Lydy's Anarchist Revival Meeting
So, I have a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. For the most part, it runs just fine. Yesterday, on the way home, the windshield washer stopped windshield washering. I did the last couple of miles on 35W more by memory than by sight. I got off the freeway, stopped at the SA, and bought some windshield washer fluid stuff. Looked in the manual, figured out where the reservoir was, and put fluid in. It took about a fifth of a gallon. I have literally no idea if this is a typical amount for a reservoir. Ok, then.
On my way to work last night, the windshield washer thingy worked fine. I congratulate myself on actually having done a bit of maintenance. (Cars are a great, huge, scary mystery to me.) So I get in my car this morning, start the car, and try to wash the windshield. No dice. "Sigh," I say, pop the hood, and look at the windshield washer fluid reservoir. It looks empty, so I fill it with about as much fluid as the day before, and figure I just washed the windshield a lot. Ok, then. I get in the car, and try to wash the windshield. Nothing happens. It is fucking cold (technical term), so I wonder if maybe it's just too cold or something.
I drive home. What with traffic, it takes me about 45 minutes. Periodically throughout the drive, I try the windshield washery thing. It doesn't work. I decide that either there's a leak in the line or the pump is dead. I am distresed, as my guess is that this is several hundred dollars to fix. Now, several hundred dollars is never a trivial amount, but right before Christmas and right after I've paid for six months of car insurance is a particularly bad time, you know?
I stop for breakfast, as I do Wednesday mornings. I go back to the car after about a half an hour, and more by habit than anything else, I attempt to wash the windshield while I'm on my way to the gas station. It works. Say, what? I get home after running my errands, pack up for my hot date, and get back in the car. The car has been sitting for about 45 minutes. Windshield washer is still working on my way to my hot date. Ok, then.
So, so confused. Anybody know anything that might help? Is my pump dying? Is my car psychotic? And what about Naomi?
When I am miserable, sick and in pain, the very last thing I need to dream about is being miserable, sick and in pain, even if the pain comes with better colors when dreaming. Also, that dream about not having a good place to hide the body? Didn't like that one, either. Can we go back to the one where we're exploring the museum? I liked that one. Thanks.
I got my flu shot yesterday. As always, it hurt, because needles. Ok, then. But it continued to hurt. And then hurt some more. So, I looked at it in the mirror. I have a red spot fully four inches in diameter. It's bigger than a baseball, dammit. And it's incredibly sensitive to any pressure.
I've never had this reaction to a shot before. Fascinating. There aren't any symptoms that worry me. No shortness of breath, red lines, or things like that. I did have some joint and muscle pain earlier today, but that's mostly gone, and is pretty typical with getting a flu shot for me.
So, really, WTF?
So, I am getting smartphone tomorrow, while I sleep, if Fed Ex delivers when they say they will. I expect to hate it with a passion, since I truly dislike touch screens. On the other hand, I really, really want the internet in my pocket.
It's an HTC Evo 4G. An Android phone. (Used, a refurb.) Any advice as to apps I desperately need, and other tips as to how to make friends with the savage beast, the touch screen?
If I do this right, I don't lose my phone number. If I screw that up, I'll let you know.
Over the past year, I've entered into a very fraught and unpleasant relationship with the wife of a friend of mine. Some of you know the back story, and some of you don't. What I want to talk about here isn't the back story so much as my own reactions, and try to parse what I have been doing and why.
The bottom line of this relationship is that it really isn't good for anyone, as far as I can tell. Engagement has been punctuated by bad behavior on both sides. (I would argue that she has behaved worse than I have, but I would, wouldn't I?) The weird thing is that we can't seem to disengage. It is my perception that she continues to poke at me and that I continue to respond. It seems likely that she would argue that I continue to give her provocation, and that she is responding to that provocation. Since other people's motivations are at best a matter of speculation, and my own motivations are the topic, here, let's set aside exactly who's doing what to whom and look at why I keep on responding. The thing is, for a year, we've been doing exactly the same things. One useful although very incomplete definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And I have totally been doing that.
