He woke up in a bad mood today. I knew by the silence and his stiff posture in bed. Whatever. I got up and took the dog out, made breakfast and joined him on the couch where he was sniffling and obviously wanting to talk. An apology was not on his agenda, and I knew it.
He asked me if I could schedule some time to help him take down a couple of trees so the wood could season for next year. I responded with my work schedule and said that I would be happy to help.
“I don’t know why you’re telling me your schedule,” he responded.
You’re kidding, right? “Well…it takes most of the day to take down a tree and clean up the mess, so I thought it would be helpful for you to know what days I have other obligations.”
“No – it’s all dependent on the weather, you know – there needs to be no wind and doing it on a day that’s not raining would be best.”
Right. Okay. So I am expected to schedule the next tree falling date? Give me a break!
He was being all pitiful, waiting for me to soothe his poor frayed nerves, but I had work to do so I booted up my computer and got started.
Half an hour later he comes into the room. “I want to move the plywood in the back room. Do I have your permission to move your stuff out of the way?”
“Sure. Do you need any help?”
I went on with my work.* He was back a few minutes later. “Some of the things need two people to move.”
“Okay, I’m coming.”
This all lead to a huge row. Seems that it’s “humiliating” for him to ask for my assistance. I should be willing and eager to “work as a team” on a project that is for “both of us.”
First off, that fucking plywood is for boat building. I have absolutely nothing to do with that plywood or the boat is will be used for. It has nothing to do with me except that it is stored in what he said would be my space when I agreed to move in with him. Moving it is in no way MY project.
According to him, there shouldn’t be My projects and His projects – it’s all supposed to be a teamwork effort towards a common goal. And on and on.
I was out of line when I asked if he wanted my help. I’m not using the “correct language” and my mind set is all wrong – I should be eager to jump up and take on any “project” that he’s involved with, I should know exactly what needs to happen and work to make it happen seamlessly. I am not “helping” him, so I shouldn’t be using that word.
“Fine. What words would you like me to use to express my willingness to join you in doing a job that requires two people?”
“You need to figure that out for yourself.”
“Obviously I am not figuring it out for myself, so maybe you could help me out here and share with me the “correct” language?”
What a can of worms I opened there. He sat down and started lecturing. I cut him off with, “I really don’t have the time or desire to have this circular argument right now. Could we just move this plywood and move on to something else?”
Nope. I kept insisting until he got agitated at my ignorance and inability to “internalize” these important issues. Finally, when he wasn’t getting anything but me looking at the floor, he said, “Why don’t you go fuck yourself?!?” He said it twice. I left the room.
He came after me, calling me a “petulant, self-righteous child” and demanded that I respond to him.
“You told me to go fuck myself, so I left the room. I deserve more respect than that!” WTF I was doing standing up for myself I don’t know, but I had had enough.
He started to berate me, to explain why I deserved to be talked to any way he wanted to, and each time he got out three words, I yelled, “You told me to go fuck myself! You told me to go fuck myself!” Over and over again, pointing my finger at his chest and getting louder with each repetition.
And then it happened. He put his hands up like he was going to take hold of me. Oh, yes he did. I took a big step back. The look on his face became predatory.
“Go ahead, slap me,” he said with a gleam in his eye.
“Oh, no, I’m not going to touch you,” I snarled back.
“We need to sit down and talk about this,” he said.
And that’s when I turned on the recorder. Time is running out for blogging tonight, so I will try to transcribe what was said tomorrow.
* Work that pays very well and requires a certain amount of concentration.