Sunday, October 30, 2005

Secret Origin of Cap'n Neurotic pt.11 - I'll See Your "Awkward Silence" and Raise You a "Self-Conscious Dork"

Glancing back over the last several entries, I can see how, in my fevered rush to plow through this dark and disturbing time in my history, I may have accidentally omitted some key ideas or put forth some apparent contradictions, both of which could cause confusion to my faithful blog monkeys, both those who did and didn't live though that time with me. So, we'll start by addressing one of those things which may well have been puzzling some of you, and which will lead into the next chapter in the seemingly never-ending saga of my neurotic life.

There are two types of people in this world: those who like to make sweeping generalizations, and those who don't. Three guesses as to which camp I fall under. It goes hand in hand with my dramatic and hyperbolic tendencies; saying "I hate all shows where people do stupid things for no reason" is a nice, dramatic sweeping statement that I've used quite often; of course, then I run into one of the G'oviches of the world who calls me on the overly simplistic basis of my statement. Leave it up to the Doc and his kind to ruin a perfectly good overly-dramatic bit of hyperbole with silly old "logic" and "reason."

So, what does this have to do with the price of tea in China, I hear you grumble impatiently? Absolutely nothing, you silly blog monkeys, and what an odd question to ask. I mean, why would this have anything to do with either tea or China? I just don't understand you monkeys sometimes, honestly, I don't.

Now, if you had asked what that had to do with my promise to address a possible bit of confusion in previous entries, then my answer would be: very little, but I've been wanting to work the sweeping generalities thing into a post for a while now.

But seriously, folks, this tendency towards sweeping generalities isn't just a form of communication for me; after thinking in those terms for long enough, they start to become a part of my reality, and it's only when I step back and take a good hard look at the situation in question that I can start to see the shades of grey.

Now, I'm sure that throughout my posts there have been many such statements that don't reflect the true reality of my life at the time; when possible I've tried to note them as such. But one which has really jumped out at me recently is the idea that, after the debacle that was our rooming together, G'ovich and I weren't really on the greatest of terms. And yet, as readers of the last Secret Origins entry will have noticed, during my year rooming with The Old Man, I spent more time hanging out with G'ovich than I did Flunky; in fact, I would continue to spend time around G'ovich pretty consistently up until the time that he and Rocket became part of the Great Parkerite Exodus to Plano a few years later. So, what's with up with my "not on great terms" way of thinking? It’s all relative.

One thing you have to understand about G'ovich; when he wants to be, he can be quite charismatic. He's a fun guy, a funny guy, an entertaining guy; if things were clicking just right, all of the negative stuff would just vanish right out of my head as I was caught up in his Eeeeeeeeevil spell. This was especially true if we were in a group, rather than just one-on-one, since in a group I could just sit back and enjoy the floor-show, rather than getting caught up in the drama of "why can't we carry on a conversation like normal people?" Or at least, it was true for a while; but over time, our one-on-one hanging out sessions began to color my perception of the big group outings, as my wonderfully paranoid little brain began to worry at that question: why couldn't we carry on a conversation like normal people? It was during The Year of the Flunky that I really began to obsess over the fact that I saw G'ovich treating everyone else differently than he did me; this was probably due to the fact that it was during this year that I finally became part of the Doc's regular Poker night.

I'm not sure how long Poker night had been going on before I became involved; I'm not even sure exactly what prompted them to finally invite me. I do know what kept me from being a regular part of it from the beginning: it was an activity with high Eskimo-involvement. I have a suspicion that my rooming with Flunky again was a big part of my being drawn into the fold; also, I had been trying very hard to get over my irrational dislike of The Eskimo, and had by this point whittled it down from "can't stand" to "kind of ambivalent," which might have had some impact. The general poker gang consisted of old Parker residents G'ovich, Flunky, and GMC, and some of The Eskimo's pals, including The Squatch. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in the Poker setting; I was familiar with the basic rules of what beats what, but unfamiliar with the strategies of the game, making me very self-conscious; plus, as a late addition to this group dynamic, I went into instant Outsider mode. But even though those first several months of Poker night made me incredibly uncomfortable and I barely enjoyed myself at all, I wasn't about to opt out of it; I had finally seen a chance to get into the big group again, and didn't want to let it slip by. Of course, I would eventually burn this bridge, but does that really surprise anyone at this point?

