He told me he was alone on his 40th birthday and expected to be alone on his 50th.
“Should I think of that as a sad thing or something else?”
He shrugged his shoulders at me and posed a question, “why do people stay in bad marriages when in theory they could leave and be much happier. Why do some people love luxury cars and others refuse to spend money on them?”
I didn’t say anything and waited to see what he would share.
“People have all kinds of reasons for doing or not doing things. Is it better to be with people who don’t care what you have to say or to be alone. Sometimes you share what is on your mind and get nothing in response. Is that because the other person disagrees, is emotionally broken or simply because they didn’t hear you.”
I shrugged my shoulders back at him and spent the 90 minutes on the ride back home thinking about life and people. Thinking about what is most important to me and what is secondary.
During a father-son battle I had told the kid that I didn’t want to be lied to or feel like the other person was lying to me. Told him calling me a liar was something might bite him in the ass and to tread carefully.
“You know there have been moments where I knew things weren’t going to go my way and all I wanted to hear was that I wasn’t crazy about what I thought or how I interpreted things. Generally I didn’t hear any of that so I had to suck it up and make peace with that shit. That is how life is sometimes.”
I remembered a particularly rough row with the old man where I disputed what was said and told him he could put a bullet in my head and it wouldn’t change things.
Some years later we revisited some of those moments and he told me to remember that sometimes people lie to themselves about the how or why they do or don’t do things.
“Do yourself a favor and don’t waste energy trying to get to them to admit what they haven’t yet admitted to themselves. They’ll only call you crazy, a liar or both. Just be silent and accept you’re right. If it turns out you weren’t you’ll feel better because you won’t have wasted time fighting about nonsense and if you are right, well it is better to let them figure it on their own.
No one wants to feel stupid, especially if they are the source of their own pain.”
I think about that often and though I haven’t always been good at keeping my mouth shut there are fewer engagements than there once was.
Now if you tell me something that I think you are fooling yourself about it is far more likely that I’ll think about whether your actions match your words.
It has been a particularly frustrating day. The kind where I shake my head because what should have been easy has been terribly hard and I can’t get the kind of help I want, let alone need.
So I don’t bother asking because I don’t need to hit myself in the head with a baseball bat nor do I need a reason to ask people if they understand how fucking stupid they are.
Granted I look at a guy and wondered if he was as obtuse as I think and concluded he absolutely is. It didn’t help that he is a man that has the kind of skinny hands that belong on a woman.
That is my own personal bias and I am sure I am the poster boy for someone else’s biases. Hell, I got email today telling me so, but I didn’t care.
I simply replied that I didn’t worry what some anonymous user on the Internet had to say about me. John823 could tell me I was the dumbest or the smartest person he had ever come across and it would have the same affect.
The only reason he got any response today is because of the frustration with other stuff.
Truth is most of what irks me today is the same as it has been for a long while which begs the question of whether there is a simple way to let go of it or must it be carried.
We went back and forth some more about how the world is and how it ought to be.
I told him life had proven to me it is unpredictable in many ways and you can’t plan it out the way you want to.
“This isn’t what I wanted or expected. This isn’t what I asked for and I won’t let things stay like this for long.”
There was a long pause and then the question.
“What does that mean?
“Exactly what is sounds like. There will be changes and some people may not like what happens. Some may feel like they got left behind and or are surprised.
The one thing that life has beaten into me is that change comes and you have to figure out how to roll with it. I don’t always like it, but I move forward. You need to learn how to do that too. Nothing stays the same and sometimes the changes you are forced to make lead to good or better things.”