I spent the weekend at Mom’s, helping with her annual neighborhood yard sale. My Sis gave me a (belated) birthday card. On the front is a cartoon woman doing yoga. It reads, “Life is a lot like Yoga. Relax. Be Flexible…” The inside reads, “…and try not to Fart.” Funny, yes? Underneath she wrote, “Really…relax a little!”
I asked a couple of friends if I seem tense. They glanced at each other, panic in their eyes, and replied that I seemed just fine, while giving me the Side Eye.
Huh. I guess people are noticing that I’m a bit…stressed? More aggressive than usual? A bit more outspoken about douchebags and their assholery? Less tolerant? Sigh.
Okay, let’s get it all out there, then, shall we? I am a bit stressed, but my reasons are sound, IMHO. Tell me if I’m wrong, ‘k?
Reason The First: My son is still on my couch. He is still unemployed. He says that he’s looking for work, but he’s been growing out of my couch for almost four-and-a-half months now. He worked for maybe one of those months. He has not paid any rent. He has food stamps for food, so he’s not draining my resources there. He has paid his cell phone bill only once since he’s been here (I can’t just stop paying it as he will need a phone to schedule all those job interviews that aren’t happening.) His feet smell because he wears an old pair of boots that probably have enough genetic material in them to become fully animate any day, therefore, Towanda smells. He does not feel the need to shower every day – it’s a waste of water, he says*, therefore the first thing I encounter when I get home from work is Man Smell.** He will not do any type of housework until I have okay-ed it. Explicitly. Yes, you can wash the dishes any time you want to – please trouble yourself to get them clean, though, ‘k?!? Yes, by all means take out the trash and recycling. Feel free to vacuum any time you get the urge, ‘k? Gaaaaahhhhhhh!
So he spends all his time, as far as I can see, playing games on his computer, using my Wi-Fi, watching TV and generally amusing himself. He doesn’t go anywhere. I don’t believe he’s looking for work but can’t prove it. He just sits there on the couch, silent for the most part, living inside his head, convinced everyone in the world is “stupid” and “useless.” There is no reason to get up, go somewhere, do something, become a functioning part of society. It’s all just a waste of time. He isn’t suicidal, though. He can be coaxed into conversation of a limited sort but would really rather be left alone. Right. It’s like I’m living with a sullen 13-year-old again. Didn’t I do this already? When does this Mom Gig end?
On top of all this, he is an alcoholic. When he’s drunk he agrees that he has a problem. Sober, he is a Special Snowflake, so special that no one in the universe could possibly understand him and his troubles, therefore making AA meetings or therapy of some sort a worthless waste of his time. Yeah, he’s pretty much said exactly that.
“Why can’t I just have a beer and relax in the evening?” is his plaintive cry.
My answer, “You are an alcoholic. One beer leads to another and another and pretty soon you’re on your lips. It happens every time. It will always be this way. You can be drunk or sober, there’s no “relaxing” in between. It sucks, but that’s the way you’re wired. Get a grip and admit you have a problem so we can move forward.”
I am sooooo over this bullshit. So. He lost his job. He wasn’t fired or laid off, he was simply not put on the schedule any more. This is a new tactic used by Slaveway and other large companies to make sure ex-employees can’t claim unemployment benefits (not that he worked long enough to get any) and have no cause to file suit for being laid off or let go for reasons other than poor performance at their job. Okay. Fine. I get it. He’s feeling sorry for himself. Whatevs.
What does he do? He starts (continues, actually, but it’s a long story) to spend all his money on beer. Not regular beer, but the fruity, 12% alcohol beers the homeless people around here drink. The kind of beer that has a stench like dorm rooms and cat shit. I can smell it the second I open the door. It pours out of his body like toxic sludge for the next couple of days as he sobers up. He drinks until he passes out. I finally took away his debit card (yeah, Slaveway doesn’t even hand out paychecks – they put your wages on a debit card that is not tied to any bank, therefore you can’t put any money on it, but they can take money out if they “make a mistake” with your pay. Cheap and crooked…) I made sure that my wallet was within my grasp at all times (I’ve been here before with his father…) and told him that there will be no drinking in my house. Period.
Things went well for a month or so. Last weekend he went with me to Mom’s. He did some yard work for her which she paid for in cash. Can you see where this is going? Oh, yes he did! I know he spent about $15 of the $40 she gave him, leaving him about $25 in his pocket. Sure enough, when I came home from work on Monday he was passed out drunk. There was no point in even talking to him – he won’t remember a word the next day, as past conversations have proven. I took to my bed with a glass of sweet tea and a book, ignoring his drunken stumbling to the bathroom some time later***.
Tuesday evening basically a repeat of Monday. The beer he likes is cheap. It takes 2.5 for him to be on his face, wasting the last .5 unless he manages to slam it down before passing out. At $2.50 each, he has about five days of being drunk before he runs out of cash.
Is this reason enough to be stressed? Wait! There’s so much more! Tune in tomorrow for Reason the Second.
* Nevermind that an RV shower is the height of efficiency, using less than 10 gallons of water per shower, compared to a “real” shower that uses as many as 4 gallons per minute. I mean, as an argument that is absurd.
** Man Smell is not a bad thing, in and of itself, I just chose to live a life without it and being forced to endure is making me really cranky. No, it’s just flat pissing me off. No need to sugarcoat, now is there?
*** I have told him that if he pukes he will be out on his ass. Period. Towanda is far too small to have a drunk puking, even in the bathroom, and he’s not known for making it to the bathroom in time. Yeah. Picture that and listen to him assert that he’s not an alcoholic.