes sense for her, if she's really as fragile as she admits to being. It's a little tragedy, you could say, another casualty of my musings. But I don't regret what I wrote. I think Kim is over-reacting. Any girl I'd be comfortable with for the long term would be tough enough to withstand that sort of analysis. It's best that if matters are to end this way they end as quickly as possible. By the way, she has a therapist, you know. When I learned of the therapist it sort of creeped me out. It made her seem somehow anemic and alien, and I mean that in the bad way. One thing I have little patience for is someone who pays people just to listen.
This brings up an interesting online-journal-related issue. I'd been doing my best in real life to stress my fondness for Kim and to emphasize my dedication to our future together. But my journal had been doing something else, evidently with an entirely different goal in mind. It held Kim up to greater scrutiny, and reported on things with decidedly less finesse, with little intent to flatter or please her. It was acting as another entity, you could say, like it was my bratty eight year old child or a mean-spirited dog not wanting to be intruded upon by a strange new force in my life. Or perhaps the musings simply "decided" that Kim wasn't right for me. (Whether or not Kim was right for me is something I'd rather not address just now, except to say I'd immediately picked up on incompatibilities evident in our email exchanges that hadn't been clear in real life.) Now, I know this idea of my musings as a separate entity is crazy, since it was obviously me who was writing the particular musings that caused her to jettison. But you have to understand, I'm in a completely different mindset when I'm typing these pages. You're getting a strange subset of my personality here, something not really reflected in my real life behaviour. It's another subtle manifestation of the observer tainting the observed (the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) perhaps.
Anyway, the wish expressed yesterday, the cry for freedom, has been overwhelmingly granted. I am no longer responsible to anyone. It's sad, and I'm going to miss whatever fun future Kim and I might have had together, but it's time to go back to my originally-scheduled program, already in progress.
one year ago
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