My first assumption was that I have been doing it because in style and personality, this person strongly resembles my father, with whom I had a very complex abuse history. So, deep childhood programming. This explanation seems profound and useful. But here's the problem with it: this is not my first rodeo. I was able to sever contact with my father. I came to realize that every time I talked to him, I lost about three days of my life to misery and stress. After a great deal of thought, I decided that determining whose fault that was, and trying to fix it, was more labor intensive than I was willing to deal with, especially since it wasn't clear that there was a fix. What I concentrated on was the fact that the relationship as it stood was too expensive for me to continue to pursue, and that there wasn't any clear resolution available on the horizon. Finally, I realized that I didn't see any particular profit in resolving the relationship. He no longer had anything I really wanted or needed. While it might have been nice to have a loving and supportive father, that not only wasn't in the cards, but I was now old enough that it was no longer a driving need. So, I severed ties. More than ten years after, he died. I felt a little bad, but I never regretted my decision.
Twice in my life, I have left romantic relationships, not because I no longer cared for my partner, but because in my estimation, the relationship was permanently broken. Given everything I knew about me and my ability to change, and everything I could see about them and their ability to change, there did not appear to be any hope of significant happiness together. Love wasn't enough. And so, I left. In both cases, the man I left was very angry about it, and has not forgiven me. I'm sorry about that. But I stand by those decisions. We weren't good for each other, and there was no reason to believe that this would change in the future.
So, I know that I can walk away from a relationship. It is clear I have the skills to evaluate a relationship as non-profitable, and take my emotional investments elsewhere. I think this is a good and valuable skill, actually. (There are, of course, people who disagree and think that one should simply stick it out. I think they're crazy.) Which brings me back to the wife of my friend. Why the hell can't I seem to disengage? Why do I continue to respond? What is going on here, with a person I don't particularly like, which seems so addictive, when I was able to go cold turkey from people I actually loved?
I think that I may have a bad case of XKCD 386: "Someone is wrong on the internet!" There are two pieces, here. The first is that I feel most strongly about responding when this person has either stated things which I believe are counter-factual, or when she makes judgments about my character which I find abhorrent. Again, not my first rodeo. The first, in particular, was very much part of my dad's arsenal. In fact, one of the reasons I gave up on him was because he tried to tell me that I had had a happy childhood. There have been several times where she and I have experienced an event, and her account of it varies significantly from my memories of it. I am somewhat vulnerable to gas lighting because of my own mental health issues. So, I try to keep careful track of situations where my memories and someone else's are at variance. It's a baseline worry of mine, getting the facts wrong. So dealing with someone for whom facts appear to be malleable is especially challenging for me. It takes special effort, and double checking with people whose memories and character I trust, to keep everything straight, especially if there is any stress in the situation. In general, I rely on my conversation partners to help me keep track of what did and didn't happen. And I cannot rely on this person, and I feel a sense of personal betrayal when she misrepresents the facts. (I have done extensive checking with other people who were also present, and they confirm that my memories much more closely track with their own than this person's stated memories.) The thing that is unique, here, is that most of this is happening in public or semi-public fora. Either in person, with other people present, or on LJ. And there we have XKCD 386.
I've talked a bit in previous posts about how we construct reality. How it has a communal nature. What we understand comes not just from our own experiences, but from the information other people give us about their experiences. We know ourselves partly by our reflection in other people. We are partly contingent upon our context. And our community is built out of overlapping and layered contexts. We know oddly complicated things about people, like this person is easy to get along with in small groups but becomes a boor in big groups and that person is likely to tell the truth in ways that hurt feelings even though they don't intend to and this other person rarely talks about their personal life but seems to have a vibrant relationship with their SO and a pretty functional relationship with mostly everybody else and we have detailed models of how these people combine and what kinds of experiences we are likely to have with various combinations. Our understandings of each other both within our community and as individuals is based on an endless amount of fine detail, much of it anecdotal. And when someone lies about me, or about my experiences in public, I get very uncomfortable. I can feel my own grasp of my context and the context of my friends deforming slightly when I read her weird ideas on who did what and why. And I dislike that discomfort enormously. I do worry, sometimes, that people will be led astray by her statements. I should be able to trust my friends to resist making rash judgments based on statements which don't really seem to fit with the rest of the fabric of our reality. Most of the time, I do trust them. I think that usually, it is my own discomfort that I am addressing.
