Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Broken Bracelet

The choir in church sounded horrible today. They sang while the collection plates were passed. Parts of the choir sang, first the women, then the men, and sometimes they were supposed to sing soft and sometimes they were supposed to sing loud. When they sang soft it made me think of a single line of thread. When they sang loud the men just belted it out and it made me think of a rusted oil barrel. I almost laughed.

Sometimes I know in church I'm not supposed to laugh but I do. Today the children sang up on stage and the littlest girl was playing with the bottom hemline of her dress. I thought, "pull it all the way up!" and what do you know, she did it. She was wearing white tights and you could see an awful lot of her naked tummy too. She did it twice. I laughed. Nobody else was laughing.

I am still recovering from a fight I had with my husband. Over two weeks ago we had our first fight, over whether or not to give his daughter $1,000 to build him a computer. He sent her this email and I complimented him on it. I thought it was well written.

"Up front...Karen and I just got into one of our worst fights in a long time. The problem is, she doesn't trust anyone who is not a professional to build a computer...and she continues to point out my debacle with my Averatec as proof that we should never mess around in the innards of a computer.

She believes...and with some justification...that I pretty much gave you a promise to let you build my next computer. We have hashed around with components and pricing ect...and in fact, I had pretty much expected I was going to let you do the build...all this without actually consulting with Karen.

She has a lot of very real concerns, some of which come out of the fact that she doesn't understand how computers are put together, ie, purchasing components and plugging them together. But the bottom line is, she is uncomfortable with us spending a grand or so on something that has no warranties or guarantees. And I guess I have to be too. Right now, things at GSP are kind of up in the air. There are things going on behind closed doors that make me wonder.

So, I'm not sure I can justify even getting a new computer at all right now, since the old one works fine--except for the screen and a thousand dollars is a lot of money...

Please don't be upset with us...we really are just trying to live safe.

Love, Dad"

The Averatec computer was the computer he broke while he was trying to upgrade it himself. Yeah, he can't get it out of his head that all you do is plug in components, even though when he tried to plug in a component he completely cracked and ruined the motherboard, the most expensive component of the computer. It came down to the wrong movement of a thumb. Even though he failed at fixing his own computer, and broke it even worse than the problem it was suffering from, he still regards computer maintenance as easy to do. He doesn't learn.

At the end of the fight I said, "You know, her reaction will probably be to get angry. But if we could only talk this thing out, maybe we could come to some agreement. If she is certain of her skills, and offered to put the money up, and we pay her back if the computer works, I would be fine with that."

Last Monday my husband emailed me from work. He forwarded an email from his daughter offering to build the computer with many conditions, but basically we put up $500 and she puts up $500 and if the computer works we pay her what she paid, and if the computer doesn't work she pays us what we paid. I thought this was fair, and I was encouraged that she would risk her money - it showed me that she has some confidence in her computer building skills. She noted in her email that if the computer doesn't work, she automatically fails her class. This assertion did not impress me because she repeated the last year of high school after failing so many classes and she has repeated college courses for failing classes. She has a history of failing classes. She's no dummy, she can get A's and B's and C's. Only there is no predicting with her which way it is going to go. But to give her credit, she wanted to get all A's this semester and envisions herself one day going to MIT. Yeah, I think she's a dreamer like her father.

So the email my husband forwarded to me from his daughter had a history of an email conversation tacked on to it. He and his daughter just kept on passing the same email back and forth. I read the history of their emails, and this one was their first, sent right after the one he shared with me, the one that concluded our first fight, the one I had praise for. Except this email I read was for his daughter's eyes only.


Apologies for the e-mail about cancelling out of the PC. Since I BCC’d Karen that e-mail, it had to read like I was in at least a ‘semi-consensus’ with her. By the by—she was PMSing like a fiend and she actually sounded exactly like Debbie when she called me nasty names for agreeing to let you build me a computer—like it was some crime. Of course she apologized later the next day, but still.

Anyway. I still do want you to build me the computer. We can still discuss the build and hash out all the details via e-mail if you still are interested. Goal is a grand or under. However, I cannot front you the money. You would have to do the build, then bring it on over and show us (read Karen) the working, fabulous package, where-upon I can and will pay you.

Oh yeah, this is by way of an end run around Karen. She was not against getting a computer from you that you built…simply she thought it was stupid to give you the money to pay for it up front with no guarantee it would even work. She really doesn’t understand the idea of component assembly at all!

Let me know!"

Debbie is my husband's second wife, my step-daughter's former hated step-mother. Debbie was an alcoholic who was always drunk, screamed, threw things and hit, so he was insulting me by comparing me to her.

It is interesting that my husband's daughter's reaction to his idea that they do "an end run around Karen" wasn't "yeah Dad, you and me forever" or "yeah Dad, Karen is awful". Her email to him was short and sounded worried. It was this;

"I am okay with anything. I just dont want to get into trouble.... Or get you into trouble."

