Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I'm not good at drawing maps

You may have noticed a bit of anger in my last post. Even my wife, whose virtue and wonder I was diving in to defend so triumphantly, asked me why I was so angry. It’s something I’ve needed to think about. Let’s digress inward and make the whole thing about me, shall we.

I don’t understand what it is that she goes through every day. It’s just something I watch from the outside. Of course, like most people faced with such a situation, I want to help. I want to fix it, dammit! To make the bad go away. To make this woman I adore smile and laugh again. She’s fucking gorgeous when she does that. I mean, she’s gorgeous pretty much any time, but that smile… holy shit.

But I can’t.

Neither can she. We both have about as much agency as someone caught in the loving embrace of a hurricane. I hate that and I hate never knowing what to do about it.

I try to help. To board up the windows if we see it coming. To huddle with her in the basement if we’re caught off guard. To tie a rope to both of us and pray for the not-so-worst, if all else fails. Metaphorically speaking, when not literally so.

I fuck up sometimes. Either doing the wrong thing when trying to help or shutting down completely because I’ve had too much. There’ve been times when I’ve treated her as if it is all her fault and she could do better if she only tried. I have a tough time excusing being an asshole under the premise that I have no clue what the hell I’m doing. But I try to, at the very least, do no harm. Usually.

In my capacity as a substitute teacher, I work with a large number of both teens and adults who suffer under conditions they cannot control. I see these same people suffer the usual slings and arrows of both fate and their fellow man. Most of them are good enough people. Maybe not always great, certainly never perfect, but as good as we have any reason to expect from anyone.

You can talk about spoon theory until your face turns blue. Same goes with the Will to Power. Either way, you’re just pushing hot air at the end of the day. Either way, it all boils down to a choice we’re all making, every day:

To accept people for who and what they are. To help them with the things they cannot change. To hold them accountable to the things they can. To do our best to figure out the difference. Or to simply tell everyone else to be like us. Of course, by laying it out this way, in such a simple binary fashion, I’m…


Hope it all makes more sense.

Monday, October 21, 2013

When Empathy Breaks Down, Shut Your Mouth

Hello friends, neighbors and poor, poor individuals who stumbled their way here. It’s good to see you again, if it has been awhile. It is good to meet you, if it is your first time here. Either way, I’m going to fume for a bit. Sorry about that.

Here’s the skinny: I recently found out that someone I once considered a friend took it upon himself to berate my wife. Now, she’s a human being and, as such, occasionally fucks up, which may well merit a berating. Possibly even a scolding or rare what-for. I would never stand in the way of such a thing.

I don’t consider basic biological and genetic concerns to be among those things, however.

You see, she has social anxiety disorder. Even in small crowds of ten or so strangers, she gets anxious and continually checks the exits until she can get away. Remember that time you got called into the boss’s office and the head of every department in the company was there and they were all staring at you like you punched their favorite cat in the face, then spent all day playing Candy Crush instead of working? To the best of my understanding, that is what most social situations feel like to her.

It bears mentioning that this person was not only aware of this, but that this had been a matter of discussion on several occasions.

So, he decided to invite her to the local goth/industrial club’s foam party, in a manner that seemed awfully like a demand. Even ignoring the fact that she has never, in any way, shown interest in either night clubs or goth/industrial music, this seems like a profoundly stupid invite. Please look up two paragraphs if you are confused.

However, she contacted him to let him know that she would not be attending what would be an evening of abject horror for her. She cited the previously mentioned reason. This is when the berating started. It ended with him stating that she doesn’t have any friends. Because that’s an effective thing to say to someone who views social situations with wild-eyed terror. And this is someone who likes to talk about how much more accepting and open he is towards people whose square pegs do not fit in most of society’s round holes.

I want to make something clear to you. Yes, I am definitely talking to you, individually, now. Not those other people. You. Even mom (Hi, mommy. I love you.).

