Saturday, May 26, 2007

And Now for Something (almost) Completely Different

... in which I quote something written by someone other than David Schnarch.

I took a baby step in the direction of giving myself some time out of the home this evening. My mind was in a state of clutter, worried about what I should do about the whole job/marriage thing, and this weekend is packed tight with family obligations: a make-up birthday party Saturday, another birthday party on Sunday, and then possibly another family gathering out of town on Monday.

The make-up birthday party took place at a location about an hour and a half away We left around 9:30 a.m. and didn't get back home until 4 p.m. My wife had decided that wasn't enough excitement, so she invited the birthday girl to come back home with us and spend the night, since our older daughter is only about a year younger than her.

When we were trying to figure out plans for dinner, I told my wife that I wanted to go to the local bookseller for a couple hours to spend some time thinking. I said that I would go once the girls had gotten settled in to watch their movie. She hesitantly agreed.

After we got home from dinner and the girls were watching their video, I was on the computer catching up on news. My wife was working on cake # 4, and I had already helped her roll out a big mass of marshmallow fondant into a thin layer she could use to shroud the cake.

About every 10 minutes, she'd tell me to come look at the cake and tell her whether it looked okay. I tolerated this up until the third time. I told her that I was getting tired of being called in so frequently, saying it was grinding down on me. She got quiet, and said, "allright," as if I was depriving her. She then said, "Aren't you going to go out like you said you were?" I said that I was going to wait a bit longer, perhaps when the kids were down for sleep. She said in a guilt-inducing voice, "It's OK, you can go." So I did.

I spent about an hour and a half there. Originally, I had thought about just getting a cup of coffee writing, but I had printed the store's weekly coupon and brought it with me. I picked up a few titles from the self help section and made off with them to the coffee bar, and leafed through them.

One of the books was Why Your Life Sucks: And What You Can Do about It by Alan Cohen, and I wound seeing enough amusing and relevant information that I wound up taking home a copy.

Perhaps the most biting piece of information I saw while skimming the book was in "Reason 10: You Forgot to Enjoy the Ride", p. 185. The subsection was titled (get ready to cackle, Anais) "You Live in Your Head".
You are never going to figure it all out, so you might as well give up trying and enjoy yourself. The reasoning mind is never fully satisfied: it will keep seeking for things to dwell on like a car radio scanning for stations but never stopping on one. Eventually you will come back to where you started and wonder where you have been.

That pretty much sums up my experience throughout this blog, but especially moreso the past week or so. Reading further...
The mind makes a superb servant but a lousy master. If you filter your experience through your intellect, you will strain out of the real." You can dissect your experience into oblivion,. Perhaps you have heard about the two psychologists walking down a hall, and as they pass one of their colleagues. He bids them, "Good Morning" and keeps walking. The two take a few more steps and then one psychologist turns to another and says, "I wonder what he meant by that."

There are also a lot of other goodies in this book, especially about respecting intuition and not trying to prop up relationships that aren't working.

As I returned home, I noticed my wife's best friend's minivan parked in front of our house. I came in, admired the finished cake, and then found them sitting in the family room talking. Her friend stayed around for a little while longer. I socialized with them, and then the friend left.

I asked my wife whether her friend had stopped by on the way back from shopping. I knew that the friend had made plans to go to the mall earlier that evening. She said, "no" and that she called the friend to come over because, she "needed someone to make sure the cake looked okay." Her tone was that of a victim, the narrative of whom was that it was my unsupportive nature that forced her to resort to such desperate measures.

In keeping with Drunken Houswife's toxic metaphor, I think it's time I started looking into best practices for safe and legal disposal.
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