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12:46 p.m. - 2012-08-14
Don't Want Much

Stuff on my mind:

The lawn service. The last time they came they sent a new crew. The new crew did a lousy job. Sloppy. Not up to the usual standard at all. So Mick called the landscaping company and the office girl said she'd send them right back to tidy things up. They never showed. I waited a couple days and still nothing. So I called yesterday, got the office voicemail and left a pungent (but not nasty or profane) message about my dissatisfaction. BOOM! A different crew was here at 8:00am this morning and my yard looks gorgeous. I called back and thanked them for correcting their mistake and for their prompt service. I believe positive feedback is vital. Besides, aside from the one slovenly crew, the boys who come to do the yard work are polite, professional and do an excellent job, and the boss should hear this from a customer.

Positive feedback is tied into something Mick and I have been talking about recently. The biggest problem Mick had with the woman he lived with previous to our relationship (after her being a two-timing cow, of course) was her absolute refusal to EVER say anything nice to him. Oh, she'd correct and nag and mock and complain easily enough, but she couldn't/wouldn't ever bring herself to pay Mick a compliment. Not even a return one like, "You look nice too." Drove him batshit. Eventually Mick twigged to how utterly insecure his ex was and how she feared that by acknowledging he'd done something well she'd be put at a disadvantage. The only way she felt in control of things was to constantly harp on the negative. Never say anything good lest the other guy feel biggity.

This I understand very well. I grew up in a home like this. I remember being so unused to compliments that when one did come my way I couldn't deal. In the fifth grade I tried embroidering my jeans. Big bellbottoms decorated with applique and embroidery were the bomb in 1974. One of the younger teachers noticed my clumsy attempts at handcrafted cool and said how much she liked what I'd done to my jeans. Humiliated by her notice I scuttled home as soon as school let out and pulled out every stitch. Sad, eh? But I was too beaten down, too programmed to think that notice meant sarcasm and mockery that sincere compliments were beyond my ken. I know now the constant smirks and putdowns and mockery of my childhood were the impetus to my determination to be the opposite as an adult. Pick your cliché- 'It's the thought that counts'; 'You get more flies with honey than vinegar'; The Golden Rule, 'If you can't say something nice then say nothing'; I wanted to do a 180 from what I'd been force-fed in my mother's horrible house. So there you go. I was driven to kindness not from a pure heart but out of rebellion Of course somewhere along the way I discovered my rebellion served me well. I began to truly enjoy the feeling of not being the agent of anyone else's pain. Didn't always get it right, still don't. But my pillow is easier at night because I don't do others dirty. At least not on purpose.

Anyway, the reason Mick and I have been talking about this is because he has a work friend (?) who is also on the same game site where Mick plays chess online. In fact Mick invited this guy to sign up in the first place. Mick and Quasi-Friend sometimes played chess at lunchtime during the school year and Mick thought Quasi would enjoy the freedom to play anytime. Nope. Not really. What Quasi does now is lurk Mick's games and chat-bombs Mick with sneers and snarky comments about Mick's win-loss record. Quasi gave up playing Mick after losing three in a row and now to 'get even' has become Mick's most constant and disparaging troll. In telling me about Quasi's ridiculous behavior Mick realized that even outside the chess thing Quasi doesn't ever say or do anything nice either. When Mick first took Lorelei the Focus to school Quasi ignored it. Ignored Mick's shiny new car and refused to engage when Mick brought it up. Yet a few weeks later when Mick came to school in my elderly Escort because I was driving Lorelei that day Quasi was the first one in with a yodeling laugh and a mock. "What's the matter, Mick? Your new ride shit the bed already?" Can't say anything decent but can't wait to say something nasty. Pathetic really. Quasi had a solid career with the NYPD. He has a very nice wife. His house is almost paid for. His kids aren't complete no-accounts. Quasi might even be a good looking guy if he ever stood up straight and wiped that puss off his face. But he sees none of this. Appreciates none of it. He lives his nasty little life and seems to only come alive when he can be an asshole.

Music. Since watching a documentary on Netflix Give Me The Banjo I've been grooving on the moaning bluegrass blues I never had a name for but have loved since ever. Before leaving the mall after seeing 'O Brother Where Art Thou?' I marched straight upstairs to FYE and bought the soundtrack. There's something about that scratchy tinny mono music from the 1920s and 1930s that reels me in. Screw digitally remastered buffed up modernized stuff. I want all the pops and dings and crackle of needle set down on a dusty 78. And the delta blues? Cakewalking bluegrass? Hobo music? Oh yeah.

My current favorite- Gus Cannon. Have a listen.

Isn't it wonderful? Even if it's not exactly your cuppa you can hear the roots of everything in today's music. Country. Rock-n-Roll. Rap.

Pete Seeger lives nearby and I've seen him here and there, mostly at festivals and fundraisers for cleaning up the Hudson. Never heard him play live (yet) but his jaunty cap and aura of socially conscious joy are there and I go all stupidly shy about approaching him to pay my respects. I imagine I'd go all thick-tongued and tharn if ever I saw Stephen King in the flesh too. Sometimes it's just too overwhelming to speak to a legend. Hey, I got tongue-tangled and weepy just trying to talk to Brady Bunch folk.

Last night I went up to Mick's den to check in and say hi. We'd been out earlier to see the new 'Bourne' movie (which stank, btw) and after kissing my guy and exchanging our small news and heading back downstairs to my office it occurred to me this is how it's going to be 12-15 years from now. Wolf will be grown and gone. Mick will be retired. These last couple days with their small errands and treats and chores and relative peace and quiet, they've been a preview of the rapidly approaching Someday. The perfect universe Someday where we still live here and have decent health and money enough to get by. And you know what? It was great.

Much love, ~LA

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