I keep on trying to write a conclusion to this noodle. The problem is that, having identified the problem, I still don't have any particular desire to stop. The satisfactions I get from engaging are sufficient, and the discomfort I get from not engaging is not something I seem to be able to ignore. My preferred solution, that this person stop lying about me and mine on the internet, isn't an available option. I don't get to control other people's behavior.
Does anyone one know if it is possible to determine who has been looking at a locked post on LJ? That is to say, if I have a friends-locked post, can I tell which accounts have viewed that content? I don't know of any way to do that, but there are many things I do not know about LJ.
Note, this post is _not_ locked. If you know the reason I asked this, probably this is not the place to discuss it.
As I said to a friend recently, "I'm not that big a fan of promises." Some of that is clearly personal history. My mother promised my father the standard "Till death do us part" thing, and years and years of abuse didn't make her feel that she could be free of that promise. Of course, there were other things going into that decision. (Or more precisely, those decisions. The decision to stay was one that she made over and over and over again for 25 years.) The economic realities of a divorced woman in the Sixties certainly had a lot to do with it. But while it wasn't the only factor, it was certainly a very strong one.
Promises are contracts that we make with the future. We make them because nothing is quite so frightening or unknowable as the future. It looms at us every second of every day, and is utterly untouchable and unknowable. And so we make promises, to ourselves and to our loved ones, as a way of creating a future, as a way of taming the unknowable, a way of creating security where there is none. The problem, of course, is that we are making commitments for people we don't know and have never met: our future selves. We cannot know who we will become. Which, of course, is part of the point of making those promises, especially the marital promises. We don't know what's coming, but we want to be able to rely on each other. We want a cushion against the cruel reality of time. And so we promise. And we mean it.
Sometimes, the promise really is the way forward. Sometimes, keeping faith with our past selves and our present loved ones is the way we find strength and courage to build the future. But sometimes the present is so far beyond anything we could have imagined, sometimes the people we become is so far beyond anything we could have anticipated, that keeping that promise is like making love to a corpse. Sometimes trying to keep faith with your past means breaking faith with your future.
There is no easy way to know when this has happened. We change gradually. Our past, even if we have very good memories, becomes shrouded by our present. But sometimes, it becomes clear that keeping promises is no longer a way forward. It is no longer a hedge against the uncertainty of the future, but rather the building blocks of a present misery. And I believe that there is no shame in understanding this, and choosing another course. Let the dead, as they say, bury their own dead. If promises, instead of ensuring the future, destroy it, then it's time to choose a new future.
Breaking promises is not cheap; it always has a cost. At very least, you are breaking faith with your past self. It is not something to be done lightly. But everything has a cost, including keeping the promise. And doing a cost-benefit analysis is not a bad thing. I know people who feel that it is always immoral to break a promise. Nothing I say here will change their opinion; they see promises as concrete things, like baseballs or roses. I don't think they are. They are a way of thinking about the past and the future, they are neither fictional nor fully real. They are a way to resolve issues. When they stop resolving problems and start becoming a problem, it is time to find a new problem-solving technique.
My feeling about lies is very similar, I suppose. Again, I know people that think that lying is always wrong. I certainly don't think so. I will casually lie to people I don't know well about things that are inconsequential. Some stories "tell" better if told in the first person, even if they didn't happen to you. Some truths are incredibly complex, and a technical lie is as close to the truth as you can get without getting into serious personal detail that is none of your interlocutor's business. But just as breaking promises can cost, so can telling lies.