I pointed out to my husband that we are the only stable relationship his daughter knows of. Her mother is a mess when it comes to men. She goes from one man to another and cries on the phone to her daughter when a man is verbally and emotionally abusing her. Once she told her daughter that she was only sleeping with a man so that he would give her money that she could then give to her daughter to attend college......... like look at the sacrifice I'm doing for you with my body so that you can go to school. About a year ago my step-daughter asked, with perfect innocence, whether or not her father and I were having sex. We assured her that we love each other very much, find each other physically attractive, and do have sex often. It felt like we were talking to a child that found marriage to be incomprehensible and capable of any deviant condition. It brings my husband's daughter no joy to see a fracture in her father's current relationship, and probably it is impossible for him to return to a father-daughter secret union like they had against the horrible and abusive step-mother Debbie.

I did have to remind myself that my husband was having secret conversations not with another woman, but with his own daughter. Still, I told him he was "a snake in the grass" and that my trust with him was broken. In my eyes he was near to saintly, I really thought I knew my husband and that I had every reason to be really proud of him. It really came as a shock to me that he would say mean things behind my back and plot behind my back with his daughter.

After my husband emailed me with his daughter's computer build proposal, and after I read the history of their email correspondence, a curious thing happened. I was at my computer working on my book and a bracelet popped off my wrist. I was doing nothing to stress it, it simply fell apart. It is a thin white gold bangle that was given to me as a Christmas present by my husband. I treasure it and wear it all the time. It has a hinge, on the opposite side of the clasp, and the small pin that keeps the hinge together apparently fell out. When I told my husband after work that we would have to walk down to the jewelers to have it repaired he asked what happened. "Isn't it obvious?" I said, "My trust was broken and so my bracelet broke as well."

"Oh" my husband replied, "it is a symbol."

But curious physical things happen when there is a stress between my husband and I. Once we were in a front room of our apartment having a heated debate and we heard a huge crash in the back room. We ran to look and saw that a ceiling light fixture had fallen down. It was made all out of stained glass and luckily none of the glass was broken. But I've always felt that the violent emotional energy generated between me and my husband played a part in the fixture falling at that time.

On the morning before my husband mailed me his daughter's email, with the history of their correspondence attached, I had an odd dream. The meaning of the dream was very simple, but when I woke, I did not know what to do with the knowledge that the dream contained. My dream was about a farmer from out of state. He farmed in Maine and he had come down to Vermont to sell his watermelon. He sold some watermelon and then I was left holding the money that came from this sale while the farmer went back to Maine. I wanted to give the money back to the farmer, the money clearly did not belong to me, but I did not know how, in the vast state of Maine, to find the farmer. I woke with the image of money in my hand, but money that I knew, by rights, was not mine. I simply tucked the dream away and did not ponder it.

However, after my husband said that his daughter was going to stake $1,000 of her own money on the success of a newly built computer I suddenly found a meaning for my dream. I told my husband that the $500 we give to his daughter toward the computer build could be non-refundable, that whether or not the computer worked she would not have to pay this back to us. I told my husband he earned the money in the house, and it probably would be his wish to give this "incentive" and "trust" money to his daughter. It would be money that was given on the strength of his belief in her, and if lost, I knew it would not be mourned by him. He would never view money spent in a joint effort with his daughter as wasted money, even if the outcome was a bunch of unusable computer junk. I couldn't force myself to give up all the $1,000 for the computer build, it seemed that his daughter had to realize that there was risk involved in what she was doing, and thus, to take the endeavor seriously. There is nothing to motivate oneself toward excellence like having your own precious money at stake.

My husband was very pleased when I said that we could give his daughter $500 toward the new computer, come what may. When I said that my conclusion was made on the strength of a dream I had had that morning, interpreting that the farmer's money I was holding to be actually my husband's money that he had earned himself, he said, "well, that dream was just coincidence." The trouble here being that the dream occurred before the drama with the computer emails. But my view is that space and time and causality don't always flow in a straight line. As I believe that you can dream about events before they happen, so I believe that you can dream about conclusions and solutions before they are necessary.

I mentioned several weeks ago reading a book about Emily Dickinson. In the book was an interesting story about her father. He was a lawyer, and his work sometimes involved traveling to other towns. The town that he was devoted to, where his family lived and that he was politically and financially involved in bettering, was Amherst, Massachusetts. One night, while he was out of town on business, he had a vivid dream of downtown Amherst being partially demolished by a large fire. For a second night, after this first dream, he dreamed the exact same dream and then mentioned it to someone in the morning as being worrisome. The third night there was a big fire in downtown Amherst.

But this is not the first story I have heard about precognition.

I became friendly with a worker at a social rehabilitation clubhouse. This man told me that all of his children, when they hit a certain age around puberty, suffered from dreams of precognition. The dreams were troubling because they were usually about disasters the made the news such as airplane crashes. He said that when he was that age, he went through the dreams, and that he was able to council his children when it happened to them. The confusion that the children suffered was from believing that since they dreamed it, they must have somehow caused it. This experience was, for him, an inherited family trait.

The man that I just described as having a conversation with was very sane and very kind. There was no reason for him to lie to me.

If you live long enough you begin to gather stories, some of them your own, and some of them from other people, that describe a reality that is wild and unscientific.

I believe in a reality that is wild and unscientific.

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