Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blog it Out Two - Uncle Fester

My last post I mentioned my world spiraling into a blue-black swirl of pain, my thoughts co-opted by someone who only sees the negative everywhere he looks.  I’m going to call this mindframe Uncle Fester (mindset + frame of mind = mindframe).  
Not this lovable.

The first visit I got from Uncle Fester was over something so embarrassingly trivial I can’t even name it here, so I’ll make up something equally trivial to give you an idea of how ridiculous the cause was.  I asked Becky to do the dishes after I cooked dinner, and she didn’t.
Maybe she was going to do dishes in the morning.  Maybe she was going to wash them after work, before she made dinner.  Maybe she expected me to do them.  Whatever the reason, each dirty dish was a weight on a scale, measuring our relationship.
Look at those dishes, Aaron, Uncle Fester said.  If it’s like this after two years, what do you think it will be like after twenty?  If she cares this little for you now, it’s just going to get worse down the line.  Problem is, you’re in love.  You can’t leave.  You’ll just have to wait it out until she gets sick of your old, tired, saggy ass, you’ll just have to let her drag you through shit until she’s bored to tears just looking at you, until she wises up and leaves.
Uncle Fester stayed a sold week, maybe longer.  Knowing the cause was trivial didn’t help in the slightest.  In fact, it made it worse.  The more I told Uncle Fester to let it go, to get over it, to stop being so silly, the harder he clawed his way through my thoughts, tearing everything to bleary ruin.  
I tried keeping it to myself.  Or maybe it was too overwhelming to talk about, this feeling that the dream I’d been living for months had become a nightmare.  Trying to keep it inside proved less than effective.
“Do you want a ride now, or should I pick Dylan up first and come back for you so you have more time to work?”  Becky’s questions were all innocence.  She thought she was talking to the man she loved, not Uncle Fester.
If I catch a ride now, will the dishes be done? Fester hissed.
“Whatever,” I’d snap, “Who cares?  Do want you want, what difference does it make.”
Yeah, more like that.

Fester pissed on everything.  

That’s a great story, does it wash dishes?  Because I’m going to Book Club tonight, it means the dishes don’t get cleaned?  I’m trying to listen but I can’t hear you over the SOUND OF THE DIRTY DISHES.
Again I find myself saying that wanting to be over something doesn’t mean I am.  


  1. Ehhh....I might get shouted down here, but I don't think you should be so hard on yourself. Marriage (or a relationship) is a team, and if you cook dinner and the agreement is that your partner washes the dishes, and then they don't, that's part of the team not pulling their weight. I'm not saying it's worth getting angry and seething inwardly about it the way you seem to have, but I think mentioning and talking about it, and having it be clear that you think it's important that you both do your share is totally acceptable. Normal, even. We're supposed to take care of the person we love, and of ourselves, and of the family/couple unit as a whole, and that means getting things done.

    My ex drove me absolutely crazy about that - he would frequently not do things he said he was going to (dishes, income tax, filing, car insurance renewal etc.) because he didn't feel like it or smoked too much weed and forgot, and saw no problem with that. But it made me want to not live with him (I didn't). And I realized he was the wrong guy for me because rather than talking to him about it, which would have been the mature and helpful thing to do, I just got annoyed and then went "eh, who cares" and got out of there. If I'd cared about him and wanted the relationship to work, I would have stuck around and worked through it.

    I doubt Becky even knew she'd pissed you off!

  2. She didn't. At all. And when I finally brought it up, the humiliation of seething all week was compounded by how trivial and stupid the whole thing was.


    Our the general rule is that one person cooks and the other one cleans. Except we seem to clean as we go, so whoever cooks ends up leaving a clean kitchen, so there's really nothing for the other person to do. Still, one can invoke the "rule" when one really isn't feeling that ambitious to do everything at once, which is important.

    I've always said the secret to cohabiting is sex, humor, and the same tolerance for uncleanliness.

  3. But you're right, communication is part of my problem. I'm used to a certain level of understanding... which it took fourteen of sixteen years with the ex to build.

    It's an unfair comparison, but when Becky doesn't measure up, frustration can get the better of me.

    I think she wastes a lot of time trying to imagine why I'm upset because I've shut down, when it would be so much easier just to be like, "Hey, I'd appreciate it if you did the dishes."

    But Fester don't see it that way.

    Fortunately, Fester isn't as strong as he appeared at first.