Some days he thinks a lot about jobs, as a concept. He's even sent out some resumes - or more accurately, I've emailed resumes and completed online applications for him a couple of times - and he's followed up with phone calls. To be fair, getting a part-time job is not as easy as it sounds these days with nearly 400 applicants for a single job at Columbia University, for example, and even though he regularly cruises Craig's List, pickings are slim to dismal out there.
Well intentioned friends, and I count my mother among the well intentioned, generally point out that Pinko could easily take a shitty job until he finds something better. That is a reasonable concept, particularly since my mother is simply concerned about (1) unnecessary pressure on me and (2) someone taking advantage of me. She, and the other friends who have brought up the shitty job solution, have been very nice about the whole Pinko Needs a Job thing, and it's not like the idea never crossed my mind especially when the bank account is approaching overdrawn. I would just rather have a clean house, including freshly folded laundry, and a warm, cozy bear waiting for me when I come home at 3:30 from a long, tiring day at my cushy job. I also like it when he meets me at work and we take long walks through the park, often going to the grocery store on the way home. He carries the bags. I love it. And at the risk of shocking my mother, I love falling into bed with him when I get home even more. Now that I think about it, Mother has already said that Pinko is a little old to be a boy toy.
In some ways, we've been having a honeymoon stay-cation here at HQ. The only time I get thoroughly annoyed is when he drinks all the wine without me, particular the few nice bottles I was saving for a lovely dinner. He'll guzzle red wine like there's no tomorrow, given the opportunity. He's one of those people who can go without drinking for days and days - but once he starts, he's not stopping until the alcohol is all gone or he decides it's bedtime, which ever comes first. He's typically very pleasant, if a little silly and sloppy, when he's been drinking wine or beer. My main issue with this behavior is the impact it has on the bank account - and more philosophically, Marx himself never said Communism means PENolan buys the wine and Pinko the Bear drinks it all. Noam Chomsky never said any such thing about Anarcho-syndacalism either, so from my perspective, Pinko the Bear needed to cut that shit out.
To his credit, Pinko the Bear did cut that shit out. I also quit buying wine by the case, which has been my habit for the last several years any time the local wine store had a sale and mixed cases were 30% off with free delivery. A case of wine could last me a couple of months even when I had people over for dinner. With a bear in the house, those days are behind me. I stopped buying Bulleit and Jameson's for him too because (1) it's expensive and (2) any time we've had some emotionally charged, crazy conversation that circles around for a couple of hours before it finally spirals into total despair - he's been drinking hard liquor. I figured that shit needed to stop too, and it did stop until we got to Burning Man.
We arrived a few days early, when the playa was sparsely populated with work crews. There was much work to be done, but there was plenty of time for relaxing too. That night after dinner, a campmate passed him a bottle a Jack Daniels. After he'd had three or four belts, had kicked over his drink and was starting to slur, I tried to hide the bottle from him. He found it, and the situation deteriorated. I removed myself and went back to the Big Foot* because I didn't want to interfere with his good time. If other people found him annoying, it was their responsibility to tell him to STFU and go to bed. Radical Self-Reliance and all that.
*Us in the Big Foot on the way to the burn. Killbuck enhanced RV with photoshop artistry
The trouble started when Pinko threw open the door of the Big Foot and proceeded to Mansplain his intention to immediately unload the gear, presumably using a work light since it was well after mid-night although he left that part out. He said, "I'm not going to put it here (pointing), and I'm not going to put it there (pointing)," and after a pause he continued, "I'm not going to put it here either (pointing somewhere else all together)." I may have had an attitude when I asked the simple question, "So where are you going to put it?" In any case, he reprimanded me for interrupting, and shit hit the fan.
I have heard repeatedly that engaging in an argument with someone who has been drinking never helps anything, and I tried my best to leave it all alone. I really did. But all that loud, pompous lecturing got to me. I finally took direct aim and fired, "You've already ruined your life once because of substances. Are you ready to do that again?" The situation deteriorated further, and anyone on the playa who had been wondering who was doing all the yelling got their answer when I hollered, "Oh Yeah? Well FUCK YOU, ABear."
Shortly thereafter, he slammed the door and went off on his electric bike. I was fully done for the night, so I locked him out. I just needed a moment of peace to get myself together. Sadly, as it happened, Pinko's certifiable first wife had locked him out for a couple of days once. She's the same certifiable first wife who pulled a knife on him back when they were married years ago in Dallas. Pinko called her brother and had her taken away that day and never saw her again. He must have been so traumatized by the experience of being married to her that it triggered PTSD or something similar when I locked him out of the Big Foot on the playa.
He slept on the couch that night. By the morning we had both simmered down, but my bags were packed. When I first went to Burning Man to meet Pinko, I figured that the worst thing that could happen was that he'd be a first class ass and I'd have to fly off in a huff from the little airport. This year, I couldn't afford the airfare - so I figured I'd hitch a ride back to Reno with the guy who was scheduled to deliver the port-potty that afternoon. I planned to take a hundred bucks from Pinko's wallet while I was at it.
The porta potty truck was supposed to be there around 4:00, and I was all ready to go by noon. It seemed sensible to at least have a calm conversation with Pinko before I took his money and left his life forever, though, so I asked him if we could talk. He listens well when he is sober and said very sincerely that he loved me more than he loves whiskey. When I told the tale of this denouement to our campmates, who had obviously and most embarrassingly heard every single word ringing across the playa while we were fighting - the general consensus was that he must love me very much indeed because everybody knows how much he loves whiskey.
After that fateful night, Pinko has barely had a drop of hard liquor. He still has red wine every now and then, but he's pretty much been off the sauce since last month when the doctor told him he was technically diabetic and needed to lose weight instantaneously. He's really very determined and is can be fully committed to a course of action once he's put his mind to it.
These days, Pinko is committed to establishing himself as a dog walker. After much deliberation, we've decided it's the perfect career for him. He's great with dogs and still misses China, who had to be put down two summers ago. I had been noticing him on Facebook for about a year when I saw something he'd written after coming home from the vet that day. I've told this story before, and it's kind of corny, but even still, when I was listening to the song he posted when he was so sad and open about his vulnerability, Pinko the Bear became a real human to me instead of another opinionated lefty on Facebook.
In "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters," Elton John sings about how rose trees never grow in New York City. At the time, I reached out because I wanted to show him that I was a rose tree growing very nicely in New York City. Now, it's his turn.
My man ABear with his best buddy China,
at the Bark Park near Diamond Head in Hawaii a little over 10 years ago
at the Bark Park near Diamond Head in Hawaii a little over 10 years ago
He'll be a great dog walker. The best part is that while he's making the money for Burning Man and other upgrades, he'll still have time for communist stuff, afternoon snuggles and laundry.