Sunday, January 20, 2019

A Year on the Couch

My residence on the downstairs couch began with the night of the living back spasm. At the time it was a necessity due to the fact i could barely move let alone get up a flight of stairs. Since then it's been a bit more touch and go. Oddly enough it was partially born out of the need not to disturb the Breadwinner's sleep (something i've been chastised for in the past) due to my slow and deliberate movements which would wake anyone sleeping next to me at that point. The firmness of the pull out couch was just what the back needed and it allowed me to move freely, to have no restrictions on how i slept or when i moved which at the time was helpful in rehabbing a back that had been pushed to it's limit. Of course over a year later there is probably no physical need for me to sleep on the couch every night but more of a mental need. I enjoy the solitude, the silence, and the darkness and the ability to get up and do whatever in the middle of the night if the urge strikes me. Sometimes in the wee hours when the mind runs amok it's nice to know i can get up and not have to worry about the noise of a bed or the creaking of the steps and that the boyos will sleep undisturbed while their old man wanders around in the darkness downstairs lost in the meaning of it all.

In a society obsessed with selfies and instant gratification the art of sitting down and pondering the state of things is often neglected, overlooked, or just plain ignored. It's not something we are want to do because it can reveal just how unpleasant things have become. I've been accused of thinking too much. If that's my fatal flaw i can live with it. A great many things can be hashed out in the dark while staring at the ceiling. One of those things was understanding the decay and deterioration of relationships and understanding my own role in those things. The mist has lifted and i do my best to see things for what they are, good or bad. The Breadwinner does not. I don't blame her for i understand most people don't like to admit they've failed. I'm a special case as i'm quite used to failure, it's damn near etched into my DNA.

There was a point after a few months where the Breadwinner was a bit irked by my unwillingness to return to the bedroom. I pointed to the health of my back and the fact i was being considerate seeing that i had to sleep with a pillow under my knees and often moved that pillow if i changed positions and that would be quite annoying at 4am. I cited studies that said the many people slept in separate rooms/beds so that they could get a better night sleep and that the main reason for sleeping in the same bed was archaic religious beliefs and sex. The last bit leading to a changing of the subject on her part that pleased my mental chess playing. To say that this relationship had run it's course, in the conventional sense, would be like saying that water is wet. It's a business deal at this point with the main goal being raising the boyos with the least amount of psychic damage possible. We get along just fine on that friends level and nothing more. I'm a security blanket and what i call a non-sexual prostitute. I whore myself out for a comfortable place to live, a nice vacation, and the ability to raise the boyos. These days i do much better in reminding myself that when i get fed up with shit, i have no right to complain, i've maneuvered myself into a position where i don't have to work for someone else and i can spend a lot of time with my sons. Nothing in this mortal coil is perfect and so i understand that though frustration is a part of life it's easier to take a deep breath and let it go. That may be frustrating for those who want to argue or fight but it keeps the peace, albeit tenuously at times, and when pressed about how i "feel" i often just shrug. Sometimes the best way to be honest is to keep your mouth shut.

These days no one really asks why i sleep downstairs anymore. At one point i contemplated moving back up but then came an incident where i was berated about my back, told that the issues with it were becoming a problem and that i used it as an excuse. Anyone who has ever dealt with a shit back knows how painful it is and that there is no way to escape it at times. I did my best to get it into shape and am still doing so but the diatribe showed me once again where i stood. It started over the fact one of the boyos was being lazy and wanted me to grab him some water at bedtime, something i told him to do before he got to bed, and since he didn't feel like doing it began complaining to his mother about how everything is about my back. Now I'll firmly state i'll give the kid credit, it was a smart move in an attempt to get what he wanted but ultimately it was born out of laziness. He still had to get his own water but the Breadwinner was suddenly supporting his position. Let me state that this was late in the evening after a day of doing all sorts of shit and that regardless if i had a bad back or not when you're 6'4 at that time of day sometimes the back is tired. It was in that moment that i decided i'd not say another word about my back. And i haven't. I get through whatever i have to do when i have to do it and with whatever medication (insert favorite plant here) necessary.

These days the back is doing better than it has in ages. I swim 3-4 times a week, anywhere from 2/3 of a mile to a mile at a time. I stretch and do my exercises, have looked into some yoga but my misanthropic nature leads me to want to practice that at home. I'm often told i'm going to ruin the IKEA couch i sleep on even though it's a sleeper sofa. Once again i shrug. I'll get the Breadwinner a new one if need be, Pops gave me a little wiggle room in that regard. Otherwise you can find me downstairs, usually reading late into the night in the coldest room in the house. Sometimes i smile as i pull on a hoodie and crawl underneath a few blankets, the boyos are right above me and i can be up the stairs in seconds if need be, i often notice how i smile as i settle in and turn off the light and what's better than going to bed happy? The truth is i haven't slept this well in years. My current studies have helped me to understand that the last thing i need to do is swim against the current, that this thing will keep flowing until i am no more so why not float along and enjoy as much of it as possible? and you know, so far so good...


daisyfae said...

during the remnants of my marriage, i briefly moved to the downstairs bedroom - waiting until the kids were asleep to settle in for the night, and getting up before them in the morning so they wouldn't notice. didn't have the excuse of a bad back. i slept much better than i did upstairs. later, when my now ex-husband basically moved away to our 'weekend' place on lake erie, i was able to move back to my own room, and we had a good cover story for not being in the same bed.

as Studley and i are in discussions about cohabitation (in a few years), we are in agreement that separate bedrooms/offices are going to be necessary. i've been living alone for over 10 years, and i like it. maintaining our own space is going to be necessary for continuing a healthy relationship.

i wish more people just ate this up front and didn't need to build those cover stories. glad your back is mostly better... back trouble is shit.

Exile on Pain Street said...

I thought I was the only one.

kid said...

god damn I miss me a couch. and these benchseats in the Turtle make me pine some for the days of an armystore cot in a room in Old Lou. my back will be proper fucked, eventually.

keep off the broad road, which it sounds like you're doing. just remember, the hermit's way is nil if he never saunters down from the mountain after a while.