Clinical Depression, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Phobias, Bipolar, OCD, Autism, Asperger and a host of other issues related to the vagaries of cranial chemistry are incredibly hard to comprehend for anyone who has not experienced them personally. Feeling sad is not the same as Depression. Getting bored is not the same as ADHD. Being nervous is not the same as suffering under an Anxiety disorder. Being afraid is not a Phobia. Being concerned or even worried about details is not the same as OCD. Asberger’s is not just assholes saying whatever they want and not caring. Hell, the experience tends to differ pretty heavily from person to person.

Unless you are there, you don’t get it. That means you don’t get to comment on it. Period. Shut your mouth. Try to help, if you can. Or walk away. Those are the only choices you get.

Also, fuck that guy.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

If only there had been some sort of warning...

This is, by far, my favorite review of D.O.A. II:

With all due respect to those of you who loved this book, and these types of stories, I have to be honest: this book was appalling to me. I love horror, am mad about a great ghost story, can't get enough of monsters, and things that go bump in the night. DOA II is not that type of collection. It's brutal rapes, and horribly bloody, gruesome sex. It's demented characters who commit disgusting and revolting crimes. The first story in the book is a horrid peek into snuff films, and it just gets worse from there. I'm no prude, but I certainly wish I had been informed about the vulgar and gory content in this selection. I would not have purchased it. I read a few more stories, and that was all I could handle. This book is full of extreme and explicit sex and/or violence, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. I paid six bucks for this, but I didn't blink an eye when I removed it from my Kindle. It was a relief. I think Amazon needs to warn us about books that contain this type of content, as it is not for everybody.

While Melanie does not specifically mention my own contribution to the book, ”Under the Pretext of Propensity,” I desperately want to assume that I played some part in her response.  Few things can make one feel as giddy as that possibility. If I didn’t already have a copy, I’d buy it just because of her opinion. Thank you, dear lady, from the bottom of my black, cold and rotting heart.

You’re a dear.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

CONTEXT 26, in my unprofessional opinion.

So, Context. It’s been several years since we’ve been able to hang out. There was that one year I tried to pretend I was too cool for you. Then there was the year both Mira Grant and John Scalzi showed up and I was stuck moving because of assholes. Then the next year that I had to move again because life sometimes does that crap. Now, set up in new digs and a bit of a revamp in general approach and I finally had the chance to embrace you again.

It really has been too long.

I started off with a great presentation about the earthworks of the Hopewell Indians. I didn’t initially intend to go there, but I was talking to Catherine A Callaghan and she was going and you never, ever deny royalty like that. By all that is holy and amazing did it ever throw my mind for a loop. New learnings for my brain with stuffs I had no clue existed and implications of the past that rattle many fundamental conceits. Basically, my occipital lobe was humping the ever lovin out of my medulla and there was brain goo all over my dendrites.

Granted, there weren’t any other moments of the same neuron-expanding bliss, but I still had a damn good time. I entered the flash fiction contest and had to follow a guy who emphatically yelled about erotic topiary and being impaled upon the gleaming spire of heaven. Needless to say, I didn’t do well in comparison and somewhat embarrassed myself in front of people I respect and Steven Saus. Video was taken and may have been made public by some cruel individual.

During the open poetry reading, I got to see several venerable people bicker amongst each other and was as enthralled as anyone could ever be. To make the evening better, I got to see the aforementioned Lady Cathy verbally lay out someone who got a tad too snooty in a way that was both self deprecating and goddamn kick ass. That woman deserves some form of official entitlement of awesome.

There were parties with the expected copious amounts of alcohol (one of which included  a hired clown- that was weird). I met some new people. Touched base with some classics.Shilled soap. Got to see my wife getting all giddy after having a prolonged conversation about serial killers with Geoffrey Girard. In general, I go to be a total geek and loved every second of it. 

Also, apparently there is a place that does Chipotle, but with Italian food. Odd.