My problem with lying is not a moral one, but a practical one. Lying deforms the datasphere. We, all of us, collect and collate information on people around us, as well as ourselves. We can't help it. Understanding people, predicting their behavior, interacting with them, pretty much requires that we collect and understand data about them. The more superficial our interactions, the less detail we need, the less data we bother to collect, and the less we care about how it all fits together. However, as Teresa Nielsen Hayden has said, "Story is a force of nature." We cannot help but take all the information we get about a person and try to fit it into a coherent narrative. We both want and need to understand people.
When you lie, you deform that data set. Now, the occasional lie is likely to go undetected, if it's not about something important. And depending on exactly what it's about, it may be completely inconsequential. But the thing is, the way we understand people is actually quite complex and subtle. So if we observe someone who claims to truly love animals, but their behavior doesn't seem to quite bear that out, we note that. Not necessarily as a lie, but as an anomaly. If someone tells you stories about the year they spent in between high school and college, we don't particularly note them as important. But if the number of things a person says they did in that time frame starts to add up to an impossible number of things, a set of circumstances that don't really fit within a twelve-month time frame, we tend to notice. We don't always notice on a conscious level. But as we try to understand the story of someone's life, and if there are too many false notes, we do notice that. Sometimes, of course, we are wrong. Some people have completely true but utterly improbable lives. Some people are very good liars and the stories all have an internal consistency and there's nothing out of place or out of character. But those are outliers.
Most people have a story which makes a reasonable amount of sense, within the limits of memory, and we tend to automatically make allowances for the types of errors that the flesh is heir to. However, if someone's story doesn't add up, people tend to feel distrust. Each lie we tell has an unknown effect on the datasphere which is other people's understanding of who we are. Over time, we reveal both in what we say and what we do very complex models of who we are. Each lie has the potential to highlight a conflict. As I've said, telling the truth isn't a guarantee that this conflict will not arise. People's lives are complex, and we always see them through the lens of our own experience. So it's completely possible to misunderstand what someone has said about themselves, or to put various pieces together wrong. But at the point that we feel, either consciously or unconsciously, that someone's story doesn't quite add up, we start distrusting not just the stories but the person. We are less likely reach out to them, either to accept or offer help. Less likely to engage emotionally. It can become insurmountable. We all know someone who has told us so many lies we just don't believe anything they say anymore. This is as much because we can't seem to fit it into a matrix that makes sense as the genuine sense of betrayal.
I don't believe that lying is evil, or a sin. But I do think it does damage to our ability to communicate, often in complex ways we cannot predict. And I think it interferes with our ability to create authentic relationships with each other. I also think that sometimes it is absolutely necessary. So, I try to lie seldom, and only about things which are either utterly trivial, or completely vital. People lie. Mostly people tell the truth. All of this is complicated. But keeping the datasphere as clean as possible seems like the best way to create the bridge between me and you.
Promises and lies are both tools. They are powerful, complex, and dangerous tools that we should try to understand and use within the contexts of our real lives rather than our idealized lives. The fact that we can never truly touch reality, that we must always deal with an approximation of reality, makes all this even more difficult. But, you know, no one ever said being human was a cake walk.
Since you don't have access to the nate_bucklin LJ while with Louie, and I have no idea if you can receive email, and Louie is likely to delete anything I post in markiv1111, I will post what I said on the nate_bucklin lj here in hopes that you see it:
"Nate, I think you misunderstood what I said. I told you I was very angry. This is true. However, when you asked me if I wanted you not to call me again, what I said was, "I don't know what I want." This does not mean I want nothing to do with you. It means that at the moment, I am still working on how I feel about the situation, and have not yet decided what level of contact I am comfortable with. However, I stand by what I have previously said. I will always be your friend. At the moment, I'm still working on how to do that without getting badly hurt."
Having been doing some thinking, I will clarify just a bit. I am most certainly still speaking to you. I am happy to receive phone calls from you, or talk to you in person. I am concerned that any contact that we have will provide proximate cause for Louie to be abusive towards you or towards me. I do not hold you responsible for Louie's behavior. However, I am concerned because of past experience.
