my so-called twenty hour nap

now playing: lori mckenna, “never die young” (on radio)

so i had to terminate a business relationship yesterday with my mechanic.

after having left my van with him for two months, having gotten it back for roughly a week and a half before taking it back again, and leaving it there for yet another month, i just went and got my key yesterday and drove off. he didn’t really say anything to me about it…there was no confrontation or anything of that nature, just “here’s your key” and that was about it. the last straw was calling two weeks ago and being told that he’d try to get to it that week…i drove by the place and saw that it had been moved last weekend, so i called and asked if they’d made any progress this past monday, and no, there hadn’t been. so i called yesterday and got the same message, so i went and got it.

when i got there, the van was parked in the back corner of the reserve lot (not even in front of the place), and they had to tow the car in front of it out of the way to get it out.

i’d say i would be totally justified in assuming that not only was i not a priority, but i didn’t appear to even be in the on-deck circle. and the van had been there a month.

so they either hate my guts or they have so much work that the $1500-2000 a year, on average, that they’ve gotten from maintaining the family’s vehicles is chump change to them.

it should also be noted that we’re not talking pep boys here…this is a family-owned, independent shop…not sure what their issue is. i’d be a little more concerned with customer service if i were a member of a dying species, as they are….

i build and service computers for people as a side job, and have for some time now…and one of the reasons that i think i’m able to do this and that this business keeps multiplying is that i respond to people. or at least i like to think i do…all the signs say so, anyway. these guys, though…why not just say that you don’t have time to do the work if that’s the case?

i don’t get it. but that’s fine.

so in the past couple of weeks, what with my jukebox computer being down and all, i’ve had to search out some new sources for music here in the little shop of cyber-horrors at work…and i’ve become somewhat addicted to and in that time…and having been weaned off my static (rather humongous, but static nonetheless) collection of mp3’s has been a refreshing change, i have to say…i’ve heard some crap, but i’ve heard some real gems, too…it’s been inspiring – but i’m missing my marty higgins tunes today. gonna have to get that thing working.

most of the workstations here seem to have as their default home page…today i was working on someones’ machine and saw a link for an article called regrets of a good father, which i copied and gave a permanent home here. a recommended read, certainly…and it revived a thought that i’d had the other night, regarding something of a deterioration in communications that seems to be happening right now, where my relationships with my kids are concerned.

there was a specific instance with jayda a couple of weeks ago, in which i had found a printout of an instant message conversation she’d had with someone on the ‘net that had a disturbing revelation about a now-irrelevant boyfriend that she’d obviously made no mention of to anyone else. i confronted her about it, and she wrote it off as a non-issue, since she was no longer with him – and i can appreciate that stance, too, really…i think i was concerned on two fronts: one being that she would choose to remain that close to him, knowing what she may or may not have known about him at the time – but also because she hadn’t said anything to me about any of this. i mean, it wasn’t anything that she personally needed to be ashamed of or secretive about…and if she hadn’t left her composition books from school in the back seat of the car for her papers to blow about in the wind, i still wouldn’t know.

i guess i was a little bothered by this initially, until i remembered how i had handled this kind of thing with my parents – i mean, i told my mom absolutely nothing, especially as i grew into adolescence and started to encounter all the emotional turmoil that these years brought crushing down upon my previously humdrum (and decidedly non-hormonal) existence.

i mean, before that it was all too easy – there weren’t any hard conversations to have, for the most part…it was all about what was on tv, what was for dinner, who was mad at who within the narrow realm of my extended family of first cousins at a given time. these aren’t hard conversations to have with anyone, really…parents or otherwise.

but as those issues gave way to the added pressures of junior high school, which meant going from a small elementary school with roughly 20 kids in my class to heading off to junior high with the cumulative 6th grade classes from every elementary school in my county – which was a big deal at the time. with that age came interest in girls and the need to stretch out and start to find out who i was…and rock and roll, my saving grace.

it all hit me pretty much at the same time…and the only real coping skills i had were drawn from tv, really. i thought that the families and the relationships on tv were the norm, that they were what i should be aspiring to…and i started to form some pretty harsh judgements about the people around me as a result. that, combined with everything else, didn’t exactly make me the most emotionally available person to my mom or anyone else in my family.

i was also pretty sensitive, even for a kid of that age. i’d form crushes and then be totally heartbroken when nothing became of it…one time in particular that i remembered recently, there was a girl that rode my bus to school who also went to my church – we used to sit together on the bus every day, we got along really well…but girls at that age just don’t have the proper radar as often as not (witness angela and brian krakow from my so called life…yeah, you know what i mean)…anyway, i don’t think that, to this day, she ever realized that i liked her that way…but there was an afternoon at church when she was fawning over this guy marty bearden – and i just couldn’t understand it. i mean, certainly, we all find the flaws in our competition without much trouble, but there was nothing in this guy that should’ve gotten the attention of a girl like her…but all that aside, this just crushed me. i just couldn’t believe it.

i came home from church and went back to my room…i put an album on and pulled back the changer arm so that it’d repeat over and over again, and crawled into bed. i just wanted to cry, and i didn’t want to talk to anybody – least of all my mother. i just knew that no one else had any clue as to what i was feeling. how could they? i couldn’t make any sense of it myself, how could she? i didn’t really want to find out, anyway…i just wanted to suffer in silence.

so i lay there, curled up, and listened to side one of jackson browne‘s “late for the sky” and slept for 20 hours…straight through until time to get up and go to school the next morning.

not long after we got home, though, my mom came into my room and wanted to know what was wrong…and, of course, i insisted that nothing whatsoever was bothering me, nothing was wrong, everything was just fine – and i expected her to believe that a perfectly healthy teenage boy in bed, under the covers in the middle of the afternoon on sunday was, of course, absolutely normal. which is bullshit, of course…i wasn’t ok and everything was bothering me…but i wasn’t about to cop to any of this to my mom, because she just didn’t understand me. had no idea what i was going through.

of course, had i just been willing to open my mouth, i might’ve discovered that this, too, was bullshit…it took some years for me to realize that i wasn’t the only person who’d ever had their hopes crushed or their heart broken. not that my mom was necessarily the best person to go to for sage advice or comfort – she seldom offered up much of either – but i found my confidantes and built my own little support system from scratch as time went by.

in retrospect, i wish i’d maybe made a little more effort to build my mother into that support system, but i never felt close enough to her to do so.

i often wonder, now that time has passed and i stand on the edge of teenage fatherhood looking over into the abyss, if the same fate awaits me…if i’ll find myself ostracized by my children as they go through the trials of adolescence because they don’t think i “get it”. for the most part, i think we have a great relationship…we’ve managed to salvage a strong bond from the circumstances that put us under separate roofs, and we enjoy each other a great deal – most of the time.

i guess the whole discovery of the IM printout just reminded me that there’s plenty that i don’t know about…plenty that isn’t shared over the booth table at denny’s…plenty of stuff that you just don’t tell dad about.

i think the best you can do under those circumstances is to make yourself as available to them as you can and create an environment for them to feel as comfortable with you as is possible…and hope for the best.

here’s hoping for the best.

now — into the abyss.

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