Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Butcher is an Idiot

Some drunk chick rear-ended the Butcher on his way home from work. The Butcher, as you may recall, is driving our only car--my car. My car. The Butcher was fucking magnanimous to that drunk idiot. Yes, when she asked him if they just couldn't take care of it between them, and he smelled the booze on her, he said "Just give me your insurance information." Yes, it's very easy to be magnanimous in your sister's car. It's fine. The back bumper is a little dented. But it's fine. I'm just tired of feeling like the only god damned person in this house who is holding things together. I mean, no, it's not his fault she hit him, but god damn, we have one car. We can't lose it. Shit like this just cannot happen. Worse shit than this cannot happen. But you know, we're pretty powerless to stop it from happening. What if something happens to the Butcher? You know, what if I'm all alone here with the cats and the dog and the killer hobos? You think this is a fucked up place now, imagine if I had no one to count on. And yet, the person I count on most is a twenty-five year old idiot who thinks he can coast through life sticking it to the Man by depriving the Man of the Butcher's talents. Tonight, the recalcitrant brother called me to talk again about the Butcher. "You know, I don't want to stick it to the Man, I want to be the Man. I want to be that lazy fucker who sits behind the desk all day while other people bust their asses," says the recalcitrant brother. "The Butcher needs to get his act together. What would he do if you died?" This is disjointed, I know. I fret because it feels like if I worry about all the small things, I can distract myself from the utter terror I feel when I think about how many mammals depend on me, and what a shitty, shitty job I do providing for them. And I just can't do it alone. I desperately need to believe that there's some one watching out for us, that luck, even a little bit, is on our side. Because, if it's just me who's in charge of providing everything for the folks in this household, we're really screwed. And I wish that the Butcher got that, how afraid I am every day that I'm on the verge of failing him, that I'll fuck something up and we won't have money to pay our bills or we'll lose our lease or the car or whatever. I don't want him to want better for himself just because I want more money coming into the household. I want him to want better for himself because, right now, he's depending on me, and I'm not someone you can depend on. I'm not responsible. I don't understand finances. I don't keep house. No one goes to the vet or the doctor as often as they should. The recalcitrant brother wants me to talk to the Butcher about seeing a shrink or going back to school, as if I've got my shit together. As if I'm the grownup. Everything's fine. I know everything will be okay. It's just a little dent and he's not hurt. He's even gone to Walmart to buy more yarn, so I can continue to distract myself from the knowledge that it's just me here, and the fear that sooner or later, my luck will run out.


Blogger Kat Coble said...

Wow. I'm so glad that everyone's okay. You know I do believe that Someone is looking out for you, and continue to pray to that Someone every day that you will continue to be okay.

In the meantime, it's really okay to feel totally frigging vulnerable, because that's how a lot of us spend our days.

Again, I'm so glad you're alright and the Butcher is as well. Is there anything tangible that I can do?

11/27/2005 09:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear B,
You are the hero in your life -- and in your stories. You are who you are looking for... breathe deeply and relax. You have had all the wit and resources to get you this far and you will continue to have exactly what you need at the moment you need it (and not a second too soon!).
Peace, dear one, peace.

11/27/2005 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger John H said...

I wrote on my place the other day that one of the things i was grateful for was being able to read your blog, and one of the things that shines like a laser is the love you have for your family, esp. when you are so pissed at the 'Butcher'.

the love you show and feel and know will be what pulls it all through. Plus, you gotta know there are a bunch of other people who care a helluva lot for you.

11/27/2005 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger luckybuzz said...

I know I'm generally just a lurker here, but I want to give a big "hell yeah" to what everyone else said. And I totally relate to too many mammals depending on me.

11/28/2005 12:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Welcome to being a grown-up. Expect to worry about "what if..." forever.

And you aren't failing the Butcher, he is failing you. As long as you are the only one worrying about rowing this boat, he has no motivation to pick up a oar.

11/28/2005 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Thank you all for your kind words. It'll be fine. It's truly not that big a deal, but it just reminds me of all the larger stuff that I don't know how to deal with. But it'll be fine.

11/28/2005 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

Sarcastro said it best, man. Every single day of my life, I think, "How in the hell did it happen that I have 3 kids, 2 cats, and 1 dog depending on me? I can't even take care of myself, very well." And then somehow I manage to take care of us all.

How? It's a mystery.

You'll manage, of course. Then you'll marvel at how you managed to manage.

