Saturday, December 12, 2009

Well, I Tell You What

...one thing I'm sure of, after almost 45 years on this earth, is if it smells like bullshit, it IS bullshit. You can dress it up or down, serve it hot on a plate, cold in a salad, garnish it with flowers or throw it at somebody or call it fertilizer, but it'll still be bullshit. And since I'm a pretty good bullshitter, with a sister who possess an MSW, it's even easier for me to spot it when I see it.

When the Professor graduated, and got her first job in the field, I told her that if she ever got jaded I was gonna tell her about herself. That I wanted for her to always believe in the best of people. A few years later I got into an argument with her cuz she said people really only come in a few basic categories, and it pretty much has to do with what the hell was done to them as children.

I struggle with that sometimes, cuz I like remaining hopeful about people even though I'm pretty certain that 98% of them are full of shit (including myself... don't think I single myself out cuz I don't). And I'm no MSW but the older I get, the more I think she has a point.

Cuz the thing is, the world is full of shades of grey. I KNOW the world is full of grey. It's one big happy fucking grey area, with a whole bunch of fuckers playing both ends by the middle. I fancied myself a master painter in shades of grey, till I got to Family Court. That's when I observed a bunch of people all playing in the grey, with a bunch of other people specifically trained in the art of black and white.

Mr. W was the Sun's Guardian Ad Litem for most of that 6 Year War, and he had (I'm pretty sure of it) sort of a thing for me, which was kind of icky. But it was also pretty useful, cuz he'd spend a lot of time talking to me in his office. A GAL is supposed to remain absolutely neutral and not appear to have favor on either side; it's the job of the GAL to only have the best interest of the child. So he couldn't come right out and tell me he had my back. But I began to listen to his stories about court with interest, cuz they all were all very much about the big messy grey areas in the relationships between people, and how very black-and-white court has to be, in order to cut through the bullshit. I began to see that basically, he was telling me how to be black-and-white. I learned a lot from Mr. W. I appreciated him. It made it easier to tolerate the creepy late-evening phone calls I'd get from him.

So Monday was a painful blur, Tuesday I thought I felt better but was so turned around I left my bag--with keys and ID (no money, thankfully, since I have none) at the kid's violin school, and I was so mad at myself for realizing that I was obviously more fucked up about everything than even I thought, that I dropped my phone as I was trying to dial someone.

The phone made a sad "pft" sound and went completely dead. So Wednesday I went with the flow, completely enveloping myself in a fuzzy grey cloud. It felt good, actually. The Sun had gone off to his school camping trip which meant I didn't have to deal with the Parenting Partner (talk about your big grey area) and since BigMan had thoroughly pissed me off by signing off IM rather abruptly (I don't like being hung up on or signed off on, for that matter) I refused to get in touch with him till he had realized the error of his ways.

I was very tired of being empathetic. Of looking at the other side. It's kind of amazing to me that people don't seem to think I do look at all the angles. I mean, it's kind of why I started this blog so I could ramble around my head. But by Wednesday I was pretty tired of seeing the angles, cuz what happens is, nobody's covering your angle. So I went downtown and sold some scrap gold I had laying around which garnered me enough money to pay off most of my Sprint bill, and then came back to '25 to pay off said bill, find some DVD+RWs to burn pictures to, enjoy a beef patty, and revel in not having anyone be able to find me. I did check in with Bigbear, though, just in case I got snatched or something. I got $280 from the scrap gold and could only spare $20 on myself to get my eyebrows done.

I had the Sun's phone with me, but no one has the number. Additionally, the little bugger has a lock on it, which I didn't remember till it went dead. Once I charged it, I couldn't get back in it to dial anybody. But since I'm on his important list, I could actually dial my own voicemail to see if anybody gave a shit.

Finally around 5:30P BigMan proved he did, leaving a very direct message for me to give him a call when I had a chance, so I called him back. I only needed for him to call me first. Since he was the one who cut me off.

So we talked. I had a chance to remind him about the Chihuahua, and he made some smart ass remark, but he also made me dinner. Then I went with him to watch him shoot some wanna-be pin-ups for a calendar.

He's a pretty good guy. He's honest, and funny, and above all loyal. He works in a very grey area... not-quite-porn-but-really-it-is, but he gets the need for black and white. And while I have, in the past, harbored some longing for the Scrub--my big grey area-- this week I'm effectively done. I told the Scrub once that I knew he was a snake when I picked him up, and BigMan may be some things but he's not a snake. I like that about him. It's refreshing. So I think I'll keep him for a little while; especially since he loves me.

As for the other crap...

