I have been working quite hard lately, and it’s such a breath of fresh air to be working for someone that gives me a sense of camaraderie. For once, I find an individual for whom I feel a strong sense of respect. We are mutually excited at the prospect of building a great system.
Now there comes with this sense of gaining a close friend a sort of unease around the household, as my parents find themselves concerned by my late appearances back home. They suspect drugs are to blame, and I won’t deny that it was quite a relief when I realized that my new boss is also a chronic marijuana user.
I pulled up the driveway at just past ten o’clock this evening and found that my garage door opener was non-responsive. As I neared the garage, I realized that the remote was working, but the garage door had gotten jammed up again on one corner. This made it necessary for me to get out and manually open the door. There was quite a lot of energy bundled up in the opening mechanism, which let out a loud pop when I released it. After I parked my car, I opened the hood and set the battery charger to work. The other day the car failed to start in spite of my daily commute being over 30 miles roundtrip. The vehicle’s onboard computer readout of the battery voltage shows that it’s definitely being charged, but the battery isn’t putting out the amperage that it used to. Pretty incredible considering that I have no idea how old this battery is, and it’s been through five cold winters with me.
I entered the home and heard movie sounds. My mother was sitting on the couch reading a book, Paul sitting next to her, and my father was in his massage chair. I stood by the side of the TV and waved to him. He looked over, paused the movie, and started asking me questions about why I had showed up so late, what had been happening lately, etc.
I told him to imagine that he found quite a good friend in his boss. Today was an easy day, and we got back at 5:30pm, and we’d been drinking and chatting about all manner of things since then (I left this part out to my dad). My father asked whether my tardiness was because of drugs. He accused me a number of times of being a drug addict, and asked what I was getting out of working with JF. I informed him that I was being paid to do work in a field that I found interesting, and that I felt I was bringing something to the table, that my work was having an appreciable difference to others.
My mom was in hysterics about me coming back late (third night in a row). She had said something earlier and was not happy with my response, so she was angrily clearing away the table of the leftovers that they’d set aside for me, saying how she was made to wait on me and how she’d been having to clean up later because of this. She said that every night she’d been made to beg for me to return home. Both she and my father were not happy. My father said to the room, in the way that he does, that both of their words weren’t having an effect on me. I insisted, as I do, that the effect that the two of them have had on my life has been quite profound, and that I am continually influenced by them.
At this time, I let them know that I’d been using marijuana daily for the past two months or so. This drove my father to go back to his accusations of my being a drug addict. He asked why.
I told him that I enjoyed the effects of marijuana, that it was a relaxing thing to do recreationally, just as one might use alcohol, and that I wasn’t an addict. I told him that, after I came back home on Saturday afternoon (4/19), I hadn’t used marijuana again until Monday evening (4/21), and that no one had forced me into making that decision. This short lapse in my usage patterns caused him a small deal of mirth. To him, this was a clear indication that I was a drug addict. The significance of 4/20, I pointed out to him on that day (Easter Sunday), and I reminded him again that I’d elected not to smoke on a day of some significance amongst potheads.
I told him that I was no more a drug addict than he was. This was met by his telling me that I should leave home as soon as possible (again), and I told him that I would be doing so as soon as possible (again as well). He kind of fumed and went off by himself, leaving me and my mom to talk across the distance between the living room and the kitchen sink. My mom was sulking angrily at the sink, telling me that this would be the last night that she’d cook for me.
I told her that I was grateful for all that they did for me, and that I should have called home. I asked her not to be so angry, and told her that she had such a way of withholding her affection and attention. I asked her that she try to communicate better, given that I was quite open to conversation and quite sober.
She and my father are having company over tomorrow, after we get through the morning activities. It’s a group of my father’s former classmates, all students who came to the United States under sponsorship of the Chinese government to study back in the mid to late 80’s. She said that tomorrow, I shouldn’t be around for that, because it was so embarrassing for her to have me around.
I told her that I would hang around and interact with their guests, but that I wouldn’t eat or drink anything, just for the sake of being there. If she was intent on making a scene, she could call the police to come drag me away in front of everyone. She had nothing to say in response. A brief pause. I continued..
What was so bad about me? I had nothing but gratitude to express every day. I thanked her every evening for cooking for me, just as I thanked her this evening for leaving food out for me upon my return. I hadn’t asked to be born into this family, but here I am, a product of her and my father, both. I am their son, brought into the world by her. I have great love for both of them, but I feel I am never accepted. I told her that I felt this same way about my college years, how I was the only one that I knew of who graduated without a job lined up. I have no desire to show my face amongst my college classmates.
I spent the past half a year unemployed. During my time selling cars for Jeff Haas Mazda, I tried applying to work in oil and gas, but to no avail. In the past half a year, I have lost all hope, picked myself up to try applying again, and given up all over. I see myself as having already hit rock bottom — at this point, there is no direction to go other than up.
Finally, I told her that sometimes I do have dark thoughts, that I have thought myself unworthy to remain a living thing on this planet. She responded to this, as she does, telling me to go ahead and kill myself. I told her, as I do, that I won’t, because I still believe in myself and in my potential to bring some good into this world.
The night ends with my parents talking to each other, calmer voices now, behind the closed door of their bedroom. This brings back memories of when I was a kid, growing up in Sugar Land, listening to their muted voices coming through the door on nights when I couldn’t fall asleep. I would lie down just outside of their door, my head right up against the little crack beneath it. When the A/C cut out, its work finished for a while, I would listen to their voices as I willed myself to sleep. And after I was tired of lying there, I would go back to my own bedroom, hoping for sleep to come quickly.
Anyways, that’s where we are, now. I have written a lot of things that I haven’t posted here on account of, well, all manner of things. Chief amongst them is a strong desire to self-edit before publishing, but I’ve also been working. And drinking. And smoking.