As for being angry, the biggest reason I am angry is because it appears to me that you get into states where you think that the only people whose emotions have any meaning are yours and Louie's. You seem to treat other people as props and counters, sometimes. And when you do this, I become angry, on my own behalf and on the behalf of other people I love whom I perceive as you mistreating. This does not seem to be your base state, but it does seem to be something you do from time to time, and when you do this, it upsets me.
All my best wishes.
P.S. Pamela said in your nate_bucklin LJ that she is speaking to you, but isn't available until Monday.
I don't particularly like being yelled at, either. But, you know, into every life a little yelling must fall. What I have very little tolerance for is being hectored and being unable to respond. I put up with as a child because, you know, child. And at work, of course, one allows one's boss to yell at one, and if one is smart one normally just listens. But in personal relationships? Even strange, crazy, toxic ones? My toloerance for it is less and less as time goes by.
So, you know, I got this as a LJ message from Louie:
markiv1111 (from 18.104.22.168)
September 26 2013, 01:00:27 Local Edited: September 26 2013, 01:19:15 Local link Collapse Delete Freeze Screen Track Edit
Lydy responded to a post I had made ;my very first ever post in LJ back in August or early Sept. 2012. when it was all the rage to harass me for posting there, even though Nate had given me his express permission. Her post began:
" You know, Louie, every time I try to like you, even a little bit, you post something like this, and I get mad all over again."
It was my first ever LJ post, I think, , and both that fact plus the bizarre concept of 'trying to like' somebody made her stand out as a person who doesn't consider her choice of words before she publishes them here. Trying to get along, I can see, but liking comes from affinity, and that should be effortless and natural.
I can guaran-damn-tee you that she is not making herself any easier for me to like, and I did consider getting to know her better just because Nate seems to care to about her. Her sententious ramblings and detailed analysis of my behavior at the MinnStf meeting on last Sat. was so patronizing, so uncalled for, and so inaccurate that I found it laughable at first. But the implications that she is willing to get this kind of picky icky detail at a time when things are so utterly difficult already blows my mind.
I have had more than enough from her. She will be banned soon. Either that or I will decide that the signal to noise ratio is all wrong and just stop reading and posting completely.
have done nothing wrong; I was a model of good behavior, and I get this crap from her? Just because she can, and I find that hateful. My beef about Nate's behavior at the meeting was a legitimate one, between Nate and I, and she should keep her snout out of it, as she was part of the problem, not a neutral observer.
I would respond to her in the same fashion, except that she's blocked me. Which, you know, is fine. It's just that I don't particularly like being in a position where I can't respond if I want to.
While I have many different thoughts about this latest oddness, here are my top two:
1) This might be mildly concerning if I thought that she had sent it to someone whose good opinion I value. However, as far as I know, we don't have any mutual friends left. So, kinda not worried.
2) If she thinks that what I posted about the Mnstf meeting was a detailed analysis, she understands neither the word detailed nor the word analysis.
There's one other thing that is really bothering me about Louie's post in response to Nate's post in nate_bucklin. She says that I criticized Nate's behavior in a post which has since been deleted. Since the post has been deleted, no one can see what I wrote, and so she can say pretty much anything she wants to, but that doesn't make it true.
Specifically, I criticized Louie's projected behavior, and told Nate that it was neither kind nor appropriate to enable Louie to behave in such an uncivilized fashion. In the event, they didn't follow through on their bizarre plan, most likely because of something someone else said, and not me. Which is fine. What I really was concerned about was that a social venue which is important to me not be turned into a war zone, which it wasn't. So, mission accomplished.
However, Louie is implying that I somehow endorse her claims that Nate batters her, and that I told him so on his LJ. This is entirely untrue.
If anyone is deeply curious, I do have a copy of what I wrote, and can send it to you. But honestly, it's all water under the dam. The issue about which I am currently concerned is that she is misrepresenting what I wrote. I dislike this in the extreme.