It was during the course of these Poker nights and other Poker-gang related activities that I began to notice the difference in how G'ovich related to me, and how he related to everyone else. From my perspective, I would get there early, ask him a question, and get a noncommittal grunt; 5 minutes later Flunky or The Eskimo or any other member of the gang could come in, ask the same freaking question, and get a 15 minute comedy routine on the subject. And, of course, with the way my mind works, after the first time I noticed it happen, I then saw examples of this double standard everywhere I looked; I began to slip into the "what am I doing wrong" state of mind again, barely opening my mouth for fear that I was going to say something that would make everyone like me even less than they already did; this led to the Poker games to be even less enjoyable than before, and for my one-on-one time with the Doc to become even more awkward and painful. Do you see the irony, my book monkeys? While I was excluded from the activities, I had regained a bit of stability; now that I was included, I had started to lose my mind again.

About the only time things felt at all normal was when it was when it was just the two of us and Flunky hanging out; something about the combination of the three of us helped make things feel more comfortable, more safe; by that point Flunky and I had had a lot of talks about the previous few years, and had gotten our friendship back on track; you don't know just how grateful I am that he needed a roomie that year because, to be honest, if he hadn't I don't know if we would have stayed in touch at all afterwards. Not that we stayed in that great of touch anyway, since the [expletive deleted] can't seem to figure out how to use the reply button on his email . . . sorry, haven't taken a really cheap shot at him for a while, was long overdue. I fell better now. Moving on.

One day G'ovich and I had made plans to go do something, and when I called to see if he was ready I got a pretty brusque brush-off; I was ticked for a couple of minutes, and ranted and raved to myself about how typical it was, how I was such a meaningless blip that he couldn't even take the time to call and let me know he couldn't make it, etc. etc. It wound up being a brief explosion, actually, and I was back under control when he called back within an hour to see if I wanted to come over and hang out. But later on, after spending yet another bit of awkward time at his place, I started to fixate on the idea that my explosion of temper was a symptom of something deeper that was bothering me; I could see myself going down that same path that had led to so many problems a few years earlier, and I didn’t want to go through all of that again; the only option was to talk things out with G’ovich.

Except, of course, that that wasn’t really an option. Our conversations about this sort of thing didn’t usually pan out to my satisfaction at the best of times; I would start out with my well-rehearsed dialogue, he would throw out something completely random and totally off-book, and I would be sent floundering around trying to bring everything back to my mental script, but was never able to; flustered, I would never be able to communicate 2/3 of what I wanted to. My quest began to figure out how I could communicate everything I wanted to without being thrown off balance. So after much soul searching, and pondering, and only one sleepless night, I finally hit upon a solution; I would write him a letter. Which brings us to the next break in our story, as I try to figure out a way to travel back in time and slap some sense into my younger letter-writing self before it’s too late. Wish me luck, although if you’re reading this, then that means this timeline is intact and my efforts didn’t work.



Flunky lover said...

After Flunky and I had been going out seeral months we started talking about the summer separation. He said he wouldn't write me because he didn't like too. We almost broke up. He really is a terrible corresponder. I can't think of one person he stays in touch with. He doesn't even call his parents back. Anyway, don't take his lack of correspondence personally. He does enjoy receiving your emails.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

I long ago resigned myself to Flunky's lack of correspondence; I realize that stringing words together confuses and frightens him ;)

To be honest, the only time it bothers me at all is on those oh so rare occasions when I find out some major thing through the Parkerite grapevine a long time after the fact; things like, oh, let's say, he's moving to Tennesee . . . or being shipped overseas . . . or has returned safely from overseas . . . or has successfully left the military and has been wandering nomadically across the country . . . or . . .

I did get email notification about the Spawn, but I just chalk that up to good world domination practices.

Flunky lover said...

Flunky did not inform his own brother of any of these events as well. His mother only knows because I pick up the phone when she calls and hand him the phone as he is giving me dirty looks. His mother dosn't email him. She emails me and asks me to pass the info along.
I talked to her last week and found out that Flunky never mentioned we were going to Brody's house for Thanksgiving this year since she wold also be there. Do you think it ever occurred once to Flunky to call his brother and tell him that we would be there?

Cap'n Neurotic said...

I shall now twist this anecdote around in my own head so that it reads: "Flunky treats me just like I was part of his family." I feel much more special, now :)