Monday, May 17, 2010

Partners and Preferences

You can't be fifty on Sugar Mountain either.

Today I'm feeling the lack of a partner. Shortly after I finished therapy back in March, I realized that one of the primary roles my shrink had played all those years was Parenting Partner. Buzz Kill wasn't particularly good in that department, so I had to hire somebody. She was great, but it would have been better to have a real partner.

I had hoped that the preacher would be able to lend some support in that area, but the preacher has issues of his own and as a result is unable to contribute anything to the parenting discussion. Or any discussion at all, for that matter, since I'm done listening to him for the time being.

Oh well.

Buzz Kill would be by my side today if I had wanted a partner badly enough to tolerate being kept in the dark about all our family business. I didn't mind teetering on the edge of bankruptcy all the time - I minded being surprised by clerks knocking on my door to deliver papers saying the apartment was going into foreclosure - again. I especially hated being reprimanded by a lawyer I had never met for not signing off on papers I had never seen regarding a lawsuit I hadn't known was settled even though my name was on it. Never mind the damn IRS.

Buzz Kill would be snuggled up in my bed today if I hadn't asserted myself financially - and the way things work in this country the only way one spouse can really assert him/herself financially in a marriage is to file for divorce.

So I find myself partnerless. It's not that I lack for support because my friends are great, both in real life and in blogland. I have requested that Buzz Kill confiscate Velvet's cell phone as a result of a comment made by Vancouver Voyeur over at Change Happens. I could confiscate it myself - and I might - but Buzz Kill pays that bill and I want him to participate in disciplining Velvet. I'm happy to say that my mother reminded me that I can always remove the door from Velvet's room. He has been warned: one more episode with Cupcake and he will learn the meaning of Unhinged.

I recognize that Velvet believes he's doing his best to respect the rules of the house while simultaneously demonstrating he's a college man. But I specifically said that I didn't want Cupcake sleeping over here last night, and she was here when I woke up this morning. He says he was going to walk her home but she conked out. He tried to wake her up for over an hour, but then he fell asleep for a little while. He was trying to wake her up again when I got up at 5:00 am, noticed her purse on the living room floor and hit the roof.

Maybe he was trying his best, but if she can't go home when she's supposed to, then she can't come over at all. In fact, now nobody can come over for days and days and days.

I have come to the conclusion that Velvet cannot deal with ambiguity. He needs clear definitions. Once he told me that when he asked me if it was okay for him to do something, he always knew there was a Yes in there somewhere - it was just a matter of figuring out the combination to unlock the Yes.

Today the Yes is gone for the foreseeable future, and I wish I had a partner who could act as the enforcer when I run out of energy or when my natural indulgence takes over.

There is no strong, reliable man anywhere in sight except for The Man from San Antone, and he's busy coordinating the search efforts for a missing baby. Back in January or February, a disturbed young mother took her 8 month old baby to San Antonio where - speculation has it - she handed him over to a couple in a park. Maybe for an illegal adoption or maybe to hide him from the dad. Nobody knows. She then told the dad she had killed the baby and dumped him in the land fill. Authorities and volunteers searched the land fill for a couple of weeks, and when they found no evidence of a dead baby, she said she had fabricated the whole thing. Who knows why. It's a damn mess, though, and The Man from San Antone is now the dad's attorney.

So even in my dreams, I know The Man from San Antone is taking care of important business somewhere else - and the fact is that the main reason he's there for me when I'm really in trouble is that I'm perfectly capable of managing without him even when I'm really in trouble. I suspect that when you make a living by taking on other people's problems, you look for friends who can take care of you sometimes.

Somebody told me recently that there's not a suit of armor strong enough or shiny enough to protect a man when my talons are out. Maybe so. Frankly, I have concerns about anyone who imagines he's a knight in shining armor even when he's comparing me to a dragon. He didn't compare me to a dragon, really. What he really said was that there was no armor strong enough to protect a man from my body guards when their talons are out. So the comparison was really more like me as the object or goal, and in order to reach his goal, the knight must vanquish a collection of fierce, invisible creatures.

If we go back to those infernal Disney Princesses, we see a collection of lovelies looking wistfully out the windows of towers owned by their fathers waiting patiently for their princes to come take care of them. As it happens, I own this tower and am a passable dragonslayer myself, but I will admit to body guards.

When I look down from my window and see a suitor approaching, I generally think, "Oh, Dear God, here comes another one in a silly metal outfit. Let's hear what he has to say for himself." It may seem to the man that I'm surrounded by invisible body guards ready to garrote him the minute he makes an ass of himself, but that's not how it is. Velvet knows how it is -- the Yes is always there. It's just that the body guards don't suffer fools gladly, and they know bullshit when they hear it. It's kind of like being in a class where everyone starts off with an A, but it's up to you to keep it.

I don't deny that I would like it if somebody brought me a glass of wine and rubbed my aching neck while he helped me sort out a situation. Or to celebrate small victories, enjoy simple pleasures and to tell me stories when I can't get to sleep. I'm not isolated or alone, of course, because my friends and family are a great comfort and support - even my mother. Nevertheless, I wish there were a partner.

I suppose that partner could be a female, but in the end, I prefer men. We all have our preferences.