Yeah I dunno. I resent feeling played. About the worst thing is a having an MSW for a sister. When she was in school she wasn't all that confident in her writing (which is crazy cuz she writes very well and always has) so I got to read all her very interesting papers for my writing input. The DSMV became one of my favorite books. Her case studies and the anger management and conflict-resolution seminars she ran taught me a hell of a lot about spotting bullshit and playing in the grey. On the one hand I'm happy I'm aware of it all; I don't think I would have won my 6 Year War quite as decisively without her. On the other hand it makes me SO sad when I can spot hot steaming bullshit coming my way. People really are predictable. They really do fit certain categories. The things a parent does to a child really do have long-lasting ramifications.

And I'm no saint. No perfect person. I struggle with the every day shit. My apartment reflects my inner mind, my inability to grab ahold of myself disturbs me. I make rules about shit and have been guilty of breaking them. I don't hold myself above anybody else.

I do often wonder if it's me or the rest of the world, and truthfully the only reason I'm willing to say it's me is because it's a proven fact that only the insane or the narcissist thinks it's "everyone else".

I do have narcissistic tendencies. I suspect that they are probably more "narcissistic" than "tendencies" and I never would have been aware of them if it hadn't been for the 6 Year War and the psychological testing and analyzing I had to go through during that war. But I DID go through that test, and I have the report. The ironic thing is that report was court property, and I wasn't supposed to see it. But I did... and I think about it a lot. One of the things the psychologist wrote about me was that I appeared to have higher expectations of my morality than was normal. I think about that a lot.

Some people are pretty damned certain what they would do or wouldn't do in a given situation. (I was one of them.) And then when they get into that situation, they do something completely different. (I've been there, too.) And maybe it's the wrong thing. The question is once they've experienced a given situation, and analyze what they did or didn't do... should that situation arise again, will they react differently the next time? Will they make the appropriate decision? Are they qualified to KNOW what's appropriate for others in the same situation? I'd like to think I've learned from some of the foul/not quite right/sorta grey things I've done, and I'm pretty damn certain given my experience that there are things I just won't do.

But are you supposed to play in the grey? What if everyone does, and no one's looking at it in black and white? Why have rules? What's the point? Why have laws? Are some things just plain wrong? Or do you look at everything in terms of grey?

Before the 6 Year War I could easily stay in the grey for over. For one thing, it's pretty fucking convenient. You can never be held to anything. There's always an "out". Till you end up in someplace like Family Court. Or have some foul shit done to you. Then you realize how every body playing in the grey is really very self-serving. Then you appreciate having an (hopefully) ethical, uncorrupted judge or GAL looking at things in black and white.

Lots of questions. And, at least according to the 98% of the world who's playing in the grey, there are no easy answers. But I'll be honest; I sort of think that's a cop out--that "no easy answer". The truth is the truth. For every action there is a reaction. There are consequences to the things you choose to do. It's what prompted my grandfather to write "Do right because it's right to do right" and I think about that a lot too. There's just some shit you have to decide not to do.

If you know that to do a thing will cause a person grief or pain, do you do it even it benefits you? If you knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you pushed a red button, you'd get a million dollars but you'd kill someone you didn't know, would you push it? And how would it affect your decision if it was someone you knew?



Ethics. Are they a worthwhile pursuit?

Speaking of ethics, we toured Fieldston on Tuesday; the ParentingPartner, the Sun and myself. The school was founded on the principals of training ethical leaders. My grandfather, he of the "do right" persuasion, sent both of his children there. It's the only reason I'd even consider applying... because Poppy went there.

"The ideal of the school is to develop individuals who will be competent to change their environment to greater conformity with moral ideals."
Felix Adler, Philosopher, humanist, and founder of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School


I would love for the Sun to go there... but at (some huge sum of $$ I refuse to look at) it's unlikely he will unless they decide they like him enough to take him for free. (Boy the odds for the poor in this country sure are stacked against them, but that's an entirely different subject.) It's too bad too; the Sun LOVED it. All the wonderful things he could do or be...

On the other hand, will it ruin him? Will it instill in him the same ethical values it did in my father, who in turn cursed me with them? Will it cause my beautiful boy grief in the end?

Is it worth it to teach him how to be ethical? When the world is full of grey... he could be doomed to a life of pain.

On the other hand, he might end up a master of the grey....

2 comments:

professor said...

see my blog...link it if you want too...my answer is way too long for the comment section...

BigBear said...

the dialectic, good/bad, right/wrong,back/white, it eliminates the gray areas, muddied thinking it makes you hard to get along with but you are always clear everyone always knows where you stand I dunno, it makes your life simpler but alone..it's where artists live..keep the real clear, know what's real and whats illusion. See, I read your blog!