Sunday, June 21, 2020

Residual Effects

There is a question that keeps rolling around in this empty head of mine, a question about the residual effects of this pandemic. About the number of businesses that will close permanently, about the number of jobs lost, about the number of marriages/relationships destroyed and finally done in by the months of close proximity. In a healthy relationship this could be trying but what about all the unhealthy ones? the ones on shaky ground before all this kicked off? The unfortunate fact is, in my case every one of those questions will need to be answered. They are intertwined and difficult and could wreak havoc on the two people i love most in this world. 

Now one could sit back and say that i should stop my fucking moaning about shit. There is a movement going on, a call for social and economic justice, a movement i fully support with my limited funds, the power of the pen, peaceful protest and any other thing i can do to scare the shit out of the plutocrats, corporate elite and racist shitbags to affect some sort of change for the better. At the same time the pandemic has hit this particular household hard in economic terms and stress levels, and while there was a grace period where things seem to go smoothly that period has ended and the cracks are now beginning to show. As usual my role in this drama is to play the punching bag, a role i've become accustomed to over the last few years as the infrastructure of this relationship deteriorates even more. The fact is there is most likely just two things that are holding it upright along with the useful tools of denial, stubbornness, and play acting. 

If there is one thing most humans don't like to do it's look in the mirror and accept the fact they have failed. Brutal honesty is not something we are good at. Usually it is frowned upon where in reality it should be taught and accepted. The problem is we as a species don't like to face the unpleasant facts of who and what and where we are. As i've gotten older i've become much better at taking a more honest approach to the state of things even when that means i must look my failures dead in the eye and accept them. This shit here, is my therapy. 

The talk in these parts these days is about my "contribution", or in the eyes of the Breadwinner, my lack thereof. For the last eight years i've been houseboy and it's a job that i've loved. I enjoy raising the boyos, making lunches, getting them to school, driving to practices-games-tournaments, in general taking care of them. Yet the universe if filled with both the light and the dark, the up and down, the on and off. The last eight years have also brought about a shift in dynamics where i've become the whipping boy around here for the Breadwinner. I don't do things right or timely enough or ask too many questions and in general am a failed house frau in her eyes. Add to that the fact i don't actually bring in any "real" income and i'm surprised i haven't been given a Loser t-shirt as a gift. As one of those fiercely independent types (which could be construed as an oxymoron reading this post) i refuse to ask for anything and therefore i do what i can to earn a little dosh so i don't have to ask for money to see a band, or buy a record, score some gear, buy the boyos lunch without having to explain why, order a book to read, i'm not talking much but just enough to still supply me with a modicum of dignity and autonomy for a few fleeting moments. I flip records or sell old shit on ebay or do "errands" for a few people i know who don't have the connections of an ex and aging hood. I do it so i don't have to ask and be belittled and chastised. I do it to remain sane.

The restaurant business is taking a beating. The Breadwinner and her partners are well positioned to last for a while but the fact is no one knows how long this will go on and well positioned in that business these days means hopefully breaking even. There has been talk of reductions in pay and i understand the need for me to possibly get out there and do something but that something also has to coincide and coordinate with my duties as house boy. Even when the Breadwinner wasn't working it wasn't as if there was any active helping in the running of the household. Mainly is was issuing orders and commenting on all the things i hadn't gotten accomplished yet. The smallest of things are left undone. If she cooks (which she'll do for herself while leaving me to do it for the boyos most of the time) the dishes and pans are left for me. Place a bottle in the recycling bin? Nope on the counter for me. It's the papercuts that add up and when the first hour or two a day is spent just picking up and then i'm asked why i haven't started this or why something isn't done i usually mutter i'm getting to it but i had to clean up first. The boss then heads out to the deck with her e-cig and phone to talk to any number of family or friends. 

I'm not sure who would read this far but i'm sure if someone has they're thinking "shut the fuck up who moaning bastard!! all the things going on in the world and you're whining about housework?" Hell, sometimes i look in the mirror and say the same thing but the fact is this pandemic will cause more than just illness and death. It will kill some relationships. As i've stated before i've whored myself out for a decent place to live and nice vacation. My goal is to raise the boyos and when they are on their way i'll figure out what to do. Of course just recently i was ridiculed for being "too big" an influence on their lives. I understand it's a balancing act and i'm trying to raise compassionate, decent, kind, thinking and thoughtful human beings, who respect their fellow humans regardless of the color of their skin or sexual orientation or whatnot, who respect their planet and the other life on it. Who understand sometimes the right the to do it the hardest thing to do but you still have to do it. I want them to think for themselves and what i hear sometimes from the Breadwinner echoes the same allegations leveled at my father when my nuclear family disintegrated. The fact is i'm doing the best i can but i'm fully aware that the boyos see their parents sleep in separate rooms, that their parents rarely if ever show affection towards one another. I know it will have an effect and it worries me. Hopefully they can learn from my mistakes. Hopefully they understand that nothing is permanent and sometimes people go in different directions. 

What happens when you can't remember anything good about something? Is it possible to save something that has been rotting for so long even for a short time? even (to contradict myself) if it may not be the right thing to do? What happens when all the reading, the meditation, the trying to let the barbs and jabs go, to avoid useless arguments and sit silently listening, what happens when it all starts to fall apart? I know the answer. I don't need to be told. The toll of this pandemic will be more than just the  numbers on the right hand side of the screen. There will be more things lost, less quantifiable things but important things nonetheless. Now i better get my ass to work around here. 

1 comment:

daisyfae said...

i read every word, and no, i did not have an urge to tell you to stop whining. i had an urge to backhand your ungrateful housemate.

the dynamic in my failed marriage was similar, but he wasn't nearly the ridiculously self-absorbed narcisist that shares your home. i stayed longer than i wanted to because of my kids, but they saw the separate bedrooms, the lack of affection, and later the separate households. seeing them as adults, talking through it together, they've shared that they knew far sooner than i thought they did that their dad and i weren't going to grow old together... and they are ok with that.

you're an amazing father. in the end, nothing much else will matter. it's just going to suck until you get to the tipping point and figure out when and how to pull the chain... during a pandemic clearly isn't the best time to make such a drastic change.