I drove home tonight with the sunroof open. Challenges under the hood keep me from turning on the A/C and challenges in my head prevent me from knowing how to be a better parent. Two sons had bad days and I feel absent in their lives. Anyone want to pay me $500 a week to always be there for everyone who calls me either husband or dad?
Let's lighten the mood a bit and talk about a doomed relationship, shall we? In 1995, I was dating Psycho-Beauty. ("Psycho-Beauty" isn't really a fair name for her, but half the fun of breaking up with a person is being able to forever give them a nickname like "Psycho-Beauty.") This was the most passionate relationship I had ever been in. I've had deeper love, but there was something wild, wonderful and dangerous about what we had that will never be matched. We were crazy about each other and loved one another to extreme heights, but unfortunately we fought often at the same scary level.
We would start fights with one another that made no sense at all. She once gave me a tie for my birthday or something and we soon found ourselves in the middle of a heated and loud argument about whether or not I had said "thank you" in a manner that truly expressed the gratitude she had expected from me. There was another time when we had an awkward exchange on the telephone as I was about to go out with a friend. Twenty minutes later, my friend and I are at a bar and the bartender asks me if I'm Mike. I nodded and he handed me the phone. She had looked up the numbers for the bars close to my apartment and called to argue some more.
Of course, I wasn't anywhere near blameless in our relationship's rocky and jagged edges. I'm usually an easy-going guy. I'm happy to avoid confrontation and pick my battles wisely with the actual intention of picking no battles at all; but with her, while I don't remember starting any fights, I sure did jump at the chance to match her voice level, decibel by decibel. During one telephone argument, I remember finally ripping the phone out of the wall in extreme frustration. (I would later walk to a pay phone and smooth things over.)
My favorite memory of our fights though was music related. We were driving somewhere one day when Green Day's "When I Come Around" came on the radio. Something about that song had always annoyed me, but she didn't know that. She reached over from the passenger seat and turned the dial. Just like that. No respect for me, the driver, at all. Had she said, "I really hate this song. Care if I change it?," I'd have had no problem with that whatsoever. But she had just reached over and changed my radio station choice with no regard to my opinion. We fought. I turned it back and we went at each other, with me pretending to love Green Day as Billy Joe Armstrong's nasal voice actually annoyed the hell out of me in the background.
As was always the case with us, we soon got over it and were having sex on my futon by the end of the day. But for the remainder of our relationship, I had to continue to feign interest in a band I couldn't have cared about at all, just because. There was no way we were going to last. We were a relationship that had started with a date to see Adam Sandler's Billy Madison in February '95 and ended in early '96 with her seeing Mr. Holland's Opus with her mom in a bonding effort to get over us.
It's now over ten years later. I'm married with two more kids, I hear that she's married and doing well, and I've actually become a legitimate Green Day fan. 2004's American Idiot finally won me over. And I'm back to being an easy-going guy. I wish her the best.
(Moonrise photo by Leesa.)