Colorless Green Ideas Unintentionally Amusing In Person
Friday, March 28, 2003
Just pretend that I write like this, okay?
Pretend that I am this funny/irreverent/profound/touching/straightforward. If you sort of keep a voice-over of the style going while you read, it almost works.
Why is it that reading everyone else’s stuff makes me feel like I’m twelve and trying to fool all the cool kids into thinking that I’m cool too? (You guuuuyyysss, I’m funny too! Listen, listen, did you hear the one about what you call cheese that’s not yours? Nacho cheese! See, I told you I was funny too!)
About a month ago, The Husband drove me to work, because he thought he was going to need the car during the day.
So he dropped me off at work, and I spent the day doing what I do when I’m here, and he did what he does at home, and everything was fine.
At about 4pm, we started emailing back and forth, trying to decide what we were going to do for dinner, and if we wanted to rent a movie, and that sort of thing. At around 4:30pm I emailed something like “if you bring the DVD we need to take back with you when you come get me, we can pick up dinner and get a movie on the way home”, and The Husband emails back the go-ahead, so we’re all figured out for the evening. Plans are set. So I keep working, you know, until about 5:10 (The Husband’s supposed to be here at 5, because that’s when I get done), but I don’t want to have to stand around outside, because it’s windy and rainy and generally freezing-ass cold outside. So I think, eh, I’ll keep working till a few minutes after five, just to minimize the amount of time I have to stand around, just in case he’s stuck in traffic or something.
So at 5:10pm, I go outside and walk around the parking lot, and see no husband, no car. I think, okay, that’s no big deal, he’s caught in traffic or something, and he’ll look all sheepish when he shows up, but it’s not a huge issue. I mean, I can stand outside for ten minutes without melting, right?
So I stand outside, in the wind, holding my umbrella at an angle to keep at least some of the rain off my face, waiting.
Ten minutes. My cheeks are numb.
Fifteen.I’m starting to worry. Maybe he got into a fender-bender. I hope not, it’s a new car. Dammit. Oh, well. I guess it’s insured.
Twenty.My fingers are numb. Can you get hypothermia standing outside a science museum in February in the Pacific Northwest? Are there documented deaths?
Twenty-five. I’m sure that he has gotten into a fatal car accident by now. I’m thinking about going inside to call home, and see if our roommate knows what time he left, but I’m afraid he’ll drive up while I’m inside calling, and wonder where I am.
Thirty. I’m bouncing between fury and panic. I’m sure my husband’s dead in the street somewhere, with flashing lights and mournful emergency medical technicians standing over him, shaking their heads, murmuring, “I wonder what made the guy go for that turn? He must have been really late to pick someone up. What kind of horrible person could inspire such reckless behavior? She must be a real bitch, if he was so terrified to be late that he turned in front of a speeding semi.”
Thirty-five.Okay, it’s 5:45. I’m calling.
I march into the building, up to the front desk, and call home, sure that I’ll get the machine and end up standing outside until I freeze to death, because I can’t leave if he might be on his way.
The Husband picks up the phone on the second ring, and chirps “hello?”
I shout “WHY AREN’T YOU HERE?! IT’S FIVE FORTY-FIVE!”
The Husband says “What do you—Oh my god, I’m so sorry—I’ll be right there!”
When he shows up, thoroughly chastened, at 6:05, after he apologizes sixty times for forgetting to come pick me up, even though we talked about it at 4:30, he says, “It’s a good thing I didn’t tell you in the phone—I was sitting at home wondering why you were so late.”
And this morning he wonders aloud "Do I really need to see a doctor about my ADD?"
I called one of my beloved husband’s deadbeat freelance clients three times today, because they owe him $450 and he said we could use it for our vacation (in two weeks!) if we get the check. I was told, during my third call, that the check was “definitely mailed last week”, and that we should get it any day. Thanks, dude. It’s only 2 months late—it’s not like anyone needed that money or anything. Bastards.
Why oh why is it that people who hire ridiculously underpriced inexpensive freelance designers think it’s okay to screw them? Why oh why is it always non-confrontational nice people like my husband who undervalue their services and get hired by flaming assholes? I don’t do shit like that. At my last job, I asked for a 30% raise in order to accept a promotion, because circumstances arranged themselves such that they were really desperate for me to take the job. True, I only got a just-over 15% raise, but at least I asked!
I’m having a somewhat over-righteous day, I think, which is a good leg up if you’re calling someone to demand payment. The Flaming Shield of Justice does a great job of deflecting lame-ass excuses. However, on the down side, it caused me to present The Husband with a rather lengthy list of options for his…ahem… “improved financial involvement in household expenditures”, because he said a couple of months ago that he wanted to get a regular job, and not keep freelancing. Which sounds good to me, but requires some proactive movement on his part, which is really hard for him. So having me suddenly demand to know the progress he’s made towards updating his portfolio and getting a job just send him into a melancholy panic, because, of course, he hasn’t done anything yet.
