Proper Perspective

September 27, 2008 at 3:12 AM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  The sixties were in black and white, and the seventies were sort of an aquamarine.  What color were the eighties?
  After the family moved from the country to the suburbs, I had a friend from the neighborhood.  Younger than me–I was about nineteen or twenty, and he was a junior, maybe a senior in high school.  Jim?  Yeah.  We hung out at Joy’s place.  She always had lots of people around.  Joe, of course.  Me and Jim.  Later, her daughter Rhonda.  Jen and her boyfriend.  Billy.  After a fashion, Joy’s friend Gina came to stay with us.  Her boyfriend Joe was around alot.  Joe was cool.  He was an authentic south-city Italian.  He could pass for a New Yorker.
  And then James started hanging around as well.  He was younger.  We called him "James at 15."  Closeted while I was there, then he came out after I was gone.  But we always had people around.  Things change.  People come and go.  The "Friends" thing never lasts as long as the show did on TV.
  In the early days of my relationship with The Storm, we had people around.  Linda had a couple of homeless teens living in the basement.  Sonny and Jeff.  Then she took on a homeless woman and her teenage daughter.  We had alot of people in and out and around.
  The mother and daughter–I forget their names–eventually left for Washington state.  I had to kick Jeff out because he caused Linda to lose the lease on her apartment.  We moved into another house, and Sonny came with us.  He was half-Vietnamese and half American.  So was his brother, Joe.  Joe came around alot, sometimes with his girlfriend.  She was a sweet young thing.  Sonny had a girlfriend name Sheri.  Yeah, Sonny and Sheri.  They lived with us for a while–Sonny was in our wedding party.
  Eventually things came to a head with Sonny.  We were expecting a baby, and they were still doing drugs.  Couldn’t have that in the house.  I myself was trying to quit–hard to do in that environment.  But they left in a way unrelated to that, oddly.
  I came down on Sonny for the messes he was leaving around the house.  Maybe too hard, but I was trying to make a point.  The next day, Sheri’s dad came over with a truck to load up their stuff.
  He also came to kick my ass.
  I had met him before–we had stopped by somewhere in Illinois on a trip, and that’s where they lived, Sheri’s parents.  Rough people, hard living.  Biker people.  Sheri was a cute little blond, slutty looking.  The mom was the same, but with more gristle.  We talked with them for a while, and talk came around to what kind of badass streetfighter the father was.  And it wasn’t bullshit.  It wasn’t told in a bragging way, but more of a matter-of-fact manner, and I remember being both impressed and intimidated.
  So that’s what I was up against.
  While Sonny and Sheri loaded their stuff into trashbags–the universal quick-move tool–the dad was outside, by the truck.  Stretching.  The kind of stretching you do before a fight.  He then came up in the yard, and we talked.  I don’t remember what was said, but I diffused the situation.  I really don’t think I was eating any crow–we just talked.  I did apologize once and only once, saying maybe I over-reacted.
  In the end, we shook hands, and I said, "Well, they’re your problem now," and they left.
  During this time, Linda’s daughter Melissa was with her father, and her son Mike was with the grandmother.  Mike was only a few blocks away.  Melissa came back and stayed with us for a while.  About the same time, these teenagers got boyfriends/ girlfriends.  Melissa’s boyfriend became a fiance, and they moved in together in our basement.  When they got married, they eventually moved out and got an apartment.  That was her first marriage.
  Meanwhile Mike and his girlfriend got serious.  He moved in with her at her grandmother’s house. 
  That was it for a while.
  About the time Mike’s daughter–my granddaughter Jessica–was old enough for kindergarten, she lived with us for a year to go to school because we were living in a better neighborhood at the time.
  Later, Mike and his four kids lived with Melissa and her (third) husband while he sorted out divorce, custody, and other court issues.  That was less than a year.
  When their uncle became ill, he moved in with Melissa, until he died.
  Much later, Mike moved into my house after I left, but that didn’t last.  Even he couldn’t live with Linda–his own mother–very long.
  The cycle continues with Mitchell, now with his girlfriend living with him in Linda’s house.  For all of her supposed prudishness…
  Meanwhile, me and Detroit moved in together.  Her son Alex came to stay with us after graduating high school.  He’s 18, so is this permanent, or is it temporary?  He’s working, but is he going to go to school, get a career, move out, meet someone, get married, have kids, and then never visit us?
  Then…
  Detroit’s older son, who has been kicked out of every place he’s ever been– including places he has been homeless in–gets kicked out AGAIN.  The people who let Alex stay to finish school accidentally let Brandon slip in and stay in the basement, because it was winter and they were saps.
  Alex wanted to move down here, and that left Brandon up there.  Mooching.  A ticking time bomb.  Eventually, it went off.
  I suppose we didn’t have much choice–I rue the day I told him how hilarious it would be to see him homeless–because Detroit sent him a train ticket, and down he came.  And now he occupies the couch like he is chained to it.
  Oh, shit, I just realized that I forgot that Detroit’s batshit-crazy sister stayed with us for about 5 months.  Instead of getting a job and becoming independent she’s in a home for stupid lazy and people. 

  So I don’t worry so much about Alex.  I know that eventually he will get his shit together, move out, and have a life.  But Brandon?  I’m working 70 hours a week and now I have to support him?  I work 70 hours a week and instead of coming home to relax in my home, I come home–to him?  Are we doomed to have him with us forever?  Am I going to have to put up with his mooching, skulking, and weird behavior until…one of us dies?
  If so, I should be getting more head.

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