Posted by: Marie | February 15, 2010

(249) Bending over and . . .

Post #249
[Private journal entry written on Monday, November 2, 2009 – 6pm]

Okay, once again I am in the ever-so-familiar position of being very angry at someone – at a situation – and being unsure how to fix it. I don’t know how to use my anger at being “stepped on” to stop it from happening again.

This afternoon, I had a piano lesson scheduled for 4:30pm in the living room – and a second one at 5:15pm. So, around lunchtime, I cleaned the entire common space (including the living room, kitchen and bathroom). Then, I headed out to work a few hours at my job with the school district.

Normally, I get home from my job around 4:15pm – but, today, I didn’t get out of there on time and I didn’t get back home until 4:22pm. That shouldn’t have been a big deal – I should have been able to just walk in the door, take off my coat, smooth my hair, turn on the lights and greet my first student when she and her mom walked in the door at 4:30pm.

No such luck.

When I walked in, my housemate, Erik, was sitting in his recliner, watching TV and eating his dinner. Because it was cold outside, all three dogs were in the living room – on the furniture.

Photo by Martin Chen

There were potato chip fragments and sandwich crumbs on the furniture and the floor. All the food stuff and dishes Erik used to make his meal were sitting out on the counter . . . and there was mayo smeared on the countertop – mixed with bread crumbs.

Laundry was piled on top of the piano and on the piano bench.

Dog hair was swirling around on the hardwood floors. Muddy paw prints were visible on the floor and on the leather chairs that the parents of my students sit in during the lesson. I knew I didn’t have time to clean the mud off the chairs because leather takes a good 20 minutes to dry after it is washed.

This student and her mother are fairly new clients. I would have been less freaked if this had happened with a student who had been with me awhile and had seen a pattern of cleanliness and would know this was a fluke – I could have just laughed it off.

Struggling to keep my calm, I told Erik I had a lesson in five minutes. Whoops – he forgot.

How can he forget? I give him my schedule in writing. I stand over him at his computer to make sure he gets it in his calendar. I remind him verbally almost every day. But, still, he forgets.

But, today, I had to hold my anger in check – I had to keep it together and get the situation handled. I had to suppress my explosive emotions until after my two lessons.

Erik jumped up and took his dishes to the sink. He moved the dogs to the master bedroom and shut the door.

I started frantically trying to get the worst of the mess cleaned up, starting with the laundry on the piano. I was expecting him to help me – surely he would help . . . right??

No such luck.

He sat down at the just-unburied piano and started playing the song he has been working to learn. He commented that he would like for me to help him relearn it.

I was very close to exploding. I knew I couldn’t allow myself to look at him or speak to him. If I allowed myself to speak a word to him, I knew I would rip his fucking head off – or I would start bawling uncontrollably – and I could not allow my clients to walk in on either scenario.

I had to hold it together. I had to do whatever needed to get done, put on a happy face and get on with the show.

I got the worst of the mess cleaned up before my clients arrived – I was still vacuuming up dog hair as they were walking up to the door. I made a joke to them about “keeping up with things” as I shoved the vacuum into a corner.

I got through both lessons with a “happy” face – now, I’m back in my room.

I am so pissed off specifically at Erik right now. Susan generally cleans up after herself – but Erik does not.

Erik obviously does not give a second thought to how his behavior affects me – he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about my experience. I guess he thinks I’m his personal slave – and he thinks I’ll just take it because I don’t have any other options right now.

I understand that, if this situation is not working for me, then I should leave. But, I always leave. This time, I want to stay and find a way through it.

Yet, I have no hope that Erik could behave differently. I would like to believe he could. But, I have talked and talked to him until I am blue in the face and it hasn’t changed anything yet. Based on life experience, I know that it is usually a waste of time to talk to a man about changing his behavior – he is not going to care enough to change.

The only way I have been able to convince a man to change his behavior is to inflict pain. But, I don’t want to spend my time and energy inflicting pain.

So, my two choices seem to be: 1) Stay and suffer, or 2) Go and hope for something better.

His behavior is so fucking representative of the behavior of most of the men in my life. When I am in a compromised, at-risk position, men expect me to just bend over and take it in the ass. At this moment in time, I am teetering on the brink of hating all men. I have experienced very few who weren’t selfish – Erik just enforces that pattern.

I want to believe that there are kind, generous, thoughtful men in this world – Erik is definitely what most people would call a “good guy”. So, if even the “good guys” are so thoughtless, what hope do I have of finding truly thoughtful guys in this world?

I don’t want to feel this way about men. I really want to believe my experience of men can be different. I’m just having a very hard time holding onto that hope.


Responses

  1. Gosh, he sucks not to notice or to care. Hope you dumped his butt. If he cared any at all, he would respect your schedule. I’d probably screw something up of his that was important and then act like it’s no big deal, walk away and let him clean it up. No, I’d just drag his sorry ass out the front door. This is harsh, I know, but damn, I’ve been there. I’m learning that living alone is pretty good.

    • Hey, Ivory –

      That might work . . . doing something to his stuff so he could see what it feels like . . . oh, but wait . . . that is in the category of “inflicting pain” . . . not something I care to put my energies towards.

      Well . . kicking him out the door might be a good option — if he and Susan weren’t married and didn’t own the house . . . I’m just a lowly renter of a room . . . the crazy lady who lives in the basement . . . LOL.

      Great input! Glad to have you riled up on my behalf!

      – Marie

      • Oh, but wait . . . I did get him good a few days ago . . .

        He was on the phone with the CEO/President of his company (a very large national company) . . . it was the first time Erik had ever spoken with this guy . . . I had no idea the importance of the phone call . . .

        I happen to be walking by his desk and a solid “burp!” escaped . . . I didn’t mean to let it happen, it was just one of those that sneaks up on you and jumps out when you least expect it. It’s not something I’m prone to do . . . it was a rarity, for sure.

        I didn’t apologize because I was feeling rather revengeful that day. He said something about it and I just made a joke. I knew it wasn’t “right”, but it just felt good.

        Shame on me (evil grin!)

  2. If talking isn’t working then you need to do something different.

    I don’t know that he thinks you’re his personal slave (it doesn’t sound like he tells you to do things) but as you say he just doesn’t care about you and your experience.

    Could you have told him to come out of his room and help you clear up.

    It does sound like it is not a good place to be at the moment.

    Does Susan see your point of view or is she equally oblivious?

    I’ve rented all my life and know how difficult it can be when your renting. Could you say that you are renting the piano and time on it too and so you think you should get a reduction in rent for having to clean up to be able to use it?

    If he leaves the place in a mess can you take his plates and stuff and leave them in his room?

    Just a few stray thoughts. I’ll be interested to hear how this goes – I understand what an important issue it is.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I appreciate the ideas . . . they sound like ways I could make a point without inflicting unreasonable pain and without being very “ugly”.

      This is something I am still figuring out . . . how to stand my ground without it being a dramatic blow-up. Keep reading . . . there is more to come on this!

      – Marie


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