He invariably does a great job of coming up with plans, he’s just terrible at active changes and/or progress without a major driving force behind him. Something with the approximate force of the Big Bang, for example. And he’s always horrified when someone says, 3 months later, “So, how’s the project going?”, because he’s forgotten all about it until the precise second that the question was asked. It’s a common problem, and it’s totally because he’s a dreamy ADD sufferer. Without an outside structure, it’s almost impossible for him to get past his comfy little circle.
I, on the other hand, do forget things, but am hyper-responsible, and don’t have any serious problems with remembering to mail the bills/do the laundry/go to the grocery store. And I suppose if I wanted to run my husband, I probably could. (Well, except he’s also really stubborn, and doesn’t like to be nagged. But I bet I could railroad him into stuff if I tried.) But I really don’t want to be the driver for his train too… he’d resent it, and so would I, and he would never feel like he made progress on his own, so no one would really be happy.
So I guess we’ll just go ahead with the support and show-and-tell weekly talks we’re planning, and hope that, once the medical insurance kicks in, the doctor can help too…
I keep thinking that there are enough people airing their opinions about this war, and no one really wants or needs to listen to mine on top of all of the others. However, one particular social shift that seems to have taken place as a result of this war (and, I guess, to a lesser degree, this has happened during other recent wars) and I am disturbed enough that I am going to vent anyway.
Criticism of the US government, its policies, its military as an institution, and/or office holders, does not equal anti-American sentiment, does not equal traitorous activity or sentiments, does not equal support of terrorism or terrorists, does not equal insidious undermining or rejection of “American” (or human) values like compassion, free speech, or basic human rights. As a matter of fact, voicing criticism and/or opposition to government policies and practices is vital to the American democratic process, and an intrinsic part of what makes America a place that could be (and sometimes is) a great place to live.
I do not support this war. There are a number of reasons for this. However, this does not mean that I like Saddam Hussein, or support his regime and its treatment of the Iraqi people. This also does not mean that I think Saddam Hussein should stay in power, and be allowed to build nuclear and chemical weapons. I didn’t support the post 9/11 bombing of Afghanistan, either, and that does not mean that I support Osama bin Laden or the World Trade Center bombings.
If you want to know some of the reasons I oppose this war, I will outline a couple of them very briefly.
1) Diplomatically, the way that the United States handled the events leading up to this war was arrogant, pushy, and seemingly calculated to solidify the global impression that America is the national equivalent of a spoiled bully. (Fine! If you other kids in the UN won’t make me the leader of the club, which grants the ability to arbitrarily declare right and wrong as I see fit and make up the rules as I go along, I’ll just go start a new club with just my friends, and you can’t be in it! So there! Nya-nya!)
2) Similarly to the Afghanistan bombing, the people who are suffering and dying in this war are, by and large, not the people who should be suffering. Hussein and his cronies are a tiny percentage of the people in Iraq, and they are the best-protected group of people. The people who are going to bear most of the burden of this war are the people who have nowhere to go, and no bunkers to hide in. These people probably don’t have any personal gripe with America, but they may feel differently after a bomb kills one of their children. There is no useful purpose to be served by harming these people. They are poor and suffering already, and American bombs are not helping. While I am sure that Saddam Hussein’s regime was unkind to these people, I doubt very much that having their country decimated by the “coalition” forces will improve their lot. And the United State’s track record in providing meaningful long-term post-war assistance (which is what will be needed) to post-war countries is not very good. More than likely, the United States will help rebuild the oil industry and leave the peasants to fend for themselves. Which will, if anything, foster anti-American sentiment where there was little or none before.
None of this means that I’m glad that soldiers and civilians are dying, or that I intend to spit in the face of a returning veteran when this is all over. The rank-and-file soldiers in the United States military are no more responsible for this war than the peasants in Iraq. This doesn’t mean that I’m a traitor or a terrorist.
What this does mean is that, in my opinion, the United States is not living up to its own standards of equitable humanitarian action and diplomacy. What this does mean is that I am not going to keep my mouth shut and do the “Go Bush Go” dance. What this does mean is that I will continue to voice my concerns and criticisms about how we as a country do things, because the United States could be an example of fair and equal government, and provide a progressive example of how things should be in this world, and right now, that is most definitely not the case. I want the world to get better. I want this country to be a place I am proud of. I want this planet to be somewhere that all parents of all children can hope that the lives they’ve created their children to live will be good and safe and happy.
And yeah, maybe overthrowing Saddam Hussein will make Iraq a better place for the children growing up hearing the thunder of bombs and the crash of tanks. But I think that our government should have tried a little harder to find a peaceful way of achieving this end.