I'm glad nobody was hurt. Too bad the Butcher didn't call the police on that ho, he could have sued for lots and y'all wouldn't have had to worry about money. ;)

11/28/2005 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Exador said...

I think you have explained the term, "Codependant", better than I could have imagined.

11/28/2005 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Codependent, eh?


If you have some ideas about what the right course of action is, I'd love to hear it. If you're just going to sit back and call names, I'm going to stomp on your foot the next time I see you.

While I'm certain a rock feels no pain and an island never cries, not all of us can lay claim to that particular Simon and Garfunkle song as our life's creed. The rest of us have messy lives with things that aren't easily resolved.

But, at least, I now know what song I'll be singing about you while I work on the afghan.

11/28/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Advice from the Patriarchy:

Give the Butcher a deadline: "You will have your own transportation by this date. You need to buy a jalopy, find a ride, take the bus, hail a cab, or bust out your walking shoes, I don't give a fuck. The car goes to the fucker who is putting a roof over your head and food in your belly, and that fucker is me."

It's this sort of thing that is ruining Danny Bonaduce's marriage!

11/28/2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Dear Patriarchy,

But here's the thing. Or what?

He must have a job that he must go to because I must have that money. If I take the car back, he can't get to his job, which means I don't get that money.

It's shit like this that makes it very hard for me to believe that you, Patriarchy, actually prefer that only one person (the one with the penis) make all the money for the family.

It seems like that must be very stressful for those men, to know that someone(s) depend on them that much.

Anyway, back to the problem at hand, which is that there's no "or what" I can hang over his head which doesn't seem like it hurts me as much as it might hurt him.

I don't want him to move back in with my parents. I don't want him to not be able to go to work.

I guess I could start beating him. That seems like a patriarchal strategy for getting noncompliant people to shape up. But he could kick my ass.

11/28/2005 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Exador said...

Womens' nagging skills work like erosion, but like erosion, you can carve out the grand canyon, given enough time.

11/28/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

This is why we've been running things for the last coupla thousand years. And why no women made it to the final table at the World Series of Poker. Does the Butcher know you are bluffing, will you fold even though your hand is better than his?

First off, you don't let him know that it will hurt you as much as it hurts him. Big mistake. The person who cares the least always has the power in a relationship, be it romantic or familial.

Tell Butcher you want to have a "come to Jesus" (oops, sorry Kat)meeting. Explain how you aren't his Mommy and he needs to start acting like a man and taking responsibility or you will have to make a change. You don't want to make a change, but you will if things don't change. You can get another roomate and he can move back with mom and dad if he wants to continue to live like a teenager without a care in the world.

11/28/2005 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Well, well, well, Patriarchs. Now we've reached an interesting impasse. Having absorbed your nonsense about not liking to be nagged, I have failed to develop said nagging skills.

And now, now, I find out that, even though you complain about nagging, you actually respond to it.

Well, thanks for nothing, Patriarcy. I chose to develope my lightning quick wit rather than said nagging skills because I thought that would make you like me better. And now I see I've chosen wrong.

11/28/2005 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Exador said...

Nice try, but we (men) only tolerate the nagging if there's a reason, which is almost always: we love you, we're sleeping with you, or both.

You could also add, We've got a sweet gig living with you.

Nagging does make us like you less; however, see above.

11/28/2005 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger bridgett said...

Naw, you chose wisely...if all you wanted was to be liked. I think that what you really probably wanted was to be respected and supported as well, mistaking the skill set for being liked as the vehicle that was going to get you there.

I number your blog among my daily pleasures, not quite up there with my first cup of coffee, but certainly better than the second and more eagerly anticipated.

11/28/2005 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...


Clearly, you're right. And I mean that sincerely (not about the reason you've been running the world or winning at poker, but about the person who cares less having the most power).

But I can't bear to do that. It feels dishonest to me and I can't bear to negotiate for better treatment of myself from a position of dishonesty.

We're a family and I love him and he loves me. Why can't I just talk to him honestly and forthrightly?

I don't want to manipulate him or to feel as if I'm trying to manipulate him.

I mean, I want to be upset and have him fix things. I don't want to turn into the kind of girl who plots her upsettedness in such a way that it maximizes the benefit to her.

I'm not denying that manipulation and nagging work. Clearly they do. But to me, they represent two of the worst habits women pick up, because, at heart, both of them mean that we don't trust the men in our lives and so we've decided to covertly be in charge.

I cannot live that way. I would rather trust him and be let down and hope for the best and be disappointed than to become the kind of woman I hate.

