n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Thursday, May 07, 2009

pernicious myths

So.... I went out last night with my dad on a Daddy-date, and as per the norm, he irritated me in just about every way possible to irritate a person without causing utter and irreparable breach. I don't know how, or actually why he manages to do it; I mean, I love the guy so why doesn't he give me a break, for crying out loud?!

Now, this is off the overall topic, but two on the current Top 10 list in this regard are: telling me a minimum of ten times every time I see him how I am "just like him," and my sister is "just like your mother."
Something good: "Oh, you got that from your old man."
Something bad: Chuckle, chuckle, "Well, you certainly are a chip off your old man's block."
Something weird: "Well, you know where that came from...?"
Something artistic: "Me!"
Something intelligent: "You have my intelligence precisely."
Something well-written: "Your mind has the same intense skill for articulation as..."
Now, while I understand that parents like to feel communion and extension within their children, this is absurd. Mostly it makes me feel like he doesn't know me very well. But the part, I think, that bothers me is how the fundamental way he has of relating to people is by seeing himself in them, which means that difference is erased as unhappy and unfortunate deviations. Now, I'm pretty sure I used to think that way more frequently when I was younger--as a way of trying to understand others--but the man is in his sixties! It makes me feel like he still goes outside and sees a thousand versions, most of them pale, of himself, and I am a luminous reflection and nothing more. I find it very boring.

The other thing he does to piss me off is no doubt trivial, but still bizarre. He doesn't call me or himself by name anymore. I am "Mi Hija" (which sounds like Meee-haaaa, or some other kind of donkey call when he says it) or "Nanny," which used to be a favorite nickname until he made it sound like something an orangutan sucks on to self-placate. (Nan was the childhood nickname, thanks to the sis's pronunciation, never "Jo," which makes me want to crush stones). And as for himself, he is now "Daddy" or "Your Daddy," which sounds a bit perverted in addition to the fact that I at no point in the past have called him anything other than Dad, or sometimes the rather ironic "Father Figure."

Now the bit that has started to bother the most about the two above is that I have, on many occasions, mentioned that I don't like him to do this. I have also resorted to biting sarcasm (attaching "my" and "-eeee" to the beginning and end of every object near and dear). I have rampaged, ranted and even insulted him. I have also explained very carefully and clearly why these bother me. I have said, "Stop!" But he still continues to do both of these, and at the same exact rate as ever, which is all the bloody time. Now, why would a person continue to do something that really, truly bothers another person, especially when these two people ostensibly care about each other?

But anyhow, I have some good news, but am waiting for a particular moment to share it, so for now I will simply continue to the strange part of last night's Dinner With Dad. At some point, he mentioned how he was talking to Maboubeh (pronounced like My Booby, and her last name is Salami), who is his friend-he-lusts-for, and she apparently told him that "I think J is sad."

As he related this to me, I said, Oh that's nice.

But then apparently she continued, "When do you think she will find a mate?" At which point I had to laugh, and my response is something I'm still thinking about: I asked him why in the world would they assume that finding a mate would make me happy.

I pointed out that I had not been happy with SS (although always doing something interesting), nor RC (although always feeling some extreme of emotion or another), and that all the happiness I felt with EC turned out to be complete bullshit that I would later pay for, and also that with nobody else I've dated/flirted-with since then has precisely made me happy, although I would like to believe that there was something both parties in each instance gained from the time (even if it was just having someone to watch my turtle for a couple of weeks). I mentioned that this was not because I have "bad taste" as he likes to say except when fawning over my friends and dates, nor is is because I haven't found "the right one," which is a goofy notion at best.

Because nobody I know seems to gain their happiness from their partner over the long term, although in the short term I can see a kind of slap-happy in play. I guess I just believe people bring both their happiness and unhappiness with them, regardless of their mate.

At this point, my dad looked kind of intrigued although entirely disbelieving--being of the school that the "good woman" in the relationship is in charge of the general happiness--and asked me what I thought would make me happy.

I responded that the closest I've come to feeling consistently happy is when I feel that I'm achieving everything I can, everything that I'm supposed to, learning, and putting my neck out there, going after 'it,' whatever 'it' is. Along with this, it doesn't hurt to feel the hushed background noise of my friends' respect, happiness, and love. And while I don't think it's easy to be lonely, which is of course one of the natural results of not having 'a mate,' I also don't think that having a mate means you'll necessarily feel any more communion, any less lonely. Although don't get me wrong - I think that romantic love can be a beautiful thing for some people - I just don't look at it as The Thing that makes a person happy.

Or maybe that's just if you're me. I also happen to remember a conversation I had with Ali a number of years back where she told me that she thought the purpose of life to be achieving happiness, and I looked at her like she was a complete wacko, and she looked back at me that way. And so I was speculating on that in the bar with my Dad looking at me like I just don't get it...

And then I got angry and asked him what made him and Maboubeh think I wasn't happy! 'Cause I am these days... much happier. I'm writing more although not enough, Spring sunlight makes me giddy, Working is solid, Herald still has his Angel Eyes and the paws of a swimming bear (ohhhh, he's such a good swimmer, ohhhhhhh, look at him churn through the water!), my garden is fabulous (I killed slugs today in a brine solution that made me cringe for my cruelty... but those little cretins are eating my babies!), and the woman I currently think adorable said "Hi" to me last Monday. Heh.
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