Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I am a little wired, to say the least.

I helped B out with his little HOA problem and, once again, was reminded of the definition of insanity. I spent a good few days learning the facts of his claim and of the situation as a whole, so that I could speak directly and advocate on his behalf. I agreed to do this, by the way, for purely selfish reasons, as I got a partial payment of money he owed me. Still waiting on the goddamn papers, of course, which he keeps "forgetting."

Apropos of nothing, I heard through the grapevine that his girlfriend wants them to register as a "domestic couple" with the City and State so she can get health benefits through his employer. She quit her job and is now working as an 'artist' full time, in a studio he pays for. When I heard that, I laughed pretty hard, as B knows full well that he cannot be married to one person and be a domesticated partner of another. I can only imagine the spin he is selling her. Comedy gold. He gets to spin that shit into gold for the rest of the year.

In any event, B was 15 minutes late to the pre-meeting, which is utterly par for the course. He got there, downed two double Jack-n-Cokes (in the space of ten minutes) and listened as I told him (and two others who came to give additional information on his behalf) to keep his fucking mouth shut. Not to speak unless I addressed him directly or instructed him to answer. Not to offer or say a word unless he made eye contact or conferred with me.

He, of course, did the exact opposite. He swore, he menaced, he bullied, he acted like an abject asshole - so much that the three of us there to help him just hung our heads and waited for it to pass. It was a disaster for most of the meeting and I did what I had done for much of the latter part of our marriage - damage control. I was embarrassed for him and a little humiliated, as I have never had a "client" act so out of school. Horrifying. He was utterly out of control and something I hadn't seen in a long, long time, thankfully.

I realized a couple of absolute truths. One, I have grown up and he absolutely has not. I have never, ever been someone who reacts first and asks questions later, but I have been known to shoot my mouth off without thinking it all the way through - all of the ramifications. Second, I don't miss anything about him as he is now - present day B. In contrast to my thoughts last night about MRE, I sometimes miss aspects of my former relationship with B, but I don't miss him as a person, especially as he is now. I, quite honestly, don't like present day B.

After I managed to get the meeting back on track and get an action plan, we concluded it and walked out. B tried to walk me to my car and I told him I didn't want or need his escort. He started to stammer about how he didn't mean to derail the meeting and I just shrugged my shoulders and said "B, you are no longer my problem. I am not your wife, your buddy, your adviser, your therapist or your clean up person. I tried to do you a favor out of a sense of obligation and honor of our marriage, but you obviously don't want my help."

He sort of continued to protest the merits of his case and I told him he had great facts and a terrible attitude. I believe I told him that he was the Britney Spears of crisis management and that like Ms. Spears, he didn't listen to anyone but himself. I found this voice inside me that said some really cutting things. I said "in 42 years, you still haven't figured out that becoming the bigger asshole in a conflict never solves the problem. Think hard about that B. Sure, you can hit someone harder (physically), bite their ear off (literally), stomp them in the balls (yep), call them the cruelest name you can think of, and yet it has never, ever solved the problem. Just made anyone watching realize that you are an asshole who cannot handle things like a reasonable person. You've lost the respect of many people who once loved you, myself at the very fucking top of that list, because now, you only know react to situations and conflict, not how to act. I am really embarrassed and ashamed of you for becoming this person, but that is absofuckinglutely who you are now. I am so glad I am no longer your wife, as this was humiliating enough and I would be mortified if people thought I was married to this person you have become."

He stared at me, then looked away, tears streaming down his face. I immediately corrected myself, grabbed his hand, then kind of chuckled. He looked at me, quite wounded, and I said "no, I am not mocking you. This is just a weird role reversal. You used to say some really cruel things to me, then mock me for crying or feeling hurt as a result. I am deeply sorry for my tone and probably should have waited before debriefing this meeting, as I am wired and wound up from that meeting." I then cupped his face, kissed him on the cheek, hugged him, and walked to my car, where I cried, just a little. I hate the principle of hurting a man I loved for so many years and with whom I have such a shared history, even if he is just a ghost now. A ghost, who, to be sure, can and does still haunt me.

When I finally got home and took Darbs for a walk, I decompressed a little and forgave myself for saying things that I probably wouldn't have said ten minutes later. No point to those words, to be honest, as I am not in the business of trying to rehabilitate B and I certainly don't want him in my life romantically. He called as I walked in the door and said he was sitting by the road. He apologized profusely for disregarding my explicit instructions and for not letting me do my job. Then he asked me the questions I didn't expect:

Q. "Have you really lost all respect for me, K?"
A. "Yes, sadly, B, I have. A while ago."
Q. "Why did you agree to do this?"
A. "You needed a favor and were willing to put up something in return."
Q. "Is that it?"
A. "Yes, and because I still felt a sense of obligation to you."
Q. "Felt?"
A. "Yes. Past-tense. Very much so. I don't like or know you anymore, B."

There was a pregnant pause, then he said he had to get off the phone. He just sent me an email, apologizing again and thanking me for always ("ALWAYS, ALWAYS having my back and seeing the best in me. Just not anymore. I deserve it.")

And here I sit, wondering if I was unduly harsh and mean. Objectively, I know I was brutal, but given the circumstances, probably justified. And yet, even as I type that, I wonder if it is ever cool to be brutal. It doesn't feel cool at the moment.

1 comment:

Talix said...

Is it cool? No. Is it sometimes necessary? Yes. Sometimes people don't give you a choice - won't hear it unless it's said in a cold, hard way. Sometimes, that's the thing that finally gets through and makes a difference.

BTW, the beach was indeed fabulous, six kids 6 and under and all.