I know it's stupid and I know it's going to mean that we keep coming back to this stuff because it's not just going to resolve itself and I know that justifying myself to you all doesn't actually fix things and, most scarily, perhaps this is an indication that my personal philosophies are actually harmful to me, whic would suck, but there you go.


Thanks. Better than your second cup of coffee. Wow.

11/28/2005 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Jeebus! Where to start?

Your negotiating position is one of weakness. Setting the bar kinda low, aren'tcha? Dishonesty and manipulation are part of the skill set that helps level the playing field for you with us brutish and violent, but easily duped men. Playing the guilt card should be as natural as taking a breath for you. Shit woman, you've played it on me for crossing the line of good taste and appropriate humor. What was your negotiating position with me? Fucking zero. Yet, you had me apologizing left and right when I should have said, "Hey, we aren't sleeping together and you aren't paying my bills, so your feelings mean nothing to me. Tough titty toenail." But I didn't because you laid down the guilt card. It trumps all others. Plus, you don't have to be dishonest or premeditatedly emotional, you can state your case in a factual and FIRM manner. Don't be a bitch, but let him know how disappointed you are that he isn't living up to his potential and you are having to suffer for it and if he respected you as a person or loved you as a sibling, he would endeavor to improve. If he doesn't get something out of that discussion and decides he wants to couch surf with Mom for a while, you have really lost nothing, because there was nothing there to start with.

If not, you will be a doormat for him and every other man who clomps through your life. What do your personal philosophies say about that?

I like the Butcher. But, like my own brother, he needs to grow up.

11/28/2005 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Hmm. Do you think I'm your doormat?

As for the meat of your comment, I'm ignoring it for now, because to answer you requires admitting something very ugly about my relationship with my brothers and I just can't face it right now.

11/28/2005 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

If you'd like to remember the rather mercenary atmosphere on Mt Sarcastro, let me remind you of this quote from Thanksgiving:

Now it is a three-way standoff. Not one of us (except Mom is exempt) can safely sleep, now. Trust no one. This will only get uglier as the weekend progresses. I must prepare for battle.

11/28/2005 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

I had planned to load up on cans of compressed air, shaving cream and other tricks of the trade. Instead, I just made sure never to fall asleep around either of them.

The password is taxhq

11/28/2005 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

B, please don't hate me for this, but I agree with Sacrastro about much of this. I don't think you played the guilt card with him though. I think you were honest about your feelings. That he felt guilty is indicative of, I think, the fact that he cares something about you - not all relationships involve money or sex, really they don't. But I think that one of the best ways to figure out whether or not the Butcher can be responsible is to make expectations clear and give him a chance to live up to them rather than just being diappointed that he hasn't figured out yet what adult responsibilities are. I don't think he'll leave you. I think he loves living with you. I think he's very afraid of all the ways his disappointing you. But I think he does not know how to do better. Shit, the guy sometimes secretly reads TCP to find out how you're feeling!! Just talk to him. You both really want it. Neither of you have learned how to start. You're closer to being able to than him; give it a try.

11/28/2005 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Professor, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

11/28/2005 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

Will you write a lame song about it, like the couple that only agreed about liking Breakfast at Tiffany's, our friendship exists because we agree that B should be honest with her brother, that she should take care of herself too?

11/28/2005 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

That Breakfast at Tiffany's song sure was catchy. That would be hard to top.

I figure that you have agreed with me twice in public today. Your defenses must be weakening.

11/28/2005 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

But I did publicly disagree once as well. My defenses are not down yet.

11/28/2005 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

Should I still call you Sarcastro, or is this like on The Prisoner, where you are Number 58?

11/28/2005 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

I don't personally think it's underhanded or devious to demand a level of respect due you for being the one who keeps the Butcher from swift starvation and homelessness. How you extract that respect from him is more difficult to say, especially since I don't know him.

But you are within your rights to tell him that he has to shape up or get out. And you are within your rights to mean it, too.

11/28/2005 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger dailydiablogger said...

Oh, boy... Sometimes, it is all I can do to come home to three kids who need this and need that. They have a worthless deadbeat father who's whereabouts are unknown for the greater part of the time and my beloved does what he can but still, it is barely enough. Everyday I go to work, to a job I despise to work for people who were once real people, but I am so thankful that I have one to go to. And, every week, I am so thankful that I can buy groceries. How gracefully we teeter on the tightrope of homelessness. We are always one check away from broke and I feel your pain and know your struggle. For me, I've just got to put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

11/28/2005 07:08:00 PM  

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