The way I see it, when you're with the right partner, there's no need for armor. We all need armor occasionally when confronted with struggles and challenging people in the outside world. We're also all vulnerable, and we say stupid shit we don't mean. We make mistakes and sometimes we're filled with regret and sorrow. We get mad at each other and even get into passionate, noisy arguments. But the armor is only necessary in the outside world. Home is a sanctuary.

Looking at it that way, I don't blame the occasional suitor for trying to get inside the castle - but there's no Sleeping Beauty here. Maybe one day, there will be a wise old woman with a long, silver braid. For now, there's just me, and I'm becoming more and more convinced that when it comes to the meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything, the Hokey-Pokey may really be what it's all about.


Blogger VV said...

I love your posts because they're not only about the daily shit we all deal with, but there's a depth to your thinking and working through problems that too many people don't take the time to do in their own lives. As for discipline, my Jr. also needs specifics. I don't know if it's being male, having some sort of learning or behavioral issues (which he has), or attention deficit due to video games. I can tell him to take out the trash 30 times with it not getting done and both of us getting mad. If I say, the trash must be out by 4 p.m. and then remind him once about the time, it gets done. It's kind of like the "there's a 'yes' in there somewhere," for my son, there is obedience and action in there somewhere, I just have to know how to get it. My partner M is really good about reminding me to be specific with him. It really avoids a lot of fights. I guess if there are no clear parameters for what I ask of him, in his mind, there are none, period.

As for having a partner. I know what you mean. I kept looking for years, trying to figure out if my expectations and requirements were too much because men either couldn't live up to them, or would run when they discovered them. I wound up with my partner (female) because she met all my requirements, without fear or reservation and I'm a better person when I'm with her. I had never been in a healthy relationship until I met her. I discovered with her, that people don't have to play head games, they don't have to control, lie to, or cheat on the one they supposedly love. She is my refuge and our home is happy. I considered myself very lucky.

May 18, 2010 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Cali said...

Lordy, how I he-ah ya single sista!

I divorced my son's father (a serial adulterer) when my son was still an infant. I never remarried, for most of the time because I am absolutely horrible when it comes to man choosing. Worse, I continued to believe in the wrong ones for far too long.

All these years I've really longed for someone else who could be the bad guy, the disciplinarian, to my son when I'm too tired, upset or just sick to death of having to do it and ready to hop in the car and just keep driving.

Anyway, as a Post-Menopausal Stoner I find that I'm mostly over the urge to merge now. I'd still appreciate the neck/foot/back/body massages, someone to talk to like a normal human being, rather than a kid that turns nasty at the drop of a hat, and, if the Universe were truly smiling upon me, financial salvation. Yet my interest in sex is comparable to my interest in the composition of steel girders. I suppose if there were someone too perfect to watch walk away that I would get a tube of testosterone cream. I hear that stuff will make us Menopausal Stoners feel like we are 25 again.

I dunno, maybe I'm not really over the urge to merge so much as I really enjoy just being me. I don't want to have to live up to someone else's expectations anymore.

If I sound ambivalent and confused, well, I am. While I no longer expect to be "rescued," I would still really and truly appreciate it because I need it. I'm disabled and can no longer rescue myself. But the reality is that when one is short of hair, long of tooth and wide of waist it just ain't gonna happen.

I hate the way my life has turned out. The only good thing in it is my kid, and half the time I'm not so sure about him.

May 18, 2010 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

V.V., Like they say: The unexamined life is not worth living . . . I'm glad for you and M, and your new kitchen.

Cali, when I get the urge to merge I like the sound of a steel girder ;) I used to have a friend who rubbed testosterone cream on her feet. Go figure.
How long have you been disabled?

May 18, 2010 at 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Me too. Less so now that my kids are on their own, and most of all when they were teenagers. But still, me too.

And I've been humming that song since I first read this post this morning. Thanks pal - it's one of my favourites!

May 19, 2010 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Jaliya said...

I don't have any children, but I do have the mate. He came along in 2002, around the time my mother died -- in fact, we *met*, eye to eye, at her funeral. Three weeks later, we went for lunch, the rest, as they say ...

I was nearly 43 at the time, and for the first time ever I felt mated with someone. It's an amazing feeling ... and sometimes it's horrible, too ... as it was last fall when my man told me he wanted to disengage. We worked through it. I refused to fail!!

Our love is easy, but our lives aren't. I so get what you mean, Trish ...I've been in a few relational wrecks, and I wouldn't go back for anything. I'm perpetually amazed that *any* two humans can get together and stay together in relative peace ...

In a funny way, I felt wed to my two best-ever friends ... Both have died, and there is a huge hole in my relational life now. There are certain people who are utterly irreplaceable -- sometimes they're mates, sometimes not ...


May 19, 2010 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Another Canadian, eh, Jennifer? Hope your move went well.

Buzz Kill may not be a life partner, but at least he's generally involved in Velvet's life and in this latest episode, he's shouldering his share of the work. The two of them just left to go up to Syracuse so Velvet can face the judge in the morning. So I'm not having to manage all this foolishness by myself. Thank Heavens.

Jaliya, I'm sorry about your friends. The idea of loosing my best friends, and my parents, is terrifying. In many ways, I'm a very lucky female.

May 19, 2